• Nicky F.

Venetian Wanderings | Episode 24: L'ombra del Leone

Today I'm taking you to one of my favourite places in Venice, a place where I always bring friends that are visiting for the first time, a I-am-sure-they-will-love-it sort of place: L'ombra del leone.

This stunning cafe and restaurant is located less than five minutes from Saint Mark's square and is hosted inside Ca' Giustinian, official headquarters of the Biennale.

So, let's go...

Walk this stone path and enter from the terrace. The view is breathtaking: you will e facing the island of San Giorgio on the left, the Giudecca in front of you, and no less than Punta della Dogana and the Madonna della Salute church on the right!

When you walk in you will find yourself in a corridor with lots of contemporary art videos on the wall, from the past editions of the Biennale, while at the end of the corridor there is a lovely bookshop. I'm sure that you will want to fill your stomach before delving into all that art, so take your left and have a look at what they have.

L'ombra del leone is an excellent option for breakfast, lunch, afternoon coffee, the aperitif and dinner. The cafe is very big, with an exceptional terrace offering a unique and always surprising view. It's a family-run business and I can give you my word that the whole family works very very hard to offer an excellent service, everyday from morning to evening.

The location alone is worth the visit. I sometimes have my mid-morning or after-lunch coffee here, possibly with a croissant! So relaxing ...

It's not on the cheap side, but it's definitely affordable. For a drink and a snack, be it sweet or savoury, you are not going to spend more than in other -not nearly half as beautiful- places.

For example, for lunch there is a double line: the more expensive and gourmet one, and the simpler one, which for me is more than fine! You can simply have a toasted sandwich or, if you want a proper meal, you can opt for fresh salads, pastas and second courses. Today I really needed something light, I've been eating so much lately that my body craves veggies and water, so I went for a salad, but the people sitting at the table next to me, for example, had roast beef with potatoes and a pasta.

I was quite pleased with my choice, my dish had carrots, tomatoes, French beans, corn, lettuce and boiled eggs. Exactly what I wanted: simple, healthy, tasty and filling. I sat inside, next to the window, and enjoyed my meal admiring Palladio's Church. Not bad, ah? I drank some water and, in total, spent 13 euros. Excellent.

When Vito used to work in this area we often came here for our aperitif. The two brothers that manage the business are well known in the city for their long drinks and cocktails, in fact in summer I love to sip my gin and tonic in their terrace.

If you are curious to try the famous Bellini, here you can be sure you'll get the real one, with fresh white peach!

If you ask me, L'ombra del leone, has it all. The combination of art, stunning view, food and other Epicurean pleasures makes it one of my preferred cafes in Venice and I highly recommend it to anyone looking for relaxation, beauty, yummy treats and well prepared drinks.

Love it.

L'Ombra del Leone

Address: Calle Tredici Martiri, 1364, 30124 Venezia

Phone: +39 041 241 3519


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