On a short visit to Venice, like thousands of other tourists thronging Piazza S.Marco, we found ourselves in need of sustenance. Now, as fabulous as ‘The Piazza’ is, (and I recommend everyone to visit) one has to recognise that the local population also recognises its attraction and magnetism and definitely recognise this simple fact, that its very existence is almost a license to print money – and all the shops, stores, and restaurants in the immediate vicinity do! We were not there long before it became very obvious whilst walking around the perimeter of ‘The Piazza’ that the nearer one got to the actual Palazzo (Palace buildings) the more expensive prices got. So! A coffee in a bar next to or close to the Palace would cost say 8 to 10 Euros whilst the similar coffee in a bar farthest across ‘The Piazza’ would cost 5 or 6 Euros.
If this is the case with coffee, you can imagine the price of a meal!
The best advice we can give is venture off ‘The Piazza’ into some of the side streets, not too far away, but being careful not to get too lost in the proverbial “rabbit warren” of side streets. Look for the restaurants and bars frequented by the locals – you can’t miss them, they are the ones where everyone, but everyone, is stylishly dressed and happily chatting and gesticulating. Don’t be afraid to sit down, you will be welcome. In a whole week of travelling we never felt out of place or afraid we would not be able to communicate – all the waiters speak English and love to serve you. Believe me, this is service like you have never experienced before, full of theatre, enthusiasm, energy, and fabulous showmanship – great, we loved it! the one thing to accept with these side street restaurants, is the fact there is no splendid views. They are situated in very narrow side streets where space is a premium, so don't expect some splendid view of the Mediterranean. The other factor in favour of these places off the main Piazza is that they all tend to be at the same level. Venice, as you can imagine, is not the most wheelchair friendly of places, although they do try wherever it is practical. The city is full of bridges and steps and not every location accommodates (or can accommodate) the use of wheelchairs.
We discovered this particular restaurant after just a short journey and ventured in. We were so glad we did because we had a fabulous time. Now remember, eating is an art and an occasion in Italy and one just does not pop in for a quick snack or a drink, even when all you want is a snack and a drink! Take your time and savour the unbelievable atmosphere and enjoy not just the fantastic quality food and attentive service, but the whole experience. “Relax and enjoy” is the order of the moment. Whatever you order will be of the finest quality whether it be a simple Spaghetti Carbonara; Meatballs; the Sea Bream and side dishes; one of the outstanding salads; or a pastry; coffee, or a simple glass of wine; the tastes and textures will be a real treat. Don’t be cheap and miss the Desserts and Coffees – they are worth every Euro!
On this occasion our 2 hours of sheer relaxation and entertainment for two cost 80 Euros and included Breads and Dips; 3 courses; water; wine; coffee and mandatory service charge. We would recommend this restaurant to anyone and we are convinced that numerous others in the immediate vicinity would be equally as good.
All in, even the simple street bars we frequented for drinks, pastries, and Ice-cream were very good and we encountered the same high standard of service and welcome wherever we went. A service experience sadly so missing in many eateries and restaurants in the UK. The difference being, the Italians wanted to please and took nothing for granted, even in this very popular tourist attraction nothing was too much trouble as they busied themselves from table to table. If you wanted it, they were happy to serve you and it just made you feel so good. Well done Venice, we thoroughly enjoyed our stay.
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