*** = highly recommended
### = Luke hasn't been but wants to go
The Veneto region is a fiercely independent one, with Venice as its capital and major tourist draw. However, it hosts many other sights, such as Verona (the backdrop of Romeo and Juliet) and Padua (a university town with the famous Scrovegni Chapel and Basilica of St. Anthony).
Fly: the quickest option; check out Naples' discount airlines.
there are various ways to get from the Marco Polo airport to central Venice, but a relatively easy/economical and fun option is the AliLaguna water taxi
Train: Easy and quick on the fast frecce ("arrow") trains, most changing in Bologna (or occasionally Rome/Padova) and taking ~5.5-6.5 hours, although there are occasional nonstops (as of early 2021, they left at 0709 and 1609). There used to be a ICN (Inter-City Notte) sleeping train that ran all the way from Naples to Venice, but it appears to have been cancelled (the closest you can get is changing in Rome and getting on the ICN that gets in at ~5:30 AM—this is a neat way to see Venice in the early morning before the tourists show up).
Note that the Santa Lucia train station is generally more convenient (it's on the island of Venice itself), but if you go into the Mestre station (on the mainland) there are ~10 minute trains to Santa Lucia every ~10 min.
Drive: Venice is a 7+ hour drive from Naples, mostly on A1.
The Grand Canal bisects the city; four bridges (along with traghetti "da parada" aka "Gondola Ferries", smaller gondolas that cost €4 a crossing) cross the Canal. Vaporetti (ferries) run up and down the canal and connect the outlying islands. Venice is divided up into six sestieri (districts); also see Slow Travel's map and description:
Cannaregio - north, nightlife on Fondamenta della Misericordia; extreme northern edge has relatively few tourists
Santa Croce - northwest of San Polo (below), is one of the least touristy areas
San Polo - northwest of San Marco, across the Rialto bridge, the oldest part of the city; includes Venice's fish market
Dorsoduro - south, artisan/student district, across the Accademia bridge from San Marco, with nightlife near campo Santa Margherita and to the west near the universities
San Marco - main square, the most touristy/crowded
Castello - east, fancy hotels and churches, and the medieval shipyard Arsenale
How to Ride Vaporetti
Reid's Italy has a nice introduction.
Maps: ACTV has some pretty good maps (e.g. this PDF)
Timetables: Google Maps does a reasonable job with most vaporetti (the Muoversi a Venezia page actually directs you to use Google or Moovit); ACTV also publishes a schedule for each line
Download the AVM Venezia app (iTunes, Play) - this lets you pay for tickets on your phone (versus having to find and then wait for a kiosk)...although if you have cash you can often buy on board if you present yourself immediately to the conductor.
Discounts: Children up to 6 years old are free. Those 29 years old or younger can get a "Rolling Venice" card which gives you unlimited transit for 72 hours for €33 total (as of 2023), a bit more if you want transit to/from the airport.
Riding a lot? There are various "time-limited" passes that give you 1, 2, 3, or 7 days of unlimited transport. For example, we got the 1-day pass (via the app!) on a day when we traveled a lot amongst the outlying islands (Burano, Mazzorbo, and Torcello).
in 2023 they are running an "experimental online fare" offering discounts if you buy a pass > 30 days in advance of the day of use
Staying a while? You might consider "Venzia Unica City Pass for frequent users", a card that is designed for longer-term residents or frequent visitors (it costs €100 total for water transport for non-residents of Venice/Veneto and is valid for 5 years but once you have it, each vaporetto ticket is a fraction of the price it costs tourists...but it only makes financial sense if you're riding ~20 times or more over 5 years)...if you're a student studying in Venice definitely get it (it's only €20)
Cheap Cruise: various people (including Rick Steves) recommend taking Line 1 (or if you want to go faster, Line 2) from the main train station down the Grand Canal, especially after the day trippers have left in the evening. Rick Steves also has a free MP3 guide that you can listen to as you glide down the canal.
A city of ancient palaces sinking slowly into a lagoon, Venice itself is the main sight. Just wander around and get lost in the canals! Following are some of the specific tourist attractions; also check out Wikitravel and Frommer's. Views on Venice also has a great list of sights for each sestiero, including information on attractions for children, cooking classes, and supermarkets.
Piazza San Marco - the main public square, with St. Mark's Basilica, Doge's Palace, Campanile, and Torre d'Orlogio. Warning: cafes on this square charge ridiculous prices, especially if you sit down!
Reid's Italy recommends attending the St. Mark's Sunday 6:45 PM mass to see the ceiling mosaics lit up
Walk Around and Get Lost - part of the magic of Venice is exploring some of the narrow canals off the main tourist track...don't be afraid to wander off; between smartphone maps, signs, and friendly locals, you can find your way back to the main tourist sites easily
Ride the Canals - you can take an expensive gondola or the cheaper vaporetti (ferries), see above for details
### Row Venice is an opportunity to take a rowing lesson (voga alla veneta or "Venetian-style rowing") yourself! See descriptions in Smithsonian Magazine, NY Times, and Dream of Italy
Fun places to walk
Rialto Market - just north of the Rialto Bridge is the Rialto fish and produce market in the San Polo sestiero
Arsenale di Venezia - the "Venitian Arsenal" is a medieval shipyard that still houses part of the Italian Navy. This makes for a nice walk between Castello and San Marco.
Accademia - museum for art lovers
Guggenheim - modern art museum in Dorsoduro (has some Picassos, etc...a nice location)
Frari Church - rec'd by Rick Steves
San Zaccaria - has an often-flooded crypt
Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute - has a "black Madonna" painting/icon
Vivaldi - this baroque composer spent most of his life in Venice, and thus there are many concerts with his music (Venice Baroque Orchestra, La Fenice, Teatro Malibran, Teatro Toniolo, St. Mark's...)
