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The Venice of the Venetians: 30 establishments recommended by those who were born and live there

Chiara Pavan and Francesco Brutto, chef at restaurant Venissa, take us on a fascinating tour of the lagoon city, far from any tourist routes

Vino Vero, Fondamenta de la Misericordia 2497, +39

Vino Vero, Fondamenta de la Misericordia 2497, +390412750044 (photo

What follows is one of the 10 Food stories  that enrich the 16th edition of the Guida ai Ristoranti  d'Italia, Europa e Mondo di Identità  Golose presented on Monday 27 March and in continuous evolution. The Storie di Gola are itineraries signed by journalists or chefs: not necessarily fine dining establishments or trattorias but unusual favourite places, far from the usual routes

After difficult times to say the least - Covid but also the November 2019 flood - Venice is being reborn. It is clear from the energy that emanates from places that have reopened in better shape than before. From the willingness to build new meeting points that are giving the city an electric soul. The new-born communities that recognise themselves around good food are no longer directed only at tourists but also and above all at Venetians themselves. It is a radical change, which is lifting up a city put to the test by high water and indiscriminate flows. Most of the places we recommended are frequented by people who were born and live in Venice. A true revolution.

We are in love with the bacàri, the quintessence of Venetian style. We suggest five of them.

1) Adriatico Mar
 Just five minutes from Piazzale Roma, it’s a special and beautiful place that, in addition to classic espresso cicheti (the baccalà mantecato is good), specialises in platters of cured meats and Veneto cheeses such as Asiago or Ubriachi saporiti. The wine selection is beautiful: in addition to Malvasia, there is also an interesting list of Greek wines.

2) Ai Do Leoni
Piazza San Marco 335
We like this place a lot because it makes fresh cicheti (the one with smoked trout is very good). Its host, of Egyptian origin, is very nice and is active in a hundred thousand fun initiatives in Venice. Plenti of craft beers and natural wines.

3) All'Arco Venezia 1436
For us, these are the best bread cicheti in Venice. Spiénse or nervetti with onion, tuna, peach cucumber and courgette, sardines and scampi in saor, filleted ventresche: the chef prepares everything fresh, before your eyes.

4) Bacaro  Risorto
There are two: one in Cannareggio and a second closer to San Marco. A small selection of wines is accompanied by quite good and traditional cicheti such as baccalà mantecato, prawns and sarde in saor or moscardini alla busara. The mozzarella in carrozza is our favourite in town.

5) Cantina Arnaldi
In Santa Croce, a short distance from piazzale Roma, Katia and Andrea have tastefully renovated an old warehouse. Not only do they make cicheti such as meatballs, crostini or paninetti, but you can also sit down for richer, more structured specialities. The wine list has some 70 good wines, many natural.

Cantina Arnaldi, 35, Salizada San Pantalon, +390415244992

Cantina Arnaldi, 35, Salizada San Pantalon, +390415244992


Al Covo A stone's throw from San Marco, it’s one of our favourites in town, run by the very talented Cesare and Diane Benelli (she is American and a dessert magician). A simple, well-made ode to fish and shellfish from the lagoon and the Adriatic, vegetables and fruit from the islands, and in the autumn even selvadego, game.

The cocktails are good, and this space at Fondaco dei Tedeschi run by the Alajmo family is beautiful and special. But above all, the tramezzini are delicious! Very good. (Read  the review on Identità )

Antiche Carampane
A famous and historic restaurant, tucked away between San Polo and the Rialto fish market. The Venetian cicheti are very good, but most of all we like the first courses: Tagliatelle with Granseola, Spaghetti with clams and turnip tops...

Bacaro del Gelato

We are not avid fans of ice cream. But if we had to recommend a place, we'd say this one, close to the Misericordia Abbey Church and to VinoVero. Fresh, natural ice cream.

Bar alla toletta
Ricotta, walnuts, spinach and mayonnaise; Prawns and eggs; Crab and arugula... One of the city's most popular gastronomic symbols is the thick sandwich. At this bar in Dorsoduro you will find the best in Venice.

Bar Gelateria Nico
Established in the 1920s, it is the oldest gelateria in Venice. It is on a splendid terrace at Fondamenta delle Zattere, overlooking the Giudecca Canal. Its gianduiotto and fior di latte ice cream, strictly served in a bowl, is very famous.

Birraria La corte
In San Polo there’s our favourite pizzeria in Venice. Marco and Silvia, he’s Italian and she’s Spanish, studied at the Basque Culinary Center. They also cook lots of nice dishes such as gò risotto, katsuobushi and seaweed powder. The patatas bravas are delicious. They are about to open a small Mexican restaurant.

Diane from Al Covo (read above) has passed the management of CoVino to Andrea Lorenzon, son of Mauro, the most famous Venetian innkeeper. Special cuisine with lots of Slow Food présidia and a very well-selected wine list. It's just a shame that our free days coincide with theirs.

