Skip to main content

Best food in Venice: What to eat and where to find it

ice cream in Venice

The floating city, renowned for its gondolas, ancient glass blowing tradition, bridges, canals, and of course… its cuisine! If you’re planning a trip to Venice, prepare your taste buds for a gastronomic adventure! Let me guide you like a gondoliere to uncover what the Venice food scene has to offer.

1. Kickstart with caffeine

There’s no other way to kickstart a true Italian foodie experience than with a hit of caffeine! Ready to espresso your love for coffee? Venice is more than just a floating, architectural masterpiece, it has a vibrant café culture with rich history. There’s certainly no shortage of coffee shops, tucked away in every corner of each cobblestone street, but if you’re feeling a little bit fancy, treat yourself to a visit at Café Florian! Located in the heart of Venice’s iconic St. Mark’s Square, this café is a timeless treasure dating back to the 1700s!

As one one of the oldest coffee houses in all of Europe, this Venetian café will delight you with its opulent interior, adorned with exquisite frescoes, gilded decorations, and elegant furnishings that reflect the grandeur of Venetian Baroque architecture. Treat yourself to traditional pastries like frittelle (Venetian fritters), zaeti (cornmeal cookies), or baicoli (crisp biscuits), then sit back and enjoy a sensory feast while basking in the ambiance of live jazz music that echoes through the square, as tourists and pigeons pass by.

coffee in Italy

Image source:Contiki

2. Check out the cicchetti

Hungry for more? Kickstart your food tour with a cicchetti-crawl (pronounced chick-et-ee)! Picture this: you’re wandering through narrow, maze-like, cobblestone streets and you stumble upon a cozy little bacaro (traditional Venetian wine bar). Inside is lively chatter, clinking glasses, and the tantalizing aroma of sizzling delights. Welcome to the world of cicchetti: Venice’s answer to tapas, but with a flair of its own!

These small, tapas-like dishes are a Venetian specialty meant for sharing and savouring, where you can sample a mouthwatering array of foods. Think freshly fried seafood, bruschetta piled high with local cheeses, and delicate crostini topped with savory spreads. For a taste of traditional Venetian flavours, be sure to try some Sarde in Saor. This beloved Venice food features marinated sardines, onions, and vinegar – a true homage to the city’s maritime roots! Don’t forget to pair your bites with a glass of wine or a refreshing spritz for the ultimate Venetian foodie experience. Cin cin to cicchetti!

10 hidden gems in Venice, Italy to discover on your next trip

10 hidden gems in Venice, Italy to discover on your next trip

Jessica Meehan
by Jessica Meehan Nov 24, 2023

3. Irresistable risotto

When talking about Venetian food, you can’t go past risotto! You haven’t truly experienced the city’s culinary soul until you indulge in a steaming plate of this creamy rice perfection. Whether you opt for the classic seafood risotto bursting with the flavours of the Adriatic, or dive into a decadent truffle-infused variation, each bite is a symphony of flavours that will leave you craving more!

Another must try Venetian dish is Risi e Bisi, a comforting risotto made with tender peas and creamy Arborio rice, a testament to the abundance of fresh produce found in the Venetian lagoon. For those craving something a little more indulgent, Fegato alla Veneziana may be for you! Its thinly sliced liver sautéed with onions and butter is sure to satisfy even the most discerning palate.

asparagus risotto

Image source:Contiki

4. Prepare for pasta

No Venice foodie guide would be complete without a nod to pasta perfection. Indulge in pillowy gnocchi bathed in rich tomato sauce, twirl your fork around strands of toothsome bigoli in salsa tossed with fresh seafood, or dive into a comforting bowl of squid ink spaghetti that’s as visually stunning as it is delicious!

Get to know the women of Row Venice teaching travellers the art of gondoliering

Get to know the women of Row Venice teaching travellers the art of gondoliering

Charlie Fabre
by Charlie Fabre Feb 08, 2024

5. Get excited for fish

Don’t go past sampling Baccalà Mantecato, Venice’s beloved salted cod dish. A humble ingredient, transformed into a creamy spread made from whipped salt cod, fried to golden perfection. This delicacy reflects the city’s ties to the sea, a true taste of Venetian history!

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Italian do eat better (@italiandoeatbetter)

6. Dive into dessert

After a day of culinary exploration, it’s time for dessert. Indulge your sweet tooth with traditional Venetian treats like Polenta e Chie, a rich cornmeal cake flavoured with lemon zest and almonds. Or simply sweeten your Venice adventure with a scoop (or three) of gelato. There are ample artisanal gelaterias dotted everywhere on the Island, each offering their own kaleidoscope of flavours from traditional pistachio and stracciatella, to inventive creations like lavender honey. Suso Gelateria is my ultimate recommendation, and I guarantee you won’t miss it with the line longer than the store itself! Be sure to take your gelato to-go and enjoy a leisurely stroll along the canals, soaking in the city’s enchanting ambiance! And don’t forget that classic gelato by the bridge selfie!

10 delizioso foods you MUST try in Italy

10 delizioso foods you MUST try in Italy

Katherine Novakovich
by Katherine Novakovich Aug 17, 2020

There’s no shortage of Venice restaurants, from cozy family kitchens to candlelit courtyard and canal-side cicchetti, and they all promise an unforgettable taste of authentic Venetian cuisine and culture! This city is a treasure trove of flavours waiting to be discovered, and if you’re not sure where to start, join a Venice food tour to be guided through the Venetian canals and discover the best culinary delights the floating island has to offer!

Buon appetito!

Up next

Stop dreaming and make sh*t happen!