Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Eating in Venice, Italy

 “To build a city where it is impossible to build a city is madness in itself, but to build there one of the most elegant and grandest of cities is the madness of genius”
― Alexander Herzen

I decided to write a post just about what we ate in Venice because, for me, the best memories of the city are related to food and drinks. We wandered and walked without directions and found cute alleys, pintoresque windows, the mercato, the osterias and the places where the locals eat.

Piazza San Marco
Our first meal, was a total splurge! We ate brunch at Caffè Florian. The cafe is located in the middle of St. Mark Square and has a live band.  Founded in 1720, is one of the oldest in Europe. People like Casanova, Goethe, Ernest Hemingway and Lord Byron were assiduous customers.

They charge coperto, a fix amount just for having a table, but more than the food you are paying the experience, which in my opinion is all worth it. We were at the heart of the city where all the hordes of tourist were, but we were able to eat, have coffee and enjoy the view and the music.

We went back at night and the experience was completely different. The crowds were gone, the lights were on and the bands were playing filling the piazza with music.  Dancing in the middle of the main piazza full with history was unforgettable.

Cicchetti tour
Cicchetti are small snacks, usually serve in osterias.  The locals eat them at late morning or as snack in the evening after work.  Usually they serve small sandwiches, olives or a slice of bread with vegetables, cheese or seafood paired with wine that locals call ombra.
The best osterias, are near the Rialto Market, which is a short walk perfect for having lunch.
- Cantina do Mori
Eating here was a highlight of our trip.  It is suppose to be the oldest oseteria in Venice, has been in business for 600 years.  During our visit we were surrounded only by locals, even gondoliers got their "ombra" while we were there.
It is recommended by Anthony Bourdain in his episode: Venice
-All Arco
It has a more modern ambiance and it has many rewards.  We tried all the seafood cicchetii: langoustines, calamari and cod, served on slices of bread.
- Cantina do Spade
Perfect destination if you want to eat venetian food. We ate dinner at their dinning room and got the best spaghetti al nero di seppia (squid ink).

Rialto Market or Mercato di Rialto
The market is a few yards away from the Rialto Bridge and provide an assault for your senses: colorful fresh fish and fruit and strong aromas from herbs.  Venetians have been buying here for centuries.  Perfect spot to buy some fruits for snacks or just walk around.

While in Venice you need to drink Prosecco and Bellini, a cocktail maid of Prosecco and peach puree, which was invented in the city at Harrys bar.
Another famous cocktail, is the Spritz.  It is made with Aperol, I was not a big fan, in my opinion it has a strong flavour.

Tip: Avoid eating a menu turistico or pizza and always ask for the specials of the day.

Casanova’s breakfast at Caffè Florian. Bellini at Gran Caffè Lavena
Caffe Florian entry door.  A plate of cicchetti. Venice
Rialto market. Venetian-mosaic tile.

More about our trip: Paris I and II

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