Dining guide for Venice
Venetian cuisine is full of traditional dishes that are mostly made by different types of fish and vegetables depending on the season. Cicchetti are the italian starters that can be found in all the bacari (pubs) and must be eaten with an ombra (glass) of wine. Typical Venetian cicchetti are fried crab claws, meat balls, half boiled eggs with anchovies, fried vegetables, moscardini (tiny octopus) with polenta, soppressa with polenta, toasted bread with creamed cod and sardee in saor which is cooked sardines, marinated with onions and vinegar and flavoured with raisins and pine nuts.
For pasta dishes, the Venetian cuisine has a lot of different specialties to offer. The risottos, made with scampi or cuttlefish, are famous, although the best known recipe is risi e bisi, the risotto made with peas that the Doges ate on San Marco' s day. Pasta dishes include spaghetti with clams, spaghetti with cuttlefish ink, bigoli in sauce (bigoli are a sort of long thin pasta with a hole in the middle, with an anchovies and onions sauce) and the popular pasta e fagioli, a tasty winter pasta and bean soup that is served in both pubs and restaurants.
For main menu, and more specifically fish courses, you should try the scampi alla busara, with tomato and chilli pepper and cuttlefish cooked in sauce, all accompanied by polenta. Fried moeche is also very popular and actually is small crabs with their shells soft and edible. The most typical main meat course is fegato alla veneziana which is soft veal liver stewed with a lot of onions.
Typical ingredient in Venetian recipes are the famous purple artichokes that are grown on the islands in the lagoon, especially on Sant Erasmo. These are rare and precious. They can be eaten in several different ways but only during the harvesting period.
Some typical Venetian sweets are the zaeti which are biscuits prepared with polenta flour and raisins and bussolai buranelli, butter biscuits made in a round shape that are wonderful when dunked in sweet Vin Santo.
Venetian wines such as Prosecco di Conegliano, Valpolicella, Bianco di Custoza and Amarone are the most respresentative wines of the region. As far as liquids are concerned, you should also try the sgroppino (lemon sorbet and prosecco) or a small glass of Bassano Grappa.
Restaurants we suggest
Da Fiore | San Polo 2202
This restaurant is considered to be the best in Venice mainly due to the fusion cuisine it offers and the variety in seafood cooked according to tradiotional Venetian recipes and combined with a scent of modern fusion cuisine. It is rather expensive but worth visiting.
Fiore Trattoria | Calle delle Botteghe, San Marco
This is a traditional trattoria that serves excellent seafood dishes in very reasonable prices. Traditional, home made food in a very friendly atmosphere.
Osteria Vivaldi | Campo San Paolo
This is one of the very few restaurants and the same time a bar, that is as friendly to the foreigners as it is with the locals that prefer it. There is a wooden bar in the center of the restaurant and the staff is always willing to help you. The specialty of the house is the tagliolini Vivaldi, which is black noodles (due to the cuttlefish ink) and cooked with fresh tomato, fish, shrimps and sliced parsley. There are also plenty of homemade sweets.
Giorgione | Via Garibaldi 1533
In the Castello region, Lucio who is the owner of this place, sings for his guests daily and offers to them his best food!
Al Nono Risorto | Sottoportico di Siora Bettina, Santa Croce
This place offers some of the best pizza in the city and it is even better when you can enjoy it during the summer months in the fully planted courtyard.
Orange | Campo Santa Margherita, Dorsoduro
This is a very popular bar-restaurant that also has a terrace. The bar offers unique cocktails and the food served is qualitative and in reasonable prices. The music plays until late in the night.
Osteria alla Botte | Campo San Bartolomeo, San Marco
This is a typical osteria that the locals prefer due to the fact that it offers a wide selection of excellent italian and international wines and alcoholic drinks.