The best restaurants in Venice

It takes some forethought to eat healthy here. Many eateries in Venice are content to serve mediocre food to the passing tourists. For foodies looking for restaurants where serious chefs use high-quality local products, we have pulled together our top 10 restaurants off the tourist track.

As you would expect from city surrounded by water, there is a strong emphasis on seafood. However meat eaters will be satisfied as well. Prices are greater in Venice than elsewhere in Italy, but that’s to be expected. 

Many Venetians rarely eat in restaurants, preferring to graze at traditional pubs (bacari) with cicheti (tapas snacks) piled high on counters. With a glass of wine and a platter of these, you may have a far cheaper meal. This will leave you with more money for those few great, unforgettable nights.


All’Arco is the archetypal Venetian bacaro, more of a crazy-bustling hole-in-the-wall with mouth-watering cicchetti (bar snacks) (traditional wine bar). There are sandwiches and crostini piled high with creamed cod; anchovies and onions, salami, and veggies, to name a few. You’ll be talked through everything at breakneck speed before being sent on your way with enough food to either tide you over or fill you up.


Chef Enrico Bartolini holds six Michelin stars among his five restaurants as of 2019, with one at GLAM; his Venice outlet (and currently the hottest dining ticket in the city). Donato Ascani, the resident chef, is carrying on Bartolini’s contemporary culinary concept. The à la carte menu changes seasonally, but the tasting meals (starting at €120) are more intriguing. The dishes are beautifully balanced, with content rather than just a spectacular display.

Il Ridotto

Il Ridotto is located just east of St Mark’s on a bustling tourist square. The restaurant’s tiny, brick-clad grounds exude a serene elegance. Tasting menus (of five, seven, or nine dishes) are the way to go here; with chef and owner Gianni Bonaccorsi’s seafood and meaty concoctions. The delicately prepared dishes fluctuate with the seasons, but can include risotto with yellow tomatoes and burrata. Try the pig cheek and belly with chamomile-flavored creamed potato and green apple.

Osteria Alle Testiere

The Daily menu relies on availability of fresh fish in the market, according to Alle Testerie’s website. Don’t expect to eat the same delicious item you had the last time you went to this stylish, small seafood restaurant nestled away on a Castello backstreet. But go with the expectation that everything will be freshly fished. The daily seafood meals from chef and co-founder Bruno Gavagnin are deceptively basic but always superb. There’s a lot of Venetian heritage here, but you can also expect some unusual spices or other surprises. The sweets are wonderful.

La Zucca

Vegetarians travel to La Zucca, a well-loved, something-for-everyone kind of local favorite, to get away from Venice’s glut of fish, but the restaurant offers much more. The food is straightforward: terrific, honest cooking and a daily-changing menu, indicating that everything served was purchased that day. The savory pumpkin flan is renowned, the pasta meals are delicious (try the tagliatelle with artichokes and pecorino if it’s available), and the sweets are all unforgettable.


The amount of open space at the contemporary, pared-back Local is surprising in a sea of intimate (read: tiny) restaurants. The Head Chef Matteo Tagliapietra left Burano for several years to go and work in gastronomic temples such as Nobu and Noma,. Though his feet are firmly rooted in the lagoon city, he brought home Far Eastern characteristics that are unique in Venice. Each of his ever-changing dishes is a visual delight. This is a restaurant for sophisticated foodies.

Locanda Cipriani

The Locanda Cipriani is a charming slice of Merchant Ivory-tinted Venice, with a leafy old-fashioned garden on the lovely little lagoon island of Torcello, old-fashioned service, and old-fashioned food that borders on hotel fare. You’ve come for the setting and the Grand Tour atmosphere, after all. Many major names have walked through the Cipriani’s country-inn-style doors, from Ernest Hemingway and generations of British royals to mid-century A-list stars and presidents.

Osteria Alla Frasca

La Frasca, based close to Fondamenta Nuova has been serving traditional Venetian cuisine since 1903. Traditional it may be, but it’s all about the fresh seafood presented in style. The baccalà mantecato is a must have dish – creamed cod dish served with crispy polenta and cuttlefish cooked in its own ink.

