Chic cicchetti

12 08 2013

When visiting Venice, you cannot skip to taste the “cicchetti” (read: chikkétti), the typical finger food and tapas served in the wine-bars (called bacari or chicchetterie or osterie).

The most popular cicchetti are the “polpette” (fried balls made of meat, tuna fish, aubergines or zucchini), the “crostini al baccalà mantecato” (bread with stockfish cream), the “sarde in saor” (sardines marinated in vinegar, onion and raisins) and the “alici marinate” (marinated anchovies).

The places which offer these Venetian specialities are usually “old and not sophisticated-style”, that means dark-wooden furniture, straw chairs or stools, stuff everywhere. In few words, minimalism is not their distinctive mark.

But things are changing also in Venice and modernity is slowly (very slowly) spreading in town!

So, if you would like to enjoy some cicchetti in a chic location, your wishes can come true: try “El Sbarlefo San Pantalon” (Calle San Pantalon) or “Vinus Venezia” (Dorsoduro 3961).

They are both located in the same area, near to Ca’ Foscari University headquartes and Campo Santa Margherita (Dorsoduro district).

Vinus Venezia is open since a couple of years yet, while El Sbarlefo opened a month ago (the owners run another homonymous bacaro near the Rialto bridge).


Vinus Venezia from outside

Both are furnished in a stylish way and combine tradition with modernity, genuineness with a certain classiness. And not only in the location but also in the food.


El Sbarlefo_inside


Together with traditional cicchetti they also offer original combinations of tastes, arousing your curiosity and hunger too.

Let’s repay their courage of detouring from the tradition path in Venice, where all seem to be stuck in the past!

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Unusual but good: welcome Prosciutteria Dok Dall’Ava!

20 06 2013

When I started living in Venice, I was happy for many reasons. One of these was fish.

Yes, fish. The king of the menu in Venetian restaurants. Light and healthy. The king of the diets!

Well, after 2 years, I can say that I’m completely fed up with fish!

Yes, completely. Because Venice restaurants offer more or less the same menu: spaghetti with clams or “nero di seppia” (cuttlefish ink), “sarde in saor” (sardines cooked with onions and raisins), “fritto di pesce” (fried fish). There are only a few places where you can findsomething different and without fish! Sooner or later, one gets tired of this restricted variety, especially one comining from the mainland like me.

So, when they opened the “Prosciutteria Dok Dall’Ava” (“prosciutteria” means “ham store”) I couldn’t restrain my infinite joy! And the menu, based mainly on ham and meat, was not the only reason why.

The place itself  is unusual for Venice as well: no “old-fashioned” furniture and “home-like” atmosphere in small and dark rooms, but a huge open space with a modern and “fresh” style.

Prosciutteria Dok Dall'Ava - Outside

Prosciutteria Dok Dall’Ava – Outside

My favourite feature of this restaurant is the large window which faces the church of San Luca. In the centre of Venice (you are not faraway from Saint Mark’s square), you will find any others like this.

When you reach the entrance you wonder how a place like this could have been created in Venice! It looks like an industrial loft right in the middle of a city stopped far even from pre-industrial age.

The specialty here is the delightful San Daniele ham so, as said before, the menu includes many dishes with ham (starters, salads and pasta) and other meat dishes. The quality of food is good, as well as the service.


San daniele ham with melon, tomatoes and mozzarella


Pasta with san Daniele ham

The price is quite fair, considering that you’re in the centre of Venice: it is one of the few places in the city where you can eat a pasta dissh that costs less than 10€!

Prosciutteria Dok Dall’Ava: Venice missed something like you!

Prosciutteria Dok Dall’Ava

San Marco 3989
Tel. 0039 041 29 60 764



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Are you in Rialto area and want to have lunch?

16 05 2013

If you are in the Rialto area, on the opposite side of Rialto market, and want to have luch, it’s not easy to avoid a rip-off (please keep away from the restaurants with pictures of dishes outside!).

Here’ s a small guide with our suggestions for lunch in places where you can sit down and have cicchetti (typical venetian tapas) or a quick lunch without spending a fortune.

Let’s start with my favourite: Osteria Al Portego. Out of the tourist mass flow, it’s not easy to find but it’s worth the effort.

To get here from Rialto, go to Campo San Bartolomio (at the feet of the bridge) and take “calle della Bissa”. Go straight, cross the bridge and then take the first left. Cross the bridge and go straight for a few meters and there you are!

