The price of a good meal in almost every other city in Italy might get you a mediocre one in Venice, so you need to know where you are going to avoid an expensive dining mistake. Take your pick from some of the restaurants we like:
Vini da Gigio
Vini da Gigio
at Cannaregio is a family-run restaurant with a wonderful Venetian menu and wine list. Don’t even think about arriving without a reservation as the restaurant is extremely popular. The setting is idyllic, overlooking one the city's many canals, and the interior is warm and welcoming. Choose from either a fish and seafood menu or a meat and vegetarian option. Deep-fried baby razor clams accompanied by Prosecco make a good starter, with a standout main being the braised ossobuco of veal, which is slow-cooked in an unctuous tomato sauce on a bed of polenta.
Venice is famous for the quality of its gelato, but even based on Venetian standards, the ice cream at Gelateria Grom
is outstanding. Grom is a chain that uses exclusively natural Italian ingredients, including Sicilian pistachios, nougat from Asti, and fruit from the company’s farm at Mura Mura. The ice cream manages to fuse intense flavours with a sublimely creamy texture.
Arte della Pizza
Quality food tends to be expensive in Venice, but Arte della Pizza is a major exception. This hugely popular hole-in-the-wall on Calle dell’Aseo, off the Strada Nova (the main thoroughfare between the train station and Rialto) contains only a handful of stools, so it’s always full to capacity. Pizzas are top notch and ridiculously cheap for both full pizzas and slices.
Finding a restaurant near Piazza San Marco that serves decent food without fleecing its customers may seem a tall order - until you find the Bacaro Lounge. This hip establishment, tucked away in an old cinema owned by the Benetton family, is the haunt of both designer-clad fashionistas and rugged gondoliers, creating an interesting and eclectic atmosphere. Come here at noon for the piatto del giorno, a reasonably priced dish of anything from spaghetti with pomodoro or roast pork.
At the other end of the dining scale is Ai Mercanti
, on Corte Coppo. The ambience here is very formal, but the food is spectacular, highly inventive, and very expensive. Sit in the courtyard and enjoy a succession of culinary masterpieces from the tasting menu. Highlights include the snails bathed in a creamy garlic sauce, an unctuous lobster ravioli, and an unmissable deconstructed tiramisu.
Another expensive fine dining destination in Venice is Da Fiore
, at Calle del Scaleter. The service is impeccable and the attention to detail is meticulous, resulting in dishes that are as wonderful to look at as they are to eat. Menu standouts include the bacon shrimp toast with tomato and fried rosemary and a Sicilian dessert wine and pumpkin tiramisu.