Friday, April 13, 2012

Dining in Venice

Dining experiences in Venice can be hit or miss. I've experienced many misses when trying restaurants alongside well trodden tourist thoroughfares, even though some hits have been had on the same streets. My general approach is to:
1. Avoid restaurants that offer regional foods from other areas of Italy, as they are trying for the tourist trade and not depending on repeat business, so the quality and value of their food is not as much of an issue as it would be for a restaurant depending on locals for support. Even though Ai Tre Archi offers Bistecca Fiorentina, their menu is filled with Venetian favorites, with a heavy emphasis on seafood and all their pasta is hand made.
2. Look for restaurants off the beaten path for good local food and do a little research before your trip to discover exactly what the regional foods are in the Veneto. La Aciugheta was one restaurant that had several unusual dishes that were laced with spices we do not typically associate with Italian food. I couldn't help but think of Marco Polo as I read their menu, and the influence that the spice trade brought to the Western World. I wondered if these were centuries old recipes.
3. Before the E.U formed, you could just go to a restaurant that didn't have a multi language menu, but nowadays most restaurants will have English, German, French and Spanish, besides Italian, on their menus. I'd definitely try the restaurants that didn't. That's how I found La Perla Pizzeria There was no English on the menu, so I just had to try it. Also it was priced for locals as their prices were so much lower than what I had seen at other restaurants that day.
4. When in doubt, order fish. The fish market in Venice is world famous and the local cuisine is dominated by seafood.
Here a few of my favorites:
  Vini Da Gigio
 Osteria Al Bomba  
 Al Mascaron

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