A testament to art, romance, trade, ingenuity, and imagination, Venice is a dream come to life complete with palazzos and squares set amongst canals great and small. The city is replete with great architectural attractions that define the history of this once great maritime power, but be sure to schedule some downtime between all that sightseeing. After all, what’s better than a break with a glass of Prosecco and some seafood?
Here at Nancy Aiello Tours, we've planned thousands of trips to Italy—Venice, Burano, and Murano included—and have deep local knowledge on the city's best restaurants, from fine dining to family-friendly, steakhouses to tasting menus to small plates. Below are 24 of our favorite Venetian eateries that'll ensure you avoid the tourist traps.
Protip: Bookmark this best Venice restaurants and bacari article in your browser, if you are looking for laid-back, less-well-known, only-in-Venice-type experiences to add to your bucket list.
1. All’ Arco
All' Arco is a lunchtime-only bacaro (Venetian version of an Italian osteria) tucked away in an alley near the Rialto Market. You’ll find plates of some of the finest cicchetti in the city here: langoustines, calamari, liver, speck, and prawns all served on slices of bread. Don't be afraid to go for whatever owner Francesco Pinto or his son Matteo are preparing behind the bar. It could be anything from a hot sausage sandwich to butterfish crudo marinated in mint and olive oil. On a Saturday at lunchtime, the restaurant gets packed with market shoppers.
For homey, delicious, and less-touristy home cooking in the heart of the city, look no further than Trattoria Al Gazzettino. Don't miss the Risotto Nero—even if it's not on the menu, they'll likely make it for you!
With mouthwatering vegetarian options and canal-side outdoor seating, Osteria la Zucca is the ideal spot for a satisfying lunch or dinner. Their menu rotates seasonally, but you can count on inventive dishes like asparagus flan with Parmesan fonduta and hearty zucchini almond lasagne. Plus, they have great desserts—the pumpkin flan with cinnamon is phenomenal. Just be sure to book in advance or be prepared to wait for a table at this buzzy spot.
4. Al Timon
Don’t be surprised if you don’t hear any English at all when you walk into Al Timon, a favorite wine bar of Venetians from every walk of life. If you can, snag a table right on the canal, and then enjoy hanging here for hours as you nibble on cichetti and sip on simple aperitivi. Whether you’re headed here before dinner or after, it always hits the spot.
A no-nonsense restaurant with an ever-changing menu, Osteria Ai Promessi Sposi specializes in traditional dishes and fresh seafood. It's hidden on a little lane parallel to the busy Strada Nuova, easy to spot once you find the street—if anything, the locals spilling out onto the sidewalk with wine glasses and cicheti in hand will give it away. They have a solid wine list, but the house red and white are very drinkable, too.
Antiche Carampane is an upscale, family-run trattoria serving some of the finest seafood in Venice. You don’t arrive here by accident—the place is hidden in an alley between the Rialto Market and the Campo San Polo. Chefs and owners Francesco and Adriano visit the market every morning to pick up fresh fish, and the menu is driven as much by the seasons as it is by tradition. The interior has dark wood accents and is decorated with family photos. If you can, snag a sidewalk table under the striped awning. Try St. Peter's fish with radicchio di Treviso, or mullet in red wine.
Ai Artisti is a traditional Venetian tavern with a snack counter specializing in seafood. Don’t miss the nero di seppia (squid ink) pasta, the crudo of langoustine, sea bass and seabream, or the tagliata (sliced steak) drizzled with aged balsamic vinegar. They also have a great selection of wines by the glass, and lovely sidewalk tables for two. Note: On Mondays, they don’t serve fish.
This cozy and classic Venetian menu features the freshest seafood and Venetian dishes. Here, you'll find everything from spaghetti with clams to mussels, antipasti, and ample vegetarian options. Prices are reasonable, service is warm and friendly, and portions are generous.
