I've been to Old Venice, but it was probably 3 years ago and I wasn't very impressed. However, after hearing people rave about their pizza I decided to give it another chance. After last night, I found out I just got the wrong thing when I first went. Last night's meal was very delightful. As an appetizer, all the girls split the fried calamari and crawfish rolls. They were both tasty. I recommend both when you go. I also ordered a glass of Chardonnay. Their wine menu is a big plus! You can get most of them by the glass or bottle and at VERY reasonable prices!! Check it out on their website. I loved my Chardonnay! For my entree, I ordered the individual Margherita Pizza. This is another big plus - you can order any of the pizzas with thin crust or hand tossed and you can order the individual size or regular size. Of course, I ordered the thin crust (I despise thick crust pizza.) and the individual size since we were all getting our own things. I really liked it! It was very tasty with spices you don't normally find on a Margherita Pizza. The cheese was oozing. The crust was thin, but not as thin and crispy as Memphis Pizza Cafe's crust. I definitely think MPC has them beat on the crust. The size was bigger than I would expect for an individual sized pizza. I could only eat half and brought the rest home for Jon. Now, let's not forget that Old Venice is a chain with locations in Oxford, Tupelo, and Starkville. Though you can kind of tell it's a chain through the food's taste and appearance, it's still delicious and I'll be going back.
In addition to the pluses I've already mentioned, Old Venice is a great medium-priced restaurant in Memphis. These are hard to find! I feel like Memphis has a lot of great Ma and Pa cheap but great eats and then we have a lot of expensive but great eats. There's not a whole lot of middle ground. Old Venice is a great place to go with friends for that very reason. Old Venice is one of the few Memphis restaurants that stands in that middle price range.
To comment on the service and atmosphere. The service was great! Our waitress was very attentive, but not annoying. We received our food pretty fast, but not too fast. The atmosphere is where they could probably use some updating. The fake window scenes on the wall kind of make me cringe and are the only thing that prevents me from saying this is a great first date place - definitely give you that cheesy, chainy feel.
I think a more sophisticated and simpler look would really spice it up a bit. But, overall the atmosphere was very pleasant.
Another plus, yes another, is that I hear this place has great specials on drinks and apps! I want to say they have the deal on Wednesday nights?? Not sure. If anyone knows, please feel free to post.
I give Old Venice 3 stars.