Carnevale - Main website: www.carnevale.venezia.it
Monica Daniele - tabarri (Venetian cloaks) San Polo 2235, calle Scaleter, 041-524-6242, 9-6 M-Sat
Tragicomica - mask shop, San Polo 2800, calle dei Nomboli, 041-721-102, 10-7 daily
Ca'Macana - traditional masks from Commedia dell'arte tradition, Dorsoduro 3172, calle delle Botteghe, 041-520-3229, 10-6 daily
Carta Alta - mask shop, Dorsoduro 2808, campo San Barnaba, 041-523-8313, 10-2:30/3:30-6 M-Sat
MondoNovo - well-known mascheraio, Dorsoduro 3063, rio terà Canal, 041-528-7344, 10-6 M-Sat
Giuliana Longo - CN Traveler rec's for carnival headdresses
Libreria Acqua Alta - in Sestiere Castello, rec'd here
Antica Drogheria Mascari - old spice/herb shop
Santo Stefano area - across the Grand Canal from the Accademia, this design blog says there are a bunch of cool stores like Fiorella Gallery and Venetia Studium
Mercerie Area - between Piazza San Marco and Rialto Bridge...lots of stores, but also lots of tourists; most of the "big brands" are here
L'angolo del Passato - CN Traveler rec's this place in Dorsoduro to get the best Murano glass
Pied à Terre - CN Traveler rec's this place for gondola-style "furlane" slippers
Gianni Basso Stampatore - CN Traveler rec's for custom stationary
Islands / Venetian Lagoon
The islands around Venice in the lagoon give you another look at the city (and the trip there/back is fun), and some aren't as crowded as Venice itself
***Burano - picturesque colorful buildings, also known for fishing and lace
***Atelier Martina Vidal - one of the best lace shops on the island, is mostly made on the island (not mass-produced elsewhere), also has a beautiful garden/courtyard
***Trattoria al Gatto Nero (Katie Parla, Michelin, Elizabeth Minchilli especially for risotto di gò, fritto misto di pesce, and tiramisu, Lonely Planet, Venezia Autentica says book ahead) closed Sun dinner, Mon...a bit expensive but really nice
Riva Rosa (Michelin rec’s booking), lunch only except Fri/Sat/Sun, closed Wed
Pasticceria Garbo - Elizabeth Minchilli recommends for cookies
[Da Romano (Michelin, chefs on Gambero Rosso, Elizabeth Minchilli for old-school dishes cooked by a nonna...but Google reviews suggest that in past ~year it’s gotten bad/expensive...maybe Anthony Bourdain’s fault?)]
[Osteria Pescatori - mediocre Google & TA reviews]
Mazzorbo - just W of Burano (can travel between the two by bridge), has vineyards & orchards, not much to "see" but makes for a nice, less-crowded walk if you're sick of the crowds elsewhere
***Venissa - hotel/restaurant rec'd by Conde Nast Traveler, 1 Michelin star, Elizabeth Minchilli, Skye Mcalpine, Forbes, Gambero Rosso, local ingredients from lagoon/garden, also has Osteria rec’d by Lonely Planet) some of their food is grown on the property, really nice meal in a nice setting, we ate at the Osteria which is a bit less fancy than the Restaurant (and has somewhat different hours, so check ahead), save room for the tiramisu!
?? Trattoria alla Maddalena (Food and Wine, Skye Mcalpine [blog post], Time Out rec’s duck during hunting season) ...closed Thurs; this post says it's popular with "Italians in the know" so reserve ahead especially if you want to eat outside
***Torcello - uncrowded island N of Burano, mostly abandoned but is actually older than the main island (when Torcello became silted up and malaria spread, people moved south); check out the 7th century cathedral with Byzantine mosaics...nice for a somewhat quieter time with more wildlife
### Locanda Cipriani - impeccable service by same family who started Harry’s Bar, seems like a nice place for a relaxing but "high-class" time (Michelin, Lonely Planet, chefs on Gambero Rosso, Time Out, Fodors although they say “the food is not exceptional”, Skye Mcalpine [blog post], Elizabeth Minchilli rec’s bellinis and Venetian classics)...open year-round
Osteria Al Ponte del Diavolo (good Google reviews, TCI, this blog makes it look a bit fancy-ish?) ...closed Mon
Murano - famous for blown glass, just N of the main island
Trattoria Ai Frati - rec'd Sky Mcalpine, has mixed TA reviews
Osteria La Perla ai Bisatei - Locanda Murano, Campo San Bernardo 1, 041-739-528, closed Sat, traditional local favorites, 30-35 euro including house wine, rec'd by Panorama, Time Out, Conde Nast Traveller, good Google/TA reviews
B Restaurant alla Vecchia Pescheria - a bit expensive, good TA reviews
Murano gelateria - good TA reviews
Giudeccca - usually not even considered an "island" since it's considered part of Dorsoduro, but you do need to take a boat to reach it...very close by is the San Giorgio Maggiore, which is the island church just opposite Piazza San Marco (see below for restaurant rec's)
Sant'Erasmo - the "orchard of Venice" since much of the food is grown here, supposedly great eating; check out the Orto di Venezia winery
Basegò - looks like nice agriturismo
? Experientia - interesting place selling "street food" take-away with locavore ingredients; it looks like you have to reserve your food ahead of time, also rents bicycles
...you can also get local fruits/vegetables from I Sapori di Sant'Erasmo and da Gino e Inda, and honey from Miele di Sant'Erasmo di Mavaracchio Elio
Lido - site of September's Venice Film Festival, lots of beaches...unlike other islands does have road traffic
Al Merca - Lido, via Enrico Dandolo 17A, 041-526-4549, 10:30-3, 6:30-mid, closed Mon, ~40 euro, rec'd by Time Out
Ristorante La Tavernetta - good Google/TA reviews
Nevodi - good Google/TA reviews, innovative/healthy
Glamy Bistrot - fusion-y place, good Google/TA reviews
Pellestrina - long strip of island just S of Lido, not as crowded (mostly fishermen) but also has beaches (and road traffic)
Da Celeste - Conde Nast Traveler says it's "one of the best seafood restaurants in Venice"
Agriturismo Le Valli - rec'd Conde Nast Traveler, especially for clams
Bar Gelateria Laguna - good TA reviews
Chioggia (just south of Pellestrina, technically on the mainland but has its own canals, some people call it "Little Venice")
El Gato - seafood restaurant, good Google reviews
Bacaro La Baia dei Porci
San Michele - cemetery island between Murano and the main island
Le Vignole - sparsely inhabited/more rural island, reachable by Vaporetto Line 13
?? Trattoria alla Vignole (rec’d The Times, Skye Macalpine [2nd blog post])...closed Mon, popular with locals for a more rustic meal, many ingredients are from their land
? Lunch/Dinner on a Boat: Eolo / Cruising Venice - Mauro Stoppa picks you up with his restored 1946 bragozzo sailing vessel for a cruise around the lagoon and then anchors for a meal, rec'd Elizabeth Minchilli
...there are dozens of smaller islands, some of which are owned entirely by companies or religious orders; this article describes some of the smaller ones
Where to Stay
San Giorgio Maggiore Monestary - interesting budget option (you pay what you can), staying literally across the Grand Canal from St. Mark's Square; they don't have a website but this article explains how it works
Acca Hotel - in San Polo, economical, rec'd by Fodors
Al Palazzetto - in Cannaregio, economical, rec'd by Fodors
Apartment rental: in addition to the usual suspects (VRBO, Airbnb, etc.) there's veniceapartments.org
Avoid staying in Mestre or Lido ...yes, it's cheaper, but you'll miss out on the romance of walking around the island at night
ItalyHeaven has a nice overview of Grand Canal hotels; also check out Fodors, Frommers, and Lonely Planet
Where to Eat
Venice is known for seafood, as it is surrounded by the grand canal. Another Venitian favorite is cicheti (also spelled cicchetti), or bar snacks, which are a bit like Spanish tapas (here's a Rick Steves guide to them), traditionally served at a bar called a bacaro. Also check out Time Out's and Frommer's listings...The Times has a great list as well.
