Tag Archives: Venice

Where to dine in Venice?

Being in a foreign city trying to find a good, honest restaurant can be tough. Of course there are some countries where it feels like anything you eat will be delicious, but still, I do argue that finding a cosy, fine restaurant with a decent price-quality ratio is not an easy task! Or is it just me and the years of living in Paris that have turned me obsessed about food…

Anyway, I am hereby going to list typical, bistrot-type Venetians restaurants that we came across during our visits in late 2011 and early 2014. This is by no means a comprehensive list (and in no particular order either!), but hopefully gives some idea to other travelers searching beyond the usual and the most touristic recommendations. Some restaurants we obviously liked more than others, so follow your feeling (or ask me for more details)!

1. Osteria da Alberto (http://www.osteriadaalberto.it/) near the hospital. Address: Calle Giacinto Gallina, Cannaregio. Osteria Da AlbertoWe visited this restaurant for lunch in 2011 and again in 2014. The prices have gone up a bit (normal), but it is still very reasonable and in our top three. Osteria da Alberto+ Honest and delicious home-cooking with fresh ingredients (including octopus!) in a lovely setting
+ Friendly, professional service
+ Perfect for watching locals (English and French spoken)
+ Excellent and very affordable house wine by carafe
+ Heavenly house dessert

2. Osteria Ai 40 Ladroni (http://www.ristorantivenezia.net/osteriai40ladroni.htm) in the north-western part of Canareggio. Address: Fondamenta della Sensa 3253, Cannareggio. Ai 40 Ladroni+ Delicious cuttlefish in ink served with polenta
+ Many seafood options
+ Tables in the lovely garden/courtyard
– Service was not the friendliest and in fact a bit odd…

3. Osteria alla Bifora. Address: Campo Santa Margherita, Dorsoduro. Osteria alla Bifora+ Very romantic, candles on the table
+ Open late
– Grilled vegetables very bland. Food in general not the tastiest I have had in Venice…
– Wine only by bottle and fairly expensive

4. Osteria Ai 4 Feri. Address: Calle Lunga, Dorsoduro. Osteria ai 4 Feri
+ Lovely atmosphere
+ Full of locals
+ The best cuttlefish spaghetti I have had in Venice
+ Excellent house wine by carafe
+ Heavenly house dessert

5. Pizzeria Ai Sportivi. Address: Campo Santa Margherita, Dorsoduro. Pizzeria Ai Sportivi+ Good enough pizza
– Seems a bit too touristic…

6. Trattoria Ca D’Oro (also known as Alla Vedova). Address: Calle del Pistor 3912, Cannareggio.Alla Vedova+ Sarde in Saor (sweet and sour sardines) very good
– Extremely long wait
– Unfriendly service
– Disappointing dishes
– Atmosphere looks warm but does not feel like cosy

Should you try any of these restaurants, please let me know what you think. Furthermore, do not forget to reveal your hidden and favorite pearl in Venice so that I can try it during my next visit….

Easy breakfast and lunch snacks in Venice

This is the first post about what and where to eat in Venice. I thought that for the simplicity, it would make sense to separate the quick snack options from dinner options, so here you go. Your guide to filling the stomach from the early morning to late afternoon!

WHERE TO EAT BREAKFAST? If your hotel does not offer breakfast, head to a bakery. Or if you prefer savory breakfast, why not to start the morning with tramezzini, also called Venetian tea sandwich. These triangular sandwiches (starting 1.50€ per piece) come with many different fillings, making it fun to learn Italian. Tonno pomodori anyone? tramezzini

TRAMEZZINI AND DEEP-FRIED SNACKS AT ROSTICCERIA SAN BARTOLOMEO. If you are busy visiting museums and sites, grabbing a few more tramezzini for lunch can be an easy and cheap option. If you have a bit more time, but still not enough for a proper sit-down meal where you are served, try Rosticceria San Bartolomeo at Calle della Bissa (500 meters north from Piazza San Marco). This smallish cafe/restaurant seems popular among the locals and we saw one gondolier eat here every day. With a glass of wine, of course. Must be a good sign! Rosticceria San BartolomeoTIP: two people can eat for less than 10€ if ordering only tramezzini and deep-fried snacks. Simply go to the counter and explain what you would like to have, and bring the food yourself to the table. This is what we did the first day.

