Venice—such a wonderful city and such wonderful food! We went to Venice in December 2012 with our younger daughter, Kate, and I wrote about the good food that we enjoyed there. We took my brother-in-law, Charlie, to Venice in early September and found these excellent restaurants.
We arrived in Venice on Wednesday just in time for lunch, and our hotel recommended a restaurant around the corner. We dumped our luggage without unpacking and headed for Trattoria da Ignazio (Ca dei Saoneri, San Polo 2749). Although it looks like any ordinary restaurant from the street, da Ignazio has a lovely, cool, restful patio that is covered with vines to filter the sun. The inside is also pretty, so eating there during cold weather would be fun. For antipasti Charlie had scallops gratinate, Michael had marinated branzino, and I had cappelunghe, which looked like razor clams. They were in season just then, and they were plentiful and so tasty. We all followed that with a wonderful tagliarini with spider crab, which was also in season. What a good time to visit and taste unusual dishes! Everything was delicious, the service was excellent, and we would go back.
That night we had made reservations (a must) at Trattoria Antiche Carampane, (San Polo 1911—go west from Campo Sant’Aponal) which was recommended by a variety of sources, including our hotel. Although it was warm outside, we ate inside and enjoyed more scrumptious fish: carpaccio and mixed Venetian antipasti to share and then frito misto for Charlie, cuttlefish in ink with polenta for Michael, and John Dory with mushrooms and zucchini for me. For dessert Charlie had chocolate mousse with raspberry sauce, and I had a cheese plate. Excellent!
On Thursday we returned to Osteria La Bottega Ai Promessi Sposi (Calle dell’Oca, Cannaregio 4367), which I wrote about after our December trip. If any restaurant in Venice makes better Fegato alla Veneziana (calves liver), please tell me where! Michael had spaghetti alla vongole and fegato. Charlie and I shared a wonderful steak tartare followed by orchietti all’amatriciana for Charlie and orchietti with salmon and leeks for me. Delicious! This restaurant isn’t easy to find, but it’s well worth the effort.
On Friday morning we visited Basilica di San Marco. Afterward we had drinks at Caffè Florian on Piazza San Marco. Caffè Florian opened as a coffee house in 1720 and claims to be the oldest restaurant in Venice. It is either featured or mentioned in passing in many, many books set in Venice, including my favorites, the Donna Leon series of mysteries (if you don’t know these, run out and buy the first one right now!). The restaurants and bars on Piazza San Marco all have their own orchestras, so in addition to your food and beverage, you MUST pay a hefty charge to listen to the orchestra. I’ll always especially love Caffè Florian because of its literary history and because they serve macarons. YUM!
I’ve saved the best for last: Ristorante Linea d’Ombra (Dorsoduro 19), where we ate our last meal in Venice. Although we ate lunch there on Friday, with breakfast at our hotel and our stop at Caffè Florian, we couldn’t eat another thing after that, and we left the next morning. The deck of Linea d’Ombra sits on the Giudecca Canal at the east end of Dorsoduro (as the crow flies, directly behind the Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute). As you can imagine, the views are spectacular: all of the churches across the canal, the Chiesa di San Giorgio Maggiore, Riva degli Schiavoni (the promenade that passes along the canal below Basilica di San Marco and the Ducale Palace and beyond), and the south side of Castello at the far east end of Venice. In addition, many boats and ships navigate the Giudecca Canal, which is straighter and much wider than the Grand Canal, and we saw hundreds of industrial and pleasure boats (but no gondolas). It was a glorious day, and a slight breeze blew through the restaurant.
But the food, the food, oh my! For antipasti I had carpaccio of tuna and of sea bass, which were splendid! Charlie and Michael skipped antipasti and had pasta: pasta with blue lobster for Charlie and tortellini with red mullet, mint, and lemon for Michael. For secondi Charlie had tuna with a basil crust and burrata mozzarella, and Michael and I shared sea bass baked in salt (our favorite preparation), which was done perfectly! For dessert I had Valharona chocolate mousse. I can’t remember what Michael and Charlie chose, but they look delicious in the photos, so I’ve added them below. Save your money, because this restaurant isn’t cheap, but it is one of the best restaurants we’ve been to in Italy. If you want to eat great food, relax, and watch the world go by, this is the place!