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The Best Places to Eat and Drink in Venice

June 3, 2021

The city of Venice is known all around the world for its beautiful canals and breath-taking architecture, its art and its history. It has inspired poets, artists and writers for centuries, and its beauty continues to amaze visitors every year. It’s really an incredible place.

Whether you’re going to Venice for a weekend or are lucky enough to be spending an extended length of time in the Floating City, you’ll want to make sure you’re eating and drinking at some of the city’s top bars and restaurants. Luckily, we’re here to help.

Here is a guide to the best places to eat and drink in Venice to help you make the most of your trip to the City of Canals.

Must-Sees

The city of Venice is home to many historic bars and restaurants, and you won’t want to miss out on an opportunity to have a drink or a bite to eat in some of these world-famous institutions. Be warned: they are more than a little pricey, but if you’re looking for a once-in-a-lifetime experience, it’s worth the extra cost.

Caffè Florian, in Saint Mark’s Square, is the oldest coffeehouse in the world. Opened in 1720 and still popular today with tourist sand locals alike, it’s one of the most beautiful places in Venice to get a cup of coffee (or something stronger!). Sit outside in the square to gaze up atSaint Mark’s Basilica and watch the hordes of tourists, or pop inside for a bit more peace and quiet. If Florian’s is full, it’s just as pleasant to sit out at any of the bars in Venice’s main piazza, so take your pick.

Just around the corner from Saint Mark’s Square, Harry’s Bar is also well worth a visit. Immortalised in the writings of Ernest Hemingway, this bar is home to the original Bellini cocktail and an outstanding dry martini. It was even declared a national landmark in 2001 to commemorate its impact on Italian culture.

Another favourite for tourists is the Skyline Rooftop Bar, located on the Giudecca (one of Venice’s many islands – you’ll have to take a short boat ride to get here). This bar, sitting atop the roof of a Hilton hotel, boasts one of the best views in the city. Go for a cocktail at sunset for an unforgettable view over Venice’s skyline.

Light Bites

While you’re wandering around Venice’s many canals and sprawling side streets, you’ll be sure to workup an appetite. Here are some of the best options for a light bite or snack to keep you going between meals – sightseeing is hungry work, after all.

Acqua e Mais is a small street-food kiosk close to theRialto Bridge that serves some of the best fried foods in the lagoon. It doesn’t look like much, but it’s a favourite with locals and it’s not hard to see why. Opt for a couple of arancini (fried, breaded risotto balls) and a cone of fried prawns and calamari, served with a wedge of crispy polenta. Delicious.

You could also pick up a slice of pizza or topped focaccia from one of the city’s many pizzerias and bakeries. They normally go for no more than a couple of euros, so they’re a great way to fill up for cheap while you’re out and about. Try Antico Forno, Pizza al Volo or Pizzeria L’Angelo.

For some of the city’s best seafood, visit All’Arco. It’s only open until around 2.30 PM everyday, so you’ll have to get in there quickly, but it offers some of the freshest and most delicious seafood snacks in Venice. Adventurous eaters should try the baby octopus.

Cheap Drinks

Venice is a notoriously expensive city, and visitors are often shocked by the high prices of pretty much everything. But it’s not impossible to find a bargain if you know where to look. If you’re on a budget, avoid the better-known bars (the must-sees must wait!) and stay away from bars in larger squares. Head to side streets and back alleys for the best deals.

Bacareto da Lele sells good wine for as little as €0.80 a glass. It’s not far from the bus station, so if you’re arriving from Mestre, you can start your evening here.There is no seating, just a few barrels outside to use as makeshift tables, but students and seasoned local drinkers are more than happy to sit themselves down on the adjacent canal bank or the steps of the nearby church.

Students can always be found in the cheapest (and liveliest) bars in a city, and the same is true ofVenice. Head to Campo Santa Margherita, a large square in the university district, to find the main student hub. Margaret DuChamp and Orange are both good choices if you’re craving a cheap Aperol spritz and a nice spot for people watching.

If you’re looking fora drink close to Saint Mark’s Square and don’t want to spend an arm and a leg, Wine Bar 5000 has a huge selection of well-priced wines and is less than 10 minutes from the basilica on foot. It’s also a great spot to sit and watch gondolas go by.

 

Aperitivo

Aperitivo is anItalian institution. Come 6 PM, most of the nation can be found sitting outside a bar, spritz in hand, with a small plate of food to keep their hunger at bay until dinner. The food served varies from region to region, city to city and even bar to bar, but Venice is best known for cicchetti. Typically, cicchetti (pronounced ‘chi-KET-tee’) are small pieces of crusty bread topped with various local treasures – fresh tomatoes and garlic, cured meats, creamy cheeses and anything else the chefs can dream up.

