Best Italian Restaurant - 2003
There's just one problem with Venice: So many people came to love this place so fiercely and so soon after it opened that it outgrew its modest, twenty-table location just days after opening. Since Venice has no lobby or bar, would-be diners had to gather in the parking lot and wait for a table to open up. And if they had to wait an hour? That was just fine. Once people tasted the authentic, high-class Italian cuisine being put out by Alessandro Carollo (who trained at the Grand Hotel in Florence and the Italian Culinary School in Venice) and his kitchen, they'd set up tents if they had to, waiting all night like Star Wars fans for Venice to open its doors. Such rabid loyalty was inspired not by one dish, but by whole menu: pasta fruiti di mare, beautiful pale-pink carpaccio drizzled with olive oil and buried under a mountain of parmesan Reggiano, even just a simple plate of spaghetti in an honest, slow-cooked sauce. No matter what you tried, you were hooked. This spring, the best will get even better when Venice opens a second spot. Until then, show up early or pack a sleeping bag.