> SlowTrav > Italy > Restaurants > Reviews > Venice

San Marco: Trattoria Anima Bella

Calle Fiubera, 96

Reviewed by: Linda from Scotland, review #894

When: 2004

Don't go to this restaurant! Expensive for below average food/wine - total rip off!

We have had some excellent, reasonable priced meals in other trattorias in Italy where we were not given menus, therefore we were not suspicious of this place. The owner seated us, recommending her homemade pasta with spicy sauce and cheese risotto. There was a sheet of paper pinned to the window advertising pasta or risotto for 10 euros including salad. As house wine was all they offered we expected a reasonably priced meal.

The salad was covered in watered down salad cream and consisted of a few withered lettuce/rocket leaves with 2 quarters of tomatoes. The pasta was OK but very small portion and the risotto was awful. We were charged 96 euros for this plus 1 bottle of house wine, small bottle of water, coffee and 1 ice-cream. We paid the bill and left feeling that we had been very cleverly ripped off.

We loved Venice and had some great meals in Cannaregio, Dorsoduro and Rialto - paying half this price.

Reviewed by: cmvnapa from CA, review #765

When: 2004

Avoid this trattoria! Good food, but overpriced, and worse - there's no written menu and the server doesn't tell patrons the prices when describing courses.

Directions: Off of Calle dei Fabbri heading towards the church of S. Zulian

This trattoria was a very small and charming place. The food was good. They actually served us bread with some taste to it; I don't mind the unsalted stuff while I'm over there because I use it to sop up my plate, but this bread was nicely flavored, actually warmed up, and they gave us a saucer of olive oil for dipping (not at our request).

There was a table with about 5 Americans when we arrived and they were so happy with the food. Another couple came in and left quickly, and one of these Americans sang out "you'll be sorry!" But when they left, they apparently didn't pay what they were asked to pay. They were incredulous at the prices (which we didn't realize was the problem until we got our conto). The chef (mama) chased after them, and there was much arguing outside. It was not a pleasant scene.

Initially, the waitress (daughter) was very charming, asking if we wanted to start off with a bowl of soup, and we acquiesced. Then she described several pastas with a variety of sauces; we opted for a penne with a mildly spicy tomato sauce plus some mozzarella cubes sprinkled atop to melt into the penne.

They didn't offer wine by the 1/2 litre pitcher (our usual order), only by the 750ml bottle, and it was their label. We ordered two glasses of wine plus some water. The water came in a small bottle, maybe enough for 3 glasses.

The soup was served in a small cup. Then she brought us a salad which we hadn't ordered (the only salad I've ever seen in Italy where dressing had been applied and the greens tossed). On the bill, we were charged over €10 each for "antipasto." The pasta was an adequate serving, but it was almost €14 each. Each beverage was over €3, and my companion had a cappuccino. A 15% service charge.

When I got the conto, I noticed my traveling companion had a €20 note in her hand. I told her she'd better take a look at the bill; lucky for her, she didn't have her glasses. When I told her the final cost, she was speechless. We didn't leave a tip on top of the service charge.

And as I've typed this, my mouth is watering for a bowl of that pasta (believe it or not) but I think it's something I can duplicate at home.

We only have ourselves to blame as we didn’t see a menu but ordered based on what our wait person told us was available. But for 2 small bowls of soup, 2 medium bowls of pasta, two glasses of wine, a small bottle of water, and one cappuccino, PLUS 15% service, we paid €73 at lunchtime. The food was good but 73 euros?

We’d paid €55 for a staggering amount of food at Il Latini in Florence. We’d had a lovely meal at Il Ritrovo in Florence for €32, also ordering sans menu. And our favorite meal of the trip was at Trattoria Mario in Florence for €35. I realize Venice is more costly than Florence, but we had some wonderful, reasonably priced meals in Venice as well.

I don't mind paying a just amount - or even a bit more depending on the circumstances. Heck, I paid over €40 for an average bottle of wine and the orchestra service fee at Florian just so we could sit in Piazza San Marco our last afternoon and glory in the surroundings. But I knew what I was paying beforehand. Maybe this trattoria should supply menus? Again, though, we'd not had menus at Il Ritrovo in Florence, we were trusting, and had a more splendid meal for a reasonable price.

Reviewed by: Ory from FL, review #1170

When: 2003

The food and service at this little resturant: one of the best experiences from Venice to Positano.

Four people in our group. The food was cooked to perfection. From salad to dessert, it was all delicious. The place is small and the atmosphere is simple. However, if you want great food, this is the place. After all, you can't eat atmosphere!

This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.

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