Venice Film Festival: where and what to eat (good and inexpensive) on the Venice Lido

I first went to follow the Venice Film Festival in 1996. But why, cinema has already been invented? Yes, but recently. I still remember it was a festival Suspended in timeor Peter Jackson independence Day (pictured Enrico Ghezzi sitting on the stairs next to me), the Golden Lion to Michael Collins and the “scandal” of the pedophile priest Fabrizio Bentivoglio in drunken nuncio Antonio Capuano. Abel Ferrara brought his Brothersstarring the late Chris Penn and Nicole Kidman on the red carpet with then-husband Tom Cruise as attendant, Portrait of a lady Jane Campion. It was a great festival, the last one directed by Gillo Pontecorvo. Years passed, there were fewer conductors, only four (Felice Laudadio, Moritz De Hadeln, Marco Müller and Alberto Barbera, the latter in two rounds).

One thing that never changes, and at best gets worse – or better, depending on your point of view – is the extraordinary ability of the inhabitants and merchants of the Venetian Lido to bleed those who decide to spend the first two weeks of September there. . It’s as if the 1-pound mosquitoes that seem to have come out of a Michael Crichton novel haven’t thought about it yet.

Bloodletting occurs in two forms. The first is in the form of accommodation. This year I’ve heard numbers that don’t even exist in the Mayfair Penthouse in London. The second round comes when you are already in place. Because men and women are made of meat. And they are both hungry. And then the pain begins. Especially if you’re new to the Lido, you run the risk of being robbed three times: spend a lot, eat poorly, treat you worse. Unless you know your environment well thanks to years of mimetic tactics and careful and sometimes daring experimentation. Thus, twenty-seven years later, I have arrived at a synthesis that allows me to enjoy the cinematic offer as well as the gastronomic one. But under certain conditions.

Number one: budget. I would like to be able to go out to dinner every night, alternating between Andri and Valentino, without a shadow of a doubt, the two best eateries on the Lido (with the necessary exceptions, which I will report later). Valentino’s raw seafood appetizer is great, as is his gnocchetti alla grancevola. And stewed cuttlefish with polenta Andri, shall we talk? But you have to be careful, at least if you go there for work, because, at least for a freelance journalist, if during the Festival you spend more than you take home on interviews and reviews, then this is called a holiday, and not work. . And even those who go there for the sake of passion, but of course without the convenient booking at Excelsior or Quattro Fontane (a hotel that I have always considered much more refined and elegant, above all), they have to feed their passion as well as themselves. .

Number two: value for money. Don’t worry, no one will send you to McDonald’s (which, moreover, is not even on Lido). On the Lido, and we emphasize during the Festival, you can eat well, while spending the right amount. It is enough to make many, many attempts.

Number three: The last one is a complex equation between the distance from the Palazzo del Quino / the speed of service / the time at which you decide to go out to eat. A triangulation to be taken into account during the tumultuous days of the Festival, punctuated by displays with a very fast rhythm and intertwining joints per second.

With that said, let’s start by reminding ourselves of what experts say is the most important meal of the day. And no, it’s not an aperitif, even if the answer is correct.

confectionery Santin

Via Sandro Gallo, 126

Without a doubt the best patisserie on the Lido. Exceptional croissants, but even more rice pastries. Great cappuccino, and truly heartfelt advice, always walk away with a supply of saffron shortbread. They are addictive, but who cares. Santin is a fifteen minute walk from the Palace, but if you’re staying in the area, this is practically a must stop. On the other hand, if you’re close to where you board the Santa Maria Elisabetta train, bar 9 on Rue Doge Michel is perfect.

Confectionery Caldara

Via Sandro Gallo, 145

Need a Crodino and two canapés to stave off your hunger, as a pre-dinner aperitif? This is the place for you. Seven minutes walk from the building, four minutes from Excelsior, still down Calle Sandro Gallo. Due to its proximity to PalaBiennale (it’s practically opposite), it’s very popular with accredited visitors, so you need to take your time to find a table, but in any case, you don’t have to wait long. Very nice rustic style; first of all, if you stretch out and find yourself needing something to eat on the go for lunch, their sandwiches are just exceptional (wonderful tuna and egg cream). And here we need a little digression …

The Venetian tramezzino differs from the Turin one, with which it is in any case connected, and above all from the Roman one. If the latter is characterized by ideal rectangular geometric lines, a polyhedron of rare elegance and functionalism, then the Venetian tramezzino is based on the concept of a hospitable mother’s womb – it is not surprising that the first thing that comes to mind when looking at it through the bar window is “Madonna del Parto” by Piero Della Francesca . And a perfectly prepared Venetian tramezzino costs as much as the masterpiece of the maestro Borgo San Sepolcro, also because with two you will be there before the aperitif.

