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“Venetian cooking at its best”

Osteria alle Testiere
Ranked #31 of 1,460 Restaurants in Venice
Certificate of Excellence
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Restaurant details
Good for: Romantic, Special occasions, Local cuisine
Dining options: Late Night, Dinner, Lunch, Reservations
Neighborhood: Castello
Reviewed November 14, 2013

This was our third visit to Alle Testiere in the last 8 years and it was just as good during our most recent visit last week. The restaurant is small - but warm and stylish, with impeccable service. The emphasis is on fabulous local fish and shellfish sourced from the Rialto markets - much of which is simply but very skilfully prepared. Of note were the grilled razor clams, cuttlefish in ink with white polenta and octopus salad. The desserts were equally fantastic, as was the wine list (with some wonderful selections from the Veneto region). Not cheap (but then nothing in Venice is cheap and you'll pay through the nose at many mediocre/indifferent restaurants which don't come anywhere close to Alle Testiere in terms of quality, service etc). Highly recommended.

    • Value
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2  Thank Philippa M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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494 - 498 of 1,154 reviews

Reviewed November 9, 2013 via mobile

A fabulous little restaurant. The meal was excellent from start to finish. Everything perfectly executed and you get a fabulous tour of Venetian specialties. Service is very helpful and gracious. Would go back anytime - not to be missed. Need to book a while ahead though as it is always full and in demand.

Thank Cec55
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 1, 2013

There is no getting around the fact that this restaurant is going to mean a pricey meal. But given the hit and miss experience with many mediocre restaurants in costly Venice, this continues to be a stellar and first rate choice. If you expect fancy designer food with obvious flourishes to be deserving of the prices - go elsewhere. This is a small, 20 seater venue with the focus on the food. The chef is a quiet genius and on our second visit after a 9-month interval, the service levels have risen considerably.

Again, impeccable ingredients and careful, respectful cooking. Very skillfully seasoned. Had my favourite cod puree with white polenta, it was even better than the last time. And the simple truffle pasta was just that. Subtle and delicious. It's not loud or showy food here.The menu is seasonal. One way is to order only the starters and work your way through them. Consistency is important with Venetian restaurants and Alle Testiere is careful with presenting consistently high standards of simple and classical dishes with top grade ingredients. It is less expensive than some of the grander, more formal restaurants with stars. But this one, we think after a second visit, is the real thing.

I take back what I said last time we dined here when the service rankled slightly. I will now willingly return repeatedly. Lunch for four with various seasonal selections (starters, main course, dessert) and a good bottle of wine was over Euros 240. We thought it was the best meal we had in Venice among all the very good restaurants we visited. Reservations only. Email bookings accepted, but be sure to confirm 24 hours before.

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1  Thank selective007
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 1, 2013

High praise for this restaurant came to us from different avenues and we made reservations weeks ahead of our visit. We are well-traveled senior citizens, willing to experience modest trattorias as well as Michelin three-stars, and we tailor our expectations accordingly. Thus, we hope our disappointments will inform other travelers before they choose this restaurant over many other better experiences in Venice.
- The restaurant is very plain; the chairs uncomfortable, especially when the service is slow.
- We were the second party to arrive for a 7pm seating, yet did not place our order for 45 minutes. The first two courses came in reasonable time, but the third came after we were no longer hungry for it.
- Gazpacho with Baby Octopus was a plate of about 20 octopus with a broth in the bottom, not the soup I expected.
-Scampi Sweet and Sour was so hot with red pepper flakes, it could barely be eaten. Was this a translation problem?
- Pasta with baby clams was so over salted it was briny and barely edible. The clams were very good but had to be dug out of their tiny shells by the diner.
-Desserts were wonderful.
This was our most expensive meal in Venice by far and our only disappointment.

4  Thank gailedie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 31, 2013

We certainly enjoyed our meal here, but we were just a bit disappointed given the reviews ( and given the prices) There is no outdoor seating. Portions are on the small side, and the menu is strictly fish and seafood. The chef has a very light touch, and flavors are delicate and not overpowering. The first course of tiny bay scallops was excellent. The fish second course was very good but not as good as some other meals we had. All in all, for us it fell just a touch short of being truly excellent.

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
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2  Thank AndoverDan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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