The infamous Franco and his sister Mirella run Osteria alla Bifora in lively Campo Santa Margherita, Dorsoduro. Locals tend to call this spot “Franco’s”. Franco Bernardi is a jovial character, a real life Venetian personality. He has had many a locale in the city. Osteria alla Bifora is the crown jewel of these projects.
Campo Santa Margherita is the largest campo in Venice. The word campo indicates that grass once grew here. In fact, animals once were stalled and slaughtered in Campo Santa Margherita. Once the local butcher shop, Osteria alla Bifora has been completely renovated by Franco himself. Each table and chair collected and restored. When the restoration was happening years ago, we lived in the Campo and would often stop to check in on Franco as he sanded down a table.
Upon entering, you instantly feel the love. A bar yes, but here the atmosphere whispers in your ear, this place is special. Murano chandeliers sparkle, candles flicker and locals chatter. This is one of Venice’s rare late night spots. Sure it is open earlier but if you want to meet Franco and really have the full sensation of hanging in a local joint then go late.
Let’s talk about salami! Franco serves up abundant affettati, spinning wooden boards layered in paper thin slices of cured Italian meats. Hidden spicy olives and cheese plates. Venetian delicacies like creamy crostini of baccala mantecato (cod fish spread) served with a crisp glass of Prosecco should get you started nicely.