For one of the best people watching places in Venice, pull up a seat at an outdoor table at Gran Caffe Quadri, located in Piazza San Marco.
Ok, it is not cheap place to do some people watching, but picture this.....firstly you are in Venice, which is amazing in itself...then you are sitting in a fancy old cafe in St Marks Square, glass of brunello in hand, feeling like the luckiest person in the world, watching the less lucky chase pigeons and take photos of those lucky people sitting in the posh cafes....
Favorite Dish Possibly to a lot of people a visit to Gran Caffe Quadri (or Cafe Florian on the other side of the Piazza) would be written up as a tourist trap....it is expensive and caters to tourists. But, stuff 'em - pull up a chair, order an espresso, some gelato or a glass of wine and relax - you're in Venice. And it is fabulous!!
On the first floor of Caffe Quadri, a salon in red velvets and gold and then the very thick hot chocolate arrives. If it's too strong for you, you can add some milk. Plenty of lovely cookies to go with it and a refill of chocolate too.
I have no idea about the price, as it was included in our programme. However, two days before I drank the most expensive coca cola there, ever!
^ ^ ^ Don't forget: 4 more photo's to see in this tip!
I'd originally planned to have my last 'holiday drink' in Venice at Florians, before heading to the airport - but there were no tables outside - it was a sunny late December morning. So, I headed to the cafes opposite, and found a table outside Quadris.
I was served promptly by the smartly attired waiter - I decided to treat myself to an Irish coffee - (hot coffee with a slug of Irish Whiskey and topped with cream) it was sunny, but there was a chill in the air.
Waiting for my drink, I had time for a bit of people watching, and to enjoy my last views of San Marco- sadly the plastic sheeting around the central flagpole- see my 2nd and 3rd picture- spoiled the view somewhat.
My coffee arrived, with a piece of chocolate and a carafe of water. I was enjoying my leisurely drink, when I realised that I had less time than I thought before having to leave for the airport, so I ended up rushing my drink.
My bill was 15.80 Euros - Certainly not cheap, but I'd enjoyed my cafe experience, and my last few minutes in Venice (and I was aware that this would be expensive).
As it was winter - the orchestra wasn't playing- or there would have been a supplement.
For the cheaper option-enjoy your drink standing up inside.
Quadris and Florians are Venetian institutions. Both are the only survivors from the 18th century, when there were 27 such coffee houses in the Piazzo alone.
Florians is slightly older, and would appear to be the more popular cafe. During the Occupation, Quadris was favoured by the Austrian Officers, while the locals hung out in Florians.
Both have similar price ranges - not cheap!! prices go up when their orchestras are playing- and there is a supplement added to the bill.
Both have entertained the famous and infamous through the centuries.
Quadris has an upstairs restaurant - Expensive, but the only Restaurant in the Piazza. (I understand this is a popular venue for wedding parties)
Giorgio Quadri arrived in Venice in 1775, from Corfu, with his Greek wife Naxina and his life savings, intent on making his fortune in Venice.
Naxina saw the potential for investing in the new fashion for drinking coffee, a beverage introduced by the Turks
The first coffee shop had opened as early as 1683 under the Procuratie Nuove in St. Mark's Square. Naxina and Giorgio bought an old coffee shop on the corner of Sottoportego dei Dai, under the covered pavements of Piazza San Marco
In 1830 the Quadri opened its restaurant on the upper floor.
The ground floor rooms, with their distinctive stucco in pastel shades of light green and yellow, were the natural backdrop for the paintings of Venice scenes by Giuseppe Ponga.
I'm afraid that I still prefer Florians, but I did enjoy this experience at Quadri!
Favorite Dish I enjoyed my Irish Coffee - it was a good Irish Coffee, but why pay nearly 16 Euros for a glass of coffee, with a slug of whiskey and a topping of cream?
Because, it's being drunk outside one of the oldest coffee houses, in one of the worlds most attractive squares (spoilt only by the hoards of feathered vermin - in December the human hoards weren't too stifling!), the December sun's shining, it's my last hour in Venice, I wanted a happy memory - priceless!
Quadri has been in business for hundreds of years... one of the restaurants/bars with tables and chairs on the Piazza San Marco, with a jazz band playing to soothe your jangled nerves and accompany the scene that flows by. Drinks are very expensive, and accompanied by a small serving of potato chips and green olives, as well as a small caraffe of water.
Favorite Dish Bellinis, of course! At 13.20 Euros per drink, however, it's not somewhere you want more than one drink. You are also charged 4.50 Euros per person for the opportunity to sit at their tables. They note that on the bill as "suppl. musica," but of course you could listen to the music for free if you simply didn't sit down at their tables.
good view window on 2nd floor ,
friendly atmosphere let me want to stay longer ... ( I do not want to stay over an hour in Cafe Florian )
but I think the coffee in Cafe Florian is better than cafe Quadri .
located along Piazza San Marco and across each other are the two dueling oldest coffee houses of Venice, the Caffe Florian and the Gran Caffe Quadri of which Caffe Florian is the older coffee house (started in 1720) but Grand Caffee Quadri was established inititally as a restaurant in 1638 (as Il Rimedio (The Remedy)) and in the second half of 1700, they added the coffee shop when famous Painter Giorgio Quadri arrived in Venice and purchased Il Rimedio, changing its name to the present and adding the Ristorante Quadri in the second floor and the restaurant and café features classical ambiance and formal waiters and really expensive food and coffee!
we only had time to have coffee at night as we ate dinner somewhere else and also to watch their live orchestra which competes with the live orchestra of the Caffe Florian just across the other side of the square.
opens: 9:00 am to 12:00 am everyday with live orchestra from 9 pm to 12:00 pm from From April to October.
Favorite Dish as we were only having a nightcap and would want to experience nightlife along Piazza San Marco with a free orchestra, we did not mind paying 28 euros (14 euros each) of a cup of cappuccino and a cup of Latte (with no change for 30 euros) with two pieces of biscotti each as again we would not mind paying a lot for priceless experience!
if you are tight wad then don't have some coffee here as you might have a heart attack due to 14 euro coffees.
The Quadri is an historically rich café and restaurant in Piazza San Marco. During the 19th century occupation of Venice by the Austrians the Austrian officer corps was said to have dined here on a regular basis. Nowadays one has to be willing to pay up to eight euro for a caffé doppio. Do it once and it is a small price for the historical experience.
Here is the entertainment at Quadri in Piazza San Marco.
If you sit down it will cost you a small fortune. That is the cover charge because of the entertainment.