*** = Luke went there and liked it
?Ai Mercanti - somewhat reasonably priced fish dishes, chalkboard menu, Michelin, Travel & Leisure, Lonely Planet, Dissapore rec’s ravioli with merluzzo, paccheri with mountain ricotta/fish/artichokes closed Sun all day, Mon lunch
?Osteria Al Portego - [actually in Castello, but near Piazza San Marco] Bacaro (cichetti bar) rec’d by Slow Food Osterie d’Italia 2017, Time Out, Elizabeth Minchilli, Dissapore, Naturally Epicurean, says to reserve since there are only 6 tables ...open every day
??AMO Restaurant - rec'd Identità Golose, near Rialto bridge
Osteria Ruga di Jaffa - cool young bacaro, rec’d Venezia Autentica
I Rusteghi - cichetti rec’d by chefs on Gambero Rosso
Wildner - in hotel, Slow Food Osterie d’Italia 2017, Gambero Rosso, Slow Food products (many organic), Elizabeth Minchilli ...closed Tues
Teamo - relatively upscale bacaro in S. Marco
Bacaro da Fiore - S. Marco, bacaro rec’d at http://www.gillianslists.com/2015/11/a-weekend-in-venetian-palazzo-where-to.html
Florian - has gluten free pastries! ...also try hot chocolate, croissants?
Gislon Rosticceria San Bartolomeo - San Marco 5424, Calle della Bissa, near Rialto, 041-522-3569, 10:50-6, ~30 euro, rec'd by Alice and Frommer's.
ABC Quadri - rec'd this site
Ristorante AcquaPazza - pizza rec'd by Skye Mcalpine (who recommends sitting outside and likes their fruit sorbets) and other Amalfi-style dishes
*** Local - rec'd Michelin, Lonely Planet, Dissapore, LiveLoveFood, Slow Food Osterie d’Italia 2017…closed Tues all day, Wed lunch; otherwise 12-2, 7-10, online booking - nice food although it's a bit fancy (not quite as kid-friendly as other places) and the service seemed a bit "nervous"/off (e.g. they made a big fuss over making sure if someone went to the bathroom, their napkins would be immediately folded, but after we asked it was a long wait to get our bill paid)
*** CoVino - [spin-off of Al Covo, very limited seating, market-driven menu, open Mon, 14-16 seats!] (HuffPo says popular with locals, Slow Food Osterie d’Italia 2017, Lonely Planet, Dissapore, NY Times, Skye Mcalpine) ...closed Tues/Wed...great food, although small location (not great for large groups)
? Alle Testiere - Castello 5801, Calle del Mondo Novo, 041-522-7220, very limited seating (seats ~22 people for seatings at 7 PM and 9 PM), only fish, casual setting with butcher paper, rec'd Slow Food Osterie d’Italia 2017, Fodors Choice, Michelin, Gambero Rosso, Elizabeth Minchilli says lunch is easier to get a table, CN Traveler, Frommers, closed Sun/Mon; this YouTube video of "Remarkable Places to Eat" starts with a visit to their osteria & later shows how they select the seafood for the daily menu
? Trattoria Corte Sconta - known for its endless seafood appetizer menu and vine-draped courtyard, a bit expensive, rec’d Lonely Planet, Reid’s Italy, Michelin, The Roman Foodie, LiveLoveFood closed Sun/Mon
? Al Covo - rec'd Michelin, Elizabeth Minchilli, Skye Mcalpine, run by Texan & her Venetian husband, seasonal, a bit expensive, updated classics with local ingredients; spaghetti with pesto & bottarga you “simply can’t miss” says Skye Mcalpine, expensive, rec’d Dissapore, Gillian’s Lists, LiveLoveFood, Gambero Rosso → closed Wed/Thurs
Osteria Santa Marina - rec’d Dissapore, Michelin, Fodors, Lonely Planet, Time Out, Gambero Rosso, My Art Guides says local ingredients, The Telegraph names one of its top 10 restaurants in Venice, a bit expensive (€65-80/person), closed Mon lunch, Sun
? Enoiteca Mascareta - Castello 5183, Calle Lunga Santa Maria Formosa, 041-523-0744, run by the official enoteca association, organic wines and good food says this page, Fodors, Gambero Rosso, Lonely Planet, NY Times rec’s for late night, My Art Guides rec’s menu of the day, has organic “cloudy” prosecco ...dinner only open every day ...very entertaining owner Mauro Lorenzon, also see blog post
Al Mascaron - Castello 5225, Calle Lunga Santa Maria Formosa (NE of San Marco), 041-522-5995, rec’d by Fodors readers and this blog as reasonably priced and good, Gambero Rosso [associated with Enoteca Mascareta] ...NOT Al Mascaron Ridente (a hotel in Cannaregio)
Antica Osteria da Gino - near Biennale, rec’d Dissapore for risotto di go, good Google reviews, closed Mon ...not much online, website got hacked?
Gastrosofia Le Spighe - Via Giuseppe Garibaldi 1341, little stop-in place for organic/vegetarian food, rec’d Elizabeth Minchilli, Lonely Planet
Osteria da Pampo - Castello Sant'Elena, Calle Chinotto 24, near Bienale, 041-520-8419, 9-mid, closed Tues, cicheti and seafood rec'd by Alice, My Art Guides
Trattoria da Jonny - rec'd in this post, says it's non-touristy
were recommended back in ~2009, not sure now:
Al Portego - Castello 6015, Calle de la Malvasia, near Rialto bridge and Salizada San Lio 041-522-9038, closed Sun lunch, dinner ends at 10 (relatively early for Italy), rec'd by Slow Food (still in 2014) and Time Out for typical seafood like baccala, ~25-30 euro.
Alla Rivetta - Castello 4625, ponte San Provolo (just E of San Marco), 041-528-7302, closed Mon, cicheti and other simple, traditional Venitian food, very popular with locals and tourists alike, rec'd by Slow Food [no more in 2014!], ~35-40 euro.
Angio - Castello 2142, ponte della Veneta Marina, lagoon-front on riva degli Schiavoni, 041-277-8555, Feb-May & Oct-Dec 7-9, Jun-Sep 7-mid, closed Tues, good sandwiches, cheese, and wine, rec'd by Time Out.
Antica Trattoria Bandierette - Castello 6671, Barbaria de le Tole, 041-522-0619, closed Mon night, Tues, trattoria popular with locals, ~35 euro, rec'd by Alice.
L'Olandese Volante - Castello 5658, Campo San Lio, 041-589-349, close dSun lunch, good place for beer and snacks until midnight (or 1 am on Saturdays), ~16 euro.
Trattoria da Remigio - Castello 3416, Calle Bosello near Scuola San Giorgio dei Greci, Riva Degli Schiavoni, 041-523-0089, "exquisite food and excellent service at reasonable prices" says Frommer's.
