“Venice is full of fine dining restaurants,” says The Culture Trip. But Michelin-starred eateries aren’t the only places to eat well in La Serenissima -- there are a number of “new, often excellent, ‘sip and run’ establishments,” says Michela Scibilia in Venice Osterie. “It seems that exciting food, served in an attractive setting and enjoyed in good company, is now more popular than a traditional sit-down meal.”
Quadri sits atop the Venetian pile, write Janne Apelgren and Joanna Savill in Traveller. "Quadri is billed as the square's only fine-dining restaurant, and with window tables overlooking St Mark's Square, it is, unsurprisingly, a favourite spot for marriage proposals." Chef Massimiliano (aka Max) “is a creative genius,” claims Anne Hanley in The Telegraph.
But don’t overlook Antiche Carampane … and Al Covo. When Italian food writer and blogger Elizabeth Minchelli canvassed her network for opinions, “almost every single one of them named Antiche Carampane as their number one choice,” she reveals. Pantagruelica’s Maurizio Gasparello also nominates Al Covo “for the care Cesare (Benelli) puts in selecting ingredients.” He urges diners to put their faith in the staff and let them guide you through a menu that varies according to market availability -- but, he says, try the seafood extravaganza that is the Gran antipasto bollito di pesce, crostacei e molluschi nostrani. Chef Lionello Cera also backs Al Covo, and makes special mention of Da Augusto, in Camponogara. “Their wholegrain brioches are stellar,” he rhapsodises. Fancy a fine gin and tonic? Pay a visit to Mauro Lorenzon at La Mascareta. For a fine meal, you should try their sarde in saor, creamed baccalà, fish stew and their tortellacci filled with branzino.
Famed Veronese chef Giancarlo Perbellini waxes about Ai Rusteghi, “an extraordinary place in a quiet location, where quality wines, cheeses and charcuterie are served.” Estro is also namechecked as worth patronising for its ciccetti. Overseen by a “a group of talented young professionals,” with modern and minimalist interiors, it prides itself on its gourmet selection of finger food. His final suggestion is Santa Marina, near Rialto, a hidden gem tucked just away from the tourist hordes a few steps away from the Grand Canal.
Many places are “simply coffee bars,” cautions Franco Tonolo, head of longstanding institution Pasticceria Tonolo. Still, along with the funky Estro, he recommends Impronta Cafè, a place where customers can eat at any time of day. Tonolo also cites grocery store La Bottega del Gusto as another place worth visiting. Other recommendations include Riviera in Dorsoduro, where the menu changes according to fish market availability, notes Oro Restaurant’s Davide Bisetto. Tip: book a table in the patio overlooking Canale della Giudecca, across from majestic Mulino Stucky. Ai Rusteghi’s Giovanni d’Este suggests Antica Carbonera for “its simple and quality offer(ings)”. Oro Restaurant in Hotel Cipriani alla Giudecca gets a mention “because it’s simply wonderful being pampered!” Vecio Fritolin’s Irina Freguia nominates Local and Il Ridotto as “places that focus all their efforts on quality ingredients, a rarity in Venice”. The former makes a point of maintaining a short supply chain, supporting local producers and fish sourced at fisheries they can vouch for. Il Ridotto is similarly reputable with an excellent wine cellar. Other promising young chefs turn out exciting food at informal style wine bars and eateries such as Local, Estro, Vino Vero, CoVino and Acquastanca.
Moving futher afield, Matteo Tagliapietra, from the Local, suggests Wildner “for the quality of the food and the stunning location -- which benefits from a fine view of the San Giorgio island -- I suggest trying their classic bollito (assorted boiled meats).” Slow food principles characterise the cuisine’s preparation. Tagliapietra also suggests a bacaro, Risorto -- “they have a good selection of beers and gin, nice cicheti sand the owners are lovely.” And locavore principles run deep at the island resort, Venissa, where young Italian chef 2017, Francesco Brutto and Chiara Pavan, interpret lagoon ingredients with a team of budding young talents, promising “a special experience, in a special context,” according to Reporter Gourmet.
Want to learn more? The _Ristoranti della Buona Accoglienza Venezia website is an invaluable resource if you’re hunting down good Venetian food and wine, which respects “traditional methods and recipes, their original interpretation and a constant dedication to the quality and seasonality of the products.” And Italy’s fine dining bible, Gambero Rosso, quizzed dining gurus like Arrigo Cipriani of Harry’s Bar and Giancarlo Perbellini from Dopolavoro to recommend their favourite Venetian eateries in their guide to the city’s top eateries. And if your interest in Venetian food goes further than the dining room, sign up for a class at the Gritti Epicurean School, which promises “to share some of the secrets of Venice’s oldest recipes,” according to The Luxury Editor, and where you have the chance to learn from Executive Chef Daniele Turco himself. While the New York Post describes a must-do, half-day cookery course with Benelli.
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