For a delicious, quick bite in Venice, here are some street food options – loved by locals.
It may be nicknamed La Serenissima – the serene one – but Venice can feel anything but calm once those throngs of tourists start overflowing from its tiny lane-ways. For a city of around 60,000 residents, a whopping 20 million or so visitors pass through every year, with inflated restaurant prices – and often poor quality meals – to match in more touristy areas.
Nonetheless, Venice remains decidedly breathtaking and there are dining gems aplenty to be found, even for those travelling on a shoestring. Locals take to unpretentious bacari – small wine bars that serve cicchetti, little savoury snacks, before dinner with a spritz cocktail or a glass of local Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore from the Veneto region. Likewise, pint-sized street food spots dish up wallet-friendly fare to carry along on your canal-side stroll. Here are a few addresses worth remembering.
Where to find good street food in Venice
Skip the crowds for a morning and head to the Cannaregio district on the island’s north side, where a mother-and-daughter duo run this modest fried fish and seafood spot. You’ll know you’ve reached their friggitoria when you see a giant window opening onto a little piazza – no doubt with a queue out the front – frying up frittura di pesce to order, served generously in cartoccio. The sizable paper cones start at €6 a pop, filled with either mixed fish – calamari, prawns and latterini, a tiny white fish that’s cooked and eaten whole – or you can opt for squid alone or with prawns. These scartossi (fried fish served in paper) are a staple of Venetian cuisine.
Rio Terà Campo San Leonardo, Sestiere Cannaregio, 1587
Tel: +39 333 597 9819
Not too far from the Ponte Rialto, this “ancient oven” is a bit hidden behind a marble column. It specializes in savory baked goods using a slow-rising dough as their base. You can go for a sandwich, order a whole pizza to take away, or choose a slice of pizza or their signature pizzaccia – a cross between pizza and focaccia – topped with the likes of mushroom and cooked ham, or zucchini and red pepper. From there, you’re only a short walk from sights like the Rialto Market, the Grand Canal, and Piazza San Marco.
Calle de L’ogio o de la Rugheta, 970/973, 30125 San Polo
Tel: +39 041 520 4110
Though it’s technically a wine bar rather than a takeaway joint, you’ll be snacking on proper street food here – as in, literally on the street. This ever-busy spot opens onto Campo Bello Vienna (a campo is the Venetian equivalent of a piazza) where guests perch on big wine barrels, spritz in hand, even in the freezing cold.
Mini-panini are stacked up inside the glass counter and will set you back just €1.50 each, filled with finely sliced cured meats and cheese. Some combinations on offer might be gorgonzola and speck, turkey and pomodorini (cherry or grape tomatoes), lardo, or spicy salami. There’s a hefty list of wines by the glass, too, each for only around €3.
Campo Bella Vienna, 213, 30125
Tel: +39 346 834 0660
Positioned right next to the abundant Rialto Market, this modern fish and seafood spot has a sure advantage when it comes to sourcing fresh ingredients. Putting a contemporary spin on the Venetian tradition of serving fish, the small store offers a broad range of individual, packaged portions of creative dishes to take away. Though on the pricier side considering their size, they make for a good accompaniment to seasonal produce picked up around the corner when you’re looking for an affordable meal – think poached octopus and celery salad, saffron cous cous with chickpeas and prawns, and mini sea bass burgers with scampi sauce.
San Polo, 319, 30125
Tel: +39 041 822 0298