However, the second day we went to the other counter (located still on the ground floor), where fried fish, grilled vegetables, etc. are being displayed, and ordered two plates at the counter. For some reason our bill jumped to 40€, which we felt was no longer a decent price for a quick lunch. The food was tasty, but not worth that much.

Lastly, there is also an upstairs restaurant, but it did not look particular attractive (this is also where the restrooms are). You may as well save money and sit on the ground floor by the windows I suggest.Rosticceria San Bartolomeo

THE MOST OBVIOUS LUNCH CHOICE: PIZZA! During our previous visit to Venice we had pizza on the terrace every other day. It was autumn and pizza with some local wine was the perfect way to warm us up and boost the energy level. But, as soon as you sit down, the bill goes up, so it is not very economical! This time it was too cold to eat outside and we did not devote as much time for eating our lunch, but should you still fancy pizza, get a slice! LIke tramezzi, they are everywhere and come in many toppings.pizza slices in VeniceWho can resist these delicious slices -I cannot! So, pick your choice and say buon appetito!

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PS For dinner options, click here: Where to dine in Venice?

Palazzo Stern in Venice

Palazzo SternPalazzo Stern is one of those romantic, historic and beautiful hotels that makes one dream. Built during the 15th century, it follows Moorish style. Its inhabitants have been art collectors and traders, and who knows what else. Today, its premises are full of sculptures, mosaic, paintings and pieces of art that reflect these different owners and periods of history.Palazzo SternWe chose this hotel based on an offer on http://www.verychic.com; a French website that sells hotel deals around the world. We liked the fact that Palazzo Stern is situated right next to the Ca’ Rezzonico Alilaguna stop and many important art collections.  Palazzo SternThe day of our arrival I called the hotel about our late arrival and was told that upon availability we will receive an upgrade. This is exactly what happened: there was an upgrade from standard to deluxe and we had a room overlooking the courtyard and the Rio Malpaga canal. Palazzo SternPalazzo SternThe deal we got from http://www.verychic.com included a bottle of prosecco, which waited for us in the room. With ice and a weather forecast, of course. prosecco with iceOur room was comfortable. Nothing trendy, not very large, but cute in a way. It felt like being away from home. The heating worked very well, so well in fact that we had to turn it off as it was getting too hot. The bathroom was something that made me smile every time I entered it. Not the decoration I would like to have at home, but something you would expect in a renovated 15th century palace.bathroom in VeniceThere is no restaurant at the hotel but buffet breakfast is served until 10h30. In addition, there is a sumptuous bar that we did not try because we were too busy to learn what Aperitivo hour in Venice is like… Palazzo SternOur three nights were very pleasant, so would I stay again at Palazzo Stern? Yes, I would, if I got a very good deal. But then again, there are so many palaces in Venice, so why not to be adventurous…?

PROS:

  • Very easy Alilaguna transport to and from the airport
  • Alluring design and architecture
  • Room very warm, even in January
  • Very pleasant and not-too-touristic neighborhood (Dorsoduro): perfect for art lovers, excellent restaurants

TIPS FOR THE HOTEL: 

  • The front desk staff was always polite and correct, but I would have expected something special from a four-star hotel of that price category. Smile more people, smile, especially in a city like Venice that relies so much on tourism!
  • I would have liked to learn more about the history of the building right at the arrival or the first morning. Maybe a leaflet in the room? So much must have happened during the last 600 and plus years!
  • The front desk had no information on the nearby museums and galleries, which I found strange because Dorsoduro is The Art Collection quarter of Venice (a tip: if you don’t know something, maybe call to find out?)