It’s a very small place and courtesy is not their forte, but the variety and quality of cicchetti is high as well as the taste and freshness of food in the menu.

Osteria Al Portego: their wide selection of cicchetti

Osteria Al Portego: their wide selection of cicchetti

If you do not want to wait or fight for a place to sit, you’d rather go to “Osteria Alla Botte“. This a historical restaurant in Venice which moved to a new location some time ago. From Campo San Bortolomio, take the street at the corner of the Disney store (calle dei Stagneri) and then turn the first right. Walk a few steps on and you’ll find it on your left.

As said, the new location offers a lot of place to sit, considering the Venetian standards. The selection of cicchetti is good and so are the dishes of their menu, which includes typical Venetian specialities.

If you want to walk a little bit more, go along the shore on the Grand Canal (Riva del Fero e del Carbon). When you will be no more able to walk along the Canal, take the street on your left (Calle Cavalli). Soon, on your right, you’ll see the awning of the “Enoteca Al Volto“.


Enoteca Al Volto

Here you can enjoy a lot of tasty cicchetti (try the delicious stuffed squids) or an authentic Venetian meal. Ask the the Venetian owner to tell you some curiosities about Venice: you’ll taste a real bite of the city!

If you feel like walking still a little bit further, you can reach the “Osteria da Alberto“. This is near the hospital of Venice and here you can find a lot of locals eating or having a glass of wine.

Osteria Da Alberto

Osteria Da Alberto

The recipe is always the same: cicchetti, good wine, Venetian dishes, some funny words in Venetian dialect and a smile!

Bacaro Tour nr.1

30 04 2013

Sooner or later, in Venice it’s almost inevitable making a “bacaro tour”, that means walking around the city and stopping at the typical “bacari” (sort of wine-bars) to have a glass of wine and some “cicchetti”. The “cicchetti” are the typical Venetian tapas and finger-food, such as “polpette” (fried balls of meat/vegetable/tuna fish), crostini (small pieces of bread topped with stockfish cream or salami/cheese), “sarde in saor” (sardines marinated in oil, vinegar, onion and raisins).

A few days ago, some friends of mine came to visit me in Venice and we decided to make a “bacaro tour” in my favourite places to celebrate our birthdays, which all happen in April.

We weren’t able to reach all the places I like, so I’m going to write another post on the delicious “bacari” I will not mention in this review (by the way, I already wrote some posts exclusively dedicated to the bacari I love, like “Express cicchetti at MaiTardi Enobar” or “Not only cicchetti at Mondo DiVino“: read them!).

We started the tour from Campo Santa Margherita, which is the square where all university students gather to have an aperitif before dinner. The square is full of bars and “bacari”, but the best place for “cicchetti” is Bocon DiVino (a play on words which means both “a bite of wine” and “divine bite”). This place offers a wide variety of “cicchetti” in a very warm location with bricks on the wall and wooden barrels  used as tables.

We then moved to “Osteria Ai Pugni”, a real “institution” in Venice (if you come here at around 7.30 pm, you’ll hardly be able to walk among the mass of people crowded outside). Do not dare to ask for a glass of water or a non-alchoolic drink here! The Venetian staff will lanswer you back with the most “colorful” Venetian language!

Osteria Ai Pugni

Osteria Ai Pugni

Walking along the “Zattere” (the sunny walk along the Giudecca Canal, on the southern part of Venice, facing the Giudecca island), we then arrived at “Al Squero“, a small cosy “bacaro” sited just in front of the “Squero di San Trovaso”, the most famous “squero” inVenice (so it’s called the place where they build and repair the gondolas). Here the owner is a real expert of food and wine (ask him to explain in details what he’s serving to you) and offers an unusual selection of “cicchetti”  and wine labels. The speciality are the “crostini” (see above), which have very particular tastes (try the one with salty cheese and figs jam, you’ll fall in love with it!).

Osteria Al Squero

Osteria Al Squero

After a long walk, we reached the Rialto area, where the most famous “bacari” are sited. We chose one place which is quite isolated from the most frequented paths: Enoteca Al Volto. A large variety of “cicchetti” + an authentic Venetian owner entertaining the customers is the recipe of the success of this place. We were impressed by the delicious stuffed squids and by the curiosities about Venice the owner told us. Here you can also have a typical Venetian meal.