Hotel Wildner Restaurant - Riva degli Schiavoni 4161 (Castello very near S. Marco, on Grand Canal), 041-522-7463, closed Tues and Jan, rec'd by Slow Food Osterie d'Italia 2014, Luca runs the hospitality and Alessandro the kitchen, traditional dishes
***Al Garanghelo - Castello 1621, Via Garibaldi (S of Arsenale), 041-520-4967, www.garanghelo.com, open 8-mid, closed Tues, rec'd by Slow Food [no more in 2014!] and Time Out for simple but good food (spaghetti all abusara, sarde in saor, folpetti, paste fresche, dolci...), tourist menu for 14 euro. Great deal/food! --> note: apparently had a change of ownership in 2012 which caused the food to suffer (see chowhound report)
San Polo --> good place for a "cicchetti crawl"
? All'Arco - San Polo 436, Calle dell'Occhialer, near Rialto, 041-520-5666, closed Sun, cicheti and other cheap favorites (~10 euro for a meal!), rec'd by Lonely Planet, NY Times for bacaro hopping, Slow Food Osterie d’Italia 2017, LiveLoveFood, Skye Mcalpine
? Osteria dai Zemei - good bacaro known for cicheti, modern, run by 2 brothers, rec’d Lonely Planet, open every day
? Hosteria Osottoosopra - restaurant with great TA/Google reviews, looks like fresh ingredients & innovative cooking, some Neapolitan influences (paccheri, insalata caprese)? more in these blogposts
Osteria Alla Ciurma - rec’d NY Times for bacaro hopping, fried stuff, closed Sun
Cantina do Spade - rec’d NY Times for bacaro hopping, fried calamari, also here, closed Tues lunch
Osteria Bancogiro - rec’d NY Times for bacaro hopping, black polenta with baccalà mantecato, Skye Mcalpine, LiveLoveFood, closed Mon
Al Mercà - S. Polo Bruno Gavagnin’s favorite polpette cicchetti, The Roman Foodie, Time Out, LiveLoveFood rec’s eggplant polpette, closed Sun
Cantina Do Mori - San Polo 429, Calle dei Do Mori (near Rialto), 041-522-5401, 8:30am-8pm closed Sun...supposedly the oldest bacaro (cichetti bar) in Venice, known for francobolli ("postage-stamp" size sandwiches), rec’d by many people including Rick Steves, LiveLoveFood, Frommers
Vineria Amarone - bacaro rec’d Elizabeth Minchilli
Osteria Antico Giardinetto - ?
Trattoria alla Madonna - old school regional cuisine: near Rialto (Michelin rec’s veal liver with onions [fegato alla veneziana], HuffPo says popular with locals, also Skye Mcalpine), closed Wed
Frary's - San Polo 2559, fondamenta dei Frari, 041-720-050, Middle Eastern food, rec'd by Lonely Planet, Time Out, gluten free/vegetarian options
?Antiche Carampane - San Polo 1911, 041-524-0165, no menu, traditional place, serves whatever is fresh at the market that day, closed Sun/Mon, old school seafood with changing menu, somewhat expensive, requires booking ahead, rec'd Fodors Choice, Michelin, Lonely Planet, Elizabeth Minchili, Skye Mcalpine rec’s fritto misto, LiveLoveFood, CN Traveler
Fancy: Da Fiore - 1 Michelin star, also rec'd Time Out
were recommended back in ~2009, not sure now:
Ai Nomboli - San Polo 2717c, Rio Tera dei Nomboli, ang. Calle Goldini (near eastern end), 041-523-0995, closed Sat/Sun, 041-523-0995, rec'd by Alice, cheap.
Alla Patatina - San Polo, Ponte S. Polo, near San Silvestro or San Toma vaporetto stop, 041-523-7238, local food rec'd by TCI, 35-45 tasting menu or ~20-35 euro a-la-carte.
Antica Osteria Ruga Rialto - San Polo 692, 041-521-1243, central location, traditional Venetial specialties (bigoli in salsa, rissotto di burscandoli, pasta e fagioli, trippa, sarde fritte) 30-35 euro, or 10 euro lunch menu, rec'd by Alice.
Da Pinto - San Polo 367, Campo de le Becarie, 041-522-4599, ostaria, popular during the Saturday morning market, open 9am-10pm, ~10 euro, rec'd by Panorama.
### Osteria Trefanti - interesting spices, only 8 tables, run by disciple of Testiere chef, organic wines, Lonely Planet, Naturally Epicurean ...closed Mon all day, Sun lunch; otherwise 12-2:30, 7-10:30 email
Ristorante Glam (di Palazzo Venart) - fancy/expensive place, 2 Michelin stars
(Osteria) (Al) La Zucca - Santa Croce 1762, Ponte del Meglio, Calle delle Tintor, 041-524-1570, closed Sun, small osteria, traditional food with creative twist, mostly vegetarian, rec'd by TCI, Michelin, Lonely Planet, Elizabeth Minchilli, slow travel, Time Out…
Al Prosecco - Santa Croce 1502, Campo San Giacomo dell'Orio, 041-524-0222, closed Sun and Jan/Aug, rec'd by Slow Food Osterie d’Italia 2017 for nice view, chiceti, crostini, prosecco, and seasonal dishes (including cheese & salumi platters)
Hostaria Veneziana - rec'd Slow Food Osterie d’Italia 2017
were recommended back in ~2009, not sure now:
Al Nono Risorto - Santa Croce 2338, Sotoportego de la Siora Bettina, 041-524-1169, 12-2 except W/Th, 7-mid except W, informal pizzeria/trattoria on the western end of city, popular with young kids, rec'd by Alice and Time Out, 14-16 euro menu of the day or 25-30 euro a-la-carte.
