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Sophie eating Del Moros Fresh Pasta To Go Venice

I adore Italy. I mean, I’ve only visited Rome and Venice so far, but it’s given me a burning wanderlust to explore more of the country. You can’t help but fall in love with Italian food: fresh, simple ingredients form the basis of most dishes and there is a reliance on the quality of the ingredients to produce the flavours. It’s very regional too, with various dishes only found in certain parts of Italy. Venice was no exception when it came to the food and eating like a local is easily one of the best ways to immerse yourself in Venetian culture. Situated in a shallow lagoon in the Adriatic Sea, it’s no surprise that seafood is at the heart of many traditional Venetian dishes. Cicetti is also unique to Venice – Tapas style dishes that you can eat with in two bites, standing outside a bar with a glass of wine in your other hand. And it’s SO CHEAP.

Food plays a BIG role my trips. In fact, it’s what I remember the most. Here’s an in depth guide of where and what we ate in Venice and how to immerse yourself in local cuisine!

Cicetti bar in Venice

Top Tips for Eating in Venice

  • If you are on a budget, stick to cicetti bars. Cicetti costs €1-3 per piece. Good cicetti bars also sell cheap drinks. You’ll be able to find Aeperol Spritz and prosecco for around €3 and wine for about €4! So when someone tells you Venice is really expensive, please direct them to the nearest cicetti bar…
  • Restaurants around San Marco are expensive. If you want good, cheap food, eat in Rialto, San Paolo or Cannaregio.
  • If you eat or drink in San Marco’s square, you’ll be charged extra (up to €10) for sitting on the tables outside. Yep, even on top of your €2 expresso.
  • Most bars and restaurants in Venice have a small charge for sitting on the tables outside, but if you stay away from San Marco, it won’t exceed €1.
  • There were plenty of vegetarian options on the menu, but if you are vegan double check the small, local restaurants, as fresh pasta is made with egg!
  • Venice might be small, but it’s not immune to global chains! It has a Burger King, Rossopomodorro and Del Moros Pasta To Go – we tried Del Moros and it wasn’t worth it at all so stick with the locals for authentic Venetian cuisine that supports the local economy.
Sophie drinking a glass of wine

Where to eat: Traditional Venetian Cuisine

Pane Vino e San Daniele Rialto

Sea bass and roast potatoes at Pan e Vino San Daniele, Venice

Pane Vino e San Daniele Rialto was the first restaurant we ate at on our first night and it was a gem. Tucked away in a side street a stones throw away from our hotel, it was the perfect introduction to Venetian cuisine. We started off with a meat and mozzarella platter: Paper thin Serrano ham with soft, creamy mozzarella and crisp flatbread. Boy, you cannot buy this stuff in the UK! For the main course, I had sea bass with roasted vegetables – something which you’ll find in most places. Dan chose the Spaghetti al Nero di Seppia – spaghetti in a squid ink sauce with fresh garlic and mushrooms. This is a traditional Venetian dish and a must try when you are in Venice!

Cost: ££

Find it: Calle dei Botteri, 1544, 30125 Venice VE, Italy


Cantina Do Spade

Swordfish steaks at Cantina Do Spade

Cantina Do Spade came by recommendation from a friend who spent the summer in Venice a few years ago. It’s a cicetti bar and restaurant that is tucked away in the back streets of Rialto and is incredibly popular with locals. Don’t be put off by the rowdy outside – the restaurant area is a lovely spot for an evening meal. If you want to head here, you need to book a few weeks in advance, as they don’t have many tables.

We had the cicetti starter which comprised of a few bites from the bar including the most glorious stuffed squid. Dan had the gnochhi ragu which was rich and meaty, giving me serious food envy. I had swordfish steaks with what I think was artichoke. Either way, the swordfish was so meaty and delicious and the veg was soft and succulent. If you want to escape and pretend to be Italian for the evening, Do Spade is the place to be.

Cost: ££

Find it: Calle del Scaleter, 859, 30125 Venice VE, Italy

cantinadospade.com


Il Ridotto Restaurant

Fish dish at Il Ridotto

Venetian cuisine, but not as you know it. Il Ridotto Restaurant is a Michelin Star location on the outskirts of San Marco. If you are looking for a special meal, I’d definitely recommend it. For €35 you can have the lunch menu which includes bread, three tapas dishes and a fish or meat main course. They also offer 5 and 7 course tasting menus from €80 per person.

The tapas dishes were incredible: bite size deliciousness. The first was a steak tartare with a sweet mustard. The second, a mussel creme brulee which is perhaps the best thing I’ve ever eaten. The third was a Baccala sandwich – dried cod in a light crisp sandwich. Baccala is found as a cicetti offering in Venice and is basically pureed cod fish and cream – nicer than it sounds! For our mains, I had chicken ravioli and Dan had the fish dish, giant fusili topped with slithers of fish. Fresh, delicious and well worth a visit.

Cost: ££££

Find it: Campiello, Campo Santi Filippo and Giacomo, 4509, 30122 

ilridotto.com


Where to eat: Cicetti & Wine Bars

Bar All’Arco

Cicetti from All Arco, Venice

Located in San Polo, Bar All’Arco is hailed as the best place for cicetti in Venice. It’s busy and the punters spill out into the street but it’s a great spot for lunch or a pre-dinner aperitivo and snack. The noise and the busyness makes it unappealing to tourists, so you might find yourself one of the only English speakers in there! The wine is tasty, local and cheap, the cicetti freshly made and traditional. I can’t remember exactly what we had, but it was some kind of deep-fried fish and pickled vegetables. Well worth a visit to throw yourself into the Venetian way of eating!

