Eating and drinking in VeniceBars and restaurants in Italy are all smoke-free. Having a drink standing in a bar is much cheaper than sitting at a table and having waiter service. As in most places in Europe you shouldn’t buy at the bar and take to a table. Some bars have leaning areas with or without stools. Most bars will also have rolls and sandwiches (panini and tramezzini) and sometimes a selection of hot snacks. Go to the displays to look at the fillings before ordering. As well as the usual range of hot and cold drinks bars serve a range of wines by the glass. Do try varieties from the Veneto or Friuli that you might not see at home very often such as Refosco, Teroldego or Tocai. The standard measure of wine is 100cl.
There are hundreds of wine bars and cafes in the city including particularly Venetian bacari (wine bars) or enoteche (pub/informal restaurants) where you can sample cicheti (bar snacks). As well as the regular closing days each week some will close for a few weeks in winter and perhaps August.
I offer words of caution here for hungry but discerning visitors...
The maze of streets that run from the Piazza San Marco to the Rialto abound with designer shops, glass shops, small cafés and other restaurants catering to tourists. I’ve had some of the worst food in Venice in this area. Crafty proprietors know that there will always be tired day-trippers willing to eat sub-standard pizza or opt for a ‘menu turistico’ written in a language they understand. The quality of these can be dubious and if you choose from their a la carte menu you might find it much more expensive than you budgeted for. You might find a good one but there are many more bad ones, especially along the calle Larga San Marco and the area immediately behind the Piazza.
Most restaurants in Venice are big on fish and seafood. All sorts of little critters from the lagoon, and the Adriatic Sea beyond, are on offer. They may be called by their peculiar Venetian names rather than the Italian version so you may have to ask to have them described. Fish is usually priced by the 100g (or etto), something to remember before ordering the biggest specimen on offer.
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BagoloOpen or CloseCampo san Giacomo dell’Orio 1584 SANTA CROCE
Tel: 041 71 7584 (closed Monday)
Bagolo Website (Italian only)
This bar is in a campo in the middle of a residential area with friendly service and lots of tables outside. There’s a tiny Co-op supermarket and a few shops in this area, which gives it a village-y vibe as there are usually locals going about their everyday business. I adore this area.
Al ProseccoOpen or CloseCampo san Giacomo dell’Orio 1503 SANTA CROCE
Tel: 041 524 0222 (closed Sunday)
Al Prosecco Website
Another great bar on this campo. As you can guess it has a wonderful wine and prosecco list but also delicious cheese and meat platters. Highly recommended.
Osteria La ZuccaOpen or ClosePonte del Megio 1762 SANTA CROCE
Tel: 041 524 1570 (closed Sunday)
Osteria La Zucca Website (Italian only)
I think, maybe, my favourite. It has a cosy and unpretentious atmosphere and was once a veggie restaurant but now does really interesting food with some Middle Eastern influences (no fish). There’s an extensive and intriguing wine list although I have found the house wine here to be perfectly acceptable. It’s absolutely essential to book. Prices for food are quite reasonable.
Ostaria Da RiobaOpen or CloseFondamenta della Misericordia 2553 CANNAREGIO
Tel: 041 524 4379 (closed Monday)
Ostaria Da Rioba Website
There’s great food and a good wine list in this small restaurant that’s popular with locals and tourists alike. Service is friendly and efficient and canalside tables in the summer add to the charm.
Vini da GigioOpen or CloseFondamenta San Felice 3628A CANNAREGIO
Tel: 041 528 5140 (closed Monday)
Vini da Gigio Website
There’s a fab wine list and great food at this small, family run restaurant. The menu changes according to the season and it’s very popular so you must book. Prices are moderate to expensive, but worth it for a special occasion.
Gelateria NicoOpen or CloseZattere ai Gesuati 922 DORSODURO
Tel: 041 522 5293 (closed Thursday)
Gelateria Nico Website (Italian only)
Bar ai PugniOpen or ClosePonte dei Pugni 2836 DORSODURO
No contact info
On the fondamenta Gherardini close to the floating fruit and veg boat (that might or might not be open at the time). Very helpful staff, and a good range of cicheti (or a carta with more substantial dishes) make this a convivial and pleasant stop. Nice selection of wines too. No credit cards accepted.
