Venice – Cannaregio – eating and drinking around Strada Nova

As I mentioned before, Cannaregio is a great district to stay in, both in terms of location and for the many fine eating and drinking establishments in the area. This post is about places either on or very near Strada Nova, the main pedestrian drag running through Cannaregio. Please see the next post for bars and restaurants along Fondamenta Misericordia in Cannaregio, and also later posts for restaurants in other neighbourhoods. As ever these, and many more good spots that I didn’t have time to try, are marked on my Google map.

I’ve organised the reviews in the approximate order of breakfast, lunch, aperitivo/cichetti, and dinner.

Pasticceria Dal Mas (Elementary B+), 150 Rio Terà Lista di Spagna,

A classic pastry shop near the train station. Good coffee and cakes.

Pasticceria Bar Pitteri (Elementary B), 3843/A Strada Nova

My hotel provided breakfast, but if it hadn’t, I would have started the day with a cake and a capu here. It’s also a good place for a coffee if you’re passing. The tempting window display is hard to walk past.

Interesting to note the different styles of Canoli in this picture with the local shape bottom left and the open-ended Sicilian version centre right.

Cà D’Oro alla Vedova (Elementary A), 3912 Ramo Ca’ d’Oro

Named after the famous palazzo on the river (just at the end of the opposite alley), this equally famous place is one of the most famous bacari (cichetti bars or taverns) in the city. I came with my friends Kelly and Matthew at the beginning of our Giro d’Ombre (bar crawl). Reservations are essential if you want a sit-down meal but it’s possible to order at the bar and eat cichetti outside in the alley as we did.

We began with a cicheto each of Baccalà Mantecato (creamed salt cod), before moving on to their famous Polpette (pork meatballs), each with an accompanying ombra (small glass of wine), Prosecco in our case.

Everyone (Michelin, Olive Magazine and many others) raves about the meatballs here which in my opinion are good for what they are (B), but personally I don’t understand all the hype. They’re tasty enough, but my mums recipe for Norwegian meatballs in gravy kicks their ass. They did inspire the meatballs at London’s Polpo chain though, so what do I know.

I came back for lunch and had the meatballs again (just to make sure) and another local classic, Fegato alla Veneziana (calves liver fried with onions and served with polenta) which had excellent flavour while not being much of a looker (A).

Traditionally a Venetian meal will finish with some Biscotti (dry biscuits) and a glass of Vino Dolce (sweet wine) to dip them in.

Other things to try are the Sarde in Saor (sweet and sour sardines), and the Bigoli in Salsa (fat spaghetti with onion and salt-cured anchovies or sardines), which are also Venetian classics. The grappa is decent too.

La Cantina (Intermediate A), 3660 Strada Nova,

Bacari can be small and cramped but this one has lots of seating outside on Strada Nova. They open at 11am so you could come for a late breakfast but it’s probably best for cichetti and an early-evening aperitivo. It’s slightly expensive but the food is good and Francesco the ebullient guy front of house is very friendly. I also came for dinner one evening and had the Filetto di Pesce con Verdure al Forno for 18€. It was very simple but the ingredients were top notch and perfectly cooked.

Seafood is a speciality (eg freshly shucked oysters) and they have over around thirty wines available by the glass. Recommended by Where Chefs Eat and Olive Magazine.

Vini da Gigio (High Intermediate B+), 3628A Calle Stua,

This cosy back street place might well be the best restaurant in Cannaregio (certainly Michelin and 1001 Restaurants You Must Experience Before You Die have high opinions), so you should reserve several days beforehand.

When I eventually got in, I had the Misto Crudo to start, featuring local Canoce (mantis shrimp) and Schie (lagoon prawns), as well as fish, scampi and a huge scallop.

I thought raw fish was just a Puglian thing until I came here.

I followed up with their excellent rendition of Fegato alla Veneziana for the second time (both places have great reps for it) and then I finished with a Sgroppino (lemon sorbet or ice cream blended with prosecco and sorbet).

It’s not cheap (€28 and €20 for the dishes above), but the food is top notch (all A). Also the house wines I had by the glass were rather average (so buy a bottle of something better) and service could be more tourist-friendly, but the surroundings are cosy and atmospheric.

La Colombina (Advanced B), 1828 Cannaregio,

On one of my last nights I came for a blow out at this Michelin-recommended, fairly high end place off Campiello de l’Anconeta, a continuation of Strada Nova. The address provided is minimal but it’s on the side street on the opposite side of the square from the Teatro Italia. Run by a friendly mother and son team, it’s a cichetteria as well as a restaurant and they have outside tables in a small square.

The menu features mainly traditional dishes given an innovative twist. I had their ‘Mare’ set menu with wine matching, all of which was really good (B+). There was also a ‘Terra’ menu. Both menus were €49 and the wine was €24, which I felt was good value. The local wines (all natural wines from Veneto) were okay but not knockout (B).

To start, I had three fish-based Cichetti (seabass, tuna and squid) and a glass of local Soave Classico.

Next, Capasanta Gratinata al Profumo di Arance di Sicilia (scallop au gratin, scented with Sicilian orange) and a glass of Pecorino white wine.

Then Gnochhi di Patate, Granchio Padellato al Romarino, Pomodorino Confit (potato gnocchi, rosemary sauteed crab and confitted cherry tomatoes), and a 2019 Malvasia.

After this, the Filetto di Branzino in Crosta di Zucchine su Vellutata di Crostacei (fillet of seabass in a crust of sliced courgettes with a crustacean sauce).

As I recall, the dessert was a deconstructed Tiramisu that looked like it had been prepared by Mondrian. With this, a glass of Recioto della Valpolicella, a local sweet red with its own DOCG.

I finished with a complementary glass of Capo di Stato grappa which I liked so much (B+) that I bought the aged version from Drogheria Màscari the next day.

So lots of good places in Cannaregio! And there are more in my next post about bars and restaurants along Fondamenta Misericordia…

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