As I have mentioned before, identifying must-visit restaurants in Italy is proving harder than I’m used to. While most places have food blogs and consistent best restaurant listings, Italy refuses.
As we will be visiting Venice first and will be staying there for 3 nights on our trip, I decided to start my research there. Venice has a reputation for having great food but keeping it hidden from the vast floods of tourists filling their city. You eat near the tourist sites entirely at your own risk. The standard rule applies: It’s not generally a good sign if there is a person standing out front to pull people into the establishment.
A good friend of mine suggested that the best thing to do is to explore the side-paths of the city and poke your head into restaurants and bars as you go. If something catches your eye you should tell them you plan to come back at dinner time. She also said that it is critical that you take care to remember where the place is. Come dinner time many shops are closed and the rolling gates that cover the storefronts make it difficult to re-trace your steps based on memory. I’m hoping that my GPS may come in handy. I’ll try to set a GPS marker and see if that helps when I get lost.
Now anyone who has reads this blog should know that I like to be prepared for my trips. I fully understand the need for unstructured exploring, but I prefer to show up with a list of places that I’d like to try out and maybe a couple of must-sees where I might make a reservation ahead of time. There’s no way that I would set out a daily meal plan before a trip, but if I’m heading out to a certain part of town at lunch I’ll check to see if there’s anything on my list near my destination.
Restaurant listing after the jump –>
I started by checking the top reviews at New York Times, Fodors, and Frommers. These were chosen not because they were the only lists, but because they have easily sortable and digestible recommendations. I also added in the places which were featured in Anthony Bourdain’s Venice show and then cross referenced all of these with Trip Advisor. Usually when I put together a list I start to see the same place show up in multiple best-of listings. This wasn’t really the case with Venice as there was very little overlap between all of my sources.
The following table lists the restaurant/bar name, where the recommendation came from, any pricing indication, and the Trip Advisor review ranking. As you can see there was very little overlap between lists. Some restaurants that were highly recommended by the professionals ranked very low in Trip Advisor, although that could be attributed to the fact that some places have very few Trip Advisor reviews.
|Name||Recommended By||Price||Trip Advisor Ranking||URL|
|Cantinone Già Schiavi||NYT||$$||213|
|Cantinone Già Schiavi||Fodors||c||213|
|Vini da Gigio||Fodors||$-$$||33|
|Al Covo||Bourdain, Frommers||$$$||72|
|Cantina Do Mori||Bourdain, Frommers||$||91|
|Ai Mercanti||Trip Advisor||€60-€80||1||www.aimercanti.com|
|Osteria Antico Giardinetto||Trip Advisor||$26-$102||2||www.anticogiardinetto.it|
|Osteria Ae Sconte||Trip Advisor||3||www.osteriaaesconte.it|
|A Beccafico||Trip Advisor||$14-$99||5||www.abeccafico.com|
|Le Bistrot de Venise||Frommers||$$$||12||www.bistrotdevenise.com|
See the Google Map I created for locations.
I’ll be sure to try out Cantina Do Mori since I like to follow Mr. Bourdain, Lineadombra, some of the places that Fodor’s listed, and at least one of the Trip Advisor top 5.