“Where do you recommend we eat?
This is virtually the first question I ask a local when we arrive anywhere. This is closely followed by: “Does your family own the restaurant?” It’s always worth asking if there’s a vested interest.
I asked Gioai during our cooking class for her recommendation, and she immediately named Il Refolo, which is close to Santa Croce. She particularly likes the fact that it has outside dining right next to a canal—which, surprisingly, isn’t typical.
Hungry on a Sunday lunchtime, we learned from prior mistakes, and made a reservation. We worked up an appetite at the amazing Peggy Guggenheim Museum, and then made our way across the city, down a few blind alleys and across many bridges and canals, trying to avoid the rising heat.
The shaded little piazza was a welcome sight next to a tranquil blue canal and in between two stone bridges and a boat tie-up. It was fun to watch the locals pull-in and park their boats, on their way to enjoy Sunday somewhere.
The menu features a wide selection from pizzas and salads to roasted meats, and we tried to taste a bit of everything. Especially as we’d eaten a terrible meal the night before and were feeling rather hungry.
First things first, I ordered a peach Bellini, the cocktail of Venice (no matter the hour). A blend of peach juice and prosecco (which, incidentally, is made in the north of Italy and apparently you’ll draw blank looks if you ask for it in the south), it’s really the perfect brunch drink. Not too sweet, but eminently quaffable.
Next up, I had a prawn salad with avocado, light and tasty. I also ordered the lamb chops because I was craving some heartier protein after eating fish for most meals. Perfectly seasoned, crispy around the edges and medium rare inside, with lovely roasted potatoes, the dish was super tasty.
Monkey opted for a pizza with radicchio, fresh cheese and porchetta (thin slices of pork) – he was pretty happy with it but unable to make a significant dent in it, so we asked to box it up. All good, until we realized that we were now taking a pizza on a tour of the Jewish museum in the Ghetto. The docent was super unimpressed and immediately demanded that we remove the non-kosher food from her museum. Whoops.
Anyway, I digress. Unlike other places we visited, the service was friendly, the waitress sweetly insisted on calling me by my first name, and like other places it was pretty expensive. We spent approximately 80 Euros on our lunch. Overall, we really enjoyed it and I can highly recommend Il Refolo as a place to enjoy a good meal away from the madding crowds.
amy bown says
Love that you have featured this wonderful restaurant. I used to live in Campo San Giacomo and I remember one night, we sat under white umbrellas under the stars, and when the ancient church bell bonged, it was just magical. Depending on what you order, Il Refolo it doesn’t have to be expensive. One teensy quibble: Bellinis are not THE cocktail of Venice. The predominant drink among Venetians is Prosecco or the Prosecco Aperol spritz.. In the 20 years I have been going to Venice, I have never known a Venetian to drink a Bellini. Harry Cipriani made it famous, but like Harry’s Bar, I think it’s a tourist thing.
Hi Amy – thank you for setting me straight! You’re dead right about the Prosecco Aperol Spritz. I loved the Bellini nevertheless 🙂