When in Venice Eat Like a Local
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Dining options in Venice range from the ultra high-end, where jackets and ties are a must, to the very casual. Once staunchly traditional, many restaurants have renovated their menus along with their dining rooms, creating dishes that blend classic Venetian elements with ingredients less common to the lagoon environs, although, fish and seafood dominate the menu. If you have ever wondered what mantis shrimps (canoce), sea snails (garusoli) or soft-shelled crabs (moleche) taste like, this is your chance. But seafood in Venice can be costly. To eat cheaply, head for a pizzeria, or do as the locals do and graze standing up at a bacaro counter.
Nevertheless, you should not disregard two main rules. First, don’t take pot luck: this is a tourist-trap city where a recommendation by a local, or a well-researched guide, is well worth heeding. Second, though, you may have heard that Italy is a country that eats late, Venice is an exception – some of the best-value foodie bars and bacaros (the bacaro is a peculiarly Venetian take on the Spanish tapas joint) serve lunch from noon to 1.30pm, dinner from 7pm to around 8.30pm, and pull down the shutters soon after.
Style: Italian Culinary Paradise
A small, gem of a restaurant where you will be able to enjoy some of the best food in the city, Alle Testierre is the perfect place for those who are addicted to the good food and welcoming atmosphere of Italian culture. Reservations are an absolute must if you want to enter this stunning Italian culinary paradise. The chefs here pay particular attention in selecting and processing the ingredients used in preparing their dishes, making sure everything they use is at the peek of freshness and quality. The fish, the salads, and the sea fruits have that authentic Italian flavor you know and love. You will experience impeccable service with knowledgeable staff that is friendly and helpful. Ask for suggestions from their impressive wine list in order to get that perfect pairing with your meal. You won’t want to miss out on this wonderful restaurant for your next big night out.
Address: Calle Del Mondo Novo, 30122 Venice, Italy
Phone: +39 041 522 7220
2. Da Ivo
Style: Meat on the Canal
Area: San Marco
Intimate and elegant restaurant specialized in meat; located a short walk from St. Mark’s Square, directly on the canal; a great way to arrive at the restaurant is by water taxi or gondola; if you prefer to walk go to “Campo San Luca” as soon reaching the square, take “Calle dei Fuseri”; the restaurant is on the left just after the first bridge; beloved A-list hangout – Elton John, Christina Aguilera, Nicolas Cage, Hugh Grant, Madonna, Denzel Washington, Barbara Streisand or Jacques Chirac – all be seen in “Da Ivo”
Address: San Marco 1809, Calle dei Fuseri, 30124 Venice, Italy
Phone: +39 041 528 5004
3. La Zucca
Style: Sophisticated Vegetarian Restaurant
Area: Santa Croce
One of my favorite restaurants in Venice, this little place is cozy, friendly and serves excellent and original dishes. The wood-walled interior is decorated with pumpkin-related artworks (zucca means pumpkin), and looks out over a small canal and a pretty bridge. In summer there are three or four tables outside on a lane. A good choice for vegetarians, La Zucca has a much more interesting menu than other Venetian restaurants. The menu changes, but usually includes delicious dishes like tagliatelle with gorgonzola and pine nuts and squishy vegetable flans. Leave room for a dessert as these are very special. Take a dictionary to help with the menus, or ask the staff to translate.
Address: Santa Croce 1762, 30135 Venice, Italy
Phone: +39 041 5241570
4. All’ Arco
Style: A Taste of the Mediterranean Spirit
All’ Arco is the restaurant that just about everyone is talking about. People gather like bees around this Venetian Bacari, drawn like bees to honey, to the exquisitely prepared food. For those not familiar with a Bacari, it’s a type of wine bar offering small dishes. The first thing you will notice when going to Venice and choosing the El Arco, is the warm and friendly welcome and the authentic look of the place. It is only serving the freshest ingredients, brought by the local anglers. This restaurant is not just any ordinary Italian restaurant. Here, you can order Baccalmantecato, Bacari’s Holy Grail of sorts. This divine food consists of a creamy cod, seasoned with garlic and parsley, and then served on toast. Every bite of food you take here will explode with pure Italian flavor. Enjoy plates of cichettti, courgette flowers stuffed with ricotta, and roasted vegetables; all culinary wonders that will delight even the toughest critic. A ride to Al Arco is a must for those who crave the authentic taste of the Mediterranean.
Enjoy the authentic, the uniqueness of Venice!
Address: Sestiere San Polo, 1451 30125 Venice, Italy
Phone: +39 041 5205666
5. Da Fiore
Style: Sophisticated Venetian Dinner
Area: San Polo
Typical Venetian restaurant located in a former tavern owned by the Martins family serving high class food like fish entrees “seabass in balsamic vinegar”, “tunny-fish with rosemary flavor” or the typical Venetian “risotto moleche”; and for all sweeties the cakes are a must! Reservations are recommended; closed on Sunday & Monday
Address: Sestiere San Polo, 2202, 30125 Venice, Italy
Phone: +39 041 721 308