Da Ivo

Calle dei Fuseri, 1809, Venice, Italy

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This little restaurant, on a canal near St Marks square, opened in 1976. Giorgina Mazzero is the head chef and owner, having bought the restaurant in 2005. Inside the place looks like a Hollywood idea of an Italian restaurant: there are red tablecloths and pictures on the walls of the numerous celebrities who have dined here (George Clooney ate here on the night before his wedding in 2014) and many of the locals wore sunglasses indoors. The room is tiny, with about a dozen tables and assorted objets d'art crammed onto every available surface. In addition to the extensive menu, a little portable blackboard is brought to each table showing the specials of the day. Even at lunchtime the lighting was quite low. 

The wine list started at €20, with labels such as Livio Felluga Chardonnay at €50 for a bottle that you can find in a shop for €18, the excellent Jermann Vintage Tunina at €110 compared to a retail price of €56, and Louis Roederer NV champagne at €180 for a wine you can find for €56 in the high street. There are plenty of choices priced suitably for visiting Hollywood stars too - Massetto Teunta Ornellaia 1996 was €2,050 for a bottle that will set you back €730 in a shop, and Petrus 1997 was €7,000 for a wine with a current market price of €2,273.  

Bread was bought in and very basic indeed. Sardines with onions were served cold alongside a slab of warm polenta. The fish was fine and the polenta had quite good texture, but this is a very simple dish (11/20). I preferred courgette flower stuffed with prawns and fried, served with a few tomatoes. The texture of the stuffed, fried flower was good, and the tomatoes had excellent flavour (13/20).

Spaghetti with langoustines, tomatoes and capers had good pasta, and the capers gave a pleasing bite to this dish, but the shellfish were slightly overcooked (12/20). A little almond turrone biscuit and a choc ice were offered as a pre-dessert, and since we had dinner to come that night we skipped the final course. 

Service was pleasant, but the bill was quite a shock. With just water to drink (€8 a bottle), a starter and a pasta dish each but no dessert, no coffee and no supplement dishes, the bill still came to €80 (£63) a head. If you added a main course, dessert and wine a typical bill could easily top €160 (£127) a head, which is an awful lot of money for what is pleasant but very simple food. Even by the demanding standards of Venice this is painfully expensive, so it would be best to have a celebrity salary as well as status if you want to get your picture on the wall here as a regular. 

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  • John Morning

    Agree with the above review. It is a delightful place with wonderful ambiance and attentive service, but the cost is over the moon! We had a modest lunch for two, with one glass of wine and the bill was 157.55 euros. A memorable experience since George and Amale had been there recently but maybe a one time visit.