When it comes to mealtime, the Queen of the Adriatic reigns supreme. Mediterranean culinary treasures are served with classic Italian hospitality in these unbeatable eateries.
Osteria Enoteca Ai Artisti
A favorite spot for locals (and tourists alike). This is the spot for expertly prepared antipasti, including seasonal grilled vegetables, local cheeses and marinated fish, matched with an excellent choice of Italian wines, says my Insider Louise Aaronson. On a warm afternoon, snag one of the tables outside and take in the bustle of the street.
www.enotecaartisti.com | Phone: +39 041 968 058
Fondamenta de la Toletta, Dorsoduro 1169/A | Venice 30123 Italy
For a special evening, Louise says to arrange a water taxi to the island of Cavallino and dine at Trattoria Laguna. You’ll take in the magnificent sunsets complimented by the chef, the ambiance and the menu. The homemade desserts are divine.
www.trattorialaguna.it | Phone: +39 041 968 058
Via Pordelio, 444 | Cavallino-Treporti, Venice 30013 Italy
Elegant with an informal buzz, this is one of the many restaurants at the Hotel Cipriani. Take the hotel’s private powerboat to the Fondamente delle Zitelle and grab a table on the side of the terrace for one of the best views of St Mark’s Square. The pretty outdoor seating area is decked out like a private yacht, so sit back and enjoy the Venetian high life. If you’ve arrived on an actual yacht, there are spaces for mooring boats up to 100 feet. The menu focuses on tasty Venetian fare, like risotto with pumpkin blossoms and scampi or sea bass with lemon and fennel. As you’d expect, service is tip-top. It’s expensive, but worth every euro.
www.hotelcipriani.com | Phone: +39 041 5207 744
Giudecca, 10 | Venice, Veneto 30133 Italy
Trattoria Antiche Carampane
It’s hard to find this trattoria and we think that’s a good thing. Throngs of tourists are not found here. You will, however, find the chefs working wonders with ingredients that have been delivered fresh that morning—usually the tastiest seafood you can imagine. Eat whatever’s on the daily special menu. It’s the best way to experience the local flavor. My favorite is the spaghetti with spicy seafood sauce—definitely worth a try if you’re lucky enough to be there on a night when it’s featured on the always-changing menu. The atmosphere is cozy and the look is simple and authentic. Fishing equipment hangs from the ceiling and framed pictures cover the walls. Since it opened in the early 1980s, the restaurant has been a family-run stalwart in this increasingly cosmopolitan city. Fittingly, you’ll feel right at home. From the easy hospitality to the dishes, which look and taste like they’ve been fixed by mom, it’s quite possibly the best in this postal code. And a great value.
www.antichecarampane.com | Phone: +39 041 5240 165
San Polo, 1911 | Venice, Veneto 30125 Italy
Osteria di Santa Marina
This little osteria takes a fresh approach to Venetian standards but shies away from going down the entirely trendy road. Instead it maintains a modest small-village-cute look. Expect imaginative dishes and wonderful seafood in a dining room dominated by unfussy wooden walls and cabinets and metal lampshades. The staff is very friendly. Ask them what they recommend, but definitely bear in mind that the marinated raw seafood and the soft shell crab is what everyone raves about. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can’t go wrong with the tasting menu. (If there’s something you don’t like, negotiate a swap. No problem!) A table on the candlelit terrace makes it a surefire romantic hit.
Phone: +39 041 528 5239
Castello, 5911 | Venice, Veneto 30122 Italy
Stray just a little off the beaten track and you’ll find this cozy fish restaurant hidden in the backstreets of Dorsoduro. It’s a charmingly rustic spot that’s far from the maddening crowd of tourists. Its legacy is firmly rooted in the city’s history, as it once served as one of several outposts where poor seafarers would line up for food. But the tides have turned. Today the sepia-toned dining room is a gathering spot for the city’s fashionable set and international epicureans. Order the spaghetti with mantis prawns, soft-shelled crabs, cuttlefish and amazing antipasti. Finish with a scroppino, a delicious but lethal liquid lemon vodka-spiked sorbet. It’s a guaranteed happy ending.
www.elmoro.com | Phone: +39 041 5208 594
2869/A Calle Lunga San Barnaba, Dorsoduro | Venice, Veneto 30122 Italy
A Venice has always had a multicultural heritage, and Naranzaria in the Rialto market gives a nod to that. In an old 16th century warehouse that used to be used to store citrus, you’ll find a funky Asian-Venetian fusion restaurant and bar. The Grand Canal-side setting is very Venice, but the stark stone walls, inconspicuous entrance and sushi bar make it feel like something transplanted from Tokyo. Very pretty, but you should head outdoors in summertime for the wonderful views. The atmosphere is very relaxed and fun, a reflection of the approach to the cuisine. (Polenta sushi, anyone?)
www.naranzaria.it | Phone: +39 041 7241 035
130 San Polo | Venice, Veneto 30125 Italy