Ristorante La Sosta, Tessera 08-2020

After the long drive from Cortina to Venice airport, it had been perfectly timed to fit in a stop at Belluno, filling up petrol, and eating dinner before returning the car and flying out.

The options nearby were limited, but Ristorante La Sosta had good Google reviews (4.2) and was conveniently close with some free parking conveniently found around the corner. I saw Bar La Sosta and it took me a while to ask and check that the restaurant was the same (Google Maps makes you think they are separate places next to each other).

On a hot, most humid and intermittently raining evening, we sat outside and braved some mosquitoes and ordered the huge serves of pasta the internet had promised us. And it was huge.

- €11 gnocchi with (some) scallops hidden in amongst it;
- €13 seafood pasta which was large and nice, with lots of small ingredients. The prawns were not peeled which made it a bit more fiddly. Pasta was slightly al dente too.

I think 2 people could easily share 1. But if it doubt, just order one each...

Bacaro del Gelato, Venice 08-2020

I skipped past Gelato di Natura (reading and seeing for myself that it was akin to Suso) and instead went for the highly rated option in the local north. It was late in the evening and they had run out of pistachio, but added a tiny little speck on top of my choices just to let me try.

Cremino al pistachio (dark chocolate with pistachio cream) and mango were both good and fine. I didn't think either of them were mindblowing and I would choose Suso for flavour and location, although at €1.8 for 1 scoop and €2.8 for 2 scoops you can't beat Bacaro for price or value.

Gelatoteca Suso, Venice 08-2020

By far the most expensive and my favourite gelato place I tried in Venice. At €2.2 for a specialty flavour or €1.8 for a standard flavour, the price per scoop means there's no advantage to sharing one cone with 2 scoops. Lucky the quality (and location right near Rialto bridge) makes up for it.

Dark chocolate was intense and not sweet. Manet was a mix of pistachio with salt crystals and chocolate hazelnut - lots of flavours and good mix.

I went the next day for a midday gelato and tried the unadulterated pistachio which was potent and had little pieces of nut - outstanding. Noce & fichi seemed to have minimal hazelnut but caramelized fig pieces made it sweet and dark. Really good.

One of the best in one of the best locations anywhere in the world.

Africa Experience, Venice 08-2020

It may seem unusual to try African food in Venice - after a few days of typical Italian foods, I was keen to try something different only because the (Google) ratings were so high. The staff are from Africa which lends a certain authenticity although maybe more authentic if they focused on one country. Nonetheless the menu was varied and interesting. The decor is also very cool with the outdoor area walls full of depictions.

- Antipasto misto - fortunately this is an African rather than an Italian antipasto, and consisted of a very good aubergine, runny hummus, nice yoghurt sauce, and slightly spicy salsa. It was served with a dense bread, kind of round corn bread, and a vegetable pastry like a pasty;
- Tagen (Egypt)(cuttlefish & prawns with vegetables) €10 - seafood was tender but very salty, the selected side of rice with broadbeans and dill was very nice;
- Mafe (Guinea)(beef with peanut sauce & vegetables) €10 - ok dish but could barely detect any peanuts. I did an odd thing and asked for injera as my side. At first they said I couldn't, then agreed, then brought me some thick bread instead. I told them that I had ordered the injera and which was then brought out soon after. Unfortunately it had been rolled up and the top was uncooked and therefore raw dough. It did have a sour taste at least (appropriately). And it cost €1.5 extra because even though a side is included with each main, they wouldn't allow me to have this one.

Overall it was a different meal and one I would go back again if I ever (unlikely) find myself in Venice for a long period of time. Just wouldn't get the injera.

L'Osteria San Barnaba, Venice 08-2020

Given Venice is surrounded (or floating on) water, it would make sense that the city serves decent seafood. Not unexpectedly being given the luxury in such a beautiful city means it will cost quite a bit. There were a few Italian/Venetian restaurants in Dorsoduro that advertised fresh seafood along the eating street of Calle Lunga San Barnaba, and the one with its namesake was where we ended up.

The waiter was in a jovial mood and when I accidentally said "gracias" he assumed I was Spanish and then served us the rest of the evening in a combination of English and Spanish. He kept all the guests entertained throughout the evening and earned his tip that night.

