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Perfect gondola ride and dinner in Venice? But on a budget.

Perfect gondola ride and dinner in Venice? But on a budget.

Jun 19th, 2013, 03:18 PM
  #1  
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Perfect gondola ride and dinner in Venice? But on a budget.

We will be in Venice on my wife's 55th birthday while also celebrating our 30th anniversary (October 25th) . It will be the last night of only a week in Italy so I'd like to make it 'the best'. We are on a limited budget so sharing a gondola is acceptable. But my question is how do I 'guarantee' the perfect time and gondola ride? Any specific place to pick up a gondola? Sunset sounds like a great time to go with the changing lights and such, but I also don't want to miss out on the beauty of it all by cruising canals in the dark. Plus I'm an amateur photographer so I'll be clicking away as much as possible.

Also, how about some dinner ideas. Any place to have an 'unforgetable' dinner? She likes 'basic' pasta dishes and no fish, but I'm a foodee and so would love a place that caters to us both ("feed me sto affamata"). Price? $100 to $200 dollars?

Any other suggestions are more than welcomed. We are only in Venice from Friday noon to Saturday noon. Yes that is way too little time but we plan to enjoy what we can just by getting lost. We are staying in Venice almost directly across from the Guggenheim. So with that in mind.... please help me plan the perfect 24 hours.
oldsteve is offline  
Jun 19th, 2013, 03:47 PM
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After much travel through Italy I have found that Venice is the one place where food is often mediocre and can sometimes be awful. Also - that barring very basic places (we've had some great pizza in local places in back alleys) decent food is not cheap.

I would expect to pay well more than $200 for a truly memorable dinner - and would pick the restaurant very carefully.

If you don;t want a full dinner - but just a main course (although i don;t get that at all) you can do something for less. But I would be clear about expectations. A nice place won't want to serve you wife just a basic pasta and not even a main course.
nytraveler is offline  
Jun 19th, 2013, 03:57 PM
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There is no inexpensive gondola ride. Numerous sites list them surf around and find one that works for your budget and book. As to Dinner there are so many places and I am sure you will get tons of suggestions. You can do the sunset thing have some wine and cichetti do your ride then eat. There is a stand near the Giglio San stop that is less crowded than the others.
JoanneH is offline  
Jun 19th, 2013, 04:07 PM
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We have eaten well at La Bitta, Calle Lunga San Barnaba. A good meal (shared starter, two main courses, shared dessert plus a bottle of wine) comes to about 70 or 80 euro.
Peter_S_Aus is online now  
Jun 19th, 2013, 04:52 PM
  #5  
 
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Does it have to be a gondola ride? I thought going just on a regular vaporetto, but the one along the Grand Canal was pretty spectacular. Then you'd have more money for dinner.
suze is offline  
Jun 19th, 2013, 07:14 PM
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Definitely do the gondola ride. There is a huge difference between a vaporetto and a gondola. I would not do the grand canal as it's too open and busy; gondola rides on the smaller canals are much nicer.
adrienne is offline  
Jun 19th, 2013, 07:31 PM
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You can have a nice meal at Zucca which is near Campo San Giacomo dell'Orio. If you walk over the little bridge next to Zucca, you can usually find a gondolier standing there at the canal.

Campo San Giacomo is the most beautiful campo in Venice.

But, I agree with Suze that taking the Vaporetto from San Marco to Ferrovia is pretty spectacular.

Thin
Pepper_von_snoot is offline  
Jun 19th, 2013, 08:59 PM
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Zucca and La Bitta are both good choices for decently priced food in Venice. You ought to be able to have a full dinner at either with wine for 100 USD if you are not extravagant in your wine choices.

Zucca, I believe, doesn't feature any Venetian fish dishes, but they do have great vegetables, nice meat dishes and very good desserts.

Boccadoro is quite nice, very romantic and has very interesting seafood dishes. A nice dinner will probably be over 100 USD, but well within 200, again unless you order very expensive wine.

Venice isn't a great pasta town, but pasta with clams or squid ink is a popular first course at many places.

Right before sunset there is some pretty fantastic light in Venice. Late afternoon is also very good.
tuscanlifeedit is offline  
Jun 20th, 2013, 04:38 AM
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A gondola ride and dinner in Venice on a budget? That's a new one.

Al Covo, one of Venice's best restaurants, has one of the best deals in Venice: a three-course "Hostaria" menu degustazione for 59€. The room is lovely, the service is warm and friendly, the hospitality of the owners is world renown, and the cucina is divine. Their pasta is superbly homemade, and they always feature some fabulous meat dishes. I eat there often.

