Tips from a Travel Writer: Venice
Posted on October 16, 2013 by Fiona Hilliard
Venice has only 60,000 permanent residents and the same number 60,000 of tourists visiting the city a day. Unfortunately, where you get this proportion of residents to visitors there will be rip-offs, as many restaurants don’t expect to see their customers again.
Luckily, there are plenty of good restaurants – you just need to know which ones they are so that you can plan in advance. In my guide, I’m also including some information on how to dodge the tourist traps…
Tourist tricks to avoid
● As in many tourist-magnet cities, avoid restaurants with tourist menus that include pictures and bow tie-wearing waiters who beckon you inside.
● Eating alongside the canal near the Rialto Bridge can be ruinously expensive with very bad service (restaurants along the Riva Del Vin are particularly notorious). So track down the less expensive restaurants in the alleys behind the bridge. One place to try is the traditional takeaway and restaurant (upstairs) in the Rosticceria Gislon, Calle de la Bissa 5424. Fish, seafood, meat, pasta dishes and chicken are all served and it’s much-frequented by locals.
● Coffees in St Mark’s Square are all well and good if you’re aware that they may well be very expensive, especially if there’s a cafe orchestra playing. The recent story of liqueur coffees for four people costing £85 is a case in point. Drink your coffee at the bar rather than taking a seat outside, or find a cafe slightly away from the square.
Avoid the gelaterias that pile their ice-cream high with colours too good to be true (bright green mint springs to mind) – it won’t be the real artisan stuff. Recommended ice-cream shops include the Gelateria Paolin, Gelateria Nico and the always busy Boutique del Gelato.
Steer clear of the re-heated pizza slices in bars and go for a sit down meal in one of the better pizza restaurants. Al Vecio Canton is a local restaurant in Castello that specialises in pizza, although other dishes are available. Difficult to find in a back street, but worth the search.
Birraria La Corte specialise in the perfect pairing of pizza and beer, although don’t expect a romantic little pizzeria – it’s in a canteen style.
My favourite restaurant in Venice is Vini da Gigio which is reasonably priced and serves excellent quality food. The service is friendly and warm, and it opens on a Sunday, when many good restaurants are closed.
For a special occasion, book a table overlooking the canal at the L’Alcova Restaurant in the Ca’ Sagredo Hotel. Fine dining and excellent service are what makes this restaurant stand out.
La Zucca doesn’t just serve vegetarian food, but it does feature lots of it on its menu.
Overlooking a quiet canal in the Cannaregio district, the Ostaria Da Rioba has quite a selection of seafood, but that’s not all on the menu. There are a few tables outside.
Alle Testiere is a legendary but small seafood restaurant. There are two sittings and, as with many restaurants in Venice, you should definitely book a table in advance.
Over to you
We’d love to know if you’ve eaten well in Venice. Do you have a favourite restaurant, cafe or galateria?
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