Deep in the Castello district, CoVino is a lively, 16-seat restaurant and wine bar with a small, seasonally-driven menu. It was started by Andrea Lorenzon and Cesare Benelli (long-time owner of Al Covo) who, after a 2013 trip to Paris, became enamored with the warm atmosphere of French bistros. Don't miss the saffron-scented risotto cooked in grape must or the pan-seared mullet atop stewed pumpkin purée and endive. Be sure to leave room for dessert, too. The chocolate cake is sublime.
10. Al Covo
Al Covo is a charming, semi-formal restaurant serving updated versions of Venetian classics. Chef and owner Cesare Benelli sources his fish from the lagoons surrounding the city or from the Adriatic, and his vegetables from island farms nearby. He also makes all his pasta, pickles, and marmalade in-house. The elegant dining room is decorated with white tablecloths and exposed brick, and though there’s no dress code at lunch, you might feel uncomfortable in shorts or sleeveless tops at dinner. Besides seafood, try their pumpkin gnocchi, or order the chef’s menu to sample the best of what Al Covo has to offer.
11. Vino Vino
Vino Vino in San Marco is an ideal place to stop for lunch while you’re out and about in the heart of Venice. Steps from Teatro la Fenice, the cozy spot is part of the larger Antico Martini restaurant complex. If the weather permits, dine on the garden terrace, otherwise warm up inside their old-school indoor tavern. Fuel up on their fresh, homemade pastas before venturing out to explore this lively quarter of the city.
Ristorante La Caravella is one of the most famous eateries in Venice; it's a stylish outpost that’s designed to look like an opulent ship. Praised by the Michelin Guide for its charming atmosphere, it’s the perfect place to enjoy traditional Venetian dishes and, of course, wine. Highlights include marinated sweet-and-sour sardines with pine nuts and raisins, Venetian-style fish soup, and homemade pasta with duck ragout. Save room for dessert—you can't go wrong with the dark chocolate tiramisu or amaretto soufflé (must be ordered upon arrival).
Osteria al Cantinon is a rustic restaurant with a cozy atmosphere. Wait your turn to be seated at one of the casual tables draped in white tablecloths and topped with colorful drinking glasses, then browse the approachable yet enticing menu. The dishes are flavorful, filling, and diverse, so we recommend ordering a survey antipasti, primi piatti, and secondi for the table. Start with the warm octopus salad then move on to homemade tagliatelle with hand-chopped bolognese and slow-cooked pork with roasted potatoes.
14. Cantina Do Mori
A trip to Venice is not complete without a visit to the storied Do Mori, a local institution since Casanova was (reportedly) a regular in 1462. This is the original bàcaro (Venetian wine bar) for cicchetti (Venetian tapas). Grab a glass of white—local Soave is a great way to go—and sample heavenly bites like baccala mantecato and pickled onions with anchovies. Get here by 7PM for a bite before dinner, any later and it will be packed.
15. Cantina Do Spade
A 600-year-old cicchetti and wine bar named for a supposed duel between noblemen on a nearby bridge, Do Spade continues to offer up delicious Venetian cuisine, bargain Tri-Veneto wines, and a fun, casual atmosphere. The dimly-lit, brick-lined spot is beloved for dishes like inky black cuttlefish pasta and top-notch fried calamari, but you can also create your own sample platter by mixing and matching small bite specialties from the menu.
Expect top-notch service, flavorful meals, and a standout wine selection at this retro rustic eatery. The menu strays aways from typical Venetian fare, offering standouts like juicy bone-in pork roast, crispy potato pancakes topped with hot tangy cheese, and creamy cacio e pepe with pecorino—not to mention the veggie burger on pumpkin bread (don't knock it 'till you try it).
Protip: The restaurant is tucked away in Dorsoduro on Campo dell'Angolo Raffaele. Be careful when asking for directions, as there is a restaurant with the same name in another part of Venice.
