Venice is rather a lousy place to eat seafood. Doesn’t that seem like a contradiction with all the sea around here but it is true.
Perhaps it is because so many of the restaurants in Venice cater to tourists and many restaurants in Italy, but more particularly in Venice, see tourists as undiscerning.
Good news though, a few places do maintain the culinary traditions of old and serve great food that is always fresh. The Antico Dolo is one of those.
Located close to the Rialto Bridge, in a building that was once a 15th century brothel, this is a restaurant that has been going ever since. The menu even features some of the same classic Venetian dishes of the time – the tripe rissa is one of these and if you like tripe don’t miss this dish.
Bruno Ruffini and family now run this restaurant. Bruno will only serve fresh food in his restaurant and being near Ruga Rialto (the main fresh produce/fish market) the location of the restaurant could not be better. Most mornings at first light you will find Bruno or the chefs Matteo and Stefania at the market buying the ingredients for the days menu.
Bruno has won many awards for his innovative dishes which often add slightly personal touches to traditional Venetian recipes.
Despite being small, or perhaps because of it, the atmosphere is very intimate and the service friendly and efficient.
Prices too are very reasonable considering that this is Venice and considering the quality of the food served here. Even with three or four courses and a decent bottle of wine the price shouldn’t exceed 60 Euros a head.
What to eat? Anything seafood, the mixed seafood antipasto for two is a good idea, it includes many of the traditional seafood dishes from the Veneto.
Another good option is the tripe and of course they also do a great version of Cicchetti. If you don't know what Cicchetti are then you're in for a real treat. Basically it is a Venetian tradition similar to tapas in Spain and consists of lots of delectable and mostly traditional little treats. You can't explain it really - you need to get to Venice and try it for yourself.
The menu here changes regularly depending on the season so make sure you ask the staff what they recommend.
The Veneto Restaurant Guide
The Antico Dolo Restaurant in Venice