Gondola rides are never cheap, but sometimes you can secure a deal, especially if you're an attractive, single woman with a great pair of legs. Negotiating at the secondary stations seems to be easier. Alessandro, who is either at San Tomà or Campo San Barnaba, is a handsome character. He's charming, everyone knows him, and he's gifted with a robust singing voice. He's a delight, and he knows the most romantic routes.
NYCFoodSnob is offline  
Jun 20th, 2013, 05:56 AM
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JR and I had an anniversary meal at Osteria al Bacareto:

http://www.osteriaalbacareto.it/?lingua=en

I can't find the receipt so can't help with price but JR didn't like to spend a pile of money on food (because you are only renting it!).

We had olive and french breads; sardines with onions and oil; pasta e fagioli; pork marsala; and sea bass (filleted at the table). Wine and prosecca. Really good food.

As for gondola ride, perhaps your hotel could arrange for the gondola to pick you up and take you to the stop closest to the restaurant? You might be able to get a deal that way. It might be insulting to ask a gondelier to be a taxi so do ask nicely. Or ask the gondolier for a shorter ride--they will negotiate if things aren't busy.

$200 will be very tight. $300 might be more realistic. You should forgive the presumption but you already spent thousands to get over there--why quibble about another hundred for your life partner?
TDudette is offline  
Jun 20th, 2013, 07:05 AM
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The price you see for fish on many menus in Italy is by weight, not for the entire dish.

It will be dark fairly early in late October. I'm not sure I would book a gondola online in advance unless you can get a refund if the weather is bad.
kybourbon is offline  
Jun 20th, 2013, 08:06 AM
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Suggestion re gondola: Book the group gondola ride down the Grand Canal. You can do it through a TA in Venice or maybe through your hotel. It's really the best bargain, if you don't mind sharing a gondola. They do a lot of their rides near sunset.
vincenzo32951 is offline  
Jun 20th, 2013, 08:18 AM
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I don't know why people persist in saying that the food in Venice is poor. As in any tourist city, you must do research and book in advance, but there are many good not terribly expensive places for drinks and cichetti and meals. La Zucca mentioned above serves imaginative food, and for fish Osteria dell'Orto in Cannareggio is good and attractive. There are lots more places which have been discussed on this forum.

The food of the Veneto can be very good, especially if you like fish and vegetables.
tarquin is offline  
Jun 20th, 2013, 10:41 AM
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Thanks Thin. I just don't like the gondola-thing for me. It seems like Disneyland besides the high cost. You get amazing views from the vaporetto.
suze is offline  
Jun 20th, 2013, 10:51 AM
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I agree there is some fabulous food in Venice - esp fish/seafood and risottos (YUM)! But unlike the rest of Italy - where it's hard to find not good food - here it's easy. You need to chose carefully.

My experience with pasta there is limited - since so much rice is grown in the Veneto - they do risottos instead.
nytraveler is offline  
Jun 20th, 2013, 10:59 AM
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Or try polenta with baccala mantecato or seppie nere.
tarquin is offline  
Jun 20th, 2013, 11:24 AM
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>>You get amazing views from the vaporetto.<<

Here's a vote against the vaporetto. It's a bus on water -- crowded, utilitarian, noisy. Some people advise "get a seat at the front." Sure, you and 10,000 other tourists who have the same thing in mind.

IMHO, it's the last mode of transportation you'd call intimate, memorable or romantic.
vincenzo32951 is offline  
Jun 20th, 2013, 12:26 PM
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""get a seat at the front." Sure, you and 10,000 other tourists who have the same thing in mind."

Many boats no longer have those front, outdoor seats.

"IMHO, it's the last mode of transportation you'd call intimate, memorable or romantic."

I've had a blast on the vaporetti at 3 AM. Can't share the details here, but some of those ACTV captains are a lot of fun.

The views from a gondola are more unique. Good luck getting a clear photo without camera shake. Even in midday at f2.8, 1/125th of a second is almost impossible to achieve. There just isn't enough light in-between buildings. Hope you like noise, cause your ISO will need to be jacked.
NYCFoodSnob is offline  
Jun 21st, 2013, 12:55 PM
  #19  
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Thanks everyone. Am sure will find something we both will enjoy for dinner with your recommendations.

As for "spent thousands to get here" ... and on a budget?? Trip is paid for through frequent flyer mileage - planes and hotels. So only paid taxes on flights and hotels. Too bad gondolas don't take frequent flyer miles.
oldsteve is offline  
Jun 21st, 2013, 02:30 PM
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In that case, oldsteve, you have no excuse! LOL. Please let everyone know what you ended up doing.
TDudette is offline  

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