2017 Venice Restaurants Reviewed: the good, the bad and the ugly
So, here we are, the new year is just round the corner, anxiously awaiting us, but before delving into 2018 I want to stop for a moment, look back at my foodie experiences (in the blog named Venetian wanderings) and share with you my top 10 favourite Venetian eateries and restaurants in 2017, some brand new some well known.
The criteria used are:
1) places where you can sit down and have an actual meal, maybe small but still a proper lunch/dinner (if interested only in cicheti standing, read my Venetian cicheti and street food post).
2) places where the food is healthy (not in the sense of dieting, but in the sense of ingredient sourcing)
3) places where the food is tasty and that don't leave me hungry! Please note: the following restaurants/eateries are listed in no particular order
UNDER 20/25 € EACH
Cantina Arnaldi (wine bar-lunch/dinner)
Address: Santa Croce, 35, 30135 Venice
Phone: +39 041 718989
Definitely one of my favourite wine bars in Venice. The wine by the glass offered changes regularly, the cheese and cured meats are of more than excellent quality (with no added additives, preservatives or whatsoever) and the warm dishes are delicious. Friendly and casual atmosphere. Highly recommended. My Review
Adriatico Mar (wine bar-lunch/dinner)
Address: Dorsoduro 3771, Calle Crosera, 30125 Venezia VE
Phone: +39 041 476 4322 Map
Just a few minutes from the above mentioned Cantina Arnaldi, there is Adriatico Mar. This small wine bar offers cured meats, selections of cheese, fresh vegetables and couscous salads, the ingredients are organic, the wine natural and the owners lovely. Personally, I like going there for lunch, when it's quieter and Siria makes every dish more beautiful adding herbs and edible flowers. The clientele in general is very nice, lovely place with lovely people.
Caco Nero (eatery)
Address: Fondamenta Barbarigo, 2344 Dorsuduro 30123 Venezia - Italy Phone: +39 0415246042 Map
Located in a quiet area, Caco Nero is the perfect place if you seek relaxation, good food, a casual -yet arty- atmosphere. It's possible to have just teas and coffees, which you will want to accompany with their homemade cakes and savoury breads, or to have lunch and an early dinner. The menu is short, with seasonal ingredients and changes daily. Love it! My review
Shiraz (wine and cocktail bar/small restaurant)
Address: Santa Croce, Calle della Regina 2259A, 30135 Venezia VE
Phone: +39 041 5243858
While the above mentioned are a bit out of reach, Shiraz is located at not even 5 minutes from Rialto and is an excellent option for a quality budget meal. It opened a few months ago, love the restoration and the small details like the Rubelli fabrics and the chandeliers, the staff is young and friendly and the food good, especially the burgers (but don't worry, there are options for vegetarians too!).
Fiumefreddo Bio (vegetarian eatery)
Address: Campo drio la Chiesa, Cannaregio 3012, Venezia
Phone: +39 041 528 9015
Super cosy vegetarian eatery (open from 8:30 am to 9:30 pm) serving mouthwatering food cooked with love by Sarina. Very small, very warm and very welcoming, the food is organic, the offer creative and very flavoursome and from spring to late autumn it's possible to sit outside in the beautiful campo with pastel colours. Highly recommended.
- For more ideas, please refer to my quality budget eats in Venice post
BETWEEN 30-50 € EACH
Anice Stellato (restaurant)
Address: Cannaregio, Fondamenta de la Sensa, 3272, 30100 Venezia VE Phone: +39 041 720744
This restaurant has recently changed management and I have to say that the food is absolutely to die for. A short seasonal menu, great attention to ingredient sourcing, well thought combinations and a very interesting wine list. The atmosphere is friendly, yet professional, the ambience warm and the dishes beautiful, the presentations will undoubtedly impress you! My Review
Address: Cannaregio, 5176, 30121 Venice
Phone: +39 041 241 2585
This is one of the restaurants I love the most: hidden, small and cosy. Bruno, the owner, chose to focus on quality and freshness and the young chef enhances every dish adding delicious sauces and reductions and making them beautiful with flowers and herbs.
Note that this is a fish restaurant, so here you will find homemade pasta and other first courses, fish and vegetables. You must keep space for the dessert: the creams are always incredible!