Located just steps away from Piazza San Marco (aka St. Mark's Square), Trattoria da Fiore is an elegant Italian restaurant that specializes in superb Venetian cuisine. Don’t be fooled by the humble exterior—inside, the restaurant is intimate and non-touristy, furnished with dark wood and decorated with quirky antiques. Expect traditional dishes packed with flavor, such as the house specialty: pennette da Fiore with olive oil, garlic, and seasonal vegetables. With friendly service, reasonable prices, and amazingly fresh dishes, Trattoria da Fiore is definitely a hidden gem.
Trattoria Ca' d'oro Alla Vedova—known by locals as Alla Vedova—is a cozy trattoria tucked in an alley off of one of Venice’s famously crowded streets. If you’re looking for a sit-down meal, it’s best to book ahead. You can, however, just show up to hang by the bar and snack on classic ciccheti and the best polpette (meatballs) in the city. Their menu is small but finely honed, offering a taste of classically Venetian fare such as tripe pasta, fish, and seafood. All the dishes are delicious, but tourists and locals alike head here for the meatballs. And, let’s be honest, when the Michelin Guide describes a place’s meatballs as legendary…it’s probably time to order some meatballs.
Tiny and elegant, this restaurant is known around the city for its authentic, progressive takes on Venetian seafood. Cram in with locals and tourists alike at Testiere to taste everything from razor clams to caprese topped with fresh prawns. With a bustling, lively atmosphere and a menu full of inspired sea-to-table dishes, this bustling spot will leave you overwhelmingly pleased.
Located steps away from the central fish market, Osteria Al Vecio Bragosso in Venice’s Cannaregio neighborhood is a wonderful spot for reasonably priced seafood and freshly made pasta (gluten-free options available). The inviting atmosphere offers both indoor and outdoor seating, warm service, and excellent wine (the house selection does not disappoint).
Osteria Bancogiro is one of the idyllic Venetian spots—a restaurant overlooking the piazza near Rialto Market with terrace seats and stellar food. We love Osteria Bancogiro’s cicchetti (black polenta topped with baccalà mantecato—whipped cod), but everything is delicious and the atmosphere could not be better. Sit outside if the weather is nice, or inside in one of the domed brick rooms if it's not—you’ll feel like you’re in a wine cellar. Osteria Bancogiro is on the pricy side, but you’re paying for location. We recommend making it the last stop in a bacaro hop so you can enjoy the romantic scenery and try a variety of local dishes.
22. Vino Vero
Tucked away on a quiet canal in Northern Canareggio, Vino Vero is the perfect spot to stop in for wine and cicchetti. A favorite amongst laid-back locals, Vino Vero is the type of place where you’ll see people pulling up from the canal to stop in for a glass of wine and bruschetta. You can’t go wrong with any of the menu items—they have something for everyone (gluten-free options, too). Don't be surprised if you find yourself itching to return multiple times over the course of your stay in Venice.
23. Vini Da Arturo
Tucked away on the quieter side of San Marco, Vini da Arturo serves classic Italian food in an authentic setting. Although there’s no seafood on the menu (a rarity in Venice!), you won't miss it; the menu boasts unbelievably tender steaks, fresh salads, and incredible pasta dishes—plus a great selection of wines available by the glass. When it comes to service, Vini da Arturo excels. The friendly, outgoing servers are some of the best in Italy. Fun fact: Vina da Arturo is a favorite with Hollywood celebrities like Nicole Kidman, Tom Hanks, and Tom Cruise.
24. Gelatoteca SuSo
For the perfect gelato pitstop around Piazza San Marco and Rialto Bridge, make a beeline for Gelatoteca SuSo. There's more than two dozen flavors on offer that are anything but ordinary—think fig and walnut, ginger and cinnamon, passion fruit, and Japanese mochi. And yes, there's also gluten-free cones available!
Opening hours can change and places may be closed during national holidays. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip to Venice, Italy —days off and vacations are taken seriously here.
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