S. Marco, 1323
30124 Venezia (VE), Italy
+39 041 5285777
Credit Cards: All Major
Prices: Very Expensive
Harry’s Bar is an institution and has always been a hangout and haven for Americans as diverse as Ernest Hemingway, Orson Welles, and more recently Woody Allen. Hemingway was a regular from the late forties forward and some of the scenes in his novel Across the River and into the Trees took place at Harry’s Bar. This probably partially influenced the decision of Arrigo Cipriani, who is the son of the founder Giuseppe Cipriani, to post a sign recently, giving notice that every American will be entitled to a 20% discount on all consumables until the financial, sub-prime mortgage crisis is over. An honorable gesture, everything considered.
The bar and ristoranti that brought to the Italian culinary repertoire the Bellini and Carpaccio along with expected steep prices and special services catering to the patrons, which might have included carrying the Aga Khan to the table in his own armchair, where he proceeded to gulp down Beluga caviar whole without even bursting a single egg with his teeth.
As the story goes, an American student named Harry Cushing was strapped for cash and asked Giuseppe Cipriani the barman at the Europa Hotel in Venice for 10,000 lire ($6,000 today). He then disappeared, leaving Cipriani worried that he might never see his money again. However, the American returned in February 1930, and he not only repaid Cipriani but offered to put up 40,000 lire more and said, “We can now open a bar and call it Harry’s”.
Giuseppe Cipriani opened Harry’s Bar in Venice in 1931 directly on the St Mark’s bay waterfront. He also made famous a drink, the Bellini, a mixture of white peach juice and sparkling prosecco, named after the fifteenth-century Venetian painter Giovanni Bellini. The dish is Carpaccio of beef, a plate of trimmed wafer-thin sirloin drizzled with a blend of mayonnaise and lemon juice, which was invented for an Italian Contessa who was on a diet free of cooked meat. It too was created by Giuseppe and was also named after an Italian painter, Vittore Carpaccio, who was famous for using colors in deep red hues.
The clientele’s motive for returning so often was not that they expected marvelously innovative culinary experimentation, just Italian classic cuisine, properly cooked and presented.
Recommended dishes & drinks include:
Carpaccio alla Cipriani, Scampi all’Armoricaine, Trippa alla Parmigiana
Bellini, Whisky Sour, Martini
If you would like to find a great selection of places to stay with discounted prices, visit Hotel Reservations in Venice for more information.