Address: Dorsoduro, 3778, 30100 Venezia VE
Phone: +39 041 476 4914 Map
L'Estro is both a wine bar, with a strong focus on natural wine, and a restaurant. The cicheti are creative and delicious, but I suggest to have a proper lunch/dinner and book in advance, since it's very small. The menu is short and featuring only seasonal and fresh ingredients of excellent quality. Their homemade focaccia is a must try, the menu changes regularly and it is always up to standards. You will love it if you enjoy gourmet food, fancy minimal design and natural wine.
Address: Cannaregio 4550, SS Apostoli, 30121
Phone: +39 041 528 5031 Map Not a novelty, Trattoria da Bepi is the place to go for an authentic Venetian experience. Listening to Lele (Gabriele) describing the list of starters is an experience on its own and the food is delicious. Loris, the owner, goes to the Rialto market every single morning (I know because I see him) and the fishmongers keep the best fish for him, so if you go have the full experience: the starters are a must have and if you are lucky enough to be in Venice in the right season try the moeche (soft shelled crabs), but also the razor clams, the scampi with local artichokes and whatever else they say. Usually I have either a first or second course because the portions are quite generous, but up to you. The desserts are simple, like cakes and biscuits, we normally skip the dessert and opt for uvetta sotto grappa (raisins soaked in grappa).
Address: Campiello Santi Filippo E Giacomo, 4509, 30122 Venezia VE Phone: +39 041 520 8280 Map
This is an experience we allow ourselves once a year, although I have to say that -considering that it's a one Michelin star restaurant- the tasting menu is doable (about 95 per person) and for lunch they offer a 35 euro menu that includes 3 tapas and either a fish or meat dish. Gianni Bonaccorsi, owner and chef, spends most of his time studying new combinations of flavours and ingredients and whenever we go we remain fascinated. The attention to detail can be noticed in everything, from the service to the design and I love the Murano glasses designed especially for the restaurant.
MY FAVOURITE NEW ENTRY:
Address: Cannaregio 2535 30121 Venice, Italy Phone: +39 041 722 924 Map
Brand new bookshop and vegetarian eatery with a focus on graphic novels and illustrated books and a small -but delicious- offer of fresh cheese, focaccia, humus and delicious cakes and biscuits.The assortment of tea is excellent and their prosecco (yes, they produce it, it's called Lunatico, it's organic and you can buy it in the UK on hhandc.co.uk) is very very very good! The ambience is small, bright, with beautiful furniture and flowers from Refrontolo, and the mood friendly, warm and relaxed. I am very happy about this new place and I am sure you will love it too.
For more general info, refer to my About eating and drinking in Venice: a brief guide on how to survive post
Some of you may have noticed that I never write negative reviews and, yes, this is true. It's because I chose not to do any paid editorial on my personal blog and because I imagine that readers prefer to know where they can have an enjoyable and pleasant experience, rather than reading nasty words of horrible places.
Obviously, Venice is full of tourist traps and rip offs. I don't want to list them, but what I will do is share a story about TripAdvisor (maybe you read it already) and a (genius) journalist who first got paid to write fake reviews on real restaurants to higher their ranking and then created a fake restaurant called The Shed and turned it into number 1 restaurant in the UK, top rated on TripAdvisor. His name is Oobah Butler and you can read his story here (it's great, should make us think) and I'm mentioning it just because, if you ask me, TripAdvisor is a great tool from certain points of view, for example if you want to see pictures of the dishes to get an idea of what type of food is served (I use it myself and contribute too)... but it's better not to entirely rely on the reviews, especially if we consider that number 1 restaurant in Venice -according to the above mentioned website- is not even a restaurant, but a take-away...
Ugly is whatever makes my city dirty and less beautiful than what it actually is. Ugly is whatever place doesn't care about cleaning up the rubbish produced in the nearby area. Ugly are the people who don't care about the city they are in and behave foolishly, whether locals, visitors or day trippers. Ugliness is easy to spot.
Nobody likes ugliness, so let's avoid it making sensitive -and sensible!- choices: support local business!
The good and the bad come together, so let's focus on the good and enjoy life!
Now let me wish you a Happy New Year! Thank you so much for these months together, I am already looking forward to all the new things that 2018 will bring! So bye, bye, happy feasting and see you next year!!!!