Passion Points: Food/Wine
“Venice is a fish,” writes Italian poet Tiziano Scarpa in one of the best literary novellas about the city—and he’s right. When seen from afar, the map resembles an open-mouthed fish, its head San Polo, its lower jaw the Dorsoduro, taking a big bite out of chubby San Marco. Planning one’s own meals in Venice is tricky. While one can eat quite well in the more remote sesiteri (neighborhoods) of this water-edged city, it’s also remarkably easy to end up with a disappointing meal in the more touristy spots, unlike in, say, Rome or Vienna, where even the simplest places often deliver.
Carefully mapping out ones meals around sight-seeing is also important since time functions very differently in Venice—everything takes longer by water than on a paved road. Who has not had the unfortunate experience of wandering around mobbed San Marco, desperately looking for a lunch spot that doesn’t look overly touristy with a throng of hungry—read unhappy—family members in tow? It is essential to come armed with a host of restaurant recommendations for each sestieri you’ll be touring.
Many of the picks are included in our Mapped Out: Venice guide, a three-day itinerary and map that facilitates insider exploration. Buy the Mapped Out Guide here. If you have recently returned from a trip and would like to share your favorites, send us a postcard. Buon appetito!
Nearby sights: San Marco Square, Bell Tower, Doge’s Palace, La Fenice, Biblioteca Marciana, Correr Museum
- For an al fresco lunch: Aqua Pazza
- For an intimate seafood lunch: Il Ridotto
- For lunch/dinner near San Marco: Osteria Enoteca San Marco or Trattoria Do Forni
- For an afternoon coffee: Caffe Florian
- For a sweet snack: Colussi
- For a classic cocktail: Harry’s Bar
- For a big night out on the laguna: De Pisis
- For a classic Venetian setting: Il Quadri
- For a local dinner: Alle Testiere
- For a big night out on the laguna: Lineadombra
- For an al fresco lunch: La Rivisita
- For lunch on the laguna: La Piscina
- For a local lunch or dinner: Pesador Riviera
- For a sweet snack: Gelateria Nico
- For aperitifs: Cantinone Gia Schiava
SAN POLO/SANTA CROCE:
Nearby sights: Santa Maria dei Frari, Scuola di San Rocco, Campo San Polo, Rialto Market
- For a local lunch or dinner: Antiche Carampane
- For an al fresco lunch: Birraria La Corte
- For an al fresco lunch or aperitifs: Bancogiro
- For great pizza: Il Refolo
- For a sweet treat: Gelateria Alaska
- For aperitifs and/or dinner: Naranzaria
- For a big night out: Da Fiore
Nearby sights: The sites of the Biennale de Venise
RESTAURANTS WORTH A WATER TAXI RIDE FOR DINNER:
- Big Night Out: Cip’s Club, on the Giudecca
- Big Night Out: Da Fiore, in San Polo
- Big Night Out: De Pisis, at Il Palazzo
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