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Eating and Drinking
Fish, Fish, Fish! That is the emphasis in Venice, but don’t worry, of course you can find meat, poultry and vegetarian dishes too. Wherever you go you will find the cooking simple with dishes that make full use of the traditional local fresh ingredients. Breakfast (colazione) is usually a cup of coffee, croissant or juice. Bars offer these in the morning and of course your hotel will usually have breakfast included. Lunch (pranzo) is from 12:30 -2pm then they close and re-open for Dinner (cena) at 8pm, but many restaurants will open earlier for tourists. Reservations are always recommended but not necessary if you don’t mind waiting. Ask your concierge to make reservations for you to avoid any problems. You can always stop in a bar or cafe for a snack if you don’t want to eat a full meal at lunchtime.
Trattoria, Osteria and Ristorante are pretty similar in terms of price and cooking and ambience although Trattoria were usually considered to be more homely and run by families. You now have Pizzeria, Enoteca and Birreria to add to the list to confuse you. Here we will try to break it down as easily as possible.
There are many restaurants that will offer a fixed price menu/ tourist menu. This is an inexpensive way to go, but not always the tastiest or most interesting. While you are here why not order something different and typical of the region. You may only get to Venice once in your lifetime, so have fun and try something new!
Wine can many times be cheaper than water or soft drinks. You can many times order the house wine by the glass (red or white) and be quite satisfied with what they have to offer. A few producers of the area include: Valpolicella, Soave & Bardolino. You can’t go wrong with any of these.
If you want to try a variety of wines along with some snacks cicheti to accompany it, then stop in at an Enoteca where you will find many locals. They have a large selection of wines to taste and buy along with wonderful little bit sized snacks at affordable prices that wont break your budget. This is a great way to tide yourself over until dinner time and get into the Venetian culture.
Smoking is no longer allowed in any public place, so you wont find a smoking section in any restaurant or bar.
When dining out try these suggestions:
- Carpaccio – Raw beef sliced thin and served with Parmesan cheese and rocket salad. Invented by Cipriani himself.
- Sarde in Saor – Fried sardines marinated in a sweet and sour mixture of onions, currants and pine nuts. Invented for sailors at sea for long periods of time.
- Fegato alla Veneziana – Calves liver Venetian-style cooked slowly with onions & vinegar.
- Pasta con il Nero di Seppia – Spaghetti with a rich tomato sauce and cuttlefish blackened with ink. A most interesting looking dish.
- Fritto Misto – A combination of the days freshest seasonal fish, usually octopus, shrimp, crab, anchovies,etc... fried in a batter and served with lemon. A big local favorite!
- Baccala Mantecata – Dried salted cod mixed to a paste with olive oil and parsley.
- Risi e Bisi – Risotto with fresh peas and flavoured with bacon. This is a nice soft and tasty dish.
- Spaghetti alle Vongole – Fresh clams served with pasta in a savoury sauce made with hot chili peppers and parsley.
- Grilled vegetables – These are typically served as a side dish and include the verdura of the season.For example zucchini, eggplant, bellpeppers &radicchio.
- Gelato – The famous ice cream of Italy comes in too many wonderful flavours to mention. Try a different flavour each day!
- Amaretti – Small almond biscuits served with coffee....a nice way to end your meal.
- As a note: Water is never free...if you ask for water you will be brought a bottle of either naturale or frizzante (plain or sparkling) and it is sold in either ½ lt. or liter.