Asides from the remarkable architecture, the charming narrow canals, and the many bridges to wander and get lost over, the thought of a trip to Venice appealed to me in one other way, ITALIAN FOOD. Carbs upon carbs, I’ll take all of it. If you asked me what type of food I could easily eat for the rest of my life then I would continuously shout pasta from the rooftops without hesitation, with a slice of pizza thrown in too.
Now you can obviously eat Italian food anywhere in the world, but let’s be real…nobody does it quite like the Italians themselves so today’s post is focused on where to eat and drink should you find yourself in the beautiful Venice.
Now if you read my previous post regarding things to do in Venice then one of the places you’ll likely find yourself strolling along several times is Riva degli Schiavoni, a famous promenade down by the waterfront with picturesque views of gondolas bobbing up and down on the water. This promenade is lined with cafes and restaurants to stop for a rest and bite to eat or for a drink to quench your thirst, and when down here I stopped at Caffe Internazionale for a spot of lunch.
Although the waterfront can be a little breezy at times, this is the perfect spot for people watching and soaking in the view, and believe me when I say that nothing beats a view like the one from Riva degli Schiavoni. Here, I managed to add a new drink to the list, a Rossini, a mix of Prosecco and strawberry puree and apparently a popular alternative to the classic Bellini. Of course, my first pasta dish in Venice had to be my all time favourite, Spaghetti Carbonara. The food was delicious and actually made me realise that although Carbonara in the UK is so tasty, it’s actually a lot heavier and richer than in Italy, meaning that I left full but not on the verge of exploding like I would back home after visiting an Italian restaurant.
Eating outdoors anywhere comes with both pros and cons, with one of the main downsides being the birds, oh those pigeons, something which Venice seems to be well known for. They are NOT the slightest bit scared by a ‘shoo’ or a wave of a hand, and as soon as I had quickly finished my plate of pasta, there was a pigeon perched comfortably in my bowl eating any remains of bacon that were left….and that’s when I knew it was time to get the bill.
If you are looking for amazing pizza in Venice then Rossopomodoro is a must! It’s a modern pizzeria restaurant that was recommended to me by someone who lived in Venice for half the academic year during her studies so I knew I had to try it out.
As well as being reasonably priced, the pizzas are handmade and so fresh, with the open kitchen allowing for the perfect view of all the pizza making action that was going on around dinner time, and our table was situated perfectly to watch on in anticipation. I went for the pizza with Parmaham and Mozzarella and it was one of the best pizzas I had during the trip. The cherry wine I chose to wash it down with was even better and I left the restaurant feeling merry in more ways than one.
There is nothing better than an ice-cream on a sunny day, especially when you’ve been wandering the streets of Venice since the crack of dawn. A very popular ice-cream shop with very Instagram worthy ice-cream is SUSO Gelato. What makes this place so good is not only the incredible flavours on offer, but the ice-cream with the SUSO logo wafer perched on top makes for the perfect picture if you hold it out over one of Venice’s many bridges with picturesque views of the canal in the background. This is a typical picture you’ll find anyone taking with their SUSO ice-cream proudly in hand.
I went for a cone with a scoop of passion-fruit and a scoop of summer berry flavour and despite it being the end of February, it almost felt like Summer. Even with Venice being unbelievably quiet due to the Covid-19 situation that had started to take over Italy, this place still managed to have a queue steadily forming outside.
Harry’s Bar….now what can I say about Harry’s Bar. Whilst researching things to do in Venice for the trip, this was one place that kept popping up on every blog post, forum or article that I read, and so I added it to my itinerary with excitement. With it being established in the 1930s and being visited by a wide range of celebrity clientele since it has opened its doors, does George Clooney ring a bell? I thought so, this place has become somewhat iconic in Venice.
Now the whole point of this blog is to be honest about my opinions and experiences, so I would never over exaggerate an experience or pretend I absolutely adored it for the sake of a post, which leads me to my very honest opinion of Harry’s Bar…one which might differ from that of another individual’s. Approaching the doors leading into the bar I was excited, feeling like I was about to walk into a Charlie Chaplin movie, but my excitement soon diminished. The waiters, yes were well dressed and looked the part, but the bar itself was nothing special, there wasn’t much atmosphere, no music playing, no character, yet soon after we arrived every table was taken.
