Osteria Antico Giardinetto

Calle dei Morti 2253
Santa Croce
30135 Venezia
Tel. 041 722 882


This osteria is a small, family-run restaurant near the Rialto fish market (a must-see, as it happens).

Owned by husband and wife Larisa and Virgilio, Larisa runs the place while Virgilio prepares the fresh, simple dishes.

The interior dining room is small but cozy, with tables for two or four topped with white linens and low lighting creating an atmosphere of comfort and warmth.

The outdoor patio can be covered or uncovered, depending on the weather, and is equally inviting.

The local seafood is the clear focus here, starting with the antipasti and continuing through the primi and secondi. However, that’s not all this little osteria offers, as they have a full menu of delightful items from land as well.

From the sea, you should try the antipasto assortito di pesce crudo (mixed raw fish appetizers) or the soutè di cozze e vongole con crostini (sautéed mussels and clams with crispy bread) to start, followed by the vermicelli al nero di sepia (typical Venetian squid ink pasta) or the gnochetti di zucca con scampi e radicchio tardive (pumpkin gnocchi with shrimp and chicory).

For your secondo, try the tagliata di tonno all’aceto balsamico (tuna steak with balsamic reduction) or perhaps the suprema di orata all’arancia (sea bream with fresh orange sauce).

If you decide to go with their succulent meats, you should start with the prosciutto crudo San Daniele (raw ham).

Continue your meal with the gnochetti misto bosco (mushroom gnocchi), and try the costolette di agnello Toscano scottaditto (Tuscan roast lamb chops) or the filetto di manzo ai 3 pepi (fillet of beef with pepper sauce).

For dessert, you really must try their panna cotta (literally “cooked cream”), a delicious pudding with a consistency similar to that of flan. Here, it comes topped with chocolate, raspberries or caramel.

Another classic that is well worth your while is the zabaione, a fresh, light cream made of eggs, sugar and Marsala wine that you’ll probably wish you hadn’t discovered, if only for the sake of your waistline.

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Osteria alle Testiere

Calle del Mondo Novo, 5801
30122 Venezia
Tel. 041 522 7220


Closed Sunday and Monday.
Reservations highly recommended.

There is no set menu at this lovely osteria, as the offerings depend entirely upon the day’s catch.

What it lacks in space (there are perhaps twenty seats), it more than makes up for with the quality of the food, which is some of the best seafood available in Venice.

It is consistently frequented by locals as well as tourists, and there are only two seatings for dinner, so be sure to reserve in advance to avoid being turned away.

The décor is sparse in this tiny dining room; since clearly the focus is on the freshness and quality of the food, it won’t much matter once you are served.

All types of fish and crustacean here are freshly caught and inventively presented with simple ingredients so as not to overwhelm the dish.

Some examples from one of their daily menus include a warm salad of calamari and red chicory, gazpacho with grilled baby octopus..

There is always a cheese of the week and vegetables (seasonal) or salads to accompany the main dishes.

The wine selection is wide, if a bit pricey; the house wine is good for those on a budget and perfectly lovely.

The restaurant offers a cookbook, available in English, French, or Italian, “Venice, Food and Wine” with some of their classic offerings.

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