If you're going to be staying in Venice and want a good restaurant where you can taste the real Venice, the Trattoria alla Vedova is a great choice.
Firstly, though, I'd like to mention that however much I love Venice (a huge amount), there are two aspects of the place that really irritate me.
One is the rudeness of some of the shopkeepers, hoteliers, and restaurant owners, and the other is the inflated prices many charge.
I don't know about you, but when I visit Venice, I want to eat the local dishes, and I don't want to need a bank loan to do that.
If you would like to do the same, then I'd suggest you head to this trattoria as soon as you start feeling those hunger pangs. It doesn't look like much, tucked down a crumbly little alleyway, but once inside, the aromas wafting out of the kitchen will tempt you to stay.
Located at 3912 Cannaregio, this trattoria has become a beloved destination for locals and visitors alike, seeking a genuine taste of Venetian cuisine in a welcoming and cozy ambiance.
You'll get all the local specialties, cooked in the traditional manner, and you'll get them at a price that is, by Venetian standards, superb value.
What to eat?
I know sardines and such aren't everybody's favorite, but this restaurant serves one of the best versions of Sardine in Saor that I have ever tasted.
The dish is a mix of sardines, onions, and raisins, which sounds simple enough, but you'd be surprised at how few restaurants get it right. This one does.
Octopus (polpo) is another traditional dish that they cook well, as is their seafood dish, baccalà mantecato con polenta.
Last, but certainly not least, is Vedova's incredibly good liver dish, fegato all Veneziana. This is a classic dish of Venice, and any good Venice restaurant should have it on the menu. Sliced calf's liver is delicately sautéed with sweet, caramelized onions, complemented by an aromatic blend of white wine and vinegar.
If you'd rather something more conventional and none of the dishes mentioned do anything for you, don't worry. They have a good selection of very conventional Italian dishes, including a great vegetarian lasagna and many of the more well-known pastas from across Italy.
After indulging in savory delights, don't forget to leave some room for dessert. The trattoria's sweet offerings are equally delightful, with traditional Venetian treats that will satisfy even the most discerning sweet tooth.
One unusual point to note is that they don't serve coffee, which seems very weird for an Italian restaurant, but they will offer you a delicious limoncello instead. I loved the limoncello, but I still missed my usual espresso.
Lastly, if you'd rather not have a full meal but are looking to simply sample the great Venetian tradition of cicchetti (tapas-like snacks) with a glass of white wine known as an "ombra", then head to the bar and order away. This is one of the best places in Venice to try this wonderful tradition. From creamy baccalà mantecato to succulent polpette and fresh seafood delights, cicchetti showcases the heart of Venetian gastronomy. The tradition of sharing ombra and cicchetti fosters a sense of community, enticing you to revel in Venice's culinary heritage while mingling with the city's vibrant spirit.
Given its popularity, it's advisable to make a reservation in advance, especially during peak tourist seasons when everyone is searching for a good restaurant in Venice.