Osteria La Perla ai Bisatei

La Perla ai Bisatei, an old-style spit-and-sawdust eatery in Murano’s backstreets, is a nice surprise in a city where restaurants can easily fall into one of two categories: modern pretentious or tourist trap. It’s noisy—locals’ voices battle with waiters screaming the unwritten daily menu—and the food (available exclusively for lunch) is substantial rather than polished. Outsiders, on the other hand, are greeted with the same gruff-but-friendly welcome as locals. The fava bean and onion salad, as well as the mussels and clams pasta, are worth trying.

Where to drink in Venice

Where can a thirsty visitor get a drink in Venice? Continue reading to learn about our local recommendations for the top five bars. With our expert guide to the Venice bar scene, you can avoid the crowds and explore the most fashionable spots for aperitifs, wine, cocktails, and nibbles.

Bar L’incontro

This chic bar is a fantastic spot for an evening aperitif. The superb service is in keeping with its position within the 5* Ca’Sagredo Hotel. The unique décor ensures that Bar L’incontro stands out as a hotspot in its own right. The furnishings are bright and open, with plenty of character; drinks are prepared on a small brass cart, and the seating is charmingly mismatched. However, it remains very polished; the gold leaf, white marble, and elegant piano music give enough glitz to keep things from becoming too bohemian.Order a gin martini: a classic drink served flawlessly.

Harry’s Bar

Harry’s Bar, a national treasure that is now legally designated as a national landmark, is the place to go for a drink with a feeling of occasion. This magnificent institution on St Mark’s waterfront, known as the home of the bellini, was created by Giuseppe Cipriani in 1931 and has ruled supreme over the city’s cocktail culture ever since. As one of the grand old ladies of Venice nightlife, it’s no wonder that the pub has drawn many a lyrical soul. It was Ernest Hemingway’s favorite hangout for a while, yet it welcomes everyone
The famous peach-and-prosecco cocktails are a must-try.

Enoteca Al Volto

Evening drinks don’t have to be cocktails, and that’s where this great wine bar shines. Enoteca Al Volto, another pub with a long history, has been hosting oenophiles since 1936. The simple and pleasant settings of Calle Cavalli, only a few steps from the Rialto Bridge, are the ideal antidote to the throng and tourist traps of downtown Venice. Al Volto’s extensive wine cellar beckons you to enjoy it in a space festooned with vintage wine labels, a testament to the restaurant’s many years of supplying fine vintages. The continual arrival of interesting findings, along with the proprietors’ enthusiasm for their topic, ensures a memorable tipple.

Best advice: To truly feel like a local bar-hopper, take a seat at the bar and order some cicchetti.

Bar Canale @ Bauers L’hotel

Venice does opulent grandeur better than almost anyplace else. This bar amid the luxurious environs of the Bauers L’Hotel exemplifies the city’s wholehearted embrace of refined splendor. Bar Canale borders the Grand Canal, Venice’s renowned major canal, and is an exquisite refuge from the city. The enormous outdoor terrace is its greatest beauty. It’s an enticing sanctuary for well-heeled sightseers to enjoy breathtaking views of the Grand Canal and the Chiesa della Salute.

Top tip: At sunset, the terrace is a particularly lovely spot to gaze over Venice’s ancient roofs. Watch gondoliers glide by in the company of your amato.

La Bottega Ai Promessi Sposi

If you’ve always wanted to wander the streets of Venice and stumble across a wonderful pub hidden away in a maze of passageways, this is your opportunity to not miss out. La Bottega ai Promessi Sposi appears to be a hole-in-the-wall tavern at first look. However, the nightly crowds of residents that flow out the door and stand on the street drinking wine and eating cicchetti, Venice’s answer to tapas, give it away. It’s the type of place you’ll tell your friends about when you tell them about the “Real Venice” you discovered; tucked away and hidden from the tourist crowd.

Top tip: Try the delectable polpette — you won’t be disappointed!

