We have put together a list of our favourite gastronomic experiences in Venice. We do hope that you enjoy them as much as we have…
A tiny restaurant nestled in the heart of Castello with some of the best food in Venice. Run by a Texan, Diane, and her Venetian husband. The menu is constantly changing as they cook mostly seasonal produce, but their spaghetti with pesto and bottarga is a staple that you simply can’t miss. Likewise Diane’s torta alla ricotta, made with buffalo ricotta and honey biscuits, is to die for.
Woefully expensive, but like stepping into another world and another era. Venetians will often have a hot chocolate or a spritz standing at the bar. Otherwise, if you’re feeling a little more leisurely, you can take a table in one of the rococo dining rooms, complete with frescoed walls; or sit outdoors in the main square and enjoy the sound of their tiny orchestra playing Viennese waltzes.
In the summer, this is – hands down – the best view in Venice, looking over the Giudecca Canal and on to St Mark’s Square. You sit on a platoon on the water, as waiters in immaculate white jackets serve you with grace and deftness. They make bellini with puréed white peaches, and their dark chocolate ice cream is possibly the best in Venice.
One of Venice’s oldest and most established restaurants. Exquisite, rich food in a lovely traditional setting. Perfect in wintertime.
Iconic and unique. Eye-wateringly expensive, but the decor remains unchanged since Ernest Hemingway used to eat there, the waiters are charming and the food is classic Italian at its best. The toast (toasted ham and cheese sandwiches) and the baked tagliolini with ham and cream are a decadent must. Likewise the lemon meringue pie.
A small inn on the secluded Island of Torcello, with idyllic gardens in the summer and a cozy open fire in the winter. Their food is simple and very Venetian. Makes a refreshing change from the restaurants in the city centre, especially in the summer heat.
A vineyard on the island of Mazzorbo with a small (but very chic) bed and breakfast and restaurant attached. The food is made with locally sourced and foraged ingredients, reinterpreted in unexpected ways: think Noma style cuisine in the Venetian lagoon.
A colourful restaurant where, weather permitting, you sit out in the campo and are plied with copious quantities of food. Fabulous pizzas and delicious seafood platters. I am particularly partial to their spaghetti with lobster. You must have their selection soberts for dessert: they scoop out the flesh from plums, strawberries, walnuts and small bananas and fill the shells with ice cream. Served with excellent home made liquors.
A bustling trattoria and an old favourite among Venetians. They don’t take bookings and sometimes there is a queue to get a table – but you never have to wait long and the food is delicious. Italian comfort food. Their tiramisù is possibly my favourite in town.
Sestiere Giudecca, 268, 30133 Venezia; Tel: +39 041 522 7780. Traditional fish trattoria hidden in a quiet corner of the Giudecca, with a charming canopied terrace right on the water. Friendly, relaxed service and simple food.
Renowned for some of the best seafood in Venice and a cozy trattoria setting, just a 15 minute walk or so from the Rialto bridge and market. Have the fritto misto (mixed fried seafood) which is so good it’s cult, and comes served in little brown paper cones.
A bustling bacaro in the heart of the Rialto market. Depending on your mood, you can either stand at the bar and enjoy a few cicihetti with a spritz or sit down at one of the tables upstairs or just outside looking on to the Grand Canal. Mostly seafood and traditional Venetian dishes.
A lovely spot to sit out at in the summer, with peaceful views on to the Giudecca Canal. Their salt baked sea bass is exquisite and a must have.
Fondamenta della Sensa, 3253, Venezia; Tel: +39 041 715736. Rustic trattoria with dubious decor, but a bustling atmosphere and exquisite food. The kind of place where you don’t order, but an array of antipasti are brought to the table without you even asking. Their home made pasta is particularly good. And you must end the meal with a sgroppino (lemon vodka sorbet).
Al Casin Dei Nobili
Sotoportego del Casin dei Nobile, Sestiere Dorsoduro, 2765, 30123 Venezia. Cheap and cheerful trattoria. Great for pizza and pasta and light salads. The building was a brothel in Casanova’s day and has been quirkily done up with a collection of pictures and quirky objects. In the summer you can sit in the courtyard which is charming.
Birreria La Corte
Once a brewery, now converted into a cheap and cheerful pizzeria with a great selection of pizzas, all made in their wood fired oven. A great place to take children, as Campo San Polo where the restaurant stands is a nice open square where you will often find children playing.
Trattoria da Paolo
Campo Arsenale, Castello, 30122 Venezia. Tel: 041 521 0660. A family run trattoria in one of the prettiest squares in Venice. Sit outside, looking on to the Arsenale gates with stone lions that date back to the 5th century BC. Jolly and atmospheric: great for pizza or pasta, though they also do lovely grilled and fried fish as well.
Taverna San TrovasO
A cozy, bustling little trattoria just behind the Academia bridge – think white tablecloths, wooden chairs and dark panelled walls. Very simple, classic Venetian food and great pizza.
Salizada Sant’ Antonin 3604, 30122 Venezia; Tel: +39 041 5227579. Tiny little bakery and coffee shop, where they make all their pastries on site, including croissants freshly baked each morning. It is a family run business and the staff are always friendly and full of smiles.
Dorsoduro, 943-944, 30123 Venezia; Tel: +39 335 600 7513. Tiny bacaro near the Academia. It’s the kind of place where you eat standing at the bar, though they do have a few seats. Great atmosphere.
Gelateria Mela Verde
Quite possibly the best ice cream in Venice. You often see queues snaking down the street – though they move quickly. All the ice cream is made on site and the flavours change daily. But beyond the classic chocolate, vanilla and so forth, they make interesting flavour combinations such as creamy pine nut or lemon and basil sorbet.
Coffee shop just behind St Mark’s Sq. A popular spot with local office workers. You can either eat standing at the bar or there are a few seated tables. Great tramezzini (sandwiches) and nibbles, as well as freshly baked croissants in the morning and pastries for afternoon tea.
Bar Alla Toletta
Dorsoduro 1191, Venezia 30123. Tel: 041 5200196. A little rough and ready, this bar serves the best tramezzini in Venice and is a popular spot with locals. Tramezzini are sandwiches made with the softest white bread and filled with a light mayonnaise-y filling. At Alla Toletta they make them with pretty much every kind of filling you can imagine, including stracetti di cavallo (cured horse meat), artichokes, asparagus and bresaola (cured beef), as well as more classic flavour combinations, such as egg and ham, or tomato, mozzarella and rucola.
A small Italian chain of gelaterie. They have two sites in Venice: one along the Strada Nuova, towards the Station and one just by Campo Santa Margherita. They have wonderful flavours, including a dark chocolate sorbet which is little short of legendary.
Café Serra dei Giardini
An old conservatory hidden away in a little park in Castello. It has recently been restored and now operates as a nursery selling and a little coffee shop. A lovely place to sit and eat a toast (toasted ham and cheese sandwich) or a slice of torta salata (Italian quiche). Their salame al cioccolato (chocolate fridge cake) is divine.
Campo Santa Marina, Castello 5908, Venezia 30100. A charming bakery and coffee shop in a quiet square, a short walk from the Rialto bridge. Their kieffer (almond croissants) are legendary among Venetians. And they also make savoury pies and baked pastas that you can buy and warm up at home. There’s a little room at the back where you can sit in the winter, but in the summer months they have a shady outside seating area in the square, where you can watch the world go by.