Now That the Venice Biennale Is Opening, the Big Question Is: Where to Eat and Drink? We Sourced Answers From the Art World
Among them: a lively bàcaro serving cicchetti; an ephemeral, artist-run bar; anywhere with Bellinis.
With the Venice Biennale opening this week, we reached out to folks around the art world to help us prepare. We already sorted out a packing list; now, we’re getting hungry. And so we asked, “Where—and what—should we eat and drink?” Here’s what they suggested.
Krist Gruijthuijsen, Curator
“Trattoria alla Madonna! Pick anything with fish!” Calle della Madonna, 594; +39 041 68 20 276; open Monday–Tuesday, Thursday–Sunday 12–3 p.m., 7–10:15 p.m.
Dorian Batycka, Writer and Curator
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“There is a delicious local alternative to tapas called cicchetti, served up in bàcari (osterias in the local dialect) with one of my favorites being in the Dorsoduro neighborhood on the San Trovaso canal. There, for the past 57 years, Alessandra de Respinis, owner of Cantine del Vino già Schiavi, has been telling her customers, ‘You eat, drink, and pay standing up.’ I’ve personally been incredibly drunk and full there for under €15 ($16). Each day she prepares upwards of 60 variations of cicchetti—delights like swordfish tartare or ricotta topped with sun-dried tomato—for less than €2 each. A half dozen of those and be on your way!” Fondamenta Nani 992, Dorsoduro; +39 041 52 30 034; open Monday–Saturday 8.30 a.m.–8:30 p.m.
Pari Ehsan (aka Pari Dust), Influencer
“There’s nothing quite like a spritz in a Venetian secret garden. The one at Hotel Heureka is a treasure—I do the Lagoon Spritz!” Fondamenta Gasparo Contarini 3534; Cannaregio; +39 041 52 46 460; open daily.
Hannah Traore, Gallerist
“Caffè Florian has been open since 1720 and takes me back in time. The Caffè dell’Imperatore, a coffee with gianduja spread, milk, and hazelnut cream, is as delicious and decadent as the neo-baroque interior of the cafe.” Piazza San Marco 57; +39 041 52 05 641; open daily 9 a.m.–10 p.m.
Aparajita Jain, Art Dealer
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“Burrata at Ristorante Campo Santa Maria Formosa (Sestiere di castello 5245; +39 041 268 5593; open daily). And I’m still a sucker for the Bellinis at Harry’s Bar (Calle Vallaresso 1323; +39 041 52 85 777; open daily 10 a.m.–12 a.m.).”
Amy Cappellazzo, Art Advisor
“If I write this, it will be too crowded when I go! But, I would say a very good local place, slightly off the beaten path, is Osteria Trefanti, in Santa Croce. Every time I go to Venice I eat here, as I have a good friend who lives nearby and this is his neighborhood favorite. Excellent, inventive [seafood] dishes.” Santa Croce 888; +39 041 52 01 789; open Wednesday–Saturday 7-10:30 p.m.
Bosco Sodi, Artist
“The best restaurant in Venice is Antiche Carampane (San Polo 1911; +39 041 52 40 165; open Tuesday–Saturday 12:30–2:30 p.m., 7:30–10 p.m.) by the Rialto fish market, and the best dish there is the octopus with artichokes. It’s delicious.
“I also love to go to the fish market itself, where they sell risottos prepackaged, very inexpensive, with different recipes: [squid] ink, truffle, saffron. I always buy a selection to bring back home.”
Geoff Dyer, Author
“Bellinis, always and anywhere.”
Paulina Bebecka, Gallerist
“This is not a place to eat everyday unless you want to roll out of Venice instead of walking upright. It is a simple trattoria, located at the edge of the city, and far away from all the noise and bustle. Go there hungry, because they will stuff you silly. When you sit down, you don’t have any choices to make—they will start bringing everything they have prepared for the day. After the appetizers you will think it’s all over, but the fun has only begun. It’s called Trattoria da’a Marisa. Make a reservation.” Fondamenta San Giobbe 652; +39 041 720 211; open Monday 12-3 p.m., Tuesday 10 a.m.–11 p.m., Wednesday–Sunday 12-11 p.m.
