Classic Venice: Harry’s Bar

Courtesy Cipriani

The Cipriani family’s Grand Canal classic could easily have succumbed to its own hype: the Hemingway legacy, the never-ending Bellinis, the $30 club sandwiches. Yet despite the phenomenal pricing and the tourist throngs, the romance persists.

Graydon Carter, Editor in Chief, Vanity Fair

“Not surprisingly, the Bellini is magical. I’ve never understood the preschool-sized chairs, but I love the look, the dusty yellow linen and such. I also like the Ciprianis’ other place on the Giudecca, Harry’s Dolci, which is less claustrophobic on a busy night.”

Jay McInerney, Author

“In 1986, after my first Italian book tour, I went to Venice. Naturally, as a Hemingway fan, the first place I headed to was Harry’s. Arrigo Cipriani introduced himself, saying, “You’re that American writer everyone compares to Hemingway.” After telling me several Hemingway stories, he offered me the use of his fantastic mahogany speedboat, which was waiting outside my hotel the next morning. I ate all my meals at Harry’s after that.”

Anna Zegna, Image Director, Ermenegildo Zegna

“I love the Bellini, of course, but also the little toasts they serve with it as an appetizer.”

Nicola Bulgari, Vice Chairman, Bulgari Group

“It’s just a classic. In all the years I have been going to Harry’s Bar, the Bellini there is still the greatest I’ve ever tasted.”

Diego Della Valle, President and CEO, Tod’s Group

“Even though I’ve been going there for ages, Harry’s always gives me the same sense of pleasure; when I sit there I feel like I’m on holiday, even if I’m in Venice for work. I always order the same thing: a Bellini, carpaccio and, depending on the season, a good calf liver, a baccalà mantecato or a baked tagliolini and a meringata for dessert.”

Carla Sozzani, Founder of Milan’s 10 Corso Como

“The round table in the downstairs right corner is the best place to sit and watch Arrigo and his staff. I always order Prosecco in one of Harry’s signature round carafes—a completely different feeling than having it in the bottle.”

Ed Victor, London Literary Agent

“You never know who you’ll meet. Sometime in the eighties, my wife and I spent the holidays in Venice. We kept crossing paths with a man in a dramatic cape and a beautiful fedora, whom we nicknamed “The Poet.” At Harry’s on New Year’s Eve, we were thrilled to find him seated next to us—until we discovered he was not a poet at all but a metallurgist and the dullest man we’d ever met.”

John Berendt, Author

“I will always love Harry’s for its most brilliant—and underappreciated—innovation: three-legged tables. They never rock or wobble. It’s geometrically impossible. When you dine on one, there’s never any need to shove a matchbook under a too-short leg.”

Dinner, from $105. At 1323 San Marco, Calle Vallaresso; 39-041/528-5777; cipriani.com.