Emily Jablon: Daraius and I went to Europe in September to celebrate our 2nd anniversary for ~2 weeks. It was my first time in Italy so I was very excited! In Italy, we visited Varenna on Lake Como, Milan, Venice, and Rome.
Since we were in Europe, we visited a friend in Strasbourg, France and also spent a night in Zurich. We started our trip with a one day layover in Chicago to see friends!
Our Anniversary To Italy – Trip Report Index:
- Part 1 – Planning & Introduction
- Part 2 – Park Hyatt, Chicago
- Part 3 – One Day in Chicago
- Part 4 – Virgin Atlantic Upper Class
- Part 5 – Virgin Atlantic Revivals Lounge, London
- Part 6 – Under the Channel to Strasbourg
- Part 7 – Hotel Cathedrale, Strasbourg
- Part 8 – What did we do in Strasbourg
- Part 9 – Eating in Strasbourg
- Part 10 – Park Hyatt, Zurich
- Part 11 – 10 Hours in Zurich
- Part 12 – Hotel Eremo Gaudio in Varenna, Italy
- Part 13 – What to do in Varenna, Italy
- Part 14 – Eating in Varenna, Italy
- Part 15 – Park Hyatt, Milan
- Part 16 – What Did We Do in Milan
- Part 17 – Eating in Milan
- Part 18 – Hilton Molino Stucky, Venice
- Part 19 – Around the Hilton Molino Stucky & Free Shuttle Boat Details
- Part 20 – What we did in Venice
- Part 21 – Eating in Venice
- Part 22 – Waldorf-Astoria, Rome Cavalieri
- Part 23 – Eating in Rome, Part 1
- Part 24 – Emily’s Best Meal Was in Italy!
- Part 25 – Rome Cavalieri Imperial Floor
- Part 26 – Activities in Rome
- Part 27 – Activities in Rome – Where to Go, What to See, How to Save Time
- Part 28 – Virgin Atlantic Flight from Europe to US
- Part 29 – Conclusion & Blog Giveaway
Eating in Venice
Here’s where we ate in Venice:
- Rizzo Café
- Hilton Executive Lounge Breakfast
- Café India
- Caffé Lavena
- Pizza Crash
- Around the Hilton Molino Stucky
We learned about a few of these places in the Rick Steves’ Italy guidebook.
1. Rizzo Café
We had lunch at Rizzo Café, which was a Rick Steves recommendation.
The cafe sells slices of pizza and sandwiches. The prices are very reasonable, but you pay a little more if you sit inside at their tables.
Panini Sandwiches were only 1 euro! We paid 10x that for a panini in Milan, though it had a view of the Duomo!
There was a case of sweets: tarts, cookies, etc.
I ordered a Venetian sandwich!
Daraius had pizza (which was ok) AND a Milanese sandwich.
We also ordered a chocolate milkshake and a coffee drink.
We could have split my Venetian sandwich because it was so large and filling. However, it was so delicious that I ate most of it by myself. Daraius finished the rest later.
All in all, this was a good, cheap no-frills lunch.
2. Hilton Executive Lounge
If you are a Gold or Diamond Hilton member, you can access the lounge for free breakfast. You can get free Hilton Gold status with the Citi Hilton Reserve card.
It was located off the main lobby. Kids under 16 have to have an adult with them and they can’t drink alcohol!
There was a buffet with many food stations.
There was yogurt, fruit, and dried fruit…
cereal, bread, muffins and pastries…
bacon and sausage…
and fresh juices.
The buffet also included several types of nuts, chips, crackers, and breadsticks.
There was also a nice view of the canal right outside our window!
However, the food wasn’t exceptionally tasty like it is at the Park Hyatts. But there certainly was a lot of food – and it was free! So we’d eat a heavy breakfast so that we didn’t have to eat much for lunch.
3. Café India
One of my favorite restaurants in Venice (actually on Giudecca island) was called Café India. But it didn’t serve Indian food. There was no name on the front of the restaurant. I loved my food, but Daraius didn’t like his!
But we both agreed that it had one heck of a view!
It is the restaurant which is closest to the S. Basilio waterbus stop, which is two stops before Palanca, which is the closest stop to the hotel.
It is about a 20 minute walk from the Hilton Molino Stucky (just walk right towards the water bus stops as you leave the hotel from the main doors).
The restaurant was right on the canal! There also wasn’t a lot of crowds since the restaurant is not on the main island of Venice.
They have Italian food on their menu, which is reasonably priced.
I ordered a Gran Crema, which was a delicious coffee type drink.
Daraius got a bottled peach tea. For our main courses, we ordered spaghetti carbonara, which was very good. It was creamy and flavorful, and you could taste the fresh bacon.
Daraius ordered penne arribiatta, which was supposed to be a bit spicy, but wasn’t.
We both thought my Spaghetti was better.
For dessert, Daraius had a panna with chocolate, but it was okay. I tried their cinnamon hot chocolate, which was supposed to be thicky and creamy in the pictures, but was watery and flavorless when they brought it out.
They have a huge menu and I would have returned for more Gran Crèma, as well as their milkshakes and sandwiches.
This was a great place to sit and eat a slow meal and contemplate how lucky we were to be here!
4. Caffé Lavena
I liked the old architecture on the interior. The chandelier was certainly impressive.
We split one gelato, which includes two scoops. So we each picked a flavor. Daraius chose cherry and vanilla and I chose strawberry. We both liked his cherry and vanilla much better.
5. Pizza Crash
One evening we explored Venice in the evening and night. It was very romantic to walk around in the evening once the crowds had left.
Daraius and I went to Pizza Crash, a kebab eatery, for cheap food, that still seemed a bit overpriced. That’s because it was right in the heart of Venice.
We were looking for something cheaper than a full service restaurant.
The pizzas were about 5 euro (~$7) to 7 euro (~$10). I ordered a slice of pepperoni pizza…
and Daraius had a chicken shwarma.
It wasn’t the best food, but it was relatively cheap and fast. There also isn’t much seating room, so you may have to stand and eat!
Many restaurants that are sit down charge at least 12 euro for a meal, so we decided to try a cheap dinner instead.
We were having a lot of fun walking around Venice that night!
6. Around the Hilton Molino Stucky
There are a few restaurants and shops as you walk down the canal outside the Hilton Molino Stucky. Just turn right outside the main doors and cross the small bridge. It is a very pleasant walk along the canal!
Restaurants immediately near the Hilton were expensive, around 20 euro (~$27) a main course, so we skipped it. We stopped at Harry’s Dolci Cipriani, but didn’t go in after checking out the menu.
We walked past Ostaria ae Botti which had cheaper food and appeared to have a lot of locals hanging out.
We found a small shop that sold fresh fruit…
and another shop selling sandwiches.
We found a Prix Quality supermarket, which was a great place to stock up on supplies! Here’s a map to the shop from the Hilton Molino Stucky.
There was a large wine selection.
A box of fruit juice was only 0.79 euro (~$1).
Jars of sardines were only 1.14 euro.
There are a lot of expensive restaurants in Venice. But you don’t have to bust your budget and can find places to eat for less!