Follow the smell of boiled octopus and roasted dorade through a large boatyard on the lagoon side of Giudecca to Ristorante Mistra (Giudecca 212A; 041-522-0743). Housed in an airy, sun-drenched loft above a gondola workshop, the restaurant caters to boatyard workers with delicious, cheap lunchtime specials like simple pesto and spaghetti.
Have a meal with the Penzo family, who’ve owned Trattoria Altanella (Giudecca 268; 041-522-7780), resting on a quiet canalside in Giudecca, since 1889. If it’s not too chilly, take a seat on the canopied terrace and nibble on the house special, gnocchi with inky cuttlefish, or scarf down hot plates of fritto misto with bottles of Raboso, a red from the adjacent Piave region. Desserts are still homemade by Mama.
Zigzag down a few streets from the overlooked Campo San Paolo to friendly Taverna del Campiello Remer (Cannareggio 5701; 349-336-5168), on the southern flank of San Paolo, a residential district. The place bustles with stylish locals and a handful of tourists agog at the heaping plates of prosciutto, Parmesan, and pasta.