Il Refolo - Santa Croce 1459, campiello del Piovan, 041-524-0016, 12-2:30 and 7-11, closed M all day, Tues lunch, Dec-Jan, set up by Da Fiore folks, pizzeria and international-style restaurant, rec'd by Time Out
?Enoteca Ai Artisti - Dorsoduro rec’d Katie Parla, Dissapore, Gillian’s Lists, The Telegraph, Frommers only 20 seats!, no freezer so everything is made fresh...no fish on Monday because market is closed that day, closed Sun
### Estro hip enoteca with chalkboard specials, tramezzino sandwiches, cicchetti, wines all grown naturally, rec’d Lonely Planet, chefs on Gambero Rosso, Time Out, Dissapore, Identità Golose ...closed Tues, open all afternoon
### Adriatico Mar - enoteca with km 0, gluten free menu, great Google reviews, My Art Guides... this page says organic drinks/wine, also here and here ...closed Sun & Mon lunch
?? Osteria al Squero - Dorsoduro classic bacaro with old school cichetti, called "al Squero" because it's across a canal from an old gondola repair shop, rec'd Fodors Choice, Lonely Planet, Skye Mcalpine, The Guardian, The Times ...closed Wed
? Cantine del Vino già Schiavi - Fondamenta Nani 992 (near Osteria al Squero, might be a good option if Squero is full/closed and you want a similar vibe), San Trovaso, near San Trovaso and Zattere, 041-523-0034, 8:30am-8:30pm, closed Sun, rec’d Fodors, Time Out, The Guardian, Reid’s Italy, My Art Guides for old-school, house-made cichetti, stand at the bar, was in Slow Food guide but not anymore as of 2017
?? Impronta Cafe - nice casual spot with an actual salad bar, Telegraph, Lonely Planet likes everything but the cheese platter, Fodors, Venezia Autentica, open early/late, except Sun closed
La Bitta - Dorsoduro 2753a, Calle Lunga San Barnaba, near San Sebastiano church, 041-523-0531, 6:30-11pm, closed Sun, rec'd by Slow Food Osterie d’Italia 2017, Fodors Choice, Elizabeth Minchilli for salad, fegato alla veneziana, polenta...tiny so reservations are essential; no credit cards, closed Sun, known for having land, not sea, food (unlike most Venetian restaurants)
Oniga - rec’d Gambero Rosso, open every day, Lonely Planet says organic ingredients & some Hungarian dishes
Riviera - expensive, rec’d Lonely Planet, chefs on Gambero Rosso, Michelin
Osteria ai 4 Feri (Quatro Feri) - Dorsoduro 2754, Campo San Barnaba, traditional Venetian food, popular with locals says The Times, rec'd Alice
Al Chioschetto - Dorsoduro 1406A, fondamenta delle Zattere (near central southern end near Tronchetto Lido di Venezia), 348-396-8466, caffe-bar with good panini, only outdoor seating, rec'd by Time Out for panini/small plates
Bacareto da Lele - rec'd here for panini
***Anice Stellato - Cannaregio 3272, Fondamenta de la Sensa, near piazzale Roma, 041-720-744, 12:30-2, 7:30-10, closed Mon & Tues restaurant that uses ginger, etc. in cooking (Elizabeth Minchilli, Katie Parla, NY Times, The Guardian, Time Out, Dissapore, Gambero Rosso, Fodors says kitchen can be inconsistent, LiveLoveFood says book ahead, as does this blog)...closed Mon all day, Tues lunch; otherwise 12:15-2, 7:15-10...can also eat cicheti standing up bacaro style...we ate here in 2017 and enjoyed it
(***)Trattoria da Bepi - Cannaregio 4550, Salizada Pistor, north of Campo Santi Apostoli (near Rialto Bridge), 041-528-5031, closed Th, rec'd by Rick Steves for its fresh seafood and homey atmosphere, we had some outstanding squid ink pasta here! (Note: a number of tripadvisor reviewers give it poor marks...maybe they aren't consistent?)
?? El Magazen - relatively new (opened 2018) bacaro and restaurant rec'd Venezia Autentica, great TA/Google reviews, The Culture Trip
Vini da Gigio - Brother/sister popular with locals, S of Fond. Nove, Michelin, Fodors Choice [rec’s fegato alla veneziana], Time Out, The Telegraph, Gambero Rosso, Dissapore, Golosario, Lonely Planet, My Art Guides says good/fresh ingredients, both good seafood & meat dishes, closed Mon/Tues...somewhat creative takes on traditional dishes; we went here in 2017 and liked it, but it's not worth a special trip
?Osteria la Bottega ai Promessi Sposi - cooks used to be a Ca’ D’Oro, popular with locals, sit-down and cicchetti, Time Out, Elizabeth Minchilli, Katie Parla, Naturally Epicurian, Dissapore, The Telegraph)...closed Mon/Wed lunch, blogpost → seems like a nice place for cicchetti but maybe not for sit-down meal?? [apparently awesome baccala mantecato, sarde in saor]
?Osteria alla Frasca - Cannaregio 5176, Campiello della Carita, near Gesuiti church and Fondamenta Nuove, tiny place popular with locals, good Google reviews, Time Out, also Naturally Epicurean (menu changes daily)...a bit modern but nothing special? - open every day Biologico??
??Ostaria da Rioba - northern Cannaregio, rec’d by Dissapore (says it’s a bit “trendy”), The Times, Lonely Planet, My Art Guides says nice location/decor, closed Mon
?Trattoria Ca' d'oro-Alla Vedova - Cannaregio 3912, Calle del Pistor (southern-ish, near Grand Canal), famous for cicheti, polpette (meatballs) and artichoke hearts, traditional, popular with locals: rec'd Rick Steves, Slow Food Osterie d’Italia 2017, Michelin, Time Out, LiveLoveFood, Naturally Epicurean, closed Sun lunch, Thurs
Osteria al Ponte - Cannaregio 6378, Ponte del Cavallo, near Calle Larga Giacinto Gallina (not far from Grand Canal), 041-528-6157, close to Castello, very good reviews on Google, rec’d here for low priced bacaro, Dissapore also says it’s known for low prices, says it (used to be?) in Slow Food guide? Open every day?...mixed reviews on TripAdvisor, (Note: Different from the more expensive Al Ponte at Santa Croce 1666)
Vino Vero - has cichetti (esp. bruschette?), lots of good reviews on Google & TA...some reviews complain about prices but most say it’s good, mostly on bread (pintxos style)?? Biodynamic wines, Thurs nights live music, Rec’d LiveLoveFood, Lonely Planet, Wine & Spirits Magazine, My Art Guides, Naturally Epicurean, Venezia Autentica, Dissapore ...closed Mon lunch
Osteria da Alberto - rec’d Elizabeth Minchilli says it’s not “special” but it’s delicious (was in Slow Food guide but not since 2014), open every day
Trattoria dalla Marisa - Cannaregio 652b, 041-720-211, Elizabeth Minchilli says it’s inexpensive, local-friendly, good, informal, canalside near train station, also rec’d Slow Food Osterie d’Italia 2017, The Roman Foodie, closed Sun-Tues dinner → near Ca’ Foscari University
Orto dei Morti - run by Sicilian guy, rec'd Lonely Planet, Fodors
Enoteca la Colombina - rec'd Michelin, mother and son place
Osteria Bea Vita - rec’d The Times for daily specials, fresh seafood along canal
Paradiso Perduto - near Ghetto, nice bacaro HuffPo says is popular with locals, does live Jazz some nights, LiveLoveFood, Skye Mcalpine says it's "wild"
Al Fontego dei Pescatori - Katie Parla rec’s pesce crudo and frittura mista, Food & Wine says chef is good with wild herbs?