In Cannaregio, there is one of the most important new fine dining openings. Lorenzo Cogo is a very good cook. (Read the Identità review).


Cuisine based on markets products, well cooked, and a wine list for the very curious. (Read the Identità review )

Glam del Palazzo Venart
Enrico Bartolini and Donato Ascani, need I say more? A fine dining restaurant, in a special place, that brings prestige to our city. (Read the Identità review)

Diane and Cesare Benelli, restaurant Al Covo, 3968, Campiello de la Pescaria, +390415223812

Diane and Cesare Benelli, restaurant Al Covo, 3968, Campiello de la Pescaria, +390415223812

Gran Caffè Quadri
The Alajmo's aperitif is the finest and best in St Mark's Square. If we were rich, we'd be there every day, drinking Spritz with Barolo Chinato, nibbling on steamed pizzas.

Hotel Wildner
A very pretty 3-star pensione on the Riva Degli Schiavoni, with a view of St Mark's, St Giorgio Island and the Grand Canal, run by Benedetta Fullin, owner of the Local. The rooms are very nice and the restaurant makes good and simple traditional food (with Local wines, bonus).

Il Mercante
For us, it is simply the best drink list in Venice.

Benedetta Fullin and Salvatore Sodano are the authors of one of the best cuisines in town. He is beautifully talented, and mixes Mediterranean cuisine with Venetian ingredients. I remember the delicious risoni di gò. (Read the Identità review)

La Sete, Rioba and Trattoria Al Bomba
These are the 3 establishments of a single owner, Tommaso Medici, a very discreet person, whom we like very much. Rioba is the family establishment, with simple dishes such as Steamed Canocie with chopped parsley and lemon, Turbot and artichokes, and orthodox wines too. At La Sete, next to Rioba, you drink only natural wines and have good cicheto, in a small, quiet place. In October, Al Bomba opened: there is a huge convivial table where you taste untraditional cichetos such as veal head served with giardiniera.

Orient Experience
A very good Middle Eastern cuisine restaurant, run by former Afghan refugees. A story of goodness and social redemption (read here).

Belmond Cipriani Gold
Our colleague and friend Riccardo Canella has fully immersed himself in the nuances of Venetian poetry and reproduces it as best as he can. (Read the Identità review)

Osteria Anice Stellato
In Cannaregio, a place where you eat well. Elisa Pantano prepares some amazing Spaghetti alle vongole, nice and creamy.

Osteria Giorgione da Masa
Not far from Rialto there’s the most popular place among restaurateurs in the city, with customers coming from all over Veneto. At this moment, the Japanese Masa is the most famous chef in Venice: everyone loves him. Speciality: fresh fish from the Adriatic, cut and served with Japanese precision. Supersonic fish and meat gyoza.

Rotisserie Gislon
Tucked away in a tiny alleyway off Rialto, Sotoportego della Bissa, is the city's most popular rotisserie. Recently renovated, on two floors, almost always crowded with students, it is famous for its popular prices, its mozzarella in carrozza and fried cod. But the menu abounds with many other delicacies.

Torrefazione Cannaregio, 2804, Fondamenta dei Ormesini , +39041716371

Torrefazione Cannaregio, 2804, Fondamenta dei Ormesini , +39041716371

Enoteca with restaurant run by one of our favourite couples, Diego and Mathilde (she is Canadian). Natural wines with a simple and really good cuisine of very simple dishes such as roast sardines (Spanish concept), or grilled calamari.

Torrefazione Cannaregio
A very popular artisan roastery, established almost a century ago in Cannaregio. They roast their own coffee and do different extractions. We like their specialty, V60 percolation.

Trattoria Da Bepi, già 54
Steamed canoce, antipasti, spaghetti allo scoglio or alla busara. It's a very famous place and you eat well.

Venice Venice
The right place if you are rich and want to have an aperitivo de puta madre. We indulged in it once and are still happy. Lots of champagne and a terrace without a railing overlooking the Grand Canal (be careful not to fall down).

Villa 600 (Island of Torcello)
Wolly, the chef originally from Burano, former sous chef of Local, is notable for his large size and crazy talent. Roast eel, baccalà mantecato and a space-age blue crab pasta.

Vini Da Gigio

A historic restaurant (established in  1981), run by Paolo and Laura, the third generation. It is an osteria where you can drink like a god and eat very traditional dishes from the lagoon (Tagliolini con Granceola). Exceptional wine list, with many orthodox and natural wines and lots of France.

Vino Vero
A Cannareggio, with tables by the canal, it’s one of our favourite places ever. Mara, Massimiliano and Matteo opened it in 2014. Galactic wine selection and fresh, simple and delicious cicheti. Beautiful in summer. They also opened in Lisbon.

Translated into English by Slawka G. Scarso

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Chiara Pavan and Francesco Brutto


Chiara Pavan and Francesco Brutto

She is Veronese, he is from Treviso. They are partners in life and at work as co-chefs of Venissa on the island of Mazzorbo, Venice Lagoon

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