Birthplace of the Bellini: Harry's Bar
The Bellini was born in Venice, at Harry's Bar, which has been hopping since 1931. Declared a National Historic Monument by the Italian government in 2001, this San Marco bar and restaurant is a cultural institution. Even though it doesn't do the best food in Venice, and prices are ridiculously expensive, it's worth dining here once, just for the experience. Over the decades it has served a global collection of writers and artists, including Ernest Hemingway, Charlie Chaplin, and Orson Welles, and today it's still popular with Venetian movers and shakers. The interior décor has not changed since Giuseppe Cipriani opened Harry's on the eve of WWII (and during the Second World War, Harry's was one of only a handful of restaurants in Venice that would serve Jewish patrons).
The food is classic Venetian. Try the baked sea bass with artichokes for a main, and make sure to save room for dessert. Harry's is famed for crêpes flambées and also its Cipriani chocolate cake.
Reservations are imperative; when booking ask for the ground floor because dining here is all about seeing and being seen, and the second floor is considered much less cool by Venice society (although it has much better views and more dining space).
By Becca Blond, AFAR Local Expert
Have you been here? Share a tip or a photo with fellow travelers.
Harry's Bar is a Venice original: and, yes, it's said that this is where the Bellini (prosecco and white peach puree) was born. If this hangout was good enough for Orson Welles, Peggy Guggenheim and Truman Capote, it's good enough for us. Go get that Bellini!