As a city with a major tourist pull, seeing 20million visitors per year, it’s no wonder why Venice has so many food and drink venues on offer, tempting visitors with a place to sit down and enjoy some hearty seafood pasta. But as with all cities, some eateries in Venice rise above the rest in terms of experience, quality and value for money. I wanted to share a few of my top foodie picks ranging from sit-down restaurant dinners, cheap eats and desserts, from my recent visit to the beautiful, romantic city.
With warm-toned decor and dinner served by candlelight, this restaurant has a relaxed yet intimate vibe in a venue not far from San Marco or the Rialto Bridge. This seemed to be a very cosy venue for couples as we were surrounded by countless tables of lovers, snuggling up with their tipple of choice – ours was a bottle of Ca Dei Zago prosecco. Here, I ordered a secondi dish of pork belly with leeks and a parsnip mash. The portion size was much larger than I had anticipated with diners around us stopping to stare at the pork belly taking up a big chunk of my plate. For dessert, I had a dark chocolate bomb filled with white chocolate, raspberry and a peppermint tea on the side for good measure. Food was tasty and tender and well worth the money.
This was far and above the best stop that we made on our visit. Come here for a romantic dinner as they’ll certainly deliver it. This place is truly all about the experience with its intimate seating – less than 20 diners can eat here at one time so you definitely need to make a booking if you’re looking to visit. You can’t simply walk in, diners have to ring a bell to be granted entry to this cosy space, but they are greeted with a warming environment and an open kitchen wafting beautiful smells across the restaurant. After being greeted with a Prosecco as an aperitif and a small dish of seasonal vegetable for a refreshing start, we had the three course dinner menu which totalled at €40 each. I ordered the beef ravioli to start, Guineafowl served with artichoke and carrot puree for main and for dessert, a sea salt dark chocolate cake served with cream. It isn’t particularly cheap, but you do pay for quality and experience here so CoVino is most definitely worth a visit.
A cheap eat destination that serves fresh pasta right in front of your eyes, this is a must-visit if you’re on a budget or simply adore pasta. Just a stone’s throw away from Piazza San Marco, this very small venue creates a wide range of pasta dishes for people on the go for as little as €6. Now open until 9.30pm, this can be a great stop for lunch or dinner but you’re likely to have to take it away as there’s very little room to sit down. I visited twice and had the veggie carbonara served with artichoke’s and the beef ragu, with both dishes created very quickly and tasted delicious. Don’t miss this one but be mindful of the fact that food isn’t permitted on Piazza San Marco, so you can’t enjoy a mini pasta picnic there.
With ingredients sourced from the nearby Rialto market, All’Arco is renowned for being one of the best cicheti venues in Venice and is why both locals and tourists cram in for a quick snack and a tipple. These small dishes are very budget friendly, including meatballs served with tomato sauce and white bread, ham, artichoke and soft cheese. Wine here is also cheap, with our whole experience costing just €14.50. However, be aware, this venue is standing only indoors but does offer an outdoor seating area if you want to take things a little easier.
Bar Alla Toletta
This is a very casual snack bar venue just around the corner from the Accademia, Bar Alla Toletta is a great place to stop and refresh with a sandwich and a strong coffee. I ordered the small Fantasia sandwich of ham, rocket and mayo, costing less than €3. Food was tasty but due to the small venue and high demand, it’ll cost you an extra euro to eat your food sat down rather than grabbing it to go.
Cà D’Oro alla Vedova
A great stop for evening cicheti if you’re willing to stand at the bar, this venue is packed full of locals and visitors either looking for a sit-down meal or to grab a quick bite. Having been included on the Michelin list in 2017, this venue is known for its meatballs which are deep fried in breadcrumbs. However, I would suggest just ordering one per person as these are very filling and very rich.
Gelato di Natura
Gelato di Natura has been creating gelato since 1982 and this experience shows in its products. This brand boasts its popularity by having three venues operating in the city but we visited the store in the San Polo region. With a number of delightful flavours on offer, we decided to opt for a pot of three flavours, fig & walnut, pistachio and tiramisu which cost €4.50 as it was 50c extra for the pistachio but if you try it, I’m sure you honestly won’t mind. With friendly staff, a generous serving and creamy, delicious gelato, this is a venue worth shouting about.
Located near the Rialto bridge, Suso Gelato is truly something special. As well as offering more flavours than a lot of other gelato bars that we visited, Suso also offers vegan gelato and sorbet options which is a dream come true for those who cannot have dairy. Made with oat and rice milk, I opted for a two-scoop cup of dark chocolate alongside black cherry. This was a dream come true for my Venice visit and is ice-cream that I could simply eat again and again.
Like any Italian city, Venice is just brimming with restaurants to tempt you and make you drool at the sight of a certain dish or gelato flavour. However, apart the typical tourist trap venues, each of the Venetian restaurants have their very own personality and a reason for you to pay them a visit, regardless of what they serve, which is just another attribute to love about Venice. As a whole, eating here can be pretty expensive but there are ways to resolve this issue, especially if cicheti sounds like your kind of thing. Of course, these were just some of my favourite places to eat in Venice – what are yours?