Enoteca Al Volto

Enoteca Al Volto

Osteria Da Simson: a fresh touch of Venice

27 10 2012

While I was going through one of the special itineraries that our guests at Ca’ Amadi will be provided with from November on, I happened to find a little nice restaurant in a really quiet place: Ostaria da Simson.

The Ostaria is located along the street called “Fondamenta Felzi”, near the famous gothic basilica of Santi Giovanni e Paolo. Just at the end of the Fondamenta, hidden behind a gate, you can find one of the most beautiful courtyard of Venice: Corte Botera. This area offers a real bite of Venetian life and so does the Ostaria.

The restaurant is really small – only 6 tables inside and 2 outside along the canal – but this works for a highly attentive service and a good quality food.

Ostaria Da Simson – Inside

The variety in the menu is not wide, but the used ingredients are extremely fresh, folowing the seasonality, and all is prepared expressly upon order. The menu offer changes very often and the food is tasty and genuine.

The dish I enjoyed at the Osteria Da Simson

Following the tradition of the typical Venetian osteria (the term “osteria” derives from “oste”, which is the person who serves wine), here you can find also a good selection of wines. The service is really friendly!

Ostaria Da Simson
Castello 6316, Fondamenta dei Felzi
Tel  0039 041 5226276


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From Naples with love: also in Venice the pizza of RossoPomodoro

3 10 2012

It was 1997 when a group of friends decided to open a pizza restaurant in the city where the pizza was born: Naples. The purpose was to offer the people the traditional and genuine tastes in a cheerful place with a particular attention to the quality of used ingredients. The result was a massive success that was exported all over the world under the name of RossoPomodoro (Red Tomato).

The RossoPomodoro stores are now more than 120, but the mission is always the same: to preserve the Naples culinary tradition and the product quality and freshness. Since 2007, at least 20% of the dishes are prepared with ingredients which are protected by Slow Food Association with the aim of safeguarding rare products and traditional cooking techniques (the Association is committed to protecting traditional and sustainable quality foods, defending the biodiversity of cultivated and wild varieties as well cultivation and processing methods).

The pizza at RossoPomodoro is cooked inside a craftmade wood oven made of 340 bricks which provides the right humidity level for having the typical high and soft crust of the pizza. The ingredients are selected and come from few small producers whose handmade production is bought almost entirely by RossoPomodoro (the buffalo mozzarella, the extra-virgin olive oil, the bronze-drawn pasta, the traditional Neapolitan flour, the sauce of tomatoes coming from agro-nocerino-sarnese area).

In Venice, RossoPomodoro restaurant is placed very close to Saint Mark’s square. The place is quite big and of course reflects the style of the restaurant chain: colorful, cheerful, genuine and Italian! The service is quick and nice and the food is really good, including not only pizza, but also pasta, salads and other typical Napolitan dishes.

Rosso Pomodoro in Venice – outside

Inside the restaurant you can find also 2 bars whare you can have breakfast or a light lunch with sandwiches and other fast food and also a small shop where you can buy Neapolitan specialities.

Prices are quite fair considering the central location.

Rosso Pomodoro in Venice – inside

RossoPomodoro Venezia
San Marco 404-408, Calle Larga San Marco
Tel. +39 041 2834989


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Algiubagiò: a romantic dinner by the sea

13 08 2012

When you ask suggestions for a good restaurant in Venice, locals usually tell you to avoid the ones with tables along the canals, which are the “most touristic” and less authentic in town.

To find the best Venetian restaurant you have to get lost at least twice or three times across the “calli” (streets of Venice) before reaching them. Yes, finding a good restaurant in Venice is like looking for a precious treasure!

Like all rules, also this has some exceptions and Algiubagiò is one of these.

Algiubagiò restaurants’ entrance

Its position is amazing: along the “Fondamenta Nove”, the street that faces the northern part of Venice lagoon, in front of San Michele island. The restaurant has a big terrace on the sea, where you can enjoy romantic sunsets on the lagoon and a light breeze, even in the hottest days of the year.

Algiubagiò’s terrace at night

The menu doesn’t differ much from the typical Venetian offer and the food isn’t unforgettable, but on the whole I had a good dinner there, probably thanks to the magic atmosphere you can breathe.

