A fisherman’s simple touch
Lovers of frutti di mare will be spoiled for choice in any Venetian tavern! Venetians love seafood and especially moleche – fried crabs fished from the region’s salty lagoons. Also on the table are boiled squid, known as sepe al nero and langoustines that are served simply with olive oil and lemon juice – look for scampi alla veneziana. For an aperitif or a light meal, try a popular Veneto dish of creamy polenta with crunchy shrimp, or polenta e schie. If you prefer to admire seafood in the water rather than on a plate, opt for Venetian veal liver, fegato alla veneziana, or one of the many varieties of polenta or risotto.
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The iconic taste of Venice
Place: Baccalà Veneto
Address: Sotoportego dei do Mori, 414
The relationship between Venice and the codfish dates back to the 15th century, and over the years, locals have refined the methods of processing and preserving this exceptionally durable fish. As such, the city’s famous baccalà, or dried cod in cream, should be an absolute priority on the gastronomic list of any self-respecting gourmand.
Baccalà Veneto is located in the heart of Venice’s historic centre, near the Rialto Bridge. The restaurant was founded in 2019 by Paolo and his sons Edoardo and Lorenzo, continuing a family tradition begun by grandfather Ettore over 80 years ago. The family uses a traditional recipe for extremely creamy cod, prepared without the addition of milk or flour, making it an ideal dish for those with coeliac disease or lactose intolerance. The on-site shop offers a wide range of typical Venetian products, including cod, prepared in a range of delicious ways.
Organic Italian tapas
Addres: Calle de la Bissa, 5482
SEPA is a must-visit in Venice. Its philosophy is to select only the very best ingredients to create responsible cuisine. Culinary ethics are also important here, and special attention is paid to contemporary ecological solutions.
SEPA focuses on tackling Venice’s plastic waste problem by using filtered, rather than bottled water and using biodegradable dishes made of corn, significantly reducing daily CO2 emissions. The tiny, cozy and always buzzy restaurant invites passers-by to try authentic Venetian cuisine, including cicchetti, a dish that is typical of the city, and is supposedly best served with fish or seafood.
Kosher tips in the historic old town
Place: Ba Ghetto Ristorante Kosher
Address: Cannaregio, 2873/c
Another interesting point on Venice’s culinary map is Ba Ghetto Ristorante Kosher restaurant. This restaurant was first opened in Rome and was popular from the very start, thanks in part to its kosher menu. Ba Ghetto restaurants have since opened in Milan, Florence and the centre of the historic Venetian ghetto.
Residents and tourists alike love this place for its delicious cuisine, where the flavours of Roman, Jewish and Middle Eastern cuisines meet. The authentic Italian atmosphere, seasonal menu, innovative recipes, elegant presentation, spacious interiors and professional service will all keep you coming back for more. One of the most popular dishes here is the unassuming yet delicious artichoke, or carciofo, which impresses almost every guest.
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Giro dei Bacari – an unusual way to see Venice
Why not explore the city and its food by water? You can sample the local cuisine and social life in a cheap and extremely colourful way by wandering between the numerous Venetian bacari bars. Here, you can enjoy cheap and cheerful house wine (ombra de vin) and snacks (cicchetti) and these small Venetian taverns are characterized by a family atmosphere and low prices.
The Venetian Giro dei Bacari has a long and illustrious tradition and, according to popular legend, was invented by a gondolier who exclaimed “xe just vin de bàcaro!” ( “perfect wine for a party!”) when sampling a new tipple. Since then, the bàcaro tour has become a tradition, with both paid guided and self-guided tours being popular options.. Sharing food and drink is typical of the Venetian streets, which are often busier and more interesting after dark than the main streets of the old town.
Bàcaro are ideal for those on a budget as a glass of house wine costs just €1 with snacks ranging from €1 to €4. So there’s a good chance that you’ll be able to enjoy a full plate of Venetian “tapas” and enjoy change from a €10 note. Competition for the best cicchetti in Venice is fierce, as these delicious snacks are served all over the city. Some of the most popular cicchetti are:
- crostini – pieces of baguette sandwiched with various toppings;
- tramezzini – slices of wheat bread with assorted toppings;
- panini – ciabatta sandwiches filled with meat;
- polpette – deep-fried balls of meat, tuna, cheese or potatoes.
It should be emphasized that this particular type of fast food is not aimed at tourists. Cicchetti are extremely popular with local Venetians and are an essential part of Venetian culture and social scene. These snacks are most often eaten as an accompaniment to an evening drink before dinner.
Want to know about another extremely interesting way to see the city? Check out our article on water buses in Venice.
Where to find the best cicchetti?
- Il Santo Bevitore – Somewhat uncharacteristically, this Bacari does not serve wine, but instead has up to 20 beers on tap, including good craft hops from Lombardy.
- All’ Arco – Situated near the Rialto Bridge, in a maze of narrow streets, there is a small bar with holes in the wall. This is a family-run business features specialties such as sarde in saor (fried sardines marinated in vinegar and cooked with pine nuts, raisins and onions) and baccalà mantecato (salted cod cooked in creamy milk).
- Bacareto da lele – An old snack bar in the famous social district of Santa Croce. Here you can enjoy one of the city’s cheapest paninis and drink Venetian wine alongside many of the city’s students.
- Cantina Do Mori – This is the oldest Bacari in Venice. The restaurant dates back over 550 years and is famous throughout the city for its decor – the ceilings of the dark rooms are decorated with dozens of copper pots. According to popular legend, the famous Casanova made his various conquests here. It is well worth experiencing a culinary adventure here, accompanied by a baccalà mantecato and a glass of delicious Veneto wine.
- Al Parlamento – A small tavern with an old ship’s décor, beautifully situated on a Venetian canal. This place is busy from morning to night for breakfast, lunch, snacks or even just a coffee. Be sure to order the taglieri, a selection platter of meats and cheeses.
Homemade pasta and fish fresh from the lagoon
Burano is an island in the Venetian lagoon, famous for its colorful buildings. This is where Trattoria Al Gatto Nero was founded in the 1960s – a simple family-run restaurant with a blue façade that dishes up homemade pasta and seafood straight from the lagoon. Experienced chefs serve a wide range of dishes, including the famous risotto di gò alla buranella and tagliolini alla granseola. Over the years, the restaurant has gained a reputation as a place where fresh fish, seafood, herbs and spices are combined with the best seasonal and organic produce from neighbouring islands. All the pastas and desserts are prepared on the premises following home recipes.