“Do you want your birthday present early?”
I opened my card first and inside is written “We’re going to…” followed by a drawing of a ven diagram and a melting ice cube. It took me a little longer than I care to admit for the message to register. But the following weekend we were off for a long weekend in Venice.
I will never get tired of walking up and down little bridges. Zig zagging my way along narrow streets that may not lead anywhere. The colour of all the facades. And the cichetti – I was always going to love anything that involved snacking my way around a city.
Even the bustling San Marco piazza was enjoyable. Although I know this is purely down to my first timer goggles. Similar to London, any future visits to Venice will probably involve detours around certain areas because it’s just too busy.
The gondola tour was a big highlight. Whilst not a good source for historical facts, our gondolier pointed out landmarks of interest and manically laughed when he didn’t understand what we were asking. It’s expensive – but why the fuck not? It was my birthday after all!
This is by no means an exhaustive list, but a couple of places that I quite enjoyed:
Acqua & Mais
Grab yourself a cone of crispy, golden Venetian street food. A mixture of fried fish and polenta.
Campiello dei Meloni 1411 – 1412, 30125 Venice
After your “scartosso” from Acqua & Mais, head a couple of doors down and grab an espresso from the traditional dark wood panel bakery. Maybe even pick up a couple of sweet treats too.
Località S. Polo, 1415, 30125 Venice
Magna Bevi Tasi
A casual baccaro to pick up fresh croissants and an espresso for breakfast. Great sandwiches and cichetti throughout the day. And a good Aperol Spritz.
Campo S.S. Filippo e Giacomo, 4520, 30122 Venice
Osteria Oliva Nera
I’d made the mistake of not booking a table at Alle Testiere for my birthday meal (sad trombone). After almost settling for any old place that could fit us in, Osteria Oliva Nera saved the evening with a menu filled with classic Venetian dishes. They even gave me a little bottle of extra virgin olive oil to take home. Wether it was something they always do, or they overheard it was my birthday, I’ll never know.
Castello, 3417/3447, 30122 Venice
At the back of the Polpo cookbook, Russell Norman lists a number of places to visit, including Gelateria Nico. We arrived at golden hour, making the crunchy cone of pistachio goodness even more enjoyable whilst overlooking the canal.
Fondamenta Zattere al Ponte Longo, 922, 30121 Venice
La Mela Verde
A pistachio gelato which rivals the recommended Gelateria Nico. If I really had to pick one, it would be this one.
Castello, 4977, 30122 Venice
It was a short but incredibly sweet visit to Venice. I look forward to going back just so I can carry on eating at all the places that were closed when we were there!