The place gives you a strong sensation of peace and quietness and here you feel faraway from the bustle of the city:  what do you think, is it because we’re in front of the cemetery island of Venice? 🙂

Cannaregio 5039, Fondamenta Nuove
30125 Venice
Tel +39 041 52 36 084


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“Express cicchetti” at MaiTardi Enobar

6 08 2012

Almost all “cicchetterie” (bars offering tapas and finger food) in Venice show their variety of “cicchetti” (tapas and finger food) on the counter, trying to tempt the customers.

Even if this is a good way to attract people, the cicchetti are displayed there for a while and, as time passes by, they lose their original freshness and taste.

At MaiTardi, a cicchetteria and wine bar sited quite near to Rialto Bridge, on the counter, instead of cicchetti, a special sign is displayed: “cicchetti espressi” (expresss cicchetti). It means that the food is expressly made upon your request.

Campiello Corner: on the bottom, the green awning of Enobar MaiTardi

Sandwiches, tramezzini, dishes of fresh sliced salami: at MaiTardi the owner, Gigi, prepares everything on real time and the result is remarkable. The food tastes fresh and savoury and the price is really fair. Like in all Venetian cicchetterie you can choose a glass of wine among a wide selection too.

The place is little and difficult to be noticed (be careful: the sign on the awning just says “Enobar”), but you can enjoy Gigi’s cicchetti sitting at one of the outside tables.

Cannaregio 5600 – Campiello Corner
30121 Venezia
Tel +39 041 5285157

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Pane Vino e San Daniele: a different restaurant chain

23 07 2012

In Venice it’s not easy to find a restaurant whose speciality isn’t fish.

“Pane Vino e San Daniele” is one of these restaurants. Actually the restaurants with this name in Venice are three: one is placed near the Rialto Bridge (Calle dei Botteri 1544) and the other two are in the Dorsoduro district (Calle Lunga San Barnaba 2861 and Campo dell’Angelo Raffaele 1722), not far away from each other. They belong to a chain that counts nearly 30 restaurants all around Italy.

The name of the chain (which means “Bread, Wine and San Daniele“) suggests that the speciality here is the San Daniele raw ham, which is made in the homonymous city sited in the Italian region of Friuli Venezia Giulia.

The menu in fact proposes a good variety of dishes with this famous type of ham. The food offer also includes pasta and meat dishes, some typical dishes from Friuli Venezia Giulia, salads and delicious desserts. At Pane Vino e San Daniele Rialto ( you can have also pizza, while at the one in Campo dell’Angelo Raffaele ( you can taste some dishes of the Sardinian cuisine too.

The three restaurants, being part of the same chain, are obviously similar in the style, simple and warm, but my favourite, for the location, is the one placed in Campo dell’Angelo Raffaele.

The view inside-out at Pane Vino San Daniele in Campo dell’Angelo Raffaele

It is sited in a square tucked away from the mass, just behind the San Sebastiano church. The square is quiet and picturesque and here you can enjoy a bite of realVenetian life, among locals and very few tourists, tasting a good wine and a dish from the inland regions.

Pane Vino e San Daniele 1
Dorsoduro 2861 – Calle Lunga San Barnaba
30123 Venezia
Tel. 041 2439865


Pane Vino e San Daniele 2
Dorsoduro 1722 – Campo dell’Angelo Raffaele
30123 Venezia
Tel. 041 5237456


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Campiello degli Squelini: a delightful corner of peace

23 05 2012

Wandering in Venice without maps can take you to the most unexpected discovery.

If you walk in the area of Ca’ Foscari University, you cannot miss the little “Campiello degli Squelini”.  Even if this area is frequented by many students (the University main entrance is just a few steps away), here you can enjoy a really peaceful corner, especially during the weekends.

Campiello degli Squelini – Venice

Like many other toponyms in Venice, the name of this square derives from a worker corporation, the one of the “Squelini”, who were the manufacturers of bowls (“squele” in Venetian language) during the Venice Republic.

A library, an antiques shop and a fabric shop make up the frame of this square where you can breathe a magic atmosphere. In the middle, small green grassbeds with trees (unusual for Venice) and some tables of the bar nearby.

Campiello degli Squelini is like watercolour painting and it reminds some areas of Paris: you would expect to find a painter in front of his easel intent on immortalizing the beauty of the place.

You can enjoy the square sitting at the tables of the bar called Sensanome (meaning “without a name”), which offers delicious cookies or sandiches served with courtesy.

Delightful cakes at Sensanome Bar

Campiello degli Squelini: another hidden treasure of Venice.