Venice Biennale 2024: Where To Eat, Drink And Stay

Forbes May 15, 2024

Lifestyle

Venice Biennale 2024: Where To Eat, Drink And Stay

The Venice Biennale 2024 is a feast for the senses, drawing hundreds of thousands of enthusiasts to immerse themselves in the world's most lavish showcase of contemporary art—and the city hosting it. Of course, with so much cutting-edge contemporary art to see across the city, it’s also the kind of event that works up quite the appetite.

Thankfully, Venice offers a rich tapestry of culinary experiences as visit-worthy as the art itself.

Whether you are a dedicated foodie on the hunt for hidden gems, a cocktail connoisseur searching for the perfect spritz or a lover of luxury hotels that offer both, Venice has you covered.

So without further ado, let’s dive into the best places to eat, drink and stay during this year’s Biennale.

 
Where To Stay: Venice Biennale 2024

venice arts bar

 
St. Regis Venice

For unparalleled luxury and convenience, there’s no choice quite like the St. Regis Venice. Nestled along the iconic Grand Canal, the hotel approaches its food and drink offering like artists approach their masterpieces. Its main cocktail bar—the Arts Bar—has quite literally turned some of the world’s most famous works of art into avant-garde cocktails, complete with custom-made Venetian glassware.

Take The Negroni Desire, inspired by Dali’s 1931 “birth of liquid desires.” The surrealist piece is composed of three shapes that seem to be fused in the center, inspiring the bar to fuse three ingredients of its own; Calvados (an apple brandy, to recall the legend of William Tell, one of Dali’s obsessions, vermouth (a blend of four, honoring the violin in the artwork) and Venissa (made with ingredients from the Venetian lagoon), finished with an apple cherry. A real work of art in and of itself, and just one of an incredible selection. The Oriental Shapes (inspired by Carlo Scarpa's Toms Brion) and AW Vision (inspired by Ai WeiWei's White Chandelier, which holds pride of place in the hotel's art-filled lobby lounge) should not be missed, either.

venice sunset gios restaurant

The St. Regis Bar holds its own, too, connected to the hotel’s second terrace (the Garden) which is perfect for enjoying light bites and aperitifs amidst lush greenery. It also acts as the perfect spot for a welcome drink (we recommend their take on the hotel chain’s iconic Red Snapper) before heading to dinner at Gio’s Restaurant. Here, guests can indulge in contemporary Italian cuisine crafted from the finest local ingredients. Every-dish-is-a-10 tasting menus and wine pairings are the main draw for tourists and locals alike, but we’d recommend exploring the a la carte menu if you have an evening or two spare to enjoy both; the homemade Plin ravioli filled with sweet and sour pheasant and served with roasted pine nuts, raisins and red onion is one of the best things I’ve tasted all year.

You’ll be spoiled for choice, whatever you can fit into your schedule. Not that scheduling is particularly difficult from such a prime location. As well as being a short walk from St. Mark's Square, the hotel’s private dock offers easy access to boat taxis to whisk you away to the Biennale's main venues, the Giardini and Arsenale, as well as various galleries and pop-ups throughout the city.

 
Where To Eat: Venice Biennale 2024

As the Giardini and Arsenale each have just one restaurant, it’s advisable to secure a lunch sitting between 12:00 and 1:00 p.m. to avoid long waits. Of course, Venice is also home to some of the best restaurants in Italy, meaning there’s plenty to explore outside of the Biennale itself. This year, I’d recommend:

venice restaurant impronta

 
Impronta

Impronta, located in the Dorsoduro district, are the masters of modern Venetian cuisine. The sleek, minimalist decor sets the stage for a dining experience that would feel just as welcome on a white tablecloth. Dishes such as black ink risotto and slow-cooked beef cheeks showcase the chef’s creativity and commitment to quality, but the menu and wine list change regularly to highlight the best each season has to offer. It’s a must-visit.

 
El Magazen

For a more intimate dining experience, El Magazen in San Polo offers a cozy atmosphere and exceptional Italian fusion cuisine. The lovechild of Nino and Yasmin (he’s in charge of wines, she’s in charge of food), this charming restaurant has a small but strong menu offering exceptional value for money. A date spot unlike any other in the city (or many other cities, for that matter).

 
Ai Mercanti

Nestled in a quiet alley near Rialto, Ai Mercanti is a firm favorite among those who know how to find the good stuff. The menu follows the fruits of the season (meaning it changes every two months or so) and its creative Italian dishes (see: oyster gnocchi, bacon and smoked herring) are as intriguing as they are delicious. A phenomenal local wine list, worth-splitting-a-main desserts and attentive, friendly service will keep us coming back again and again.

 
Where To Drink: Venice Biennale 2024

harrys bar venice

 
Harry’s Bar

No visit to Venice is complete without a stop at the legendary Harry’s Bar. Established in 1931, this iconic bar is the birthplace of the Bellini and has welcomed a roster of famous patrons, from Ernest Hemingway to Orson Welles, over the years. It’s expensive, but the timeless elegance and impeccable service make it a quintessential Venetian experience.

 
Osteria Ai Pugni

For a more local experience, it doesn’t get much better than Osteria Ai Pugni in Dorsoduro. Known for its excellent cicchetti, refreshing Spritzes, and unexpectedly good wine list, this lively spot attracts a mix of locals and savvy tourists. It’s a brilliant place to enjoy the culture, and many patrons spill out to the waterside to do exactly that throughout the evening.


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