“Venice is a fish,” writes Italian poet Tiziano Scarpa in one of the best literary novellas about the city—and he’s right. When seen from afar, the map resembles an open-mouthed fish, its head San Polo, its lower jaw the Dorsoduro, taking a big bite out of chubby San Marco. Planning one’s own meals in Venice is tricky. While one can eat quite well in the more remote sesiteri (neighborhoods) of this water-edged city, it’s also remarkably easy to end up with a disappointing meal in the more touristy spots, unlike in, say, Rome or Vienna, where even the simplest places often deliver.
Carefully mapping out ones meals around sight-seeing is also important since time functions very differently in Venice—everything takes longer by water than on a paved road. Who has not had the unfortunate experience of wandering around mobbed San Marco, desperately looking for a lunch spot that doesn’t look overly touristy with a throng of hungry—read unhappy—family members in tow? It is essential to come armed with a host of restaurant recommendations for each sestieri you’ll be touring. Buon appetito!
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