Best Outdoor Dining Space - 2008
An al fresco lunch taken in the glamorous de Chirico-esque outdoor dining area of Ducca, the Venetian-inspired restaurant in the newly renovated Westin Hotel downtown, amounts to a mini-vacation. The broad piazza, semiscreened from busy Third Street by ornamental gates and planters, offers sunny seating on the patio or a gaily shaded terrace. There's a cityscape of towers, but also lots of eerily empty sky. As you nibble on chicheti (Venetian bar snacks such as fried anchovies, rice fritters, and salt cod crostini), pick at prosciutto served with a peach and sorrel panzanella, or sample a plate of wonderful artisanal salumi, risotto risi-bisi, or fat lamb polpettoni, while slowly sipping a chilled glass of Prosecco or a rich Dolcetto d'Alba, it's easy to forget where you are. An unexpected sense of relaxation and ease may lead you to linger over lush mascarpone panna cotta or airy ricotta cheesecake. An expertly prepared espresso may be required to prepare you to face the real world again.