Most people often visit Venice with high anticipation of the foods they expect to find here. Generally, Pasta and Pizza are the most famous foods that are associated with Italy. However, Italy is mostly the home of numerous varieties of cuisines. Thus, the mistake that most visitors make is flocking to touristy restaurants that serve foods that reflect their expectation such as Pizza and Pasta and not what the locals actually eat.
Nevertheless, Venice has quite a wide variety of seafood from vermicelli al nero di sepia to simple dishes such as risi e bisi which is a traditional dish that includes rice and pea soup. These dishes are linked to the Venetian cuisine rather than Italian.
The most delightful traditional dish that you are mostly like to enjoy here in Venice is the cicchetti. These, just like the tapas in Spain, are mostly offered at counters of small bars where they are served at the end of every workday. This will give you an excellent opportunity to mingle with the local as you enjoy the cicchetti culture.
You will definitely find most of the cicchetti bars in Cannaregio district. You can also order an ombra (small glass your wine) to accompany the cicheto. Some of the cicchetti bars in this district include; Alla Vedova (situated in Strada Nova), Da Luca e Fred (located in Rio Tera S ), Riccio Peoco (situated in S Apostoli square)and Leonardo (located in front of Ponte Delle Guglie)
What to eat and drink in Venice
2. Sarde in Saor
3. Bacala Mantecato
This is creamed dried cod that is prepared by soaking, poaching and blending fish to become a smooth paste. It is then seasoned with salt, pepper and olive oil. Some people may also include garlic and milk in the preparation while also others may add mayonnaise to make it sweeter. It is then served with either bread or polenta. You cannot go wrong taking this delicious meal with a small glass of local still white wine.
4. Bigoli in salsa
This is another signature starter dish served here in Venice. These are long, thick, whole-wheat strands of pasta that look like spaghetti. The dish has whole-wheat Bigoli pasta, salt-cured fish, and onions. Centuries ago, sardines were used in this dish that was most served during specific occasions such as Good Friday and Christmas. But in the recent times, anchovy is most preferred in the preparation as the dish is now served all year around.
If you are a seafood lover, then here in Venice you will have the advantage of trying out various seafood dishes. Moleche are soft shell from Venice lagoons. This meal is mostly consumed during autumn and spring since both male and female crabs shed their shells during spring and only the male molt during autumn. The harvesting of this crabs is done very fast since the molting process takes a short duration of approximately 5 hours before a new shell is formed which hardens after getting in contact with water. These soft and tender crabs are eaten fried in a salad and can also be served with mashed potatoes or polenta.
Restaurants to go to Venice
Cantino do SpadeThis is among the oldest restaurants in the Island. You won’t believe that Casanova used to bring his dates here for wine and dine
that’s just how old this place is. Throughout the years the restaurant has undergone renovation, and it still remains be the best place to stop for a spritz and a light snack such as mozzarella in corrozza or baccala mantecato. There are also some traditional Venetian dishes served here such as risotto de pesce, the pumpkin reviolo with walnut, the cuttlefish in black ink sauce with polents and cheese sauce., Address
860 San Polo, Venice
All’ ArcoThis restaurant is located across the iconic Rialto bridge opposite the Grand Canal. Here you will enjoy plates of cicheti on the bar as well as other dishes such as calamari, liver, langoustines, prawns and speck which are all served on a slice of bread.
Calle Arco, San Polo 436, Venice
Al MercaAlthough it’s one of the smallest bars in Venice, it is famous for its delicious combination of wine and cicchetti. The bar is fully stocked with mini-panini, olives, cheese and had more than 50 types of wines to offer and the renowned Proseccos. If you are planning to have a drink in this bar, I would advise you to arrive early since it often gets busy and crowded especially in the evenings.
Campo Cesare Battisti 213, San Polo, Venice
Seafood is best
Venice is a port and a seaside town, so it is natural that most of the typical Venetian dishes are based on the products that the Adriatic Sea gives them:
- the sardines in saor (a very particular dish based on sardines, onions, pine nuts and raisins),
- spaghetti alla busara (with scampi and tomato),
- clams and seafood in general, creamed cod, moeche (fried crabs without shells because they are made of moulting, so they can be tasted only in a certain period of year) and the famous fish fry.
Pizzas are not wood-fired
As in every Italian city, pizzerias abound. Unfortunately, in Venice you can not expect to enjoy an exceptional pizza, because in this city the use of a wood oven is forbidden for safety reasons.
Baked goods are not a specialty
Since Venice is also a humid city, all bakery products are not special. For some festivities, special dishes such as Castradina can be tasted (a food based on savory mutton that is cooked during the Health Day). Many are the desserts whose aromas fill the streets of Venice during the Carnival period like the Venetian fritole and the galani.
Must have Spritz with Cichetti
The most famous Venetian drink is definitely the spritz, which can be made with Aperol, Select, Campari, or Cynar, to drink at aperitif time and to accompany with the cichetti.
The cicheto consists of a small slice of bread stuffed with the most varied and imaginative ingredients of the Venetian tradition. It is interesting to note how each bacaro (small characteristic bars of the city) exposes on the counter its cicheti, one different from the other, original and colorful, which entice passersby even for their modest price (€ 1 or € 1.50) .