Hotel Palazzo Stern – Dorsoduro 2792/A – 30123 Venezia – tel. 041 2770869 – fax 041 2412456 info@palazzostern.it – http://www.palazzostern.it

Cicchetti e l’ombra in Venice

Cicchetti e l’ombra is a Venetian tradition that includes a little bit of something to eat (=cicchetti) and something to drink (l’ombra), usually toward the late afternoon or early evening. Similar to enjoying tapas in Spain or apéritif in France before the real dinner, Aperitivo hour in Venice continues to fascinate both locals and tourists, and we certainly had our fair share of Cicchetti e l’ombra during our recent trip in Venice.cicchetti in VeniceCicchetti in Venicecicchetticicchetti

But what does this tradition really mean? In this case, the word Cicchetti refers to small appetizers ranging from prosciutto to baccala and aubergine slices on bread; basically anything that makes a tiny snack. L’ombra refers to a glass of wine, Aperol or other aperitif drink.

According to a common belief, l’ombra (which literally means the shade) refers to the drinking part because “the gondoliers used to snatch a glass in the shade away from the glare of the sun or the water” (DK Eyewitness Venice & the Veneto, 2012).

Cantine del Vino già SchiaviBy a pure coincidence, one of the most famous wine bars of Venice, Cantine del Vino già Schiavi, was located very near to our hotel. What was even more incredible is that we run into it just like that while returning to our hotel during our second evening. And what a fantastic world waited for us inside! Cantina del vino gia schiaviFor a few euros, we sipped prosecco, pinot grigio and local red while tasting dozens of types of cicchetti. These tiny breads were filled with pistachio mousse, dried flower petals, mushrooms, salted cod, cheese, salmon eggs, artichokes, grilled vegetables, sardines, anchovies, eggs with truffle, pumpkin puree, etc. –you name it! It was such a paradise and we kept returning every night…

When in Venice, try to look for these traditional wine bars that continue to respect the tradition of Cicchetti e l’ombra. In addition to our local pearl, Do Mori near Rialto is also very well known and appreciated by both locals and foreigners. Just do not arrive too late, as delicious cicchettis find mouths very fast!

Cantine del Vino gia Schiavi: Fondamenta Nani 992, Dorsoduro, Venise
Telephone : +39 041 523 00 34

 

 

 

 

 

Venice: ten shades of pink

It was dark when I returned home from the airport and it was grey this morning when I went to buy milk for my coffee. They say Paris is the most beautiful city in the world and I do agree to some extent, but this morning I truly noticed how grey Paris is. Especially compared to Venice: a city full of deep and rich colors that can compete with the colors one usually only finds in India!

This said, I think there is one color that is more prevalent than others in Venice, and it is pink and its different shades. Hence some pink photos from my recent weekend in Venice:

Venice

Venice

Venice

Such a beautiful reflection on the water:Venice

Venice

Venice

Venice

Venice

Venice San Marco

…even at night there is always that pinkish shade somewhere! Venice Grand Canal

If you have been to Venice, do you agree with me or do you think I might have as well written about yellow or green?

PS Have you already checked Pearlspotting’s facebook page?

Aperitivo hour in Venice

Between the visits of the day and the dinner of the evening, there is this hour (or two) when one sits down, relaxes and reaches to a glass of prosecco or something else. Tonight, we returned to the hotel to rest a little bit but will now head back to this amazingly cute and traditional wine bar and shop called Cantina del Vino Gia Schiavi, so conveniently located almost next to our Moorish palazzo. It is going to be another moment of Cicchetti e l’ombra in VeniceCantina del Vino Gia SchiaviYesterday we shared six little cicchetti whose flavors ranged from pistacho mousse to truffle and dried flower petals. Delicious!!! One flavor I did not taste yesterday is pumpkin, so I must hurry up now –Cantina del Vino Gia Schiavi closes at 8 p.m.!

Buona sera a tutti!

Arrival in Venice

I have been to Venice only in winter and I absolutely love the crispy cold weather with blue skies. It is such a great time to visit this grand, sumptuous European city! So far, I have just walked around, crossing dozens of tiny bridges. One remarkable visit took place at La Fenice, the theater house originally built in 1792 but since then twice destroyed by a fire. Extravagant, as many things in Venice. Venice by nightIn addition, I have been overdosing on fabulous tramezzini and ciccheti, not forgetting prosecco. Our hotel, located in a Moorish 15th century palace, offered us one bottle too, and since we are flying back to Paris with only hand baggage, there is no choice but to open the bottle now…

Will be back pronto!