Locanda Cipriani has Excellent Food.

Locanda Cipriani has Excellent Food.
03 October 2016 1 Comments

What was once a simple country outlet for selling olive oil and wine on the Island of Torcello in the 30’s slowly transformed itself when in 1934 Giuseppe Cipriani took over and turned it into a “inn”, with a few delightful guest rooms and a rustic dining room for the restaurant, surrounded by a garden of flowers and vegetables, and overlooking the ancient beauty of Torcello. If you are impressed and seduced by famous clientele then this place will hold some special magic for you knowing it was a favourite of the Hemmingway’s, and Callas enjoyed her lunch here. Marc Chagall scribbled some rather pleasant doodles on the napkins and Al Pacino, Billy Crystal, Julia Roberts, Nicholas Cage, and Nicole Kidman gave their approval as well. William Somerset Maugham described himself as “happy and sated” when he left the Locanda in May 1951 and the list of famous names goes on and on.

But it’s good food we want and there is much competition and one wonders if such a fine old dame as the Locanda Cipriani can still claim to be a wonderful place to enjoy good food today? If you come expecting cutting edge, fusion cooking you should be somewhere else. Here the clock is wound back to another time when eating in Italy was at once a statement of elegance, impeccable service with simple, fresh variations of local dishes. The grilled John Dory with garden-fresh tomatoes and capers is such a dish or something similar with a Sea Bass. Lamb in season is simply prepared and delicious as are the many pasta’s on the menu although the tagliolini with fresh porcini mushrooms was a standout. Culinary sublimity however was there to be enjoyed with their humble but outrageously delicious vegetable risotto.

There is an extensive wine list and some of them require very deep pockets indeed but you really cannot go wrong with the more than acceptable house red. Yes the old dame stands up just fine among the loud, howling world of modern restaurants and associated temples to the next spectacular culinary fad. Location is important and the Locanda Cipriani is beautifully located on the Island of Torcello, far away, but not too far away from the maddening crowd of Venice. It’s a pleasure to arrive here across the water on a calm sunny day but I suggest you book in advance and give yourself plenty of time to discover the nearby ancient Church of Santa Maria Assunta, founded by the exarch Isaac of Ravenna in 639, when Torcello was still a rival to the young nearby settlement at Venice.

The 11th century mosaics will give you something to talk about over a long, fine lunch and if you listen hard enough you might hear the gleeful chuckle of Hemmingway reminding you that, “When you stop doing things for fun you might as well be dead.” I think it’s time to order some more of that house red because it will be a long, pleasant afternoon.

Locanda Cipriani – Isola Torcello – 30142 Venice – Tel: (041) 73 01 50 – Fax: (041) 73 54 33

6 Rooms: €200 – €330 –  3 Suites: €260 – €360 – Breakfast Included – Restaurant is closed on Tuesday – Closed Dates: Jan 5 to Feb 10 – Credit Cards: Accepted

Peter Kilby
About the Author

Peter Kilby is an artist, writer, story-teller, journalist and avid traveller who has lived and worked in Italy since 1987. He created Perfect Traveller to bring the world of art and history closer to you. Download the “free” Perfect Traveller app and enjoy the best audio tours available; about Italy today and yesterday. Sign Up to this website and submit your travel stories and become part of the Perfect Traveller community.


  1. Peter Reply

    Torcello is a short boat ride from the island of Burano on vaporetto line 9 that runs between the two islands every half hour from 8:00 until 20:30. If you plan to visit both islands, it’s best to buy an island transportation pass when you leave from Fondamente Nove.
    Leaving Burano – 7.05 7.35 8.05 8.35 9.05
    Arriving Torcello – 7.10 7.40 8.10 8.40
    Private Water Taxis is a wonderful and exotic way to arrive into Torcello but is an expensive option; less so if the fare is shared between a few couples. Perfect Traveller encourages any visitor to any city in the world to use your hotel reception as often as required – they are there to help you and provide you with up-to-date information and any reputable hotel in Venice should have information as to how to get to Torcello and back at their fingertips.

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