Danielle, one of our personal travel experts, is just back from Venice and as well as falling in love with the romance of the city’s famous architecture, she also fell in love with Venice’s passionate food and drink culture. As the capital of Italy’s Veneto region, where most of the country’s prosecco is produced, it’s almost mandatory to sip this popular sparkling wine when in town, but there’s much more to Venice than just fizz. This is Danielle’s guide to eating and drinking in this food lover’s paradise.
Where to stay…
Londra Palace is a fantastic city-centre hotel just two minutes’ walk from the spectacular Doge’s Palace. Danielle highly recommends a leisurely lunch at the Londra’s Do Leoni restaurant: from a menu full of fresh fish, the John Dory fillet was a highlight of Danielle’s trip. Make sure to order a Rossini from the Londra Bar (a strawberry-flavoured sparkling cocktail, one of the hotel’s most popular drinks) and enjoy the views over St Mark’s basin from the veranda on the Riva Degli Schiavoni. As if that weren’t enough, the Londra also boasts a small rooftop terrace – with 360˚ views of Venice it’s the ideal spot for a romantic picnic or even a proposal.
For couples who really want to push the boat out there is only one choice: the Belmond Hotel Cipriani. This deluxe hotel, located on Giudecca island, is famous for its A-list guestlist, which includes international human rights lawyer Amal Clooney and her husband, actor George Clooney. The hotel’s Cip’s Club is a sophisticated bistro-style eatery with a relaxed atmosphere and views across to St Mark’s Square – just make sure you wait an hour before taking a dip in the Olympic-size heated outdoor pool. For a truly special dining experience make reservations at Oro, the Belmond’s Michelin-starred restaurant and end the evening with a romantic stroll around the beautiful gardens.
Where to eat…
Head to legendary pastry shop Pasticceria Tonolo to satisfy your sweet tooth with delicious lemon-flavoured Essi biscuits from Burano – enjoy with a coffee or take a box away to savour through the day.
For a casual bite at lunch time, you can’t do better than Pasticerria Rizzardini. Run by septuagenarian Paolo and his daughter Marta, this diminutive bakery near Campo San Polo allegedly dates all the way back to 1742.
Ca’ d’Oro, an antiquated osteria, is known by locals as Alla Vedova, ‘The Widow’s Palace’, and locals flock here to drink tiny glasses of wine at the bar and eat the Alla Vedova’s famously delicious meatballs, which fly out of the kitchen all day long.
Make sure you book ahead if you want a table at Paradiso Perduto. Popular with Venice’s artistes and intelligentsia, Paradiso Perduto has a wonderfully vibrant atmosphere and, of course, incredible food. For the full experience order cacio e pepe to have steaming pasta coated in cheese from an enormous wheel of pecorino, right before your eyes.
Danielle wouldn’t leave Venice without enjoying a meal at Osteria Oliva Nera, a fantastic family-run restaurant just a few minutes from St Mark’s Square. This is one time you definitely don’t want to skip dessert as Grandma’s Tiramisu is a very special thing indeed.
Where to shop…
Venice’s famous Rialto is quite literally at the beating heart of the city. Produce from this market (or more accurately, collection of markets), housed in a beautiful 800-year-old structure, has been feeding the people of Venice for centuries. Arrive early for the best of the amazing fresh fruit, vegetables and fish. Even if you don’t come to buy, food-lovers will adore the vivid colours, scents and sounds of the Rialto.
Danielle’s top tips…
The Venetians take their coffee seriously, so if you want to blend in, order a macchiato in the morning or an espresso if it’s after midday. Ask for a latte at your peril!
Tourists often pay a premium for sitting at the tables outside Venice’s coffee shops (16 euros for a cup if you sit outside the famous Caffe Florian in St Mark’s Square), so for an authentic experience without the eye-watering price tag, take your coffee standing at the bar with the locals.
Danielle visited Venice with cultural short break specialists, Kirker Holidays. Contact Danielle on 0191 272 6034 or send an email to email@example.com for more of her first-hand recommendations. Find out more about Venice.