- Grigliata mista di pesce (swordfish, sea bass fillet, prawns, shrimp, squid) €30 - a bit expensive but for the variety and privelege as mentioned above. Nice prawns and scampi, sea bass very soft and delicious, swordfish more simple and less seasoned but juicy and slightly under cooked in a good way. Squid was a single piece and low on flavour;
- Grilled vegetables €4 - aubergines grilled in a standard and nice way;
- Pannacotta with forest fruits - the forest fruit in the picture turned out to be only an overly sweet sauce and custard rather than the picture of berries. Disappointing.

Overall an adequate meal in what is probably a cheaper venue around town. Nothing to write home about and would probably try somewhere else in the future.

Osteria Enoteca Ai Artisti, Venice 08-2020

I read that Ai Artisti was one of the best restaurants in Dorsoduro, and with its location along the main canal thoroughfare to pass through the area toward Accademia bridge, it wasn't surprising that it was so popular. During the lunchtime (and probably dinner too), the tables along the canal as people walk past were definitely in high demand, and we were lucky to get one that was just out of reach of the blaze of the sun.

The night before we had been turned away and although the menu is one of the more expensive options in the area, it meant for a little more suspense as to good it could be (given the popularity and reputation?). The pasta dishes seemed to be a specialty and it was one of the few that had the local Venetian specialty pasta of bigoi (traditionally made with buckwheat, but now wholewheat according to Wikipedia).

One thing is that it definitely had an expensive cover charge at €3.5 each for bread (which at least had a range of breads even if not the best texturally).

- Spaghetta bigoi in salsa (anchovies & onion) €14 - dense chewy pasta (as expected) topped simply with anchovies and caramelised onion. Very nice and full of anchovy salinity as expected; 
- Homemade maltagliati with curry, rabbit confit, chantarelles €16 - flat pasta cooked al dente with the most tender rabbit I've eaten and good little mushrooms. 

With the cover charge, it was an expensive €37 and the serves were a bit on the small side, but I have to say the pastas were a touch different to common and cooked very well.

Ristorante La Bitte, Venice 08-2020

After a long walk from Rialto bridge all the way back to Dorsoduro (which was a perfect way to see the grand canal in the evening and moonlight), there were surprisingly few good looking dinner options along that route. Eventually we made it back to near the Airbnb and the quieter more local looking backstreet restaurants I had found earlier in the day were there, even though some had stopped serving for the evening.

- Tagliolini al pesto €12 - a simple dish with a very basil pesto. We couldn't detect any pine nut flavour or texture (maybe cheaper to make it that way?);
- Bocconcini di vitello & finferli & porcini mushrooms €18 - polenta (which is meant to be a specialty of the region) had minimal seasoning but the very tender pieces of veal and mushrooms were well seasoned and had excellent flavours with which the polenta could carry;
- Dessert €6 - quite an expensive tiramisu. Although apparently tiramisu was created in Venice, so had to try it once. And it was pretty good.

Good local Venetian cuisine at reasonable prices.

Pizza Al Volo, Venice 08-2020

Just before the heat of the afternoon led to a siesta, a local pizza sitting canalside at the Ponte dei Pugni made for a pleasant lunch in the shade. It would be nice if the canal was clean enough to dip into (didn't even want to put my toes in) but you can't have everything.

The pizza at Al Volo was cheap and quite nice, with a crisp base tasty anchovies and very mushy mushrooms. Wasn't sure if the mushrooms are just like that or cooked that way, but I had something similar elsewhere so maybe it's just the type of mushroom.

Gelateria Il Doge, Venice 08-2020

On the very first evening after arriving late into Venice, it was time to see what goes on in Dorsoduro on a Friday night. The young ones were out and about drinking, smoking and sitting around Campo Santa Margherita and the nearby bridge, along with the world's largest seagulls.

Despite not feeling food, gelato was on the cards for a warm, humid evening and I caught Il Doge just as the guy was closing the outside rails. He relented for me and I started a train of business for the next 10 mins.

Pistachio was very good. Il Doge was a special of theirs with orange and mild chocolate. It had a few ice crystals but otherwise ok. The dark chocolate looked thick for next time although I never made it back there. Very cheap €1.8 for 1 scoop or €3 for 2 was decent value.

A good option for the area.