Venice Food : an introduction

Have you just arrived in Venice and wondering how to connect with the locals? Italians are well known, for being lovers of good food and wine! 

Hence, when planning your Venice Tours to learn about the local people and culture, it is advisable to dedicate some of your time visiting Venice to explore food and the local wine!

Venetian Cuisine and the local specialities

Venetian cuisine is quite unique. In fact, in its old age history, the Serenissima was exposed to various cultures which influenced the local Venice food, its ingredients and recipes. Many herbs and spices were imported from abroad by the merchants in the past. Nowadays these are mixed with local ingredients to give life to a distinctive symphony of flavours. 

In the modern days, Venetian cuisine is made of a wide range of dishes, mostly based on fish and seafood from the Venetian Lagoon. However, many meat and vegetarian dishes are also part of the local culinary traditions. 

Among the most popular dishes we have baccalà mantecato, sarde in saor, bigoli in salsa, rice and peas, fegato alla veneziana, deep fried calamari or pasta with squid ink to name just a few. Many dishes are served with polenta. You could surely try some of all of our specialities in the many restaurants in Venice, however, something we highly recommend to experience local food and culture is also to visit some bacari and try some cicchetti.

Venice Food Tour and wine Experience

tour-venice-wineWhat we suggest for you is a Venice food tour and wine tasting in a local cicchetteria! Bacari wine bars or cicchetti bars in Venice are an ideal stop for a quick lunch or more usually an evening visit. Spend the evening in good company in a Venice wine bar!

Inside, the food is usually laid out on large platters behind glass in shelves over the bar. You make your way to the bar (usually pushing your way through throngs of people) and order by pointing to what you would like. 

On our cicchetti and wine tour you will have the chance to do wine tastings of local wines like the famous red valpolicella wines or white wines like Soave and sparkling wine like our best known product Prosecco. Choose the sestiere that you like for this tour of venice and book this great value food and wine tour! In the price are included as much Venetian cicchetti as you like and tasting of regional wines!

Cicchetti Venice: discover more



First of all, what is a cicchetteria? Do not be fooled, in other parts of Italy the cicchetti are shots of hard liquor; but for the Venetian cicchetti are small portions of food. You will probably have heard of  Spanish tapas? Well cicchetti is exactly the same concept!

So the cicchetteria, is very much a typical Venetian tavern where locals go for food and drink and conversation! These are places with atmosphere and an eclectic decor, often with seating on tall counters and outside tables. Around Venice there are so many, from San Polo to the Rialto market, the famous food market Venice italy, not forgetting the areas around the Piazza San Marco!

History of Bàcari and Cicchetti in Venice

In the 1300s there were more than 20 bacari (small wine bars) surrounding Venice’s Rialto Bridge. By adding small nibbles, bar landlords would keep people drinking for a bit longer. Eventually, these wine bars got a rather tawdry reputation and went out of style.

tour venice wineBut just like everything that was once old that becomes new again—eating small courses of cicchetti has become fashionable like the evolution of tapas in Spain. The cicchetti have achieved a gourmet makeover and the wines have started to flow again—a whole new era has begun. Today, eating cicchetti in Venice, mostly seafood-based, is extremely popular and is practiced by tourists and locals alike.

So you are in a bacaro, a wine bar. Naturally, you think to go up to the bar and order a glass of wine, un bicchiere di vino. Yes, you can, but actually, what you really want to do is ask for an ombra.

“Un bicchiere di vino” will likely get you a glass of higher priced (not necessarily local) wine. Order an ombra and you will get a small glass of local wine. It will likely be quite inexpensive.

Ombra means “shade.” The use of the word to define a glass of wine dates back to the days of wine merchants who used to set up shop in the Piazza San Marco, changing the location of their wares to follow the shade of the bell tower since the heat of the sun would ruin the wine. The name stuck, and a small glass of local wine in Venice remains an ombra.

Cicchetteria, Venice, what’s left for gourmands?

