The two restaurants we visit in Venice more than any other are Alle Testiere and Antiche Carampane. The first is tiny, extremely friendly and has an impressive market-to-table philosophy. It concentrates on fish and seafood and has an excellent daily-changing menu. Good wines too. The second place has a similar approach, but focuses on traditional Venetian dishes and local recipes. Both are usually packed with locals and food tourists – always a good sign. Booking is essential. Ask for our friends Luca at Testiere and Francesco at Carampane. Both places are closed Sunday and Monday.
Another favourite restaurant, Al Covo, is also highly recommended, with a very warm welcome from Cesare and his American wife Diane. Excellent cooking, very classy service, and a lovely atmosphere. It’s also open on Sundays – very handy when most of the other decent restaurants are closed.
(Do make sure you check all their winter opening times – Alle Testiere, for example, closes on 24 December and doesn’t reopen until mid-January!)
Ai Artisti is a relatively new place near Campo San Barnaba and is very good indeed. Small (20 seats) so booking is essential. The menu features Venetian classics with real precision and flair. Front of house run by the lovely Chicho and the owner Vincenzo.
We have had several really brilliant times at Paradiso Perduto. Lively, scruffy and fun with great home-made pasta. Cacio e pepe is excellent and prepared at the tableside. It’s cash only but it is not expensive. Live music on Mondays when there is always a large crowd. The rest of the menu is good but it’s definitely the most fun place to be in the evening. Full of students, artists, poets, philosophers and actors. Closed Tuesday and Wednesday.
A really excellent place for proper home cooking is Dalla Marisa. It is small and cramped with no frills or refinements but the cooking is honest and delicious. It’s always packed with local workers at lunch, and has more the atmosphere of a works canteen than a restaurant. We love it. Terrific value for money.
A recent addition to the home-grown, non-touristy restaurant scene is the charming Local – a modern take on a traditional Venetian osteria that is extremely popular with locals and foodies alike.
The best bacaro (snack & wine bar) is All’Arco. Ask for Matteo. Also go to Alla Vedova for a glass of wine and a meatball at the counter and Cantinone gia Schiavi for traditional cicheti. All excellent and great fun!
For drinks, if you want to get down with the kids, go to Caffe Rosso in Campo Santa Margherita. Spritzes to your heart’s content. There’s a wine bar near Rialto called I Rusteghi – hard to find but really lovely and romantic at night. Ask for Giovanni – he’s quite a character!
Natural wines are appearing all over the city at the moment and if they are your thing, head to Vino Vero and Adriatico Mar – two really popular (among Venetians) wine bars, with lots of low-intervention, unfiltered, small production local wines.
The POLPO Team 2019