El Sbarlefo – With our first round of wine, a grechetto for me (lighter white with mineral and nice acidity) and a primitivo for Leandra, we also ordered some fried cheese bites. Leandra had a glass of prosecco (light apple and fine bubbles) for round two and I opted for the pricier franciacorta, a nice medium bodied sparkling with light bread notes and fine bubbles.
Bar Ai Santi – Just down the street was another highly rated wine bar with different snacks so we hung out for a bit and ordered some more cicchetti, this time beef and cod puffs. There were no posted prices for the wine but the bartender said most everything was around 5€ and recommended a lovely Malbec for Leandra. I had a Gewurztraminer from Northern Italy, and we sat outside under an awning watching city life go by. Very relaxed!
Hostaria Sant’Aponal – We made a reservation for our first dinner in Venice, and when we arrived they just plopped us down without asking for our name. About ten minutes later a different man came over and asked if we would mind moving to a different table. A little strange considering the table we vacated then sat empty for the rest of our dinner, but no big deal. To start I ordered a Sauvignon Blanc and Leandra chose the house red “Veneto Rosso”. To eat, I had the duck paparedelle and Leandra ordered an appetizer, the salted cheesecake with beef tartare. We both liked our dishes but found the experience mostly unmemorable.
It was pretty rainy all day but we still managed to sneak in some good sweets. We tried ‘lobstertail’ pastries with pistachio and chocolat fillings – surprisingly crunchy and delicious. And after the castle, we stopped at Gelateria Gallonetto for a chocolate and cookie cone for me and the famous pistachio variety for Leandra – intensely nut flavored and well worth the extra .50€ premium.
Adriatico Mar – We stopped into this little wine bar before dinner hoping to get a table and we scored! We both started with the Sangiovese Rosé, then split a very dry Malvasia sparkling (saison like and floral). The barkeep/owner(?) was very friendly, the space cozy with old character and the location right on the canal was lovely.
Bakarò – Definitely more of a touristy place than it seemed from their website – we were seated between Americans and Australians. They take reservations but the space was huge for Venice, formerly an industrial factory with brick and wood beams. I got a glass of Sauvignon Blanc and Leandra opted for the house rosso again. This menu was heavy on traditional dishes and seafood, so I went for something off the burger list – a speck and caramelized onion burger that came with a side of fries that were butterflied for extra crispiness. Leandra got the Venetian sampler trio with baccalà mantecato (codfish), polenta and squid in tomato sauce and sardines in soar – which she was glad she tried but didn’t love. Service was quite quick.
La Loggia Venezia – We tried to go to another wine bar but were told there was no space even though we could see an empty table… Instead, we ended up at Loggia and it was great once we got settled in. We sat at the bar and the bartender rattled off tons of available by-the-glass options, so to make things easy we each got a Franciacorta bubbles – blanc for me and a rosé for Leandra. This earned us some cicchetti – mortadella and pistachio for me and a red pepper and cheese for Leandra – which she ate insisting the whole time she was too full. :)
Osteria Al Tappo – While cloudy (but not raining!) we enjoyed an hour or so in the quiet courtyard with some lovely jazz. I tried the fruilano to start and Leandra got a Valpolicella. We also got some snacks – tuna and cacio e pape fried balls. Leandra went in for round two and surprised me with a sparking rosé while she had switched to a Cabernet.
Time for more sweets! As we walked toward the train station, we passed a window of a Jewish bakery – Panificio Giovanni Volpe – filled with impade (powdered sugar covered pastries), so we stopped to get one to try. Next stop, Gelateria S. Leonardo for more gelato.
Al Prosecco – Leandra wanted to try an aperol spritz in Venice, so we stopped here for a quick drink. I was not at all interested, so I opted for a Malvasia rosé. While we people watched in the park, the sun came out!
For dinner we wanted to go to Antico Forno, but they were closed for a staff function. Instead we went with takeaway from Farini. We got two slices each, a regular margarita (solid), ham and potato (okay), olive and prosciutto (good) and a brie and speck (really good). We split a bottle of prosecco that the apartment owner had left for us.