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La Bottega ai Promessi Sposi, Cannaregio, Venice

4367 Calle dell'Oca
Italy 30131
Tel: 39 041 2412747's insider take:

Located in an alley running parallel to and north of busy Strada Nuova, La Bottega ai Promessi Sposi is easy to spot after about 6 pm, when locals begin congregating at the door for their first ombra (glass of wine) and cicheto (bar snack) of the evening. It's not nearly as old as the pared-back decor might lead you to believe, but this eatery somehow distills all that's best in traditional Venetian eating and drinking. As in any true bacaro, there's a bar counter as you enter, heaving with delicious snacks. You can eat these standing up, with a glass in one hand, or you can perch on one of the very few stools and consume an inexpensive mixed plate there at the counter. Beyond, full meals are served at a handful of tables spread over two rooms. Ceilings are low, the noise level can be high, and when the place is packed, the generally charming serving staff gets very tight-lipped. Venetian seafood and meat dishes both feature on a changing seasonal menu, and the mixed vegetable antipasto is a great option for vegetarians. The selection of (mostly local) wines is excellent.—Lee Marshall

Open Thursdays through Sundays and Tuesdays 12:30 to 2:30 pm and 8 to 11 pm, Mondays and Wednesdays 8 to 11 pm.

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