One of the three sestieri on the “neglected” side of the Grand Canal, San Polo is a lively appealing area. It is crowded with people in the morning for the markets and at night for the many bars and cafés. Thus, it’s a vast choice when it comes to where to eat in San Polo.
Inexpensive osterie are near the markets. Once crossed the Rialto bridge coming from San Marco, you will find a lot of them in the side alleys. They offer all sorts of cicchetti but also risotti, fish and meat.
If you look for higher standard quality, try Alla Madonna. It’s one of the oldest restaurants in town and enjoys an excellent deserved reputation. Don’t miss their delicious fish risotto.
Booking is advisable and be aware that it’s closed on Wednesdays. When there, look up: on the wall opposite the sign of the restaurant, you will see a stone barbacane. It’s a type of bracket used to support the projecting upper level of a building. It was a solution to gain room in the buildings standing in the narrow calli. Since this also was strictly regulated, this particular barbacane in Calle della Madonna was a sample to indicate the maximum length the brackets didn’t have to exceed.
Another good restaurant is Antiche Carampane. Three siblings turned their parents’ osteria into a superb place beloved by Venetians. It’s closed on Sundays and Mondays, and booking is suggested. Wonder why the strange name? It’s obscure even to many locals: the word carampana simply means prostitute. We are in what used to be the red-light district of the city in the olden times.
Another area of the sestiere worth visiting is near the magnificent church of Frari. On the other side of the small canal facing the entrance of the temple, is Frary’s. It may look uninteresting but it offers good varied dishes from all over the Mediterranean: Greek, Armenian, Lebanese cuisines meet here. Not far, Muro Frari is a very good pizzeria with a menu of dishes, too.
A cherry on the cake, and a meal that will leave a mark in your visit, Da Fiore is one of the best restaurants in Italy. Awarded with a star from the Michelin connoisseurs, the small elegant restaurant proposes what is the essence of the Venetian tradition reinvented by the chef signora Mara Martin.