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“experience the tasting menu” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Ai Gondolieri

Ai Gondolieri
366 Dorsoduro, 30123 Venice, Italy (Dorsoduro)
+39 041 5286396
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Ranked #338 of 1,214 Restaurants in Venice
Price range: $65 - $91
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Restaurant details
Dining options: Lunch, Dinner, Reservations, Late Night
Neighborhood: Dorsoduro
Description: Ai Gondolieri restaurant in Venice is something special in the Venice dining scene – a kitchen that concentrates its menu on meaty dishes of the mainland rather than the typically fishy fare of most other eateries here. A short walk from the Guggenheim Museum and the Accademia (take vaporetto 1 or 82), Ai Gondolieri enjoys a magically romantic setting in a genuinely old inn with its own arched bridge over a picture-postcard canal. The dining rooms are not splashy or over-decorated, with wood panelling, modern seating, white table linens, ceiling fans. Nevertheless this place attracts the starriest visitors to Venice, from presidents to film stars. The upmarket menu changes seasonally, featuring dishes like deep-fried stuffed zucchini flowers, breaded deep-fried lamb served beautifully pink, superb steaks, excellent risotto. Your host will chat in English with you about the all-Italian menu.
Guildford, United Kingdom
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
9 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
“experience the tasting menu”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 11, 2012

We ate here on the last day of our holiday - unfortunate as we would have gone again. We chose the tasting menu: course after course of really delicious food, beautifully prepared and presented. Tempura courgette flowers and asparagus, potato foam with baby artichokes, canneloni, risotto, fresh pea soup, smoked duck salad, veal cheek in red wine sauce with vegetables, finishing with chocolate mousse in crispy shell and then coffee. All for 65euros.

Service was professional, efficient and friendly. We liked the fresh vegetable crudites which came with our complementary glass of prosecco, and the bread was the best we had in Venice. Some people might complain that the servings were rather large, considering the number of the courses - but we coped!

Most restaurants in Venice seem to have a standard tourist menu, so this was a refreshing change. The restaurant looks unassuming, not flashy, and there is no outside seating. Go for the food!

Sadly we were the only diners that evening, but we were welcomed and not made to feel rushed.

  • Visited June 2012
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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129 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
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English first
San Francisco, California
Senior Contributor
35 reviews 35 reviews
22 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
“Fine dining near the Guggenheim”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 3, 2012

My husband and I found this restaurant for lunch one afternoon tempted by the Michelin reviews in the window. We were the first to arrive which is always a bit awkward but we were quickly made comfortable.

Yes, the room is formal and the service may feel a bit stuffy compared to other options in Venice but it is what you would expect, and want, in any fine dining establishment. Our waiter was gracious and helpful, he noticed that we enjoyed the wine he recommended and even wrote the name down for us to take back home. Thank goodness for his kindness, I didn't feel comfortable whipping out my phone for my normal wine bottle shot in such an elegant location.

I made a lunch of artichokes in all possible ways (it was Spring, after all.) Each presentation was unique and tasty but I think I'd branch out a bit more in the future. My husband's pea soup with ham was spot on and his chicken with vegetables was much more impressive than the simple name suggests. His serving was generous so I was able to enjoy it also.

We finished up with Maculan Torcolato, an excellent dessert wine - again recommended by our waiter.

  • Visited April 2012
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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Ulster
Top Contributor
78 reviews 78 reviews
70 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 47 cities Reviews in 47 cities
42 helpful votes 42 helpful votes
“Very good food”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 2, 2012

Came across this place for lunch while doing our usual explorations of Venice. Sadly we were the only clients which made it a bit quiet and we can understand comments on being a bit 'formal'. However we came for the food and it was excellent - might come back sometime in the evening. Recommended.

  • Visited April 2012
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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San Francisco, California
Senior Contributor
24 reviews 24 reviews
9 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
“For your big fancy meal in Venezia”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 15, 2012

Venetian food is often criticized for being tourist-oriented and poor quality. Ai Gondolieri is at the other extreme -- it's first-rate, formal, and would stand out as a quality restaurant in a landlocked town. It's not cheap, but if you want to have a BIG night out, or an elegant lunch, go here. It's close to the Guggenheim Museum in the Dorsoduro, and I think of it as an art museum of a restaurant.

We've eaten there three times since 2003. The food has always been excellent (and it's gotten better) although the atmosphere can be slightly stiff. I can't fault the staff for their service, though. We booked a table for a 1400 lunch, which must have been on the late side for ai Gondolieri, because we were the only diners in the place for the whole time. Our gentlemanly waiter did not seem irritated at having us be the only thing keeping him from knocking off for the afternoon. (We made up for it by ordering an expensive meal and leaving a good tip.)

Ai Gondolieri does some innovative things with food. The niftiest was an ultra-light potato mousse in a giant martini glass. Like air made of potatoes. We asked the waiter how it was done -- we're uber-inquisitive about food -- and he said it was done with a special siphon and gas (nitrous oxide?) Kinda of el Bulli molecular gastronomy.

Most of it's more understandable, like the large beef filet in a jus based on Barolo wine. I got more pleasure from this €32 piece of perfect meat (not cheap, as I said!) than I did from a massive €100 bistecca Fiorentina at Trattoria Fiaschetta (Venice's carnivore HQ) a few years ago. My wife's canneloni with green asparagus and veal ragout was simple but fantastic. So I say "If you want good, and you can afford it. try ai Goldolieri."

  • Visited May 2012
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
3 restaurant reviews
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“Excellent food but...”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 12, 2012

... the service left a little to be desired. It appeared as though we were "tolerated" as tourists. A real pity as the location to our accommodation, the ambience and excellent food could have enticed us back again had we felt more welcome.

Visited October 2011
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