Indagare insider Marie Brandolini, known for her innovative, colorful glass creations based on traditional Venetian designs, recommends Alla Madonna: “The specialties at this Venetian brasserie include fish risotto and spaghetti with clams.”
I adore this small fish restaurant, which has only eight tables (reservations are a must). One of my favorite dishes—when it’s in season—is sautéed razor clams piled high on the plate. It’s difficult to recommend specific dishes, as the menu reflects the day’s catch. Grilled swordfish and sautéed tuna may sound ho-hum but are brought to exquisite heights by the light touch of the cook and the ultrafresh fish.
The owner prepares his crostini with the seriousness and passion of an artist.
City Secrets is a series of innovative guidebooks whose contributors, from art historians and professors to novelists and architects, choose their personal “city secrets” to share. Read a Q&A with founding editor Robert Kahn. The following is a pick from City Secrets: Florence & Venice by Marcella Hazan, a chef and cookbook author.
When Bruno Paolato was a partner chef in Ai Mercanti (San Polo 1588, 39 41 524 22 82), that establishment was one of our favorite hangouts. Bruno fell out with his partners and ensconced himself in this small, charming trattoria. It has tables for outdoor dining in clement weather and it is happily off the tracks that tourists usually beat. Closed Sunday evenings and Mondays.
Osteria Enoteca San Marco
The sister outpost to Bancogiro near the Rialto, this enoteca sits on a narrow lane just off of Piazza San Marco but feels miles from the tourist crowds. It was opened by a refugee of the kitchen at Harry’s Bar and serves delicious pasta and fish. Locals linger at the bar and in the cozy, yet contemporary dining room, where traditional cantina food is served.
Open every day, except Sundays.
Osteria Oliva Nera
Run by a husband-and-wife team, this cozy restaurant, in the residential Castello neighborhood, serves wonderful traditional Venetian cuisine. Closed Wednesday.
Ristorante Fiaschetteria Toscana
Located in Cannaregio on a busy thoroughfare, right next to the Rialto Bridge, with window boxes spilling geraniums, the restaurant’s façade and name may evoke Tuscany but the food is pure Venetian with an emphasis on seafood. Don’t skip dessert, which is treated as the grand finale.
Trattoria Do Forni
An Indagare member who traveled to Venice in the summer of 2011 raves: “All Venetians said that this place was where you can still find true old-time Venice. It’s where a lot of locals come to celebrate big events and holidays. We loved the food and service; it was our favorite restaurant find of our Venice trip. Do Forni is very easy to get to from St. Marks Square, which is a real plus when you are coming the San Clemente with their hotel shuttle.