There are times in Venice when you simply need to refuel: nothing fancy required, no lingering gourmet experience expected, just some decent food and (never difficult in Italy!) a good glass of wine. If you’re within five minutes walk of the Ponte Guglie (the Venetian equivalent of Piccadilly Circus) try Trattoria Da Bepi.
There’s a spacious inside restaurant but more attractive are the canalside tables just over the bridge. The Moorish arch lights are a bit tacky but it’s a great place to watch the world bustle by, over the bridge on foot or through it in every imaginable type of craft from the commercial barges to the tiny boats steered by what seem like 13-year olds. The vaporetto stop is just across the canal so don’t expect peace and quiet, but it’s fun.
The menu is simple and the food slightly variable, but on the whole it’s good value. That old standby zuppa di verdure is a good test of a restaurant, in my view – it’s absolutely basic and if made with care it’s great. If not, it can be bland and seriously dull. This one (€8) was good – which made it suprising that my companion’s caprese (€9) was disappointing. The mozzarella was cold and lacked flavour and the tomatoes could almost have been Dutch (i.e. passed through the taste extractor).
Main courses were uniformly good, however and more than justify a visit here. A wonderfully chubby orata (sea bass, €13) was cooked whole (no wonder it was chubby), but perfectly. Fegato alla Veneziana (€13) was some of the best liver I have eaten, small tender bits browned just the right amount, in wonderful juices.
There’s also a tourist menu – three courses for €15 – including a choice of all the basic Venetian dishes you would expect. The white house wine is a slightly frizzante Soave, good value at €12 per litre.
Cheap and cheerful, with decent service – what you see is what you get. And that can be just what you need.