#TeamNakamura in Italy – Venice & Harry’s Bar

Since we are on our way to Venice today, I figured this was a fitting post.  I wrote this post months ago but never actually posted it.

After a fun filled week in the Dolomites, Sean & I headed south to Venice where we were going to run the Venice Marathon which I recapped here. Most of our visit was gear towards the race, but we spent the day after the race exploring the city.

This was Sean’s first time to Venice but he had heard all about it from his grandmother who visited often.  There was a place that she always talked about that he wanted to visit and that place is the famous Harry’s Bar.

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So off we went, on a beautiful morning (unlike the cloudy day we had for the race) past Saint Mark’s Square where there was a bit of water in the piazza to the water front, past the gondolas (we would take our own ride later by the Rialto Bridge) and all the tourist kiosks.  Harry’s bar is an unassuming place, in fact if you didn’t know where it was you probably would miss it because the sign is very small.

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When we first got there we saw that it was still closed so we went off to take our gondola ride. The gondola ride cost us 80 Euro for a 1/2 hour or I believe it was 120 Euro for an hour.  They only take cash and the gondolier was very nice to walk us to an ATM so I could get some euros.  Our ride took us past the hotel where George Clooney was married, apparently it’s a 7 star hotel, I’ve never heard of 7 stars but ok.  For the most part we just enjoyed the ride, but occasionally our gondolier would tell us things about the area or the gondola itself.  Did you know that they are flat bottomed can’t really be used in deep water and that one side is longer than the other to help them steer it?  And they are only used for tourists these days. It was quite fascinating.

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We finished up our ride heading back towards the Rialto, which unfortunately was under construction. And then it was time for lunch so we headed back to Harry’s Bar.

We walked in, the lower level is just a bar, and we said we were there to eat.  We were escorted upstairs to another area and since there was only one other person in the dining room, were were able to pick our table.  We picked a 2 seat table which ended up in our opinion being the best table there.  The view was spectacular!!

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And then we opened the menus and saw that this was in fact a very expensive restaurant.  I don’t know what we were thinking, except that it was important for Sean to be there to honor his grandmother.  So a quick story on why it was important to her.  On one of her visits, she was in the bar area and someone was talking about a high school in Marin County CA and she made a comment to them.  Well turns out that someone was Robin Williams!  They got to talking and the rest is history.

So back to the meal, we decided to suck it up and have a fabulous lunch, we were on our honeymoon after all!

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So we choose 2 pasta dishes, a baked pasta dish, I can’t remember the name of it now, but it had ham in it and a crunchy cheese topping and a super yummy risotto dish.  Each of these items was over 35 Euros, I don’t remember the exact price but everything there was over 30 Euros.

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We enjoyed the view and the service was excellent.  I felt a little bad being up there in our Altras, jeans and t-shirts like we should have been a lot more dressed up 🙂 but I’m pretty sure others that we saw come in after us were in jeans too.  I read that there is a dress code where pants are required (no shorts).

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After enjoying the yummy pasta we decided to go for dessert and choose a chocolate cake and some homemade vanilla ice cream.  Both of which I believe were around 27 Euros plus 2 americano style coffees 9 Euros each.

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I love food and one day I want to visit Per Se and/or French Laundry which are both crazy expensive so I understand expensive food, and the food here was excellent, but I wouldn’t put it at the same scale either of these restaurants.  If you go to Harry’s Bar, it’s not for the food, it’s for the experience, the history the Bellini was invented here and the great Ernest Hemingway spent a lot of time there.

We had a fabulous time but would I go back?  Probably not for a meal, but maybe dessert or an appetizer :).

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