While Rachel and I were in Italy, we had an experience with a restaurant that I have been wanting to share. Throughout this voyage, we were treated to some spectacular meals with great wine and delightful atmosphere. Trattoria Casanova in Venice was not one of these. I will start off by admitting that we never actually tasted any of the food here. At this point you may be wondering why I am writing a review for a restaurant we never ate at and may even be skeptical of what sort of advice I can really offer, well read on and feel free to make your own opinion. Another thing that I would like to mention, and this may give you an idea of what this review is going to be like, I don’t get angry often. In fact, I can pretty much count on one hand the number of times I have been angry in the last 20 or so years. This experience was one of them.
It was our last night in Venice and Italy in general and we were trying to decide what we wanted to eat one last time. Rachel really wanted to have one last gluten free pizza covered with water buffalo mozzarella (something she can eat despite not being able to have dairy products from cows). We wandered down piazzas and down narrow passages until we came across Trattoria Cassanova. It didn’t particularly stand out but a friendly host standing by the menu began talking to us and we told him what we were looking for. He assured us that they had gluten free pizzas and welcomed us inside. We had a seat and began to peruse the menu and ordered a half liter of the house red to sip while we decided what we wanted. I will give credit where credit is due and tell you that the wine was quite nice. So far this was shaping up to be a great experience. After a couple minutes, our waiter returned and we made our order at which point we were told they do not have gluten free pizza. I told the waiter that we were assured by the host that we would be able to order a GF pizza and he immediately became agitated and told us they had gluten free pizza but he had just ate the rest of it himself. Normally we would have just picked something else but as it was our last night I was determined to get Rachel one last taste of Italy.
I told the waiter that we would just take the bill for the wine. The waiter became visibly angry (though I’m not sure why) and spits out a price. Until this point he had been completely unreasonable with us and very emotional and I asked if that was the actual price. He completely lost it and began shouting and stormed off. Another waiter approached apologetically and we asked him for the bill and to speak to the manager. The new waiter says the manager is not here but the first waiter overhears and comes back yelling that he is the manager and how dare I call him a liar and a thief in his own restaurant. Throughout this experience he has caused quite a scene and we have attracted the attention of all the adjacent tables. Somewhere around this point I am standing as well because the waiter has become quite threatening and I am wondering if he is going to physically attack me. He gives me a bill for the wine we had ordered and made a big deal about the 10% gratuity that is required and how he is only charging me because I was rude.
I had no issue paying for what we had ordered but argued with the waiter about his manners and how we were not there to call him a liar or anything but that he was being exceptionally rude. We put the cash on the table and went outside where I stopped to take a picture of their sign so I could write a review. At this point the waiter followed me outside yelling about how a review wouldn’t make a difference and gave me a business card. He continued yelling at us down the street how if we weren’t happy we could complain to Obama.
I am aware that our experience seemed completely bizarre. After we returned to our hotel I saw that this restaurant had exceptionally poor reviews. I googled Trattoria Casanova and scrolled past the 5 star reviews the restaurant obviously paid for and found some interesting news articles. One article talks about a Belgian man who complained that his steak was cold which turned into a physical altercation where all of the waiters started kicking the man after he was knocked down. Countless reviews and a few news articles also talk about this restaurant bringing people more food than they ordered and charging hundreds of dollars for lunch. The reviews for this restaurant include many insane stories of people being treated poorly and I hope that anyone reading this can benefit from our negative experience.
In the end, I count myself as fortunate that my experience at this restaurant ended so quickly without me being scammed out of hundreds of dollars. We left a bit rattled and returned to a restaurant that we had previously visited and enjoyed and made the most of our last evening. This experience however did impact our view of Venice and restaurants like these seem commonplace throughout Venice especially. I highly recommend to anyone travelling to Venice that you read reviews for your restaurants prior to eating there.