It can be difficult to find authentic and good-quality Italian food in Venice. We want to share a secret with you: Venice’s Cicchetti traditions. Stay tuned for our next post about our favorite restaurants in Venice! ).
Cichetti, also known as “chee-KETeeh”, is Venice’s answer for Spain’s tapas and Milan’s aperitivo. These small plates of food are usually shared with friends over glasses of wine, or amongst each other at lunch. They are served at bacari (“BAH’car-eeh”) small bars that can be found all around Venice. They range from EUR1 to EUR3. The type of food on offer will vary depending on where you are located. Some bacteria prefer fried foods, while others focus on fresh fish, meats, and cheeses.
You can either enjoy it as a snack before dinner or you can make it a main course by ordering multiple plates. We love the idea of a “cicchetti crawl”! Cichetti is a cheaper option than most restaurant meals in Venice, and it’s more authentic!
A few tips: For an evening cicchetti-crawl, start at 6 p.m. because many bacari close at 9 p.m. Or 8 p.m. If you are just starting to get used to the Italian tradition that you eat at 9 or 9 p.m. then this might not be too bad.
If you can’t handle crowds, or having to wait in lines and/or stand while you eat, then be willing to sacrifice. Or at least find bacari that are a little more off the beaten track. Venetians go to bacari to relax and socialize. However, some places can get very crowded, which can make it difficult to enjoy a peaceful dinner.
Here are some Venice’s top-rated places to find delicious cicchetti.
Ca’ d’Oro/Alla Vedova. Calle del Pistor, Cannaregio 3912. This is the most well-known bacari in Venice. It’s far from the crowds, but also on the low end (EUR1), making it a great choice if you are on a tight budget. The polpette is a pork-based meatball dish that you should not miss.
La Cantina. Calle San Felice, 3689. La Cantina is a stone’s throw away from Alla Vedova. It offers innovative dishes using fresh ingredients such as beef tongue and fresh ricotta. Local favorite.
All’Arco. Calle Arco, San Polo 436. All’Arco is another popular spot in Venice. It’s located near the Ponte Rialto and is crowded at lunchtime by fish market shoppers. There are many options for seafood, including shrimp, liver, calamari, and shrimp. If you can find it, try the hot sandwich with boiled beef sausage, mustard, and other ingredients.
Do Mori. Sestiere San Polo 429, Calle dei Do Mori. Legend has it that Casanova used this bacaro near the Rialto Bridge. It is believed to be the oldest Venice bacaro, dating back to 1462. Ask for the “francobollo”, a small sandwich with various fillings. It’s the house special.
Do Spade. Calle delle Do Spade, 19 S. Polo 860. Do Spade is another bacaro that dates back to the 15th Century. It offers a wide variety of seafood, as well as various vegetable and cheese spreads.
Cantinone-gia Schiavi. Ponte San Trovaso, Dorsoduro 992. This family-run bacaro is located right across from a gondola shop. It offers raw fish, meats, and more than 30 wines by the glass. Venetians crowded the place in the evening!
Al Ponte. Calle Larga Giacinto Gallina. Il Ponte is one of the most affordable bacari in Venice. It also offers fish plates and pasta.