A selection of cicchetti should tide you over until you’re ready to sit down for a full dinner. For areal Venetian experience, take yourself on a Venetian pub crawl, known to locals as a giro d’ombra (a ‘tour of shadows’, named after the ‘ombra’,a small glass of red wine). Walking home from work, many Venetians stop at nearly every bar they see for a small glass of wine and a couple of cicchetti.

Osteria Al Squero is a traditional cicchetteria opposite a still-functioning gondola repair yard. Order a selection of cicchetti and a glass of wine or a spritz, then perch yourself on the wall outside to watch these experts at work.

Just off the RialtoBridge is Bancogiro, one of the city’s best-loved bars and cicchetti spots, housed in a seventeenth-century bank. Grab a drink and a plate offood, then stand out in the square for a great atmosphere, or head through an alley to sit at one of the canal-side tables and stare up at one of Venice’s most famous bridges.

If you’re looking for some more modern food offerings, Vino Vero is a perfect choice. With an impressive selection of local and regional wines as well as a more unusual selection of cicchetti, this establishment stands out from the crowd of similar bars down this canal-side street. It’s definitely worth a visit. If it’s too busy, try nearby Al Timon instead, a bar-cum-steakhouse that often has live music acts performing on a boat moored outside.

 

Romantic Dinners

Venice is a city made for romance, so if you’ve found a special someone and you want to impress them with a romantic meal for two, there are plenty of options to choose from.

If your date is a pizza lover, head to Jazz 900 (follow the alluring signs pointing to ‘pizza & jazz’ just off theRialto bridge). It’s intimate and laidback, and delicious pizza is served alongside good beers or wines to the melodic sounds of some of history’s greatest jazz performers: Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong,Duke Ellington and more.

Ristorante Ai Barbacani greets its guests with a complimentary glass of prosecco to set the tone for the evening as soon as they arrive. With a menu that includes an incredible tuna tartare, grilled sea bass, pasta with lobster and a beautiful seafood risotto, as well as some truly excellent meat and vegetarian options, this atmospheric restaurant is an ideal spot for a night of romance. Book ahead to snag the one table outside on the canal.

If you prefer to eat outdoors, head to Antica Locanda Montin. This restaurant might not look like much from the front, but walk through to the back for a table in its beautiful garden.Sit under an arched canopy of trees and green plants and tuck into a plate of something special.

 

Meals with Friends

If romance isn’t on the cards, don’t worry – you can still enjoy a good meal in Venice! If you’re visiting with friends or family, there are plenty of restaurants to cater to your every need.

Head to Chat Qui Rit, a Michelin-recommended bistro offering a fantastic selection of fresh seafood, beautiful pastas and local specialities.If you’d prefer something a bit more relaxed, Muro has two locations in Venice, and both are fantastic.

If you’re hungry around lunchtime, Osteria ai Pugni has a limited but delicious selection of pastas on offer each day, as well as an impressive wine cellar.

Anyone with a big appetite should head to Trattoria Alle Due Gondolette. This diner-style eatery is where gondoliers goto eat after a long shift to fill themselves up with a hearty meal. It offers simple food and local specialities done very well. Try the baccalà (salt cod).

Another option is Trattoria Antiche Carampane, a hard-to-find restaurant with wonderful food and a rich history: it’s located in the same building that was used during the Renaissance as a tavern for visitors of the numerous nearby brothels. Don’t worry, though, as there’s nothing of the sort going on nowadays – it’s strictly a family affair!

 

Showstoppers

As your time in Venice draws to an end, you might want to visit somewhere really special to create a memory that will last a lifetime. Venice is home to many great restaurants, but there are a handful of eateries that are a cut above the rest.

Take a ferry to the colourful island of Burano to visit Trattoria al Gatto Nero. This local favourite repeatedly finds its way onto lists of the very best places to eat in Venice, and it’s easy to see why. It’s a family-run restaurant with quite informal service, but it serves up some of the best food in the lagoon.

If money is no object, head to Da Ivo, a favourite of George Clooney, Elton John and other big-name celebrities. Or try Glam Enrico Bartolini, Venice’s only two-Michelin-starred restaurant.Both options offer a wonderful seasonal menu with fresh local ingredients for a really special experience.

 

Gelato

No trip to Italy would be complete without sampling some artisanal ice cream, so don’t forget to visit a gelateria or two on your trip.

GROM is fast becoming one of Italy’s most successful gelato chains and is a favourite with younger people for its Instagram-friendly offerings. Try the ice cream hot chocolate for a truly decadent treat.

Gelateria il Doge and Gelateria Nico have a wide range of flavours to suit any taste. Top tip: one scoop is never enough, so always go for two!

With so many incredible food and drink options on offer throughout the city, you’ll be wishing you could stay indefinitely. Lucky for you, it’s now easier than ever to work remotely from Venice with Landthere. We’ll sort out your accommodation, a co-working space, and local support to help you make the most of your time in the floating city. Find out more about how it works here.

Header photo by Marco Secchi on Unsplash

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