40 Ladroni (Quaranta Ladroni) - local fish Skye Mcalpine’s favorite Cannaregio restaurant,”The kind of place where you don’t order, but an array of antipasti are brought to the table without you even asking”...mixed reviews on Google
?Al Timon - bacaro rec’d by NY Times for cicchetti, also LiveLoveFood for crostini and organic wine, Venezia Autentica for aperiftif hour, The Culture Trip
Cantina Vecia Carbonera - Cannaregio 2329, local bacaro hangout rec’d The Times, Dissapore (“classic bacaro”)
Cantina Azienda Agricola (Agricole?) - bacaro, rec’d The Guardian, Gillian’s Lists, Venezia Autentica (says good prices)
Fiaschetteria Toscana - classic venetian (despite the name), a bit expensive, rec’d Time Out, Travel & Leisure, Gambero Rosso
Enoteca da Roberto - bacaro rec’d Elizabeth Minchilli
El Sbarfelo - bacaro rec’d Elizabeth Minchilli
La Cantina - Cannaregio 3689, Katie Parla didn’t like pasta fagioli but liked meat/cheese, locals get oysters, mediocre Google reviews, Time Out rec’s for drinks, My Art Guides
Ristorante Pizzeria ai Tre Archi - good for kids, rec'd Venezia Autentica
MQ10 (Metri Quadrati Dieci) - rec'd Venezia Autentica
Al Parlamento - bacaro rec’d here
Algiubagiò - near Fondamenta Nove, rec'd Michelin
Da Luca e Fred - rec’d The Guardian (for mid-day risotto), Dissapore
Osteria Boccadoro - also nearby, fancy versions of classics, rec’d Fodors, Lonely Planet, HuffPo says popular with locals...but glass sculptures?? Open every day
Osteria Al Bacco - old place, good fritto misto rec’d The Guardian and The Culture Trip
Torrefazione Cannaregio - Gillian’s Lists and this author both say it's the best (and oldest) coffee place in Venice, not far from the train station
Alla Palanca - Giudecca 448, fondamenta del Ponte Piccolo, 041-528-7719, 12-2:30 M-Sat meals (bar 7am-8:30pm), bacaro but has tables, mostly lunch, great Google reviews, Lonely Planet, Elizabeth Minchilli, Time Out, The Telegraph ...closed Sun
Cip's Club @ Hotel Cipriani - fancy bar that supposedly does nice bellini, at a very fancy hotel that is apparently George Clooney's favorite...there's also a fancy/expensive Restaurant Oro at the hotel...Harry's Dolci has desserts
Islands --> See above
Moro - Via Piave 192, near Mestre Train Station, rec'd by Slow Food Osterie d'Italia 2014
Ostaria da Mariano - Via Spalti 49 (well north of Mestre Train Station), rec'd by Slow Food Osterie d'Italia 2014
#Hostaria Vite Rossa - cicchetti place rec'd Lonely Planet, has local/organic wines
Osteria Plip - modern/innovative place specializing in pizza (but which has other dishes), organic ingredients, rec'd Scatti di Gusto and Dissapore; some negative reviews about service and cold temperatures
#Grigoris - somewhat fancy pizzeria, rec'd Dissapore, Slow Food ingredients, looks nice, I want to try their tiramisu!
El Bacaro Cicchetteria - classic bar food with great TripAdvisor reviews
Osteria Lupo Nero - classic place rec'd for seafood/cicchetti, near the movie theater
Restaurant Tavernetta A La Scuea - somewhat fancy seafood place, great Google/TripAdvisor reviews, rec'd Via dei Gourmet
Radice Food & Drink - modern bar and restaurant with fresh-looking food
?Oltre il Giardino - restaurant with mostly organic ingredients, also has organic/biodynamic wines, good Google/TripAdvisor reviews, vegan friendly, rec'd Lonely Planet
Pasta & Pizza e non solo - a take-away place near Mestre train station open all afternoon/evening, good Google/TripAdvisor reviews
Ristorante Montenapoleone Mestre - near Mestre train station, both Italian classics and sushi, good Google/TripAdvisor reviews
Namaste Venezia - Indian food, good Google/TripAdvisor reviews
Aki - Japanese place, has good reviews
Ai Tre Garofani - rec'd Michelin, expensive
Al Segnavento - rec'd Michelin
Trattoria Al Passo - rec'd Michelin
Caffè Concerto - fancy/creative place with great Google/TripAdvisor reviews, you order on an iPad?, in Favaro, rec'd Identità Golose
All'Ombra del Gabbiano - organic ingredients, mixed reviews on Google/TripAdvisor
Pasticceria Ceccon - pastry shop rec'd Identità Golose
...www.visitmestre.com seems to have some good information/advice?
?Agriturismo Al Segnavento
?Agriturismo la Cascina di Diego Scaramuzza
?Osteria Al Turbine
Antica Osteria Cera - very fancy/expensive, 2 Michelin stars
***Gelato di Natura - small local chain that has franchised to as far away as China (!), our favorite gelateria when we visited in 2017, has 3 locations:
Bacino Orseolo, S. Marco 1164/a (just north of Piazza San Marco)
Campo Santi Apostoli, Cannaregio 4454 (near Strada Nova on the way to San Marco)
San Giacomo dall'Orio, Santa Croce 1628 (original branch?, halfway between Rialto and Scalzi bridges), rec’d Naturally Epicurean, Conde Nast Traveler
?Boutique del Gelato, Castelo 5727, salizzada San Lio, 041-522-3283, closed Dec/Jan, Feb-May & Oct-Nov 10-8:30 daily, Jun-Sep 10-11:30 daily; Time Out says it's the most popular and arguably the best in the city, also rec'd Naturally Epicurean
?Alaska Gelateria-Sorbetteria - Santa Croce 1159, calle larga dei Bari, 041-715-211, closed Dec/Jan, Feb-Mar & Nov 12-9 daily, Apr-Oct 11-mid daily; Time Out rec's as having fresh, natural ingredients; both favorites and oddballs (artichoke, fennel, asparagus, ginger), also rec'd Conde Nast Traveler
## Il Bacaro del Gelato - Cannaregio, good Google reviews, rec'd Venezia Autentica, Conde Nast Traveler
### Gelateria da Nico - overlooks the Giudecca Canal, apparently popular with celebrities, rec'd Gambero Rosso's Gelaterie d'Italia 2020, LiveLoveFood, Conde Nast Traveler, this post likes the gianduia
### Gelateria Chocolat - also has pastries, rec'd Gambero Rosso Gelaterie d'Italia 2020
Grom - chain that started in Turin but still has pretty good gelato — various locations throughout Venice
Venchi - another chain but good, rec'd CN Traveler
?San Stae - Salizada San Stae, Santa Croce 1910, has spicy flavors like star anise, ginger, etc...rec’d by Bruno Gavagnin in WSJ article; S. Croce → now called Fontego delle Dolcezze?
? Suso Gelatoteca - rec’d The Times, The Roman Foodie, Conde Nast Traveler
? Gelateria Ca’ D’Oro - rec'd Venezia Autentica
? Mela Verde - rec’d at Venezia Autentica and Conde Nast Traveler...also Skye Mcalpine says “Quite possibly the best ice cream in Venice” and likes their pine nut flavor, innovative flavors change daily
Gelateria Il Doge - LiveLoveFood, Conde Nast Traveler says it's more popular with locals than tourists
Stickhouse Venezia - "gelato on a stick" (popsicles), rec'd Conde Nast Traveler
Il Pinguino - Castello, rec’d Naturally Epicurean
Gelateria San Leonardo - Cannaregio, rec’d Naturally Epicurean
Il Doge - classic?
