When it comes to Venice, what becomes a legend most? Believe it or not, there is a short list. The historic Piazza San Marco and the allurements that flank this iconic square. The Rialto Bridge, the epicenter of the City of Bridges. Exclusive shopping and, especially, the irresistible glass of Murano. And some of the most luxurious hotels in the world, many of which enjoy equal fame for their gastronomic options.
Such is the case with Belmond Hotel Cipriani. One of its four restaurants is Cip’s Club, a demure eatery that has boasted a grand reputation for close to 21 years. not the least of which is its breathtaking view of the Venice skyline from its perch on the island of Giudecca. Dining or drinking alfresco here is the epitome of romance.
So, let’s get something out of the way: Belmond Hotel Cipriani itself is a legend of massive dimension. It has long been considered one of the most luxurious hotels in the world, attracting affluent travelers of every designation. It was opened in 1958 by the eponymous Giuseppe Cipriani, who also founded Harry’s Bar in Venice and invented the Bellini cocktail.
Which brings us back to Cip’s Club. While you could fight the crowds for a Bellini at the original Harry’s Bar, those in the know make their way (after making a well-in-advance reservation) to this hotspot across the canal where the Bellini is also considered original . . . and just as fresh. The terrace views at Cip’s Club are exceptional. Helmed by the acclaimed chef Roberto Gatto, the menu offers traditional Venetian recipes that feature products fresh from the Rialto market and, notably, fresh seafood.
On a recent visit, the fritoin di scampi, calamari e zucchine, sal- sa rafano leggero (fried scampi, calamari, and zucchini with a mild horseradish sauce) reminded that the word “fry” is indeed a good one. Delizioso!
For something slightly more traditional, it’s impossible to beat the seppioline e mazzancolle arrostite con pane profumato alleerbe, verdure saltate (roasted cuttlefish and prawns with scented bread with herbs, and sautéed vegetables).
Vegetarians delight in the fiori di zucca ripieni di verdure ed asiago con misticanza e composta di pomodori verdi (pumpkin flowers stuffed with vegetables and asiago with mixed herbs and stewed green tomato).
Whatever your taste, Cip’s Club sates, and you’ll find yourself wanting more and more of the bites, the views and, of course, the libations.