Sun set by the Misericordia
Let me tell you about a place.
A place where people travel by boat. A place where the sun shines three quarters of the year round and its people absorb its sunshine, radiating it back onto you with their kindness, passion and laughter. A place so beautiful that you leave wondering if it was all just a dream that you were once there.
When I moved to Venice in 2011, I fell straight in love with it. I skipped every where I went. I skipped so much that once I actually fell over and cut my knee open. (So maybe don't skip too much when you go.)
People often tell me how the only place in Italy where they have not eaten well, was Venice. They tell me that Venice is expensive.
I have a couple of suggestions as well as my list of favourite places to eat and drink.
Firstly, It's best to stay away from restaurant-ing in and around San Marks square. It's a bit like eating in Knightsbridge... it's expensive. Walk down a couple of "calle" (alley ways) away from the square and you'll be sure to find something better for your hard earned euro.
Secondly, don't carry a map. You can always find your way to the touristic spots without a map by asking locals or following signs. You will never walk into dangerous outskirts since they do not exist in Venice. The so called "outskirts" are where its all at, anyway. With a map in your hand you'll just get frustrated. Instead, walk down little streets that look like dead ends but infact lead you into large piazzas, sit by the canal with a gelato when you get tired of walking, whip the map out to find these places to eat and drink:
1) Pasticceria Rosa Salva:
Best pastry and coffee
This pastry shop is the best place to go if you want a quick coffee or even a long cappuccino outside. Rosa Salva have a few shops, but my favourite one is in "Campo San Giovanni e Paolo," since there are seats outside and the square is absolutely stunning. There is also one in San Marco with a wider range of "tramezzini" (small sandwiches) and pastries, however nowhere to sit outside. Be sure to try the "croccatino", the most incredible small chocolate cake layered with a light, praline cream and a ever so subtle feuilletine biscuit with a "caffe shakerato" (iced coffee.) Absolute bliss.
Campo San Giovani e Paolo
San Marco 950
2) Casa Bonita: romantic dinner
This restaurant is my favourite for a special dinner at an affordable price. I think that the fish antipasti is one of the best for its money. The baccala is to die for (similiar to cod roe- eat with bread and a glass of prosecco). Their range of pasta is also very good and you can sit outside by the canal.
3) Gelateria C'a d'oro: Great gelato
I am telling you about this gelateria not only because the gelato is incredible, but because it comes with a second advantage: a secret spot to eat it in. So you buy the gelato (Ricotta and honey is a great choice) and then with your back to the gelateria you turn right, up the Strada Nuova and you take the second right which is a little alley way. Walk down the alley and there is a little spot looking on to the grand canal which is simply magical. It makes the gelato experience that much more intense. Trust.
Strada Nova 4273/b
4) Pizza al Volo: best pizza
In my opinion, this is the best pizza
in Venice. It is take away only, therefore perfect if you are on a slight budget or if you just want a snack. It's in Santa Margarita (and yes, they do do Margarita pizza) which is where all the students hang out. Grab a beer and sit on the ground where international and Venetian students drink spritz until the early hours.
Santa Margarita 2944/a
5) El Pecador: Best sandwiches
Also known as "la Peca" is a London bus transformed into an incredible sandwich joint. What could be better? It's in the Lido island, so perfect if you take a day trip to the beach from Venice (boat goes from San Marco and takes 15 minutes). They do all types of filled sandwiches and there is always a long queue of locals waiting for their turn.
6) Al Timon: Best bar and cichetti
This has been my all time favourite bar in Venice, the cichetti are incredible and go down perfectly with a glass of prosecco. There is a boat attatched next to the bar which you can sit on. On this last trip to Venice, I noticed that Al Timon was getting even more popular and crowded so get there early to get a good space!
Sestiere Cannaregio 2754
7) Trattoria dalla Marisa: typical italian lunch at an affordable price.
This is the best lunch spot, especially if you're looking to not spend too much on your trip. Marisa has been feeding the "operai" (manual labourers) for years which means that the portions are generous and the quality is consistent. You can be ensured a hearty pasta, main course with meat and vegetables as well as wine, water and coffee to help it all go down for 15 euros. Oh, and it is by a canal as well which means amazing view. Tick, tick, tick.
8) La Poppa: Bar and best hangout.
No tourists are at La Poppa. It is only locals, which means a glass of good wine costs one euro, and the concerts are free. The decor is delightful and there are books everywhere, although most people hang out outside in the warm evening.
Sestiere Santa Croce 1539
9) La Vedova: best meatballs (cichetti)
I've read a secret recipe online for the meatballs of La Vedova and it's been on my list of things to make for a while.
When you go to the bar ask for an "ombra" which is a small glass of wine for one euro. Ask for red wine to have with the meatball. The meatballs are the best in town and this has got to be one of your Venetian experiences.
10) Viziovirtù: Best chocolate and hot chocolate.
This chocolate shop is the only shop in Venice selling decent chocolates. They use modern methods and flavour combinations always keeping a slightly Venetian look. However, it is not at all touristy like many other shops you will find. They are genuinely authentic, delicious chocolates. In the summer, they serve more ice-creams that chocolate because obviously the weather does not permit fresh chocolates stay in shape under a 35 degree heat! In winter they also do really good thick hot chocolate.
San Polo 2898/a
If you visit any of these recommended places, I would be thrilled to hear about what you think, so hit me up!
*All photos taken by Abigail Scheuer