...also see others in Mestre, above
were rec'd in ~2009, not sure now:
Gelateria Lo Squero - Dorsoduro 989-90, fondamenta Nani, 347-269-7921, 11-9 daily, Time Out rec's various fresh flavors, incluidng the light and creamy mousse series
Igloo - San Marco 3651, calle della Mandola, 041-522-3003, Feb-Mar & Oct-Nov 11:30-7:30, Apr-Sep 11-9, closed mid Nov-Carnevale. Time Out rec's for fresh gelato, especially fruit flavors in the summer.
Il Gelatone - Cannaregio 2063, rio terà Maddalena, 041-720-631, Jan-Apr & Oct-Dec 11-8, May-Sep 11-10:30. Rec'd by Time Out for "luscious," "overflowing" cones.
see www.naturallyepicurean.org/my-sweet-venice and www.dissapore.com/locali/pasticcerie-migliori-venezia/ and...
Boscolo - Cannaregio 1818, campiello de l'Anconeta, 041-720-731, 6:40am-8:40pm, rec'd by Time Out.
Da Bonifacio - rec'd by Time Out.
Rosa Salva - rec'd by Time Out, Skye Mcalpine, San Marco
Pasticceria alla Bragora - rec'd Skye Mcalpine, Castello
Pasticceria dal Nono Colussi - rec'd Skye Mcalpine for focaccia Veneziana, Dorsoduro
--> also look up "bacaro", "enoteca", and "cichetti" in Restaurants, above
Ombra = a small glass of wine
Bàcari = bars
Spritz = white wine, Campari, and sparkling water
Naranzaria - near grand canal, good wines
Ardidos - cool design
Al Marcà - shade
Skyline Bar - drink with a view
Al Chioschetto - Zattere waterside bar
Vincent Bar - "leafy lagoon charm"
Taverna del Campiello Remer - grand canal perch, rec'd by Time Out
Vino Vino - wine bar near San Marco square rec'd by Frommer's
Harry's Bar - famous bar just south of San Marco square, invented the Bellini cocktail, www.cipriani.com
More ideas here from the Guardian
"Two households, both alike in dignity, in fair Verona, where we lay our scene..." begins Romeo and Juliet. Shakespeare never went to Verona, and "Juliet's Balcony" is pretty much a tourist scam, but romance is still alive in Verona, the second largest city in Veneto, which inspired the great romantic tragedy. Verona also has great Roman ruins, including an amphitheater ("la Arena") where open-air opera is staged in the summer. See this Rick Steves article and TV show clip for a nice introduction to the town.
Where to Eat
The following places are recommended in guidebooks:
Al Carro Armato - rec'd by Osterie d'Italia
Al Parigin - Via Trezzolano 13 (outside town in Trezzolano), rec'd by Osterie d'Italia
Al Pompiere - rec'd by Osterie d'Italia, Gambero Rosso, Espresso, Michelin, TCI, this site
Al Popolo - Via Torrente Vecchio 77c (outside town in Avesa), rec'd by Osterie d'Italia
Al Solito Posto - rec'd by Alice
Antica Osteria al Duomo - rec'd by Osterie d'Italia, Fodors, Lonely Planet (rec's fragolino strawberry wine), Luciano Pignataro
Antica Osteria le Piere - Via Emanuele Nicolini 43 (outside town in Mizzole), rec'd by Osterie d'Italia, description here
Caffè Carducci - rec'd by Osterie d'Italia
Caffè Monte Baldo - via Rosa 12, rec'd by Osterie d'Italia, The Guardian named as one of its "Top 10 budget eats in Verona"
Hotel Borghetti - rec'd by Osterie d'Italia
Il Desco - expensive 2 Michelin-star place, also rec'd by Gambero Rosso, Espresso, TCI
La Fontanina - 1 Michelin-star place, also rec'd by Gambero Rosso, Espresso, TCI, Andrea Vassalli (Googler)
Osteria a Le Petarine - Via San Mamaso 6a, rec'd by Osterie d'Italia
Osteria del Bugiardo - agriturismo that specializes in Valpolicella wine but also serves very reasonably-priced simple, traditional food alongside it, rec'd by Osterie d'Italia
Osteria Sottoriva - rec'd by Osterie d'Italia, Gambero Rosso
Pane e Vino - rec'd by Osterie d'Italia
Trattoria al Bersagliere - rec'd by Osterie d'Italia, Michelin Bib Gourmand, TCI
Trattoria Tre Marchetti - popular with people who see shows in the Arena, traditional Veneto cuisine, rec'd Espresso, Michelin, TCI
Casa Perbellini - 2 Michelin stars
Oseleta - 1 Michelin star
Il Desco - 1 Michelin star
Osteria la Fontanina - 1 Michelin star
12 apostoli - 1 Michelin star
Perbellini - on Isola Rizza, 1 Michelin star
Known for its university, Padua hosts the Scrovegni Chapel, which has frescos by Giotto, and Basilica of St. Anthony, a popular pilgrimage site (which also has Donatello statues and Renaissance carvings).
Rick Steves recommends this town for its Venice-like Rennaissance palaces, many designed by architect Andrea Palladio. Palladio also designed the splendid Olympic Theater. Rick rec's Zi Teresa, a local restaurant.
Not far from Venice, and featuring some canals (various articles say you can get some of the charm of Venice without the crowds).
Pizzeria Zero 81 - this site says they do very good pizza
Home to the 1956 Winter Olympics (and the 2026 one!), this Dolomite town is known for some of the best skiing in Italy, if not Europe. The local language (Ladin) is related to Swiss Romansch.
[La Taverna di Cornelio - Via Cantore 1, 043-622-32, 043-625-35, restaurant associated with Hotel Cornelio, highly rec'd by Naples sub JOs --> as of 2019 looks like it's replaced by Hotel Ciasa Lorenzi ?? (still has restaurant...)]