Taverna San TrovasoOpen or CloseFondamenta Priuli 1016 DORSODURO
Tel: 041 520 3703 (closed Monday)
Taverna San Trovaso Website
This place is round a couple of corners from the Accademia gallery and is on two floors. It has an extensive menu and portions are big. They are used to tourists and quite helpful. Reasonable prices. There is also a Ristorante San Trovaso in Doroduro as you will see from their website. I haven’t eaten there so can’t say what it’s like but the fact that it’s calling itself a restaurant probably means that prices will be higher.
La BittaOpen or CloseCalle Lunga San Barnaba 2753 DORSODURO
Tel: 041 523 0531 (closed Sunday)
This small restaurant serves no fish and opens only in the evening. There’s not too much English spoken but the food is delicious. Booking is essential. No credit cards accepted.
Caffè VeneziaOpen or CloseAt the corner of calle dei Fabbri and calle Fiubera you’ll find a big bar with some seats and a good range of wines, beers and snacks as well as lots of cakes, pastries and biscuits. Table service can be a little erratic and not always as helpful as one would wish but for a sit-down snack close to the Piazza there are a lot worse and more expensive.
Osteria San MarcoOpen or CloseFrezzeria 1610 SAN MARCO
Tel: 041 528 5242 (closed Sunday)
Osteria San Marco Website
Full meals are not cheap but I think they are flexible if you only want one course, the food is very good and the wine list excellent.
Acqua PazzaOpen or CloseCampo Sant’ Angelo 3808 SAN MARCO
Tel: 041 277 0688 (closed Monday)
Acqua Pazza Website
Osteria Da CarlaOpen or CloseSottoportego Corte Contarina 1535 SAN MARCO
Tel: 041 523 7855 (closed Sunday)
Osteria Da Carla Website
A hidden gem in an area that is full of mediocre and even bad establishments. It’s in a little alleyway just off the Frezzeria and is quite smart inside with only a few tables. There are some great pasta choices among the daily specials and wonderful fish dishes. The kitchen stays open late (by Venetian standards) and you can always lean against the counter with a glass of wine and pick at the wide range of cicheti.
Corte ScontaOpen or CloseCalle del Pestrin 3886 CASTELLO
Tel: 041 522 7024 (closed Sunday & Monday)
Corte Sconta Website
This is a fashionable and fantastic fish-only restaurant. It is expensive. It is tucked out of the way so leave lots of time to get gloriously lost. You may find that even a week is not enough advance notice to get a table. The menu is recited to you and they do like to you try their full selection of antipasti – not cheap - but you can just choose individual items if you want. Apparently the puddings (dolci) are wonderful but I’ve always been too full to try!
Cip CiapOpen or CloseCalle Mondo Novo 5799 CASTELLO
Tel: 041 523 6621 (closed Tuesdays)
Delicious pizza, torte and calzone to go. There are often people scoffing their pizza slices on and around the little bridge leading to Campo Santa Maria Formosa. The spinach and ricotta torte is particularly wonderful.
Trattoria alla MadonnaOpen or CloseCalle della Madonna 594 SAN POLO
Tel: 041 522 3824 (closed Wednesday)
Trattoria alla Madonna Website
Very Venetian and used by lots of locals. No bookings are taken but a quick turnaround means you won’t wait long. Big and bustling so maybe not the best place for a relaxed romantic dinner. Very good fish dishes (it’s close to the Rialto market) and quite reasonable prices.
Birraria La CorteOpen or CloseCampo San Polo 2168 SAN POLO
Tel: 041 275 0570
Birraria La Corte Website
A huge restaurant specialising in pizza and pasta with an interesting beer menu containing some artisan Italian beers. A full restaurant menu is also available. It’s a great place to sit out and watch the activity in this bustling campo. A oasis for thirsty beer-hounds but also popular with locals.
Vineria all’AmaroneOpen or CloseCalle lunga del Luganegher or calle dei Sbianchesini
Tel: 041 523 1184 (closed Wednesday)
Vineria all’Amarone Website
Amarone is a wine not usually found by the glass in Venice but here you can enjoy a glass (or more) of it accompanied by tasty snacks or a more substantial meal. The many other wines offered are pretty good too and reasonably priced. Free wifi, an informative website and a friendly vibe make this a most congenial spot. Highly recommended.
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