Celebrity Chef Michelle Bernstein: Venice Is My Kind of Town

Miami native Michelle Bernstein is a James Beard Award-winning chef who has made numerous television appearances, including as a regular guest judge on the Emmy-winning “Top Chef.” Celebuzz asked her to gives us the low down on the best places to eat around the globe. Today, she takes us to Venice, Italy.

I never realized until I started traveling through Italy that there is a huge separation between Florence and Venice. Not geographically, I’m talking about preference. In the same month, my husband and I traveled to both cities. All along the way we were asked which one we liked better and why we should appreciate one so much more than the other. By the end of the trip, I had surprisingly discovered that I am definitely a Venice girl. I know what you’re thinking: it’s a tourist trap. And I don’t disagree with you. But I learned the secret: go in the fall or the spring when all the tourists (especially Americans) are busy hurrying their kids back to school or in the thick of it.

If it isn’t obvious to you yet, I am a chef, which means I travel through my stomach. While I’m busy making reservations at some of the best restaurants in the city, my husband is wondering where exactly we are going to sleep or how we’ll even get there in the first place. All in due time my love, as it’s a lot harder to snag two seats at some of these favorites than to get a flight out of MIA.

Al Covo, right in the heart of Venice, has some of the freshest fish I have ever tasted and if you’re crazy for linguine and clams, don’t miss theirs. It’s loaded with garlic and extra virgin oil and is vividly memorable. (Here’s my version of linguine and clams.)

Da Fiore is a one-star Michelin restaurant and one of the best experiences of my life.
A super-refined restaurant, they serve crunchy soft shell crabs that are as tiny as your pinky nail and fried vegetables so clean and crisp they made me red with envy. If you’re looking for a cocktail and people watching, you can’t miss Harry’s Bar. Grab a Bellini (which they invented), and enjoy the sights.

And while you’re there, check out the impeccable fashions displayed on the Italian men, you’ve never seen anything like it.