Venice Restaurants and Dining Tips

Venice, Italy is full of wonderful and exciting places to eat out, with a wide choice of every kind of food imaginable. The many stylish locations and enormous variety of excellent, mouth-watering menus provide nothing short of culinary perfection, often with an emphasis on fish.

Whether you are looking for a romantic meal for two or trendy, lively Venice dining, the only problem is deciding where to go as there are so many restaurants to choose from!

Some restaurants may be closed for several weeks in the winter and also for two to three weeks during the summer, when staff are on holiday. Therefore, it may be worth checking that the restaurant is open first during these periods.

 

Bars in Venice, Italy

Bars in Venice mainly function as cafés, although they do serve alcohol. Prices vary depending on whether you are seated at a table and being waited upon, or simply standing at the bar – which can be as much as half the price. Typical bar foods in Venice include such treats as panini sandwiches and tramezzini, which are large white bread sandwiches, flattened and toasted.

Venice Restaurants and Dining

Cafés in Venice, Italy

Venice is blessed with an abundance of great street cafés that sell a variety of wonderful snack food and light lunches. They serve a whole range of Italian specialities, such as pizza slices, pasta dishes, sandwiches and superb salads, often served with Italian cheeses.

Restaurants in Venice, Italy

Most locals tend to eat lunch (pranzo) at around 12:30 and dinner (cena) from 20:00 onwards, although many Venice restaurants do serve dinner earlier, mainly for tourists. Both lunch and dinner usually follow the same pattern:

  • To start with, an antipasto, or hors d’oeuvres, which may be seafood, olives, beef carpaccio, ham or salami is served
  • Primo follows, which is either soup, rice or pasta
  • The main course (secondo) will be fish or meat, either served alone or with vegetables (contoni) or salad (insalata), usually at an extra cost
  • To finish with there may be a choice of fruit (frutta), pudding (dolce) or cheese selection (formaggio). Sometimes you may actually have the option of having small portions of all three
  • Finally, coffee is the last course and Italians always drink espresso at the end of the meal

In most restaurants there will be a menu of some description, which in cheaper establishments may just be simply chalked up or explained by the waiter. You will also find a good menu of some of Italy’s finest wines to enjoy with your meal.

There are many different types of food served in Venice’s restaurants, but amongst the most popular are pizzas and pasta. Pizzas can be either eaten in a pizzerie, where large, round, thin pizzas are cooked in traditional wood-burning ovens, or alternatively, you can order pizza by the slice in a ‘pizza à taglio’ and either eat it at one of the small tables or take it away and enjoy it, whilst admiring the nearby architecture of the city. Other food sold at takeaway outlets includes a variety of sandwiches, rolls and snack food. Pasta comes in an enormous array of shapes, colours and styles. Probably the most popular type most often served in local restaurants is spaghetti. Served with sauces, including olive oil and garlic, or rich tomato and basil, these meals are simple, but very tasty. Many gnocchi dishes are also usually available and are often served with a meat sauce.

For vegetarians, there are plenty of alternatives in all Italian restaurants and these usually include wonderful fresh vegetables and cheeses. There are also a few restaurants that specialise in vegetarian cuisine, serving some delicious meals.

Eating out in Venice is something that should not be rushed and meals tend to range from good to exceptional. Most restaurants in Venice offer standard traditional Italian dishes, some quite regional, although many offer much more besides. Prices are generally very reasonable and a meal in Venice is usually money well spent.