Calle Frezzeria • Venezia, Veneto, IT 30124 • 041-528-5242 • osteriasanmarco.it
The problem with most Venice restaurants is that they are SO touristy. Almost all of them. Each playing the part that they think visitors supposedly want to see when they come to town. Their menus loaded with dishes as old as the city itself, served in preparations with the same carbon dating. Even the waiters feel like career guys, so out of touch with modern day cuisine and the upping of its game that if you cut them in half and counted their rings they’d probably predate the Redwood Forest.
This grew so tiresome and frustrating for me and the wife as our expectations for great Italian were incredibly high. And each of the places we were sent by Yelp and TripAdvisor and even our Concierge all proved to be more of the same crap. That is, until we put the screws to our concierge and told him we wanted Venice’s A game. No more touristy bullshit.
He evidently got our message loud and clear, because the place he suggested was the only place I would recommend in Venice, Osteria San Marco. Located just off of San Marco Square as the name would suggest, it is a contemporary beacon of hope where we thought all was lost. From décor to service to menu it is modern and energetic and most importantly, delicious. Almost everything was great. With the highlight of the meal coming from the most unlikely of sources, an artichoke. But not just any choke. The best artichoke dish we have ever had, served in a marinated disc of layered perfection.
So skip all of the others and their fritto mistos and pedestrian pastas and blaze a trail to Osteria.
P.S. To be fair, there was one other place in Venice I would’ve recommended, but I believe it’s no longer. Al Marco (RIP). A wonderful hole in the wall, literally speaking, offering up a Di Parma sandwich the likes of which most pigs could only hope to be cured. Placed on a dreamy rustic Italian bread and served with an incredible glass of red wine. Both to be enjoyed right there in the middle of the charming Venetian alley.