Monday, 21 March 2011

Dorsoduro, quietness in Carnival.

Dorsoduro, quietness in Carnival.

Dorsoduro. Views from Ca Razzonico
My first time in Venice had been less than one year ago, like the thousands of tourists that arrive every day I was following the main attraction of the city in a sunny May, like millions I was just fascinated by the architecture, and sense of power and opulence of an ancient empire and if this wasn’t enough everything is surrounded by water, everything moves through the waters of the lagoon, so I was moving from one boat to another to discover the gems of the city.
In one of the vaporettos (water buses) that sails the Grand Canal I discovered all the luxury of one of the most successful empires and in St. Mark Square I was even more impressed with symmetry of the building, and the glorification of the architecture. But really it  was the Rialto bridge, the definitive masterpiece put me in contact with the rialto district and its fresh market, definitely this was the glance for coming back to Venice, to discover the areas, the venetian and overall the food that are hidden in the backstreets of the palaces.
Langoustines in the Rialto Market
So back this year just the last weekend of Carnival, busy times around St Mark Square, but just in the south of the city, in the Dorsoduro area most of the tourist don’t go more far that the church Santa Maria della Sallute and its impressive dome, but there  is plenty to explore, like the Peggy Guggenheim, la Galleria de la Accademia and its very rich collection of Veneto paintings, including artist like Bellini, Tintoretto Gianbattista ( my favourite) and of course Canaletto all in the same building which  you can feel  moving slightly at first floor level. Another great place is the palace Ca´Razzonico over the Grand Canal, inside its impressive rooms (look up to the cellings!) is the museum of the settecento, and most of the rooms have views over the Grand Canal or over the Dorsoduro, and as well a charming garden with salamander and turtles. A good bunch of church´s and bell towers where in every one you will find art (in the San Sebastiano painting of Paolo Veronese), classical music, exhibitions (San Barnaba), impossible architecture, beautiful bell towers, some in decadence like the roman church, but a lot of peacefulness for the soul (even if you are not catholic) and as well a place to rest the feet.
Bell Tower in Dorsoduro
San Sebastiano

But beside the Dorsoduro attraction, the best are the streets where you can still find the locals mixed with a more select tourism. Another difference are the shops, here they are not just plastic Chinese mask and cholesterol pizza restaurants, here still handmade bakery, musical instrument shops, little groceries and plenty places for enjoy a drink like with some snacks like in Campo St. Marguerite at a very good price.
Bakery in Calle Lunga de San Barnaba

"Demijhons" around San Sebastiano bridge

Also the area offer very good options to stay like the five stars Centurion Hotel once upon a time a palace has been recently build with modern interiors and pieces or modern art like the chandelier in the atrium or fantastic mirrors and vase with flowers in the hallways, fortunately the hotel take care of the more important, the bedrooms, giant master beds, in a room where you never going to work out over the high of the decorated celling, the best view where you can appreciate the golden sunrise over Venice, but now that I said golden I can forget to mention the bathroom beaten with  gold surfaces. The breakfasts include a good selection of Italian hams and breads and the staff make you feel very comfortable given that they are formal but without pompousness.
Centurion Palace Hotel
 Another great place for stay and spend a whole week is without doubt is the Avogaria Hotel, in the most quiet and Italian areas of the Dorsoduro, a very practical double head shower, nice size bed with a fur for warm your feet ,you can said that the bedroom is not the more bigger that you have seen and at the moment are only 3 rooms, but after a busy day around the city Avogaria offer you your own private courtyard with plants and trees, just to enjoy and relax having a drink or even a meal. The staff is another quality, a respectful treat but without formality will make you feel like you are visiting your best friends in Italy.
Avogaria Suite, views from your own backgarden.

Venice, the Gastronomic Experiences.
 Now you know what to see and where to stay, but after all this is kitchen blog and you need to know where to eat in a place where is full of tourism and where the quality is no so easy to find.

First the best classic, Harry´s Bar.

 On March 5 2011 we went to Harrys Bar for lunch. Harrys is an institution in Venice and we booked a table in the first floor dining room with views out on to the Grand Canal. Harrys is not a cheap option but the quality of the food, wine and service explains its premier reputation.
As a starter we both had the classic carpaccio with a side order of baby artichokes recommended by Carmela Cipriani the vivacious host of the restaurant and descendant of the owner.These dishes were both superb in their execution and taste.this was followed by two pasta dishes,Ravioli with spinach and ricotta cheese and a pasta bake with cheese and ham. I have never tasted better pasta than that at Harrys and I have been to many Italian restaurants around the world.These dishes were accompanied by the freshest green salad grown locally which gave the salad its unique salty flavour.
For desert we had a lemon meringue pie and another creamy meringue style dessert. And here lies my only criticism of Harrys...the desserts come in at a whopping 25 euros each which I think is somewhat excessive!
With a delicious Bellini to start and a carafe of red with the meal the bill came to 250 euros...but compared to restaurants of a similar standing in London and Paris this was a memorable eating experience.

The best of DorsoduroAvogaria Locanda & Restaurant Venice
 This small restaurant in the Dorsoduro locality is a real find. Not only is it a first class restaurant but it has 3 lovely bedrooms on the ground floor, two with private courtyard gardens. We stayed here March 4-March 7 2011.
On the first night we had dinner in the restaurant which is a small cosy area with funky artwork on the walls.
To start we had a Tempura of vegetables which were deliciously crunchy and in the lightest batter I have ever tasted. Our other starter was a seafood risotto . The rice was perfectly cooked with generous scatterings of venetian seafood.
We had a superb bottle of red wine to accompany our meal which was recommended as the perfect compliment to fish and meat.(Campogadis by Ruffo Vini)
As a main course I had raw beef with herbs and my partner had a selection of fried fish with vegetables.
Both were superb and the presentation first class.

We had no room for dessert on this occasion and the meal was truly memorable.
Courgettes with stracciatella
Mixed fish grill

Francesco Pugliese  is to be congratulated on creating such as superb venue for eating drinking and sleeping, and his staff for providing such a warm welcome and attentive service !

With a view. Linea d'Ombra.
Linea d'Ombra  views
 This is a restaurant full of traditional Venetian dishes with a modern twist, the terrace over the Giudecca Canal are breathless. The seafood and fish are very fresh; the staff is very professional, the head waitress knows very well his job even had been working in places such as Harry´s Bar or Sheishiki London. Also they have a very respectable wine list that includes Veneto wines special for the risotto or as well the good range or pasta selection available in the menu. Just first to order watch out the prices, some antipasti and starter are around €35 a bit overprice if you can´t get a table in the terrace!

Osteria Ai Storti,
Osteria Ai Storti, Piatti Tipici Veneziani, San Paolo, 819, 30125 Venezia - wonderful food in venice italy
Picture by PatrickOhnewein's

 Has become a classic in my trips to Venice, very close to the Rialto market this very little (I mean it) osteria wine bar serve the most fresh fry vegetables like the famous venetian courgettes, cod, and octopus, but you can ask as well for gnochetti or spaghetti vongole and get very nice local wine at very good price is no surprise that the osteria is full of local workers around the rialto area. Ah and don’t get up without trying the huge portion of tiramisu!

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