About the Man

Brendan Kirwan, Man About Venice

I have always loved to get to know my way around new places – to be able to navigate and enjoy all they have to offer just as a local would. I want to know where the best lunchtime bistros are, the perfect spot for a pre-dinner apéritif or  late night dining, if I arrive into a city late. Before going to a new city or place, I spend hours researching, poring over maps and reading guide books. As much as I enjoy this, it is never a substitute for visiting and discovering a place in person. Nowhere is this more true than in Venice.

Where to eat and drink is a big part of this guide. Venice gets an undeserved bad press for the quality and prices of its restaurants. There are many awful restaurants which take advantage of the city’s 21m annual visitors. However, as with everywhere else in Italy, you can eat wonderfully well, at no greater cost in Venice than anywhere else. I have highlighted my particular recommendations in each of the six Venetian districts (known as a sestiere).

You can search the guide by both category (ie. things to do, restaurants etc) and by the area or sestiere. When planning your trip and you will be able to see what generally is in that area and you will be able to take note of a café or wine bar to visit, knowing that you are not going to be ripped off or served sub-par food.

I believe a trip to Venice is best experienced, not by achieving the maximum number of ‘tick-offs’ from the tourist list, but to experience this unique city in a relaxed and authentic way. You can contact me with feedback or comments either on the content of this site or with your views on the restaurants featured.

While travelling on the public transport vaporetto line 1 one early winter afternoon, I thought wouldn’t it be fascinating to know what each of the amazing palaces you pass as you wind your way peacefully along the Grand Canal were? If there is one thing nearly every visitor to Venice does – it is take the vaporetto. Millions of tourists gaze at these buildings but have no clue what they are. So, many photographs and much research later, you can now buy and download the Grand Canal Tour App. It operates offline, so don’t worry about mobile roaming charges. This is like having a local fill in you in on what you are looking at, as you follow the route of the palaces down the world’s most extraordinary thoroughfare. Those who like to be in the know can buy their guide here.

I hope you enjoy your planning and your trip to Venice – Buon viaggio!