Venice isn’t known for its good places to eat. It is, in fact, known for the exact opposite – it’s one of those cities that even non-foodies complain about, because of the high prices and mediocre food. But not all the places to eat in Venice serve bad food. After all, there’s no way the residents of Venice would put up with bad food, although they might be content to let the tourists eat it!
One option when thinking about dining in Venice includes the Venetian equivalent of tapas, called “cicchetti” (pronounced chee-KEH-tee). The idea is you get a glass of wine and a selection of little plates of food, from bite-sized items on toothpicks to small samples of regular meals. These places, called “bacaro,” can be stand-up only, although some have small tables inside and, in good weather, you may also opt to bring your quasi-picnic outdoors and sit on the steps of a nearby bridge to eat. You can choose to visit several places to make up a meal, or choose one and keep sampling until you’re full.
So, where should you eat in Venice? Some options to consider are listed below (I haven’t tried all of these personally, so I’m relying on the reviews of others), and don’t forget about that excellent website that lets you pinpoint any Venice address with ease, or to read my tips for eating well in Venice!
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Places to Eat in Venice
On a Budget (Be advised that even “budget” dining in Venice could be more than you might spend in other touristy Italian cities.)
- Osteria ai Promessi Sposi (Cannaregio 4367 on Calle dell’Oca) – excellent selection of typical Venetian cicchetti, plus regular plates
- Do Mori (San Polo 429 on Calle dei do Mori, near Rialto Market) – reportedly Venice’s oldest bar, serving typical Venetian cicchetti
- Osteria da Carla (San Marco 1535 on Corte Contarina off Frezzeria, closed Sundays) – simple Italian meals
- Osteria “Alla Botte” Cicchetteria (San Marco 5482 on Calle della Bissa, closed Thursdays) – typical Venetian cicchetti
- Osteria da Alberto (Cannaregio 5401 on Calle Giacinto Gallina, closed Sundays) – typical Venetian cicchetti, plus regular plates
- Osteria al Bomba (Cannaregio 4297/4298 on Calle dell’Oca off Campo Santa Sofia) – typical Venetian cicchetti, plus regular plates
- Osteria il Milion (Cannaregio 5841 on S. Giovanni Grisostomo, closed Wednesdays) – traditional Italian meals
- Antica Osteria Ruga Rialto (San Polo 692 on Calle del Sturion) – a bar & some typical Venetian cicchetti
- Osteria Bancogiro da Andrea (San Polo 122 on Campo San Giacometto, closed Sunday evenings & all day Monday) – typical Venetian cicchetti
- Trattoria Tosi (also called da Tosi Piccoli, Castello 738 on Seco Marina, closed Wednesdays) – two-course fixed-price menus
- Osteria al Portego (Castello 6015 on Calle della Malvasia, sporadically open) – typical Venetian cicchetti, plus regular plates
- Enoteca al Volto (San Marco 4081 on Calle Cavalli, closed Sundays) – typical Venetian cicchetti
- Enoteca Cantina del Vino Gia Schiavi (Dorsoduro 992 on San Trovaso) – typical Venetian cicchetti
- Vino Vino (San Marco 2007 on Ponte delle Veste near La Fenice, closed Tuesdays) – good prices on both first and second course plates, very small
- Trattoria da Bepi (Cannaregio 337 on Ponte delle Guglie, closed Mondays) – family-run restaurant, outdoor canal-side seating
- Osteria al Bacco (Cannaregio 3054 on Fondamenta Capuzine, closed Mondays) – three-course fixed-price menus, moderately priced & good value for money
- Ostaria Antico Dolo (San Polo 778 on Ruga Rialto, near Rialto Market) – typical Venetian cicchetti
- Devil’s Forest Pub (San Marco 5185 on Calle dei Stagneri off Campo San Bartolomeo) – British pub atmosphere with English & Irish beer on tap
- Cip Ciap Pizza (Castello 5799 on Calle del Mondo Nuovo) – serves cheap pizza by the slice (but remember that pizza isn’t Venetian, so don’t expect it to be life-alteringly good)
Budget Be Damned
- Al Mascaron Osteria (Castello 5225 on Calle Lunga Santa Maria Formosa, closed Sundays) – local seafood specialties
- Fiaschetteria Toscana (Cannaregio 5719 on Salizada S. Giovanni Grisostomo, closed all day Tuesdays & Wednesdays at lunch) – seafood specialties
- La Colonna (Cannaregio 5329 on Campiello del Pestrin near Fondamenta Nove) – far from tourist areas
- La Furatola (Dorsoduro 2669/A on Calle Lunga S. Barnaba, closed Thursdays) – seafood specialties
- Osteria da Fiore (San Polo 2202 on Calle del Scaleter, closed Sundays & Mondays, & August, & December 24-January 15)- famous & busy restaurant in Venice with seafood specialties
- Ristorante Cantinone Storico (Dorsoduro 660/1 on Fondamenta di Ca’ Bragadin, closed Sundays & November & January) – another quiet canal-side restaurant, dressy
- Ristorante da Raffaele (San Marco 2347 on Ponte delle Ostreghe) – quiet canal-side romance, for a price
The foodie website Chowhound has a long thread here about where to eat in Venice – it starts with an impressive list of not only places to eat around Venice and the surrounding islands, but also with sometimes lengthy reviews of the restaurants, the service and the prices. It’s an excellent reference point – just keep in mind that things change from year to year in the restaurant business, and everyone’s opinion is going to be different, so check the recommended places out to make sure they look good to you as well. Click through to this link to find a few more of my own tips for eating well in Venice, along with a video in a cicchetteria. And here’s another website with some higher-end restaurant tips, including this gem – “eat where the gondoliers eat.” Clever.
And if you still don’t find a sublime meal in Venice, don’t worry – there’s much more of Italy for your palate to explore. Enjoy Venice for what it is and you’ll still have a great time.
Photo by: David Lurie