A meeting place for writers, artists, models, and the stars of stage, screen, and corporate boardrooms, a luxurious restaurant whose fabulous concoctions and timeless decor have often been imitated but never matched, Harry’s Bar in Venice has remained one of the world’s most renowned watering holes for more than sixty years. Ernest Hemingway, Orson Welles, Sinclair Lewis, and other luminaries have tasted its famous cocktails and enjoyed the bar’s original inventions, such as the “carpaccio” appetizer and the ...
A meeting place for writers, artists, models, and the stars of stage, screen, and corporate boardrooms, a luxurious restaurant whose fabulous concoctions and timeless decor have often been imitated but never matched, Harry’s Bar in Venice has remained one of the world’s most renowned watering holes for more than sixty years. Ernest Hemingway, Orson Welles, Sinclair Lewis, and other luminaries have tasted its famous cocktails and enjoyed the bar’s original inventions, such as the “carpaccio” appetizer and the now-ubiquitous bellini. Filled with engaging wit and lighthearted charm, Arrigo Cipriani’s history of Harry’s Bar is a delight to read—and the next best thing to a table at Harry’s Bar itself.
At the height of its fame, before and just after WWII, Harry's Bar in Venice was one of the most popular watering places in Europe. There was a mystique about itcompounded of excellent food and drink, a comfortable atmosphere and the warmth of its host, Giuseppe Ciprianithat attracted a clientele of international celebrities. His son, Arrigo, who took over from his father and is also a novelist (Heloise and Bellinis), chats about its history, the specialties of the house and some of its more eccentric or famous clientele. Hemingway, Capote, Orson Welles, Barbara Hutton, Valentina, the Aga Khan and various European royals make brief and not memorable appearances here, as do other regulars. But much of this memoir focuses on the financial deals and problems of other less famous Cipriani hostelries in Giudecca, Torcello and New York City. The author is at his best when he ruminates about the preferred shape of a table, the difference between snobbery and genuine luxury and the fad for "light" cuisine. But, though often entertaining, this will burden no one with its depth or style or revelations, and it suffers by comparison with more notably literary innkeepers' memoirs. Photos. (Oct.)
Arrigo Cipriani is the son of Giuseppe Cipriani, the founder of Harry's Bar, a successful Venice restaurant and frequent destination of the rich and famous during the Forties and Fifties. Cipriani is a frequent contributor to Italian magazines and a published novelist, so his style is interesting and informative, not unwieldy or too technical. He describes in a lively fashion his father's early training in grand hotel restaurants and the decisions he made on the type of cuisine, furniture, tableware, and, most important, the proper manner to use with guests (accommodating but not servile) in his new establishment. Those looking for kiss-and-tell revelations about such frequent patrons as Ernest Hemingway, Orson Welles, the Aga Khan, or other members of cafe society will be disappointed. As Cipriani points out, a successful restaurateur is discreet. Later chapters tell the story of the construction and operation of Cipriani's, the New York counterpart of Harry's Bar. Black-and-white illustrations of the restaurants and some of their most famous patrons are included. Suitable for collections specializing in famous restaurants and landmarks of high society.Mary Ann Parker, California Dept. of Water Resources Law Lib., Sacramento
The New York Times Book Review
“In his charming memoir, Mr. Cipriani tells how Hemingway liked to order . . . . [W]e find out how bellinis . . . came into existence, [and] why tablecloths shouldn't be green.”
Arrigo (Harry) Cipriani, aside from carrying on his father’s legacy by running the famous bar, is a novelist and frequent contributor to several Italian dailies and magazines. He lives in Venice, Italy.