Gastronomy in Laguna
Venice’s culinary scene is notable for its overpriced, inauthentic tourist restaurants but luckily also for her charming, hidden-away backstreet Osterie and Bàcari.
The goodness of dishes starts from appetizers, which are definitely the ‘set piece’ of the menu. The counter of the bacari, or taverns , are a real triumph for eyes and palate because are full of “cicchetti”, the typical Venetian appetizers taste with a “ombra”.
…What I’m talking about?
Yeah, I forgot. You’re a foreigner! Best if I begin by explaining you the meaning of a few words that will be very very useful in your stay in Venice.
There’s a way to call everything
A little dictionary here:
Osteria/Ostaria = Wine bar
Bàcaro = Venetian-style tapas bars
Ombra = little glass of white/red wine
Cicchetto/Cicheto = little “tapas” to eat with a glass of wine or a Spritz, better during the appetizer.
The list of wine bars? It’s ENDLESS!
From the most ancient and traditional one, when you enter in one of these, you don’t even feel in the past. Time downs exist anymore.
The locals recall the 50s and 60s and older people are found to play cards. If you don’t speak italian (and even less the dialect), it will be difficult to make you understand.
In many of them, you’ll be lucky to find genuine smiles, but not all restaurant owners are so nice, expecially with tourists.
The rite of APERITIVO! Welcome in Veneto!
You know what a SPRITZ is? It’s the most classic Venetian aperitif with its variations in “Bitter”, “Aperol” or “Select” (1/2 white wine, ½ soda water or sparkling water, liqueur of your choice, lemon zest and olive), usually accompanied by chips or cicchetti. Cheap drink that you can find from 1.50 to 2.50 euros.
TIP: Take advantage! Drink it here, in Veneto region. This is the only region of Italy where you can drink the real Spritz and where it’s so cheap. In the rest of Italy you will pay it as a cocktail (7-8€)
Bellini is a long drink created in the occasion of the exhibition dedicated to Giovanni Bellini in 1948, on the original recipe by Arrigo Cipriani. Champagne, white peach pulp and a touch of raspberry puree to impart a slight pinkish color to the whole.
Now that you know what to drink, let’s see where you can drink it… You just have to choose the one you prefer between vegetables and fried crab claws, salami with polenta or half egg with anchovies.
TIP: Must try fritto misto. Batter-coated, freshly fried seafood.
Best wine bars I’ve tried:
Bacaro ” la Rivetta “: Recommended for those who are looking for originality in a Venice ” to sell.” Tourists don’t go there and Mr . Franco will welcome you with a smile! It ‘s also a restaurant or, if you prefer a “Trattoria” (Improve your italian!)
You can find it here: Calle Sechera , Santa Croce 637 / A from Monday to Saturday, from 9:30 to 21:30
Bacareto “da Lele”: historic meeting for university students. You will recognize it easily because it’s super tiny: 6 people struggle to stay in it! but the window is always full of stuffed sandwiches. “Ombre” (wine) at 80 cents and small sandwiches with typical cold cuts at 60 cents . The two cheapest square meters in Venice!
You can find it here: Campo dei Tolentini, Santa Croce 183
Ostaria “dai Zemei” : nearby Rialto Bridge, you can find this small “Osteria” – bacaro with tables only outside. “Cicchetti” are very good,especially the ones with saltedcodfish . They cost 1.50€ each but if consumed at the table 1.80€. “Ombre” for 1€.
You can find it here : Sestiere San Polo 1045.
“Al Bottegon” : varied assortments of cicchetti . The best “tapas” in Venice. My favorite is the one with creamy saltedcodfish and pumpkin. It is also possible to ask them to take-away!
You can find it here: Via Dorsoduro 1877
“Cantina Do Spade” : In the heart of Venice, if you want a place where you can eat typical dishes at affordable prices … you found it! Located next to the fish market, in a hidden alley.
You can find it here: Sestiere San Polo 860
Let’s start with main traditional dishes
For starters, instead , one of the most typical course is definitely the well-known “risi e bisi“, known as risotto with peas, which was eaten on April 25, in honor of the Saint patron of the city.
Very good also the spaghetti with clams, or cooked with squid ink, fresh fish strictly local . “Pasta e fagioli” is a dish that you can’t miss! inevitable both in all homes and taverns throughout Venice.
To conclude your lagoon lunch,you just need to choose a main plate: not to miss, only for strong stomachs, the liver in Venetian style, which has its own characteristics in the large amount of onion, accompanied by a glimpse of “castrature” typical artichokes grown in the islands of the lagoon .
TIP: Hey, remember you’re in ITALY! Don’t forget to eat your GELATO! An ice cream (1-1.5 Euro or more) or a famous “Gianduiotto walking” (a big piece of praline chocolate dipped in a cup filled with cream ) for 4 Euro. To find it you have to go around the “Zattere” part of the city.
Frittelle, also, are the typical sweet of Carnival, made with eggs, flour, sugar, raisins, pine nuts and filled with all sorts of cream. Zabaione? The best one!
Best restaurants I’ve tried:
Trattoria Antiche Carampane, absolutely one of the best places where to eat in Venice.
Near the Rialto fish market and Campo San Polo. A pleasant atmosphere of a family-run business Trattoria and the menu is mainly based on fish, fresh and carefully selected at the market, every morning.
The restaurant is frequented by a selected clientele made up of Venetians and tourists who do not like to feel like those (including Mr. Cipriani and theactress Audrey Tautou). It’s not a coincidence that a sign at the entrance warns: “No Pizza, No Lasagna, No Tourist Menu”.
You can find it here: Sestiere San Polo, 1911
TIP: Why to choose it? Because sunday and monday is closed. Fishermen don’t work on Sunday, and so, a respectedseafood restaurant (like this one) couldn’t do otherwise! In summer you can also choose an outdoor table.
Osteria Ca’ d’Oro (Alla Vedova)
Typical venetian tavern with home-cooking. Typical environment of nineteenth-century wine bars, with antique furniture, copper pots and low lights for a precious atmosphere. It is famous among venetians for its meatballs and the fact that here Spritz it’s not served, you can find only wine.
A meatball consumed at the counter costs 1€ and Cicchetti dishes cost depending on the size and quantity. A glass of house wine at the counter costs 50cents but at the table 2€.
If you want to dine here, among the first plats you can find noodles with squid ink, bigoli in anchovy sauce, spaghetti “alla busara”. Among thesecond plats, latter creamed cod and sardines “in saòr”, always served with polenta, strictly white. Simple dishes cooked with experience and great value for money.
You can find it here: Calle del Pistor, off Strada Nova, Canareggio.