SEAFOOD RISOTTO, TRATTORIA AL GATTO NERO
On the island of Burano, next to to its better known neighbour Murano, there is a restaurant well known for its seafood. You've got to have the risotto. Make a day of it – take a boat from Venice, do some shopping in Burano town in the morning (it's famous for beautiful hand-made lace, which you can also see being made), followed by lunch at Il Gatto Nero, then finish off with a stroll around town to check out the colourful houses and funny leaning bell tower. My daughter particularly loved this day out. See gattonero.com
Baccala is salted cod and is an enormously traditional ingredient in Venice. Pretty much anything you order with baccala is going to be delicious, but Venice is particularly famous for the dish baccala mantecato, baccala served with polenta. I ate a lot of this growing up. Now, I regularly have a variation of this dish on the menu at my Willoughby restaurant, Via Alta.
BACARI, CICCHETI & OMBRETE DI VINO
All the traditional osteria around the Rialto Market area serve little plates of these "Venice tapas" type dishes, along with little glasses of wine served from enormous flasks. This is the way I love to eat, lots of small, very tasty dishes that you eat with your hands while surrounded by friends and lively conversation.
FRITTO MISTO, MURO RIALTO
At 12 noon on Saturdays the restaurant Muro Rialto – between the fish market and the Rialto bridge – sends a guy out with paper plates to hand out to the enormous queue that has formed. They then come out with a prodigious amount of fritto misto and people go crazy for it. A paper plate piled with freshly cooked fritto misto with a glass of wine, lean against the nearest wall and strike up a conversation with the people around you (including the locals) all enjoying the same experience. See murovenezia.com
SPRITZ, CAFFE FLORIAN
At 6pm they start to perform live music in the piazza. A spritz in hand, people watching, with the glorious afternoon sun coming off the clock tower in the piazza – it's a must. See caffeflorian.com
CARPACCIO, HARRY'S BAR
You just have to go for a bellini and carpaccio, which was "born" here in 1950. Carpaccio was a painter who made colourful works heavily featuring red and white. Giuseppe Cipriani from Harry's Bar made the dish we know today as carpaccio for a customer, a countess, who couldn't eat cooked meat. He created such a colourful and wonderful dish they gave it the name of the painter. What a story. You couldn't make this stuff up if you tried. See harrysbarvenezia.com
BRUNCH, RESTAURANT TERRAZZA DANIELI
For a dining experience treat you can't go past the rooftop at the Terrazza Danieli. Opulent, elegant and the best views over the lagoon. You're in Venice – splurge a little. Every Sunday from 12.30-3pm they do brunch for €120. See terrazzadanieli.com
Alessandro Pavoni is from the north of Italy, close to Garda Lake, which borders the Venezia region. From September 9-16 he is leading a small gourmet tour in conjunction with Accoutrement and Giovanni Pilu to Venice. See accoutrement.com.au ; alessandropavoni.com.au
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