Masi Wine Bar Cortina (al Druscié) - entoteca/wine bar rec'd Gambero Rosso in 2019, great TA/Google reviews, also serves food from small menu that includes a fair number of desserts and a kid's menu
Chalet Tofane - rec'd Gambero Rosso in 2019, Dolomiti Review, good Google reviews but OK TripAdvisor
Nero di Seppia - rec'd Michelin, popular on TA...now called Chalet Amadeus?, rec'd Gambero Rosso in 2017, looks pretty "old school"
Il Vizietto di Cortina - popular on TripAdvisor, pretty good Google reviews, TCI says it's popular so book ahead, a mix of mediterranean/southern Italian and local specialties, looks pretty new/modern
Ristorante Ariston - popular on TripAdvisor, pretty good Google reviews, older wood-paneled place, also has pizza
Leone e Anna - good Google reviews, but only OK on TA, Sardinian food, colorful dishes with lots of vegetables
more expensive/"fine dining" places:
Baita Piè Tofana - rec'd Veneto Secrets, Gambero Rosso in 2017, Michelin, somewhat rustic environment but pretty elevated food
Tivoli - highest rated restaurant in town on TripAdvisor, 1 Michelin star, blogpost description from 2016
Ristorante El Camineto (Meloncino) - highly rated on TA, rec'd Michelin, Lonely Planet
Ristorante del Dolomiti Lodge Alverà - hotel restaurant, highly rated on TA
La Corte del Lampone - highly rated on TA, rec'd Michelin, in the Rosa Petra resort, somewhat haute cuisine
Just outside of town:
## SanBrite - just outside town in Località Alverà, rec'd Lonely Planet (a "top choice"), Dissapore in 2018, Veneto Secrets, looks like gorgeous food, contemporary twists on mountain cooking classics, fairly expensive, highly rated on TripAdvisor & Google
## El Brite de Larieto - organic agriturismo outside of town (in Larieto), rec'd by Espresso, Lonely Planet (a "top choice"), this site, Massimo Bottura, Veneto Secrets, popular on TripAdvisor, more history/info here
## Da Aurelio - rifugio (both restaurant & rooms) with great views (on the Passo di Giau in Colle Santa Lucia), rec'd Veneto Secrets, Il Messagero, Dolomiti Review, Corriere della Sera, good Google/TA reviews
Ristorante Baita Fraina - restaurant which also rents out rooms, rec'd by Gambero Rosso in 2017 (and 2019), Michelin, and TCI...there's a relatively easy hike that starts/ends at the restaurant
...also runs an Enoteca in the middle of town (Largo delle Poste 17)
Ristorante Al Camin (di Pompanin Fabio) - highly rated on TA/Google, rec'd by Michelin, Lonely Planet, modernized classics/decor
Rifugio Scoiattoli Restaurant - near Cinque Torri rock formation, great TA reviews, good Google reviews
Rifugio Cinque Torri is also popular on TA/Google
Pezié de Parù - rifugio/restaurant on the way to the Giau Pass, popular on TripAdvisor, pretty good Google reviews, rec'd TCI
Ristorante Ospitale - rec'd by Veneto Secrets, TCI (was rec'd Michelin & Gambero Rosso but not anymore in 2019), popular on TripAdvisor, a bit less so Google, a little old school/rustic
Ristorante Lago Scin - good Google reviews, lots of flowers in summer, rustic decor, seems a little bit "old school"
Ristorante Lago Pianozes (di Alberti Massimo) - rec'd Fodors, popular on TripAdvisor, pretty good Google reviews
A bit further out:
Ristorante Osteria Al Capriolo (Il Capriolino) in Vodo di Cadore (~20 min drive) - Via Nazionale 108, rec'd Slow Food Osterie d'Italia 2018, 1 Michelin star, Veneto Secrets, Gambero Rosso in 2017, pretty expensive
Ristorante Cianzia in Borca di Cadore (~20 min drive) - Via Cavour 83, rec'd Slow Food Osterie d'Italia 2018, rustic wood paneling and plant-inspired lighting
Aga in San Vito di Cadore - rec'd Dissapore in 2018, Gambero Rosso in 2017, 1 Michelin star, CN Traveler, NY Times (in 2015), pretty expensive, "0 km" locavore philosophy with most of the ingredients grown/foraged nearby, looks like a beautiful place
Trattoria Ski Bar - in Pieve di Cadore (~36 min), rec'd Scatti di Gusto, Gambero Rosso in 2017, rave review here
Rifugio Monte Agudo - in Auronzo di Cadore (~40 min), rec'd Gambero Rosso in 2017
in San Cassiano (~40 min drive):
? Restaurant St. Hubertus - Strada Micurà de Rü 20 in San Cassiano (~40 min drive), fancy 3-star Michelin place (won its 3rd star in 2018), Travel & Leisure, Lonely Planet, Massimo Bottura
the more casual Wine Bar & Grill (also at the Rosa Alpina Hotel...which apparently has a very nice breakfast?) is also rec'd Michelin
La Siriola at Ciasa Salares - Strada Prè de Vì 31 rec'd Massimo Bottura, Michelin ...name might be Sori now?
Barance - in Masarè / Alleghe (~1 hour drive), rec'd Michelin (Bib Gourmand)
La Favorita in Lozzo di Cadore (~50 min drive) - rec'd Slow Food Osterie d'Italia 2018
Pasticceria Alverà - desserts/pastries, founded in 1914, highly rated on TA & Google
Cioccolato Rizzati - Via Cesare Battisti 39, great TA & Google reviews, gelato/chocolate
Pasticceria Ghedina - pretty good TA reviews, great Google reviews
Prosciutteria Dok Dall'Ava LP 26 - prosciutto store rec'd by Alice
Supermarkets/Alimentari: La Piazzetta (salumeria/alimentari, Corso Italia 53) and La Cooperativa (supermarket, Corso Italia 40) rec'd Frommers
Veneto Secrets has some nice articles about specific places to go/stay
Dolomiti Review has good reviews (in Italian)
Gambero Rosso gives a good overview of the area (and places to eat, etc.)
lots of hiking trails in the summer; some trace where World War I was fought
this map (available at tourist offices) shows some of the main trails
this page shows which lifts are open when
various mountain huts ("rifugio" or "malga") offer hot meals and a place to stay (so you can do backpacking-type trips with just a day pack)
Tre Cime di Lavaredo (Three Peaks of Lavaredo) - very popular (some call it the "iconic" hike of the Dolomites), but fairly dry (not much vegetation) and sometimes crowded; loop trail starts at Rifugio Auronzo
Cinque Torri (Five Towers) - accessible from the Falzarego Pass (to the north, via the 5 Torri chairlift) or Giau Pass (to the south, via the Fedare chairlift), which each have chairlifts; great photography of the northern route on this post
nearby: Rifugio Scoiattoli (see above)
Lagazuoi Peak (aka Lagazuoi Piccolo or Kleiner Lagazuoi) - is just north of Cinque Torri, and is mostly famous for its tunnels used in World War I; many of the hikes require a helmet and via ferrata gear, but you can reach the mountain peak easily from the Falzarego - Lagazuoi Cable Car (according to this site, it's even possible with a baby carriage!)
Lago di Braies (Pragser Wildsee) - a bit of a drive from Cortina (almost an hour), but people say it looks like a "fairy tale" and the hike around the lake is short/easy
Cascate di Fanes/Pian de Loa - start of an easy waterfall hike rec'd USA Today
Giau Pass - between two peaks; nearby Fedare chairlift leads up to Cinque Torri (some recommend the hike down from Nuvolau to Giau); this site says to get there early if you're driving (since parking is limited) or take a bus
nearby: Da Aurelio (see above)
Faloria/Monte Cristallo - there's a cable car connecting Faloria to Cortina, from which there are various hikes, including to Passo Tre Croci