Another BBC article on avoiding “tourist trap” restaurants in Venice says that locals advise “visitors to use guide books rather than sources like TripAdvisor when looking for a restaurant in Venice.” As you may know, it’s relatively easy to scam online sites like Yelp! or TripAdvisor — read the article about the young man who made his backyard shack into London’s #1 restaurant, for example! However, well-known printed guidebooks like Michelin’s actually send reviewers to the restaurant to try it out … sometimes to the point of stressing out the chefs, as a recent case in which a top-rated French chef requested that Michelin stop listing his restaurant proves.
But, back to Venice. Avoid restaurants that post photographs of the food outside. Avoid restaurants in which somebody at the door urges you to come inside. Avoid restaurants that advertise no service charge. Look for the smaller, quieter restaurants away from the major tourist areas. And if you find one you like, as you’re leaving, ask the owner for a recommendation for where else you might want to eat in Venice — the Venetians will be happy to recommend each others’ restaurants to you.