Are you looking forward to know what you should eat in Venice?
We understand that, we are always curious about local cuisine when we travel ourselves.
Indeed, trying local food is an important part of visiting a new place and exploring a new culture.
Unfortunately, Venice doesn’t always have the best of reputations in travel forums, etc when it comes to its food.
Actually, some people even claim that the food in Venice is bad.
But we have good news: it’s not true, Venetian cuisine is delicious and there are fantastic places where to taste it and at the right price!
The problem is that in Venice they are people taking advantage of uninformed visitors to sell them frozen meals pretending to have just cooked them. We know you don’t want to be one of them, so here is our short guide to help you understand where to eat in Venice.
You can also find our recommendations of places where to eat & drink like the locals do in the dedicated section of this website.
What do you want to eat in Venice?
Venice is in Italy, and Italy prides itself for its delicious cuisine:
when in Venice, don’t settle for poor quality food!
You can find good and authentic food all around Venice even if you are on a budget. You are not forced to rely on fast food.
To understand where to eat in Venice, there are a few tricks that you should know and we are happy to share them with you.
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First of all, understand where NOT to eat
If a restaurant has either:
- Several national flags
- Pictures of food
- A big “tourist menu” sign
- Staff calling you as you walk by
- Someone playing “Italian” music
Congratulations, you probably just spotted a tourist trap!
These places are often located on main streets, and they will likely serve you frozen and microwaved food. That’s not the Italian cuisine you were hoping for.
These kinds of places target people walking on the busy street nearby, trying to lure them in with big signs or thanks to their staff.
Indeed, tourist traps often have a “battitore”, a “hitter”: staff that has been hired to stand outside the restaurant and hit on passersby by calling them out loud in many different languages, making jokes, and offering them samples. It’s all fun and giggles until you sit down and either have terrible food or you are presented with an outrageous bill… sometimes both things happen.
So, keep your eyes open. The “signals” we mention are not a guarantee you won’t end up in a tourist trap, but they help avoid most of them.
The easiest way to avoid being caught in a tourist trap is to check out our list of vetted places where to eat and drink in Venice.
Three different kinds of places where to eat in Venice:
The three main kinds of places where to eat in Venice are: restaurants, pizzerie, and bacari.
It’s worth pointing out that there are also a few bars and takeaway pizza places that offer delicious products. You can find them in our list of places where to eat and drink in Venice.
Restaurants in Venice, and what to expect
While looking for restaurants in Venice, keep in mind that our city has always been surrounded by water. Therefore, as you probably could imagine, the traditional Venetian cuisine is fish-based.
Apart from fish, restaurants offer also great pasta and risotto and, in most cases, also meat.
However, since meat is not really part of the Venetian tradition, only a few restaurants offer satisfying meat-based options and they come at a price.
Why are there so many different names for ``restaurants?``
Italy has a very strong food culture.
Over the centuries, Italians created many different types of restaurants, each type with a name and specifics. Some types of restaurants would of them would offer more rustic cuisine, others would provide also accommodation, and some others would prepare more sophisticated food and be in a very classy setting.
In Italian, the words “ristorante”, “taverna”, “trattoria”, “osteria”, “locanda”, etc., are all part of a big family that the rest of the world would commonly call “restaurant”.
Nowadays the differences between these “types” of restaurants are often no longer relevant.
Pizzerie in Venice
A pizzeria is a restaurant specialized in making homemade pizza (that was quite obvious, we know).
In Italy, pizzerie (plural of pizzeria) often offer also appetizers and, as an alternative to their pizza, pasta.
Quality is good and prices are fair, typically somewhere between 20€ and 35€ per person for an appetizer, a pizza, and a coke or a beer.
Bacari, traditional Venetian wine bars
Bacari, traditional wine bars, offer delicious traditional fingerfood called “cichetti” and small (125ml) glasses of wine called “ombre”, at a very affordable price.
During a visit to Venice, one could enter a bacaro to have some wine and a few bites, chat with locals or tourists who are there, and then move on to another wine bar. And then to another wine bar, and maybe to one more wine bar, and so on.
But don’t worry: Venice forces you to move around on foot so the worse that can happen is to wake up with a bad headache the next morning!
Having dinner in such a way will give you a feel of Venetian life, will disclose the typical dishes and bites, and bring you closer to the locals. If you’d like to experience a traditional Venetian wine bar crawl with a local, feel free to book one such fun evening with us!
In a bacaro, one might find a chair on which to sit. However, the traditional Venetian way would be to enjoy food and drinks while standing and chatting with friends and walk back and forth to order more bites until you either feel stuffed or want to try out a new wine bar they just opened around the corner.
Just remember one thing: Bacaro responsibly!
You now know which are the three main types of places where to eat in Venice.
If you’d like to find out which places we recommend, you can find our list of vetted bars and restaurants here.
Now that you know (almost) everything about eating in Venice, make sure to check out our resources below to get the best out of your stay on your next visit!
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