Visiting Venice is a strange experience for travellers who love a sense of the authentic. On the one hand, this is still undeniably one of the most beautiful cities imaginable – a tangle of canals and alleyways, the bright light of the coast and unbelievable architecture. On the other, the city centre is almost unbearably full of tourists right through the year, and it’s very sad to see the Venetian way of life being slowly eroded by fast tourism (not to mention French-fry pizzas).
Given the crowds and the unique geography of the city, after a few days in Venice things can begin to feel claustrophobic. Even the restaurants seem crowded, with it being common practice to be ushered to two empty seats at a table where another group is halfway through their starters or – even more strangely – for there to be an inch or so left primly between tables, so that you still rub knees with your neighbours but don’t share tableware.
And so, on our last day in Venice, we wanted to find a nice local place for lunch. After visiting the Guggenheim, we took a walk around the nearby Dorsoduro district and were lucky enough to stumble across el Vecio Forner, just a few minutes’ walk from the Accademia bridge.
Al Vecio Forner is a small osteria, refreshingly simple and with a menu full of local dishes and reasonable prices (by Venetian standards, at least). We were there on a Sunday and it was nice to see some locals as well as tourists.
As a starter, we ordered a mixture of cichetti (small dishes, a Venetian special not dissimilar to Spanish tapas) – and they were good. This was followed by the Venetian go-to dish of spaghetti with squid ink (spaghetti al nero di sepia).
All in all, this is a gem of a restaurant considering the crowded corner of town where Al Vecio Forner is located – we recommend reserving to ensure you get a table.
Address: Al Vecio Forner, Campo San Vio Dorsoduro 671/A, 30123, Venice, (Dorsoduro / Accademia)
Telephone: +39 041 528 0424