Let’s start with an assumption: it is immoral that they charge more than three euros for a syringe in Venice. I think there is reason to put a lawyer in the way, as well as to mention a few names that could make the Palace shudder. But we live in dark times and, alas, this happens. Unless you stop by Chiosco ai Soci: it will not be as glamorous as Lion (an elegant cafe with a small terrace on the red carpet of the cinema building), on the contrary, it is located right in front of the bus stop. , at the roundabout between Sandro Gallo and Via Morosini (where, if you really have a lot of time and money, there is La Tavernetta), and the best thing to accompany your relaxing splash is a bag of crisps. But if you don’t have much time between films, this is ideal given the strategic position between the Palazzo and the Pala Biennale. If it is more convenient, then go to Da Cri Cri and Tendina (at via Sandro Gallo 159). A very Venetian setting, a rustic place frequented by the natives, besides the syringe, which is much better to drink here traditionally, i.e. non-carbonated tokai and sparkling water, without the addition of aperol, campari or select. If anything, try with Cynar, really special. And accompany him with cicchetti (if you call it tapas, they tie a stone around your neck and throw it into the lagoon). If instead you are on the opposite side of the Lido, do the same.

Osteria al Merca

Via E. Dandolo, 17B

I shouldn’t, but this is my favorite place in the entire Lido. I think because of their cod with cream, really exceptional, and also because of the boiled meatballs. And then, because instead of a spritz, you can dare to drink sparkling or fresh and dry white wine, all strictly locally produced, accompanied by an aperitif that is sure to be well fed, perhaps on one of the old sloping stalls of what was once a fish market. . . And if you feel like popping in for dinner, be sure to try the relaxed atmosphere, great service, and pappardelle with scallops and mushrooms.

I Do Mati

Granviale Santa Maria Elisabetta, 49C.

So we arrived for dinner. And this pizzeria is one of the classic places for all accredited people, regardless of their caste, for a reason as simple as it is fundamental: by Venetian standards, it is open until late. In a place where most kitchens, even during the festival, close no later than 10:30 pm, the place where you are allowed to eat if you arrive at midnight deserves a medal. The pizzas are good, but their signature dish, as absurd as it may seem, is filet with green peppers. The sparkling whiteness of the house makes you smile.

bistro kitchen

Via Sandro Gallo, 57A/B

Relatively new to the Lido scene, it has gained popularity among festival goers in just a few years. First of all, because it is relatively close to the Palazzo del Cinema (a quarter of an hour on foot or a little more). Secondly, because, as the name suggests, it brings a very pleasant touch of inspiration to a typical kitchen. Plus, and not least, he makes great wood-fired pizzas with Neapolitan dough. It ranges from land to sea, from pappardelle with duck stew to octopus curry with venere rice, combining Catalan and oriental flavors. There’s a nice arcade, so it’s worth waiting for a table there. The main thing is that Autan be completed by liters.

El Cason Tiki Lounge

Via Giovanni Pividor, 15

This is the place where you really should spend the evening. They call it agritourism, but in fact it looks like a biker pub converted into … a biker pizzeria. If you have a car, it’s better, otherwise you can take a bus from the Pala Biennale in five minutes on Via Sandro Gallo (and for accredited students during the festival, the buses are free). In Kayson they go for grilled meat: steaks, sausages, mixed grill, at affordable prices, in large quantities and very tasty. Very friendly and relaxed atmosphere. If you come with a group, you will have a lot of fun.

Greater China

Via Perasto, 8

This is another tradition – at least once to go to the Chinese. The origins of this ritual are lost in the mists of time, some say they once saw Orson Welles, Charlie Chaplin and Gabriele Mainetti wrestle over a lacquered duck. We doubt it, more for a duck, to be honest. But the fact remains that if, upon returning to the Lido, accredited people find that this place is no longer functioning, well, expect reports with an angry mob with pitchforks and torches.

This is not a restaurant, this is the extreme end of the Lido, and, frankly, the most beautiful part. But during the Festival, it’s like Middle-earth, because even if you have your own car, it takes twenty minutes to get there and back (proportionately it’s like driving from Bologna to Modena), and the rhythms of the festival almost never allow such luxury. And it’s a shame, because there are three places worth visiting. The first is undoubtedly the Trattoria Scarso, a typical Venetian cuisine, rustic establishment with a beautiful portico. Even Sotoportego is worth a mass, and the Trattoria al Ponte del Borgo deserves a chance. If there was a hall in Malamocco, it would probably be my favorite.

Bathroom Marconi

Lungomare Guglielmo Marconi, 58

I put this at the end, because if you are in the Excelsior area, this is the first, but also the last resort. A bathhouse, an American bar, a restaurant, a pizzeria, you can also eat with a sea view, and often, even if you arrive after midnight, at least one salad will be served in front of you. It has a drawback, which for many is a plus: during peak hours it is always crowded, which creates many problems with the service, both in terms of waiting time and quality. The advantage is that in one fell swoop you can deal with the entire network in a day. But at least for me after a day at the Festival, when I sit down at the table, I just want to eat, drink and close a few films. Funny.

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