We ordered a Bellini and a Dry Martini costing us almost 50 EUROS, which even typing this figure still makes my jaw drop. As you can see from the above picture, the Bellini was tiny, and although it was an experience being in a bar with as much history as this one, in my opinion this did not justify the prices. If you want to visit here and make up your own mind then I wouldn’t discourage you, it might just be your cup of tea, however it’s not somewhere I would remember for the right reasons. When I’m on a trip I have no problem with going all out, but this just wasn’t worth it.
ANTICA OSTERIA AI TRE LEONI
Now if you want to spend 50+ euros on drinks then by all means do BUT there are plenty of charming bars in Venice offering the likes of a glass of Prosecco for 2 EUROS! No, you did not read that wrong, I thought I was seeing things but it turns out the price list was correct.
Apparently it’s a thing over there for people to stand at the bar or counter to drink a coffee or wine rather than sit down, so prices differ depending on whether you wish to stand or sit, I guess it’s a bit like places differing in price depending on whether you sit in or take out.
Heading out of our hotel one evening for a little stroll before dinner we came across Antica Osteria Ai Tre Leoni so we decided to pop in for a quick drink after seeing how cheap the prices were on the menu displayed outside. Inside it was quiet and cosy, with a coffee costing as little as 1 euro and an Aperol Spritz for 2 euros 50 if you stood at the bar. So we did. I couldn’t believe the prices. I’d say Venice is the most expensive city break that I’ve done so far, however, you can definitely do it on the cheap if you venture to places like this or Cicchetti bars like the locals.
RISTORANTE RIVA DEL VIN
Now, if you’re looking for another picture perfect spot for dinner then I highly recommend Rialto Bridge and the Grand Canal at sunset. One thing to bear in mind though is that due to the location the prices can be pretty steep, especially as they know tourists are more than willing to pay for the setting. I wouldn’t necessarily rush to the very first restaurant you see at the foot of Rialto Bridge, we didn’t and noticed that the further along we headed the lower the prices were at the restaurants along the Grand Canal. You’re still dining by the iconic Grand Canal and getting the scenic view as these restaurants offer outdoor seating by the canal, you’re just not being charged the crazy tourist rate.
The majority of the outdoor seating is under the shelter of canopies, covered in fairy lights and heaters so it was surprisingly cosy by the water. We stopped for dinner at Ristorante Riva Del Vin and that night I was feeling rather hungry so opted for Spaghetti Carbonara (surprise surprise) and a margharita pizza. This was delicious and the setting was even better so I highly recommend having a meal by the Grand Canal during a trip to Venice for a dinner to remember and the most beautiful of views.
Minutes from Rialto Bridge is Bacaro Jazz, a bar I highly recommend making a stop at. When I came across it and seen just how unique it was, I knew this was one to add to the list. I mean what bar has tonnes of bras hanging from the ceiling and customer art work and writing all over the walls? It’s different. Not that I was willing to give one of my bras up like many of the customers have over the decade that that this place has been around.
With delicious cocktails, great music and a happy hour between 4-6pm, this is a great place to stumble into and let loose after a long hard day of sightseeing. For Venice I thought this place was a little different, offering character and friendly service.
DAL MORO’S – FRESH PASTA TO GO
Sometimes on a city break you may want food to go or to eat in a spot of your choice and this is when I recommend Dal Moro’s Fresh Pasta To Go. A little box of takeaway pasta? Yes please. Choose your pasta, sauce, and any additional items? Even better. This pasta is cooked fresh on the spot, and is a quick and cheap go to for delicious food. Of course I went for the Carbonara, it’s all I ate for the duration of the trip.
With our pasta boxes in hand and a grumbling belly we headed to St. Mark’s Square to do some people watching and sit directly in the glorious Italian sunshine. Sometimes it’s just nice to pause for a moment and watch the world go by, and to do it whilst eating makes it my favourite thing.
None of the food places in Venice disappointed and as for the bars, the positives outweighed the one negative bar. If I had one wish I would have wished for more time in Venice to make my way round all of its eateries and venture away from my usual pasta dish, but hey, there’s always next time!