Friday, April 4, 2014

MY FAVORITE RESTAURANTS IN VENICE


It took me a while to eat well in Venice.  When I first visited as an exchange student with friends, we could only afford to eat a proper restaurant for one of our meals and the choice we made was terrible. The next few visits, I didn't do much research or secure any reservations, so our meals were mediocre at best.  During my last two visits, thanks to tips from locals, blogs, and countless hours of research online, I found my favorite restaurant in Venice.  There are still a lot of restaurants I want to try (listed at the end), but here are some great places to get you started, should you find yourself lucky enough to visit the beautiful city of Venice.

VENICE RESTAURANT RECOMMENDATIONS:

ANTICHE CARAMPANE
Address: San Polo 1911. Phone: 041 524 0165. Hours: 12.30-2.30pm, 7.30-10.30pm Tue-Sat. Closed Aug.


This is my favorite restaurant in Venice and one of my favorites in all of Italy.  If you only have time to visit one restaurant in Venice, let this be it.  There are a number of factors that make it appealing.  It's hard to find so it's mostly locals (make sure you pin it on google maps before heading out), it doesn't cater to tourists (there's a sign outside that reads, no pizza, no lasagna, no tourist menu), and of course, the food is mind-blowingly delicious.  Here, I tried some of the best razor clams ever (my husband claimed it was better than Tickets in Barcelona, a bold statement).  The moleche (soft shell crab) was out of this world.  The fritto misto and crudi, magical.  With all this amazing food though, the one thing I always look forward to here is the simple paper cup of fried shrimp they serve as the amuse bouche.  Don't even think about coming here without a reservation.  My first attempt to try this restaurant ended in failure because I called about a week out and they were fully booked.  On my next attempt, I called a month in advance and was able to book a table.  Prices aren't cheap, but if you're planning on splurging on one meal, do it here.


PRONTO PESCE
Prontopesce is opposite the Loggia in Rialto fish market, just off Campo delle Beccarie.
Address: San Polo 319, Phone: 041 8220298, Email: info@prontopesce.it, Hours: Closed Sun & Mon. Tues, 9A-3P and 6P-8P. Wed-Fri, 9A-3P and 7P-11:30P. Sat, 9A-3P and 6P-8P.


This is actually where I had one of my breakfast meals.  It's a casual take out/fast food shop and everything is pre-made, but still tastes fresh.  There are freshly baked scallops, raw oysters, baccala sandwiches, etc.  The selection is always changing and depends on what's fresh on that particular day.  Very affordable by Venetian standards and definitely worth seeking out. 




OSTERIA DI SANTA MARINA
Address: Campo Santa Marina 5911, Castello I, Phone: 0415285239, Hours: Mon, 7:30PM-10:30PM. Tue-Sat, 12:30PM-2:30PM and 7:30PM-10:30PM. Sun, closed.

A solid place, but it was not as good as I expected it to be.  If you are staying in this part of town, it's definitely worth a try if you have a few days.  My favorites were the pasta dishes. The antipasti, while beautiful, were a bit too modern and ambitious for my taste.  A full meal with wine for two was about 90 EUR.  I may have gone on an off day, so I would definitely be open to trying it again.  Reservations necessary.



AL COVO
Address: Castello 3968. Phone: 041-522-3812. Hours: Fri-Tues 12:45-2pm and 7:30-10pm.

This place definitely lives up to its reputation as one of the best restaurants in Venice.  Excellent food, great service, and fresh seafood.  Plenty of Americans eat here (because the co-owner is American), but so do a lot of Italians.  Bonus points for being open on Sundays!




CORTE SCONTA
Address: 3886 Calle del Pestrin. Phone: 041-522-7024. Hours: Mon & Sun, closed. Tue-Sat, 12:30P-2P and 7P-9:30P.


The first thing I noticed upon entering this restaurant was that there were a lot of locals, which is always a good thing. Everything was plated exquisitely and made my mouth water. The fritto misto and crudi were spot on.  Overall, the food was very good and the prices were reasonable.  I would go back.




RESTAURANTS STILL ON MY HIT LIST:

ALLA TESTIERE
AI MERCANTI
AL GARANGHELO
AL DIAVOLO E L'ACQUA SANTA
AI TRE SPIEDI
BANCORGIRO
CANTINA DO MORI
CANTINONE GIA SCHIAVI
DE PISIS
DA FIORE
DO FORNI
IL RIDOTTO
LA BITTA
LA CANTINA
L'ANICE STELLATO
MET
OSTERIA CA D'ORO

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

EVERYTHING I ATE AT LES ENFANTS ROUGES

Les Enfants Rouges was a wild card I decided to try since most of the restaurants on my list were closed between Christmas and New Years or closed on Sundays.  It sounded appealing for a number of reasons, chief among them being that the chef/owner, Dai Shinozuka, was formerly a chef at Le Comptoir.  Here are all the dishes we tried in the order it was served, from amuse bouche to cheese plate:

POTATO SOUP WITH BACON CREAM AND CHILI
ROASTED SCALLOPS WITH CREAM OF MUSHROOM AND FISH ROE

FOIE GRAS WITH PINEAPPLE

SIRLOIN STEAK WITH ANCHOVY BUTTER AND MASHED POTATOES 

BRAISED SWEETBREADS WITH WINTER VEGETABLES

CHEESE PLATE BY LA MAISON SANDERS

TAPIOCA PUDDING WITH SEASONAL FRUITS

Saturday, December 28, 2013

EVERYTHING I ATE AT L'AVANT COMPTOIR

It's actually a blessing that this place doesn't take reservations.  It means that we all have a fair shot at trying the dishes we read about online.  I'll let the pictures do the talking.

These are listed in order, from most to least favorite:

HAM AND ARTICHOKE WAFFLE
BLOOD SAUSAGE MACARON

CHAMPIGNONS WITH EGGS
 
SCALLOP ON THE SHELL

FRESH OYSTERS (SEASONAL)

SKEWERED FOIE GRAS AND RED PEPPERS
 
FRIED CHICKEN, FRITES, AND POTATO SALAD