I discovered this restaurant on TripAdvisor and thought I'd book it as a surprise for my husband on our honeymoon. I made a reservation online about a month before our trip.
During our first day in Venice I tried to find Ai Mercanti ... we must have walked past it several times without realising it was there. It was closed during the day, just a door and a window which you could barely see through.
However, when we returned on the night of our meal the outdoor seating has been set up with parasols and candles. Our table was booked for 8pm and it was very quiet at the restaurant. It got a lot busier at about 10pm.
The staff were amazing, very friendly and knowledgable about the food & wine. I had trouble reading the menu as a lot of the food had fancy names but the waiter was happy to explain it all to me without making me feel stupid.
We only ordered 2 courses each but you get so many pre-courses that we felt like we'd eaten a feast!!
Pre-starter: minted & pureed peas in a tiny glass with a mini spoon. Also, 7 types of bread to share
Starter: Canoli - a type of pasta that looks like a spring roll with vegetables and balsamic sauce
Main: I had sea bass with veg and a mango sauce, my husband had veal.
Pre-dessert: some kind of pureed strawberry with rice puffs and cream
Dessert: I had a trio of chocolate desserts with a peppermint tea.
The waiter helped a choose wine to go with our meal and it was so good that we bought extra bottles to take away with us!
My husband says it's the best meal he's ever had!! I have to agree that it was pretty special.
It cost us about 220 euros in total but it was worth every cent! If/when we ever go back to Venice we will definitely be eating here again.