Al Covo

Venice: Al Covo

Husband & wife duo Cesare Benelli (Chef) and Diane (Pastry) work alongside their son Lorenzo (Sommelier) at their classic Al Covo restaurant – a locally-adored family business for over 30 years.

Every single food + wine item on the menu that comes in the door follows the Slow Food or what I call Lagoon to Table philosophy – fresh, sourced from local producers, and in season. The cooking + presentation-style is balanced between traditional and modern.

If you are in the area passing by in the morning,  you will see fishermen bringing in huge whole just-caught tuna or swordfish, crates of lagoon crabs, clams, and scampi – or purple artichokes from Sant’Erasmo island (east of Venice) and more.


When You Arrive:

You’ll enter directly in front of a tiny center bar area facing a doorway to the kitchen – where you’ll be greeted by gracious hosts Cesare & Diane. Then you’ll be seated in one of the dining rooms to the left or the right. In pretty weather, the terrace can be requested.

The Vibe + Crowd:

The ambiance is rustic but refined. It’s like walking into a friend’s cozy country home where you see sideboards topped with table lamps and family photos – and the dining room is full of locals who all know each other.

What's To Eat + Drink?

When in season, don’t miss the fried squash blossoms filled with buffalo ricotta and fresh mint, Masculina di magghia anchovies with fresh Stracchino cheese, Pumpkin bread with house-smoked red mullet and butter, and local swordfish/tuna with Biancoperla polenta and Ajo Blanco.

They source food from small-scale producers from the lagoon islands of the lagoon, surrounding mainland, and the Slow Food Presidiums.  All pasta and dessert are homemade and for deep-frying, they use unrefined, stone-ground flour. All olive oil is a high-quality extra virgin, picked and pressed in the area in which they grew. The fish and seafood are principally Adriatic-Mediterranean, not farmed, and the meat comes from regional butchers.

Wine by the glass + bottle:

Wines are also chosen with as much care. Unconventional wines that are full of organic grape juice, , not chemicals


The service team has worked together seamlessly for many years. You can trust them to know the menu and wines – and be helpful in making suggestions for you. Service is professional, and thankfully not hovering over you.

What To Know Before You Go:

Venetians take pride in effortlessly dressing for dinner. You’ll see them wearing linen shirts, casual dresses, comfortable pants, and slip-on shoes. Dress as if you were invited to a casual dinner in someone’s home but not the beach. Leave the shorts, sleeveless t-shirts, and flip flops at home.

The ambiance is not suited for children.

Getting In:

Advance reservations are essential – taken directly on their website.


Not included, left to your discretion.

Al Covo

Al Covo