One of the special neighborhood places that locals only share with trusted visiting friends, this tiny trattoria is the kind of place that you will want to return to whenever you visit Venice. The owner, who has piercing blue eyes, greets most everyone by name, and if no one seems to pay, it’s because most have house accounts.
In warm weather, the best seats are at the few tables set out in the lane off of Campielllo Albrizzi, and in winter, there’s a cozy dining room. There’s no menu because what’s prepared depends on what looked best at the market that morning, but the emphasis is on fresh seafood, so expect carpaccio of tuna or asparagus soup with scallops and shrimp to start and wonderful polenta with baby shrimps or spaghetti vongole for a second. Closed Sundays and Mondays.
Tucked on a pretty square near La Fenice Opera House, this longtime classic has a clubby vibe, with traditional dining rooms and great outdoor seating during the warm summer months. Come here for Venetian specialties, including lots of great seafood dishes. Several Indagare members have raved about their dinners at this restaurant.
As Angélina is to Paris and Tavern on the Green is to New York, so are Florian and Quadri to Venice. Landmarks that draw groans from locals because of the tourists, but that remain iconic for a reason. Florian opened under the arcades in Piazza San Marco in 1720 under a different name but was rechristened Florian in honor of its historic owner Floriano Francesconi. It’s where the noble and fabulous of Venice came to cavort, leading to the dubbing of San Marco “the living room of Venice.” Abandoned to tourists now for decades, there is still something thrilling about sitting in the square on a beautiful day or in the ornate dining room in winter, where a glamorous history can easily be imagined and enjoying a coffee or aperitif. Just brace yourself before you look at your bill and consider that a price of admission has been added.
Cantina do Mori
Just a short walk from the Rialto Bridge and fish market, this old school institution is one of our favorite spots for a glass of Soave and some cichetti (Venice’s answer to tapas). Locals spend lunch gossiping under the vaulted arches or reading the paper at one of the wood tables, all making you feel like you have entered the world of an old social club. Please note that Cantina do Mori is closed on Saturdays and Sundays.
Yes, there are gelato shops on many corners, but this one has been a local favorite for decades, in part, because its location on the quay by the Giudecca Canal is the perfect place to wander or let the kids sit with their feet dangling above the water while working on your cone.
A Venice institution that is famous for being a watering hole for legendary bon vivants, including Ernest Hemingway who drank here when in town. Unfortunately, while the interiors remain the same, the quality of the food does not justify the insane prices, especially when compared with meals at newer neighborhood places like Al Covo. Come for a Bellini—it’s where the cocktail of white peach juice and Prosecco was invented—and make a toast to the good old days, but go elsewhere for dinner. The tables with a view are on the upstairs terrace. Yes, the bar was founded by Giuseppe Cipriani, and this branch is still overseen by his son, Arrigo, but it has no connection to the Hotel Cipriani on Guidecca. Arrigo’s son, Giuseppe, has exported the brand with locations in New York, London and Sardinia. The patrons of those outposts always pay homage to the original when they come to town so it’s still a magnet for people watching. You may spot Sir Elton or art world forces who cram in during Biennale. In warmer months, Harry’s Dolci on the Giudeccaserves sweets and light meals at outdoor tables, and is definitely worth a visit.
The Giudecca branch of Harry’s Bar is only open from April through October when it’s pleasant to sit at the outdoor tables on the quay and look back at Venice. It’s less historic than the original but its charms are more obvious, as the waterfront seating and view merit a full afternoon of lingering. The emphasis may be on their sweets, dolci, but you can order a light lunch (club sandwich or carpaccio) or dinner (the house pastas and tuna, of course) as long as you are prepared for a hefty bill. Closed Tuesdays.
From jewelry designer Daniele Attombri of celebrated Venice boutique Attombri: “One of my favorite restaurants, this is a well-known but typical local spot full of stories and good Venetian food.”
Yes it takes a little effort to get here but if you take the time you will discover one of the true gems of Venice. The beautiful island of Torcello and its icon the Locanda Cipriani (owned still by the family who also opened Hotel Cipriani and Harry’s Bar), has charmed bold-faced names like Ernest Hemingway and the members of the British Royal Family during its storied career since the 1930s. With an outdoor terrace surrounded by rose gardens (and the spire of the 8th century church in sight), we agree that there are few more pleasant places to eat al fresco. Don’t miss the legendary Bellini and the soft-shelled local crab.
Venetians consider this the enemy café as Florian was the haunt of Italians in the 19th century and Quadri, on the opposite side of the square, was frequented by Austrian soldiers and many foreign artists. Of course, it’s mainly tourists who enter Piazza San Marco today, and Italians would be horrified by the cost of a cappuccino here. However, the views of the Doge’s Palace and of the basilica of San Marco are unbeatable, and the restaurant was recently awarded a Michelin star. Whenever you come, don’t miss a peek at the ornate interior rooms, which have been faithfully preserved.
Raves Indagare insider Francesca Bortolotto Possati, the chic owner of the Bauer hotels: “The venerable Il Quadri restaurant was recently bought by three-Michelin-starred chef Alajmo (from the famous Calandre restaurant in Padova). It’s a hit: service, ambience and food are all excellent, as is its location, of course.”
Vini Da Arturo