Cicchetti is a blanket term which really means different dishes. In general, they are fish-based croutons, slices of bread with sardines in saor, marinated anchovies or the famous croutons of creamed salt cod. Sometimes it may include small portions of things like potato croquettes risotto or battered fried fish, squid or vegetables. You may also find baked cuttlefish or shrimp, sometimes octopus or even little meatballs.You could continue the list indefinitely! However rest assured that they make the perfect combination with a glass of wine, or a local spritz.The choice of wines must necessarily be very varied, the Venetians are real sommeliers of taste!

So, let’s find out what citizens do and where they go on their Venetian days … The famous “bacaro tour”, with a local guide is a real essential thing to do for visitors to venice. This is a very special tour of all the best cicchetterie in Venice!  While it is not a whole day trip, a bacaro tour is a fun experience for lunch time or an afternoon or even for later in the day. You can use the cicchetti in place of dinner as you will probably want to try everything for the most authentic experience!

Bacaro in Venice: ideal for a quick lunch

tour-wine-vniceIf you are looking for a place to enjoy a lunch, where you simply discover the different possible varieties of cicchetti or to sip a typical Venetian aperitif, then this is just the experience for you!

Who said that eating needs a table? Venetians like to have lunch on their feet, indoors or maybe on fine summer days, along by the canal. During your days touring around the city, treat yourself to a quick lunch at a venice cicchetteria! This is ideal as it doesn’t take up too much time but lets you taste the typical cuisine favoured by the Venetians.

Here are all the best cicchetterie in Venice:

tour-wine-veniceFondamenta della Misericordia: a varied selection of cicchetti with the accompaniment of craft beers, complimented by a very varied wine list!  Trattoria Misericordia is a cozy restaurant, located away from the tourist crowds by the picturesque Misericordia Canal. The dishes are simple and well composed. The menu features excellent pasta with all sorts of seafood infusions, fresh seafood dishes, and classic bruschetta. This bacari is definitely popular with customers because it serves fresh local seafood including fish soup, mixed fish appetizer,grilled or baked fish, both turbot and seabass It is all wooden decor, adorned with flags and has super friendly staff!

Rialto Mercato, in the area of ​​the herbaria, the ancient commercial heart of Venice, take a break of taste in the name of the fish. The best fish cicchetti in the city.

San Tomà, is a few steps from the Grand Canal and the San Toma pier, in the square, a very glamorous bacaro! The counters are high and there is a whole window of cicchetti on display, to satisfy every palate!

Rialto, in the area opposite the market, on the other side of the Rialto bridge, going towards San Marco, is a very nice bacaro, a real “spolier” by Venetians! Because it is right at the end of a small street, you would never find it by chance but we will take you there!

Food Delivery Venice : Cicchetti take-away

bacaro finger food da portare via

Venice and bacari, two terms that cannot do without each other. We offer a food delivery Venice cicchetti to meet the needs of those who want to taste everything but don’t want to waste too much time and don’t want to waste hours looking for the right places to stop.

Choose the menu that’s right for you! Rather than a classic sandwich, a bacaro in take away mode is perfect, for example, to take it with you on a tour to the islands. If you prefer, you can easily eat it on the spot. Our trusted bacaro is in the Rialto bridge area. You can combine it with a visit to the market and then with a light lunch directly there!

Venice cooking class : learn how to cook real Italian Food!

After trying some of Venice specialities, you will probably want to learn how to make some of our traditional recipes yourself! In fact, many Italian dishes are not difficult to make at home if you have the basic ingredients (extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper) and you know how to go about it ! Hence you should really take the opportunity to learn while you are here in Venice! With our cooking classes you can learn Italian cooking as well as Italian language! A Venice cooking class is perfect to make traditional Venice food, going from theory to practice! You will have the opportunity to improve your Italian language as well as appreciate Italian culture and history through its rich culinary tradition! You will learn how to choose the right ingredients, how to prepare them and mix them together, as well as all the ticks to get a delicious meal!


To find out more on what you can do in Venice, we suggest you read the following articles: