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“Fine Restaurant Gem in Venice”
Review of Ai Cugnai

Ai Cugnai
Ranked #137 of 1,434 Restaurants in Venice
Certificate of Excellence
Cuisines: Italian
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Dining options: Reservations
Neighborhood: Dorsoduro / Accademia
Taunton, United Kingdom
Level 4 Contributor
34 reviews
28 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 60 helpful votes
“Fine Restaurant Gem in Venice”
Reviewed November 18, 2012

This little gem is owned by the same family that owns and runs Alle Vignole on the island of Vignole in the Venice lagoon and which is one of our favourite boat destinations. However, Alle Vignole is closed during the winter months, so we thought we'd give Ai Cugnai a try for a November Sunday lunch.

We'd passed by so many times on our way to Peggy Guggenheim where we're members and had tried once previously to book a table but none was available. On this occasion, perhaps it being November, we were lucky and no sooner had we arrived than we bumped into familiar and very welcome faces from Alle Vignole.

This little trattoria is so welcoming and the attention to detail and the customer faultless. Typically Venetian in style, it was one of those 'local' types of Italian restaurants that please us most. What's more, it quickly filled with local (we assumed) Italians, both families and couples, as well as a local elderly character who stood at the bar with a glass of red, wearing a broad-rimmed brown hat set back on is head, a track-suit top beneath a cream jacket and sporting a grey drooping moustache. Most importantly, there were no English speakers apart from us.

We chose the offer of the day which was spaghetti alle vongole followed by calamari fritti, all for €16 each. Well, it was all superb. The spaghetti alle vongole even included several mussels. Both dishes were absolutely delicious. This was accompanied by house white wine, also very good.

Our opinion of a restaurant is very much influenced by how much we've enjoyed ourselves. We have never suffered a poor experience at Alle Vignole and now Ai Cugnai joins it as a favourite. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves; we didn't stop chattering throughout but such was the noise from the chattering Italians surrounding us, no-one would have noticed.

The elderly waiter who was very attentive and personable, looked after us admirably.

I also have to mention that before leaving we both went to the loo. Blimey, they must be the finest restaurant loos in Venice! They would do credit to a four star hotel.

Well, the whole bill came to €50, such good value for the quality of the food, the attention and the enjoyment. We shall be back and next time we shall bring some friends!

  • Visited November 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Mike L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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536 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    179
    262
    69
    19
    7
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Swedish first
  • Any
English first
Helsinki, Finland
Level 3 Contributor
13 reviews
10 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“An Accidental Find”
Reviewed November 17, 2012

From the outside, this place seemed like a tourist trap with the menus in various languages. And the waiter was dour and distant. But the food was good. The spaghetti vongele was absolutely perfect. Even just the pesto was delicious. We would absolutely return.

Visited November 2012
Helpful?
Thank theBoncompagni
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 3 Contributor
12 reviews
7 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Delightful and dependable”
Reviewed November 16, 2012

If you're hungry and looking for a break from Venice's more expensive, sometimes good, sometimes not restaurants, you can't do any better. The food is authentic, well-prepared, and satisfying. The staff is very friendly and accommodating, the atmosphere warm and very pleasant.

  • Visited November 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Rick S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Spain
Level 3 Contributor
18 reviews
10 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Delicious pasta”
Reviewed November 14, 2012

Friendly tolerant staff and reasonable prices. I thorougly enjoyed my spaghetti with scallops. Delicious icecream for dessert too.

Visited November 2012
Helpful?
Thank Sally1954
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Horsham, United Kingdom
Level 6 Contributor
166 reviews
87 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 96 helpful votes
“Lovely little restaurant”
Reviewed November 13, 2012

We went here for a lasagne and a glass of chianti- reasonably priced, Lasagne was very tasty. Service was excellent, very attentive. Menu was mainly fish but they did have numerous other dishes if fish isn't your thing. The desert was lovely wasn't going to have one but saw how nice it looked and so glad we had one in the end!

Loved how traditional the restaurant was and would definitely return

  • Visited November 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank gavandstace
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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