Cost: £

Find it: S. Polo, 436, 30125 Venice VE, Italy


Art Cafe Venezia

One of my favourite bars of the whole weekend was Art Cafe. Located in the Campiello Santa Maria Nova overlooking the beautiful marble Church of Santa Maria dei Miracoli, it’s a great spot to sit in the afternoon sun and people watch. They serve crisps with your drinks which are cheap – €3 for prosecco and €3.50 for a spritz. There’s a charge of €0.50 if you sit on the tables outside.

Cost: £

Find it: Campiello Santa Maria Nova, 30121 Venice VE, Italy


Ostaria dai Zemei

Selection of Cicette at Osteria Dai Zemei

This funky cicetti bar was our last lunch in Venice which cost us a grand total of €10. Dai Zemei is run by twins and the cicetti is a little different to the usual stuff you’ll find in Venice. Spicy chilli jam and pepperoni, cheese and fruity chutneys, sardine a saor with coleslaw: it’s all a little bit quirky but it is so good. And cheap! It’s tiny, so be prepared to queue and squish inside if there are no tables available.

Cost: £

Find it: Calle del Scaleter, 1045 / b, 30125 Venice VE, Italy

www.ostariadaizemei.it


Majer Venezia

There are a few Majer Bakeries across Venice. They are a local bakery business but in Campo S. Giacomo dell’Orio, there is a cicetti and wine bar! We had a medium meat platter (€15) and a glass of the Chianti Classico (€4) from the Veneto region. It was one of our most memorable eats of the trip! The wine was smooth and delicious, the meat was finely sliced and rich. If you aren’t in the market for meats and cheese boards, they also sell cicetti. Oh, and there’s a bakery opposite!

Cost: £ – ££

Find it: Campo S. Giacomo dell’Orio, 1658, 30100 Venice VE, Italy

majer.it


Osteria al Ponte da Tellero

Another highlight of the weekend was €2.50 prosecco from Osteria al Ponte Da Tellero. It was crisp, fresh and I will never forget sipping prosecco on the bridge overlooking the canals. It’s just off the beaten track and a real hidden gem, so if you can make time to find it – go try the prosecco and grab some cicetti whilst you’re at it.

Cost: £

Find it: Cannaregio, 6378, 30121 Venezia VE, Italy


Where to eat: Best of the Rest

Al Forno Antico

Venice isn’t particularly famous for its pizza, but if you are after a slice to line your stomach after a few spritzes, I’d recommend Al Forno Antico near the Rialto Bridge. You’ll find traditional thin Italian base pizzas but try the Pizzacia. It’s a Foccacia base with pizza toppings and it’s SO GOOD. Very doughy but with an insanely crispy base. Get me an Italian pizza oven pronto.

Cost: £

Find it: Ruga Rialto, 973, 30125 Venezia VE, Italy

www.anticofornovenezia.com


Gelato Di Natura

Strawberry and Coconut gelato in a cone from Gelato di Natura, Venice

Gelato di Natura was by far the best gelato we had all weekend – so good we went back twice! It was creamy, sweet and had great range of flavours. It was just €3 for two scoops which was a lot cheaper than the ones in the tourist spots. My favourite flavours were strawberry and coconut. Dan would recommend the chocolate fudge if you want something richer!

Find it: Campo San Giacomo from the Orio, San Croce, 1628, 30135 Venezia VE, Italy


Panificio Pasticceria Garbo (Burano)

When we went to Burano, we stopped off at a pasticceria (bakery) for a fritelle. A fritelle is a sweet, cream filled doughnut that you can only buy during Carnival. You can buy them in most bakeries across Venice and there are lots of different flavours like Tiramasu, Raisin and Chocolate. I had a traditional cream one and it was very sweet but oh so delicious! If you don’t go during Carnival, try Galvani or Canneloni.

Find it: Fondamenta degli Assassini, 335, 30142 Venezia VE, Italy

www.isoladiburano.it


So there we have it – the ultimate guide to eating and drinking in Venice! Someone sent me a message on Instagram and said they weren’t impressed with the food in Venice – but I completely disagree with you soz. Venice has such a good food scene and a real culinary identity that sets it apart from the rest of Italy, so make sure you make the most of it and immerse yourself. If you want to try out Venice for yourself, check out Jet2Citybreaks – they have some great deals on flight and hotel packages.

Hungry for more? Check out my ultimate three-ish day itinerary for Venice and save my Google Maps guide below.

Where to Eat In Venice

Here’s a map with all the places we visited in Venice, from sights to eats and useful stuff like hotels and ferry terminals. You can save this map to your places and use it as a basis for your own maps.

I’ve colour coded it for ease: Red is for transport and accommodation; Green for food; Yellow for things to see.

To use the map, open Google Maps on your browser, open the tab on the left-hand side and click on ‘My Places’. Save to your maps to edit. You can download it before your trip for easy access when you’re on your trip.

Disclaimer – My trip to Venice was a collaboration with Jet2.com. Jet2 provided our flights, hotel and expenses. This blog post is in addition to my first blog post, but some of the food showed in this post will have been covered as part of my collaboration with Jet2.

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Milton Keynes based blogger who likes to eat and explore.