Getting help from the locals is the best way to find restaurants when traveling! I had some help finding these places on my visit to Venice (read my guide here). I was traveling with my (Italian) husband’s family. My brother-in-law’s nephew was going to university in Venice, so they had been there several times before and had the nephew’s insider tips on where to eat and what to eat in Venice.
My tip for finding good restaurants in Italy: Ask someone that lives there, but doesn’t work in hospitality or tourism. Don’t ask a taxi driver, hotel reception or shopkeeper. People working in tourism tend to send people to the same places, they usually have a prepared list they rattle off to tourists. Ask a student, market vender, a butcher, or a delivery person. Ask them where they go when they want to go to a restaurant.
Fondamenta Zattere al Ponte Longo, 922, 30121 Venice (Venezia)
Great to sit and have a drink or ice cream looking out to the canal. They are famous for their “Gianduiotto affogato alla panna”- chocolate and hazelnut ice-cream with coffee and whipped cream.
Campo Barnaba, Dorsoduro, Venice (Venezia)
What to eat:
-Tris di Pesce tartar (three kinds of fish tartar)
-Fegato Venessiana con polenta (Venitian beef liver with onions and white polenta)
-Bacala e polenta (cod and polenta)
Friendly service. Both meat and fish specialties. The interior has quaint, nautical style décor, with many books like an old library. The lighting is good and could also be nice for a romantic meal. There are also tables outside in the square which also looked very pretty. It’s not a hustling bustling square in the evenings so it would be nice to eat outside as well, weather permitting.
Fondamenta Ormesini, Venice (Venezia)
Excellent for “cechetti” (pronounced Che-ket-ti) which is the Venetian version of tapas. It’s a hip cool place for the thirty something crowd but there was the occasional table with old-timers sipping wine and chatting.
Had dinner there, sorry for the sparse vocabulary; but nothing says it better than YUM!
What to eat:
– “Cechetti” for starters
– Anantra arosto – (Roasted Duck)
– Fiorentina Steak (T-bone)
Everything was delicious, T bone was so big, would have been enough for three people.
The friendly waiter (quite possibly also the owner) sits down at the table next to you to take your order, he will even scoot next to you if there isn’t a free chair nearby.
There are a few tables outside, but frankly, they looked flimsy and not terribly comfortable to sit at for a full meal. Better inside.
San Polo, Venice (Venezia)
Da Fiore has a restaurant and a little bar. We had cechetti in the little bar for lunch one day. Excellent! Quick, easy, glass of wine and some snacks.
The restaurant looked very nice as well, offering three-course meals and tasting menus. The décor is simple and authentic. I read that they also have a Michelin star!
Hopefully, I can return to Venice soon to try more restaurants!