10 Venetian dishes you must try in Venice

Pasta and pizza are household names in Italy, and they are the foods we identify with the country’s cuisine. However, the reality is that Italy has a wide range of cuisines. Many people go to touristy cafés providing food that fits their expectations. It’s easy to eat the usual pasta and pizza dishes rather than eat like the locals. Genuine Venetian cuisine consists of some extremely delicious and refined meals. They often rely primarily on fish and vegetables; thanks to its unique lagoon position and proximity to the island gardens of Sant’Erasmo.

Baccala Mantecato

Another delectable fish-based antipasto is a close second. Baccala mantecato is made by soaking, poaching, and blending dried cod into a creamy mousse. It’s then seasoned with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Parsley and garlic may also appear in some variants. It’s then smeared on fresh bread slices or grilled white polenta, a Veneto staple.


Sailors required sustenance that would last them through their frequently lengthy and perilous voyages when the Republic of Venice was a great naval force. Dry, oval-shaped, and most crucially, long-lasting baicoli or ship biscuits were among their most vital rations. They have a deceptively simple appearance, but preparing them takes a long time because they require two rises and double baking. Many aristocrats in Venetian society enjoyed dipping baicoli in creams and dessert wines. These days, they’re typically served with coffee and zabaglione.

Bigoli in Salsa

Another popular appetizer in Venice is bigoli in salsa. Bigoli, or bigoi as they were known in the local vernacular, are long, thick strands of whole-wheat pasta that resemble spaghetti. The spaghetti is then served with a salsa or sauce made of onions and salt-cured fish (sardines or anchovies). This simple but tasty dish is now offered all year in Venice. It was formerly served on giorni di magro or lean days such as Good Friday and Christmas Eve.

Fegato alla Veneziana

This main course, cooked with calf liver and stewed onions, is a must have dish. The sweet,
caramelized onions nicely complement the earthiness of the liver. This popular meal has been known to convert many visitors who swear they don’t like liver due to its unique flavor combination. It’s frequently served on a bed of creamy polenta.


The Venetian lagoon is home to a diverse range of crustaceans, making Venice an ideal destination for seafood enthusiasts. Moleche are little green crabs that are eaten when they shed their shells and are a seasonal springtime delicacy. When the crabs are harvested, speed is necessary. This is because they grow new shells in a matter of hours and harden following contact with water. These crabs are deliciously soft and sensitive, and they go great in fried meals and salads.

Risi e Bisi

Another rice-based appetizer, risi e bisi or Venetian-style rice and peas, would not be complete without including in our gourmet guide to Venice. This primo was historically presented as an gift to the Doge of Venice from the peasantry of the lagoon islands on St. Mark’s Day. Risi e bisi is a risotto-style dish composed with vialone nano rice, pancetta, onion, butter, parsley, and, shockingly, pea-shell broth! When you see fresh peas on the stalls at the Rialto markets (usually in the middle to late spring), you know it’s time to try this dish at a local trattoria.

Risotto al nero di seppia

The Veneto region’s other major crop is rice, and few meals are more Venetian than this seafood-based risotto. The squid ink in this primo, or starter, may give the rice an unsettling and unappealing jet-black appearance. The peculiar briny flavor of the squid, wine, onion, tomato, and ink braise, on the other hand, wins over even the most skeptic visitors.

Sarde in Saor

A favorite sweet-sour dish also known as ‘agrodolce’ is delightful. Saor was invented by Venetian sailors and fishermen in the Middle Ages as a way of preserving fried sardine fillets marinated in vinegar, onions, raisins, and pine nuts. This method of preserving fish (and other foods) is no longer essential thanks to modern refrigeration. The sweet and acidic qualities of this preservation process, on the other hand, were certainly pleasing to the Venetians’ taste buds. As a result, the dish has survived as a modern-day antipasto or appetizer.


The Veneto region boasts a highly diversified environment and a range of microclimates, making it ideal for cultivating both red and white wines of high quality. Prosecco, a sparkling white wine, and other concoctions made with it, such as the Bellini and Spritz, have recently become popular as a pre-dinner drink. If we had to choose a white wine to go with all of the fish you’ll be eating here, a bottle of Soave comes highly recommended. You might want to try reds like Valpolicella or Amarone to go with heartier foods. White wines such as Orto di Venezia and Venissa are also available for a taste of something truly regional.