The Italians know their cuisine, and it makes a major part of their lifestyle too. Breakfast through to dinner remains as three pivotal moments of the day, which many of their day to day activities revolve around. Their passion goes beyond sharing their cuisine with the world, but also eating fresh, flavoursome dishes themselves, using locally grown ingredients. Venice has some of the most exceptional, renowned restaurants across the country. Their chefs take their diners on a journey with every mouthful, where you can taste the love, passion, and sun-kissed exposure that has gone into producing premium produce for their dishes. That’s why some of the simplest dishes taste exceptional and are taken to the next level. That doesn’t go for the high-end restaurants, even down to the local pizzerias and pasta houses, giving every restaurant in Venice a run for their money.
However, if you think you will find some of the best restaurants on the main streets and piazza’s of Venice, you’re wrong. Some of the most spectacular eateries are found down the narrowest alleys, that burst out into small plazas that house single restaurants, with alfresco and indoor dining. But, worry not, I’ve done the hard work for you, and found an exceptional selection of must-visit dining hotspots.
Are you ready to jump on board my foodie experience of Venice’s hidden gems? Let’s go!
1. Osteria Ae Sconte
Finding Osteria Ae Sconte was like playing a game of hide and seek. Winding through various alleys, with even Google Maps getting confused, we finally stumbled upon this gem. Situated in a small square near Sestiere Castello, you will find yourselves transported to peace and tranquillity off the beaten path, where the true Venetian magic comes into play. Here you will find some of the finest authentic Venetian dishes, which makes it worth the journey to find it in the first place.
TIP: The seafood linguine and the tomato basil spaghetti are two must-try dishes when dining here. Both are simple dishes, with exceptional flavour and very good value for money.
2. Al Vecio Marangon
Escape the main part of the city, and exploring the backstreets of the Art District, you’ll find this cosy little restaurant lit up at the end of another small alley. Not one you would find if you were passing by, and a restaurant filled with locals who know about this little gem. There is a chance of a queue because the capacity is small, but the food is worth the wait.
TIP: Try the Pomodoro Gnocchi and the Aubergine Parmigiana for your mains, both absolutely delectable dishes with so much flavour. If you have room for dessert, definitely order the tiramisu. The best I have ever had in Italy!
3. Ai Mercanti
Venice has plenty of options for great pasta and pizza, but sometimes you want to escape the carb overload and try some of the other dishes the local culinary geniuses can muster up. Ai Mercanti was the perfect transition, with some international cuisines with a modern twist but still providing true Italian hospitality and some of the most serene alfresco dining you may ever encounter within a city. It’s also a restaurant listed on the Michelin guide, it doesn’t get better than that!
TIP: Start with the cream & garlic spaghetti, it’s truly life-changing, followed by the Thai soup with cod, and finish up with the cheese board — a winning combination that will leave you going home feeling extremely satisfied.
4. Trattoria Pizzeria Do Mori
If you want to find some of the best pizza only eaten by locals, you need to veer off the main island of Venice and head over to Giudecca. By all means, it’s a no-frills, no thrills kind of restaurant, good pizza, straightforward service and waterside dining, allowing you to soak up the sun while sipping on an Aperol spritz. A winner in my eyes.
TIP: If there isn’t a pizza topping combination you like on the menu, order a margarita pizza and add additional toppings from the menu.
5. Skyline Rooftop Bar, Hilton Hotel Venice
Venice is famous for its small wine bars and spots for a quick prosecco in the sun, but if you’re looking for a little bit of luxury, I would recommend the Skyline Rooftop Bar, which resides within the Hilton Hotel. If you can make it for the sunset, you can experience some of the most stunning views across Venice with spirts of apricot and ruby red colours in the sky too — truly magical.
There is even the opportunity to go for after dinner drinks on Saturday nights around the rooftop pool, with the DJ in full swing. Perfect way to enjoy the rest of the evening in true style!
TIP: If you like sweet, fruity cocktails, I would recommend trying the Sensation Fizz. Made with Absolut Vodka, Saint Germain elderflower liqueur, fresh lemon juice, strawberry puree, soda water and egg white, it’s heaven in a glass!
Where are your favourite places to dine and hydrate in Venice?
Until next time…