July 12, 2010

Three Great Places to Drink In Venice

By Andrew Barrow In Articles, Food and Wine

Get yourself out on the restaurant terrace at Danieli’s for an early evening bellini. It WILL be expensive; hey, someone has to pay for the upkeep on all that 18th century dandy-camp decor downstairs. It’s famously decadent. You could eat at Danieli’s too; but jeez just look at those prices! This being Venice the view is spell-bindingly magical of course. At night it looks like this…

Venice - From the Danieli balcony looking towards Isola di S.Girogio Maggiore

And, before I upset anyone even more, the bellini is made from Bisol Prosecco and fresh peaches…

The lagoon surrounded city offers a host of eateries – more informal restaurants than Danieli’s, many offering damn decent cichetti, the Italian equivalent of Spanish tapas.

You could join the tourist throngs with their picture menus if you like, but that’s not for me. I’d prefer a little local action even if this means an embarrassing struggle with the lingo, pointing and manic ‘tourist abroad’ smiling at the unusual shell-encased dishes behind the counter-glass or eccentric wine bottles on the shelves behind.
Local is good. More so when you realise that most of the other patrons are locals too.

I hear more than one visitor has suffered extreme disorientation trying to locate some of these little gems (or was it just the hotel, Douglas? Excellent write-up though). A decent map or a guide might be useful – those iPhone-possessors should utilise a superb little English language app that I played with while in Venice (TapVenice).

From the S. Lucia railway station and Scalzi Church cross over the Grand Canal via the Scalzi Bridge, wander down to the left passing the church of S. Simeon Piccoto. Turn left at the little bridge and walk down to Fondamenta Minotto and you are there! Yeah, you need a map! Ristorante Ribot (Santa Croce 158, Fondamenta Minotto, Rio del Gaffaro, 30124 Venice) has an attractive wine shop attached – a magnet in itself – but the relaxing, covered rose garden at the back is well worth trying to get a table in. If you know the right nod and can wink meaningfully you might be lucky in being given access to a ‘secret wine list’ – this includes a whole raft of older vintages of Sassicia for example and other very limited gems.


No producers mentioned obviously – the wines were picked from a chalked list on the side wall – but a nicely perfumed Gewurztraminer and a glass of Tocai Friulano were procured at Bacaro da Fiore. The latter wine was all fruity-minerality and the better match to the freshest plate of prawns I’ve enjoyed since Madrid and to a fine plate of fried courgette flowers. At a corner table a huge bowl of tiny whelk-like shellfish was devoured by two youngsters; they do a lot of odd shellfish do the Venetians apparently.

Bacaro de Fiore – described as a half-taven, half-bar – specialises in just the wines of the Triveneto (that’s the land immediately behind Venice covering the Alto-Adige, Trentino, Friuli-Venezia-Giulia and the Veneto itself). It’s a tiny place down the narrow Calle de Le Botteghe, right opposite our hotel the Locanda Art Deco (and I do loves me a bit of Art Deco! And with rooms like these would you want to stay anywhere else?). I would have been happy to stay at Fiore all evening, sampling the rest of the wine list and those tempting cichetti… but no, onward…

More local, city-rustic character can be found in Trattoria Ca’D’Oro “Alla Vedova” (Cannaregi 3912), a few steps from the water taxi stop of Ca D’Doro. A great atmosphere, lovely, value-packed cichetti, a little warren of rooms packed full of food and wine related artefacts hanging from the ceiling and covering the shelves. The food and wine are the stars here, the place being famous for their polpetti (meatballs). Perhaps just here would be a good place to spend the evening…

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  1. David Strange July 12, 2010

    Venice is a brilliant, magical place and I feel this blog post has only enhanced that brilliance by pointing out decent places to get quaquaversal of an evening. Top stuff!

  2. wine_scribbler July 13, 2010

    thanks David, certainly a superb city and I can’t wait to return to explore further

  3. jongS July 15, 2010

    very nice post!that makes me more thrilled when thinking of visiting Venice…it’s really a great place to be in and explore its beauty.

  4. Travel Tips Newsletter July 15, 2010

    Venice is so romantic. Did you travel with your significant other?

  5. Lauren Dickinson July 16, 2010

    Nice post, it’s been a long time since I’ve been in Venice, but I definitely remember the Bellini’s, which get a bad rap nowadays as so many are made with bad prosecco and canned juice, but there is something very wonderful about a good one with fresh juice in the summer!

  6. David M Kelly July 20, 2010

    Thanks for these tips!
    I am visiting Venice next week and will take you up on visiting these recommendations!
    Saved me a lot of footwork too!!! :-)

  7. wine_scribbler July 20, 2010

    Have a great trip David; hope you find these places as great as I did – do let us know how you got on.


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