Capucine Milliot, Publicist
“I always try to find tiny, delicious, ‘remote’ places like Trattoria al Gatto Nero (Via Giudecca 88, Burano; +39 041 730 120; open Tuesday–Sunday) on Burano, Da Fiore (S. Polo–Calle dello Scaleter 2202/A; +39 041 721 308; Monday–Thursday 7-10:30 p.m., Friday–Saturday 12:30-2:30 p.m., 7-10:30 p.m.), and Al Covo (Castello 3968; +39.041.5223812; Monday, Thursday–Sunday 12:45–2 p.m., 7:30–10 p.m.)—for the fish.”
Ellen Swieskowski, Entrepreneur
“Try a Negroni Sbagliato—like a classic Negroni, except with Prosecco in place of gin—anywhere you end up stopping for drinks. It’s similar to an Aperol spritz in that you can have several and still make it back to your Airbnb in one piece, but it’s a little less basic.”
Todd Levin, Art Advisor
Risotto di Gò—Burano risotto [made with goby fish, from the lagoon]—at Trattoria da Romano, on the island of Burano.” Via San Martino Destra 221, Burano; +39 041 730 030; open Monday, Wednesday–Sunday 12-3 p.m.
Heather Flow, Art Advisor
“This year, Café Comé—a temporary bar for the vernissage organized by Donny Ryan, Pati Hertling, and Performance Space New York. Each night different artists will host. Guaranteed fun.” Come bar; Campo S. Silvestro; open April 18–22, 6 p.m.–“late.”
Nazy Nazhand, Art Advisor
“A dirty martini at Harry’s Bar. A perfect Negroni at the Aman Hotel bar (Palazzo Papadopoli Calle Tiepolo 1364; +39 041 2707333; open daily 12 p.m.–12 a.m.). And every pasta and fish dish at Pietro Panizzolo (Corte Contarina San Marco 1535; +39 041 52 37 855), which is a small, casual restaurant frequented by chic locals in an alley just off Frezzeria, near San Marco.”
Melissa McGill, Artist
“For gelato, I recommend Gelateria Nico on the Zattere. You can sit on their floating terrace and enjoy the view of the Canal della Giudecca, where we sailed one of the Red Regattas [for my public art project with Associazione Vela al Terzo Venezia in 2019]. The gianduiotto, a brick of chocolate hazelnut gelato served in a glass with a cloud of fresh whipped cream, is my all-time favorite.” Fondamenta Zattere Al Ponte Lungo 922; +39 041 52 25 293; Monday–Wednesday, Friday–Sunday 7:30 a.m.–9 p.m.
Maria Brito, Art Advisor
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“There’s a wine bar-restaurant called Vino Vero—not many tourists go there because the place is kind of far, and it isn’t one of the darlings of Venice that everyone knows. They have the most incredible selection of natural wine by the glass. This place is tiny and informal but they have outdoor tables, too. The food is mostly cicchetti and truly phenomenal. I think I’ll regret giving this one away!” Fondamenta della Misericordia 2497, Cannaregio; +39 041 27 50 044; open Monday–Thursday 5 p.m.–12 a.m., Friday–Saturday 12 p.m.–1 a.m., Sunday 12 p.m.–12 a.m.
Eugenio Re Rebaudengo, Collector
“Harry’s Bar is the quintessential Venetian place, but Harry’s Dolci is a more ‘insider’ option in Giudecca, with a fantastic view of the canal. It’s the best place for a classic Bellini, and [my wife and I] love their vanilla meringue cake so much that we had it as our wedding cake!” Sestiere Giudecca 773; +39 041 52 24 844; Monday, Wednesday–Sunday 12–11 p.m.
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