Food and drink
Chef Mara Martin was enticed into the trade by her grandmother, and though she has updated old recipes bringing a lighter touch to some stalwart, local cooking traditions – from Venice itself and from the Venetian mainland – are still fundamental to her style. She takes the Venetian raw-fish antipasto to new heights, for example, and I don’t think I’ve tasted a finer risotto anywhere. Though the occasional meaty dish crops up, fish dominates here in such Martin classics as rosemary-flavoured seared tuna, and seabass with balsamic vinegar. Desserts such as lemon and liquorice sorbet are delicious. If you’re bowled over by Mara’s creations, you can learn to make them yourself with her cookbooks, or at her cooking school.
This is one of the city’s smartest and most expensive restaurants and the clientele tends to dress accordingly. You won’t find many locals here, but satisfied clients return whenever they’re in Venice. I find the long dining room with its low train-carriage roof a little claustrophobic: you need to book well ahead however to bag a table near the window.
In the dining room, Maurizio Martin is the archetypal charming host. Not all of his staff match up to him, however.
Though it’s no distance at all from Campo San Polo, Da Fiore is not particularly easy to find. Note that there is also a rather humbler restaurant in Venice called Trattoria da Fiore – don’t get the two mixed up.
Prices are very much what you’d expect of a Michelin-starred restaurant, with a meal without wine costing upwards of 100 euros per person. There’s a good three-course lunch menu at 50 euros however, and taster menus in the evenings at 120 euros (eight courses) and 140 euros (nine courses).
The Martins also run a gourmet trattoria-pizzeria called Il Refolo (Campiello Piovan, Santa Croce 1459, 041 5240016, closed Mon) where prices are considerably lower than at the mother ship.
- Business travellers
- Mature travellers
- Seasoned travellers
- Celebrity spotting
- Special occasions