Must-try Food in Venice Italy

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Wondering what must-try foods you should taste on your travels to Venice, Italy?

Much of what you will consume in Venice will be eaten outside, standing in the street. This is very fortunate since being outside to absorb the bustle and the beauty of Venice, Italy, is a glorious thing.

Let’s talk about the best food to try while wandering the streets and a few you may like to order sitting down at a more formal meal. Here are some must-try foods to eat while visiting the City of Bridges.

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Seafood You Must Try in Venice Italy

If you like to eat fish you have come to the right place. 

Eating in Venice is a seafood lover’s dream. Not surprisingly since all of Venice is surrounded by water.

rustic seafood dish with tomato and olive
Fish, Tomato, and Olives- Venetian Comfort Food

Nero di Seppia is cuttlefish with black squid ink. This dish may not look appetizing but its sauce is sweet and unlike anything else. You will see it often on the menu of many Venitian restaurants.

This is a must-try food in Venice because it is not likely you will have cuttlefish anywhere else that is as experienced as preparing it as here. Nero di Seppia is typically served over rice, pasta, or polenta.

Another classic seafood dish of Venice is Sarde de Soar. Sardines combined with onion and vinegar, sometimes pine nuts and raisins as well.  

Seafood that is lightly floured and fried is called Fritto Misto, or mixed fry. A fried mix of calamari, shrimp, and other treats from the water.

On the street, it is served in a paper cone. No sauce is needed, just a light spritz of lemon and you are on your way. This paper cone full of fish is known as scartosso, a common food in Venice that has been served this way for hundreds of years.

Best Street Food in Venice Italy

While scartosso may be one street food Venice is famous for, there are many more delicious items you must try on.

Tramezzino is a sandwich filled with a variety of ingredients such as mayonnaise with egg, tuna, or meat. They make a great light snack or apertivo.

You will recognize tramezzini right away when you see them. They are made with white bread, cut into a triangle shape to form a pocket, cut-off crust, and overflowing ingredients.

You will see them in many display cases and windows as you wander the streets of Venice. You just have to pop into the bacaro (wine bar) or osteria and order.

Cicchetti Crawl

Cicchetti is a must-try food in Venice. It is one of my most memorable experiences during my first visit to Italy. Cicchetti is a small bite eaten as a snack usually when grabbing a small glass of wine to meet friends.

How to eat cicchetti in Venice is not complicated, but there are a few things to know before you go. Some people refer to cicchetti as Spanish tapas, but they are not, and you should not say that to an Italian. They take pride in the uniqueness of their cuisine.

You can read this post for a guide to eating tapas to note the differences. You can take a cicchetti tour to get the hang of how it’s done, meet fellow travelers, and use your guide as a great resource for the rest of your stay.

Many cicchetti bars, known as bacaro, are standing room only and often people overflow out onto the streets and alleyways. There are endless possibilities for cicchetti but the most popular ones are, polpette (little meatballs), marinated artichoke, and crostini or polenta topped with fish, meat, or cheese.

One type of cicchetti you are sure to see everywhere is Baccala Mantecato. It is a dried cod that is then soaked and mixed with salt and whipped olive oil. The creamy white bite is often used to top a toasted crostini. 

Bacari serving cicchetti are spread out all across Venice. Many are a few steps from each other. Each will have its own specialty.

An afternoon cicchetti crawl with a few friends is a great way to taste some of the must-try food in Venice. Wash it all down with a Prosecco or an Aperol Spritz. Both drinks have their origins in Venice, Italy.

Polenta, Sarde de Soar, and Baccala Manecato
Must-try food in Venice- Polenta, Sarde de Soar, and Baccala Manecato

If you are interested in taking a cichetti tour in Venice, check for availability here.

Venice Specialties You Must Try

Iconic Venetian food is often rustic and comforting.

Historically Venetian people were hard-working seafarers and food needed to be nourishing and sustaining.

Although a large number of Venice’s residents today work in tourism and other expanded industries, many specialties of the region still remain.

Polenta and rice are two staples in the Venetian diet much the way pasta is in the rest of Italy.

Though these two items may seem simple they are iconic dishes of Venice and you will not want to miss out on trying them.

Italians are masters at using the simplest ingredients to create the most delicious dishes. 

Polenta can be served creamy as a base for seafood or meat.

In addition, it can also be formed into cakes and cubes and then fried to accompany other ingredients.

Rice is commonly used in Venetian dishes, in particular, to cook risotto a dish Venice is known for.

If you see risi e bisi on the menu go ahead and order it.

Venetians prepare this dish with rice, spring peas, and pancetta.

That said, every Italian grandmother in the area will have her own recipe version for this comforting dish.

Liver and onions may not sound very special, but they are if you are eating them in Venice.

In Italian, Fegato alla Veneziana is thinly sliced veal liver with caramelized onions is a classic dish. Served often with a side of polenta.

This is a good thing to order if you are looking to try a traditional Venetian dish.

If you are in search of some traditional Venetian dishes then head over to Cannaregio, known as the Jewish Ghetto for some great food and history.

Rialto Market for Must-Try Food in Venice

The freshest ingredients for dishes you will prepare yourself can be found at the Rialto Market.

If you are staying in accommodations with a kitchen, you may opt to put your culinary skills to the test with a Venetian recipe. 

The market sits along the Grand Canal not too far from the Rialto Bridge.

Your best bet for choice is to arrive early when the market opens at 8 am. The freshest ingredients of the day will be on display and it will seem like a work of art.

Restaurant staff will be out shopping for the day’s menu first thing in the morning. Being at the market at that hour you get to experience the camaraderie of the local merchants and restauranteurs.

If you are returning later in the day, the displays will be barer and the atmosphere not be as bustling. 

To soak up the beauty of the market, eat delicious food, and learn some of the history, check the availability of this Rialto Market tour. It includes food and wine tasting.

Must-Try Dessert in Venice

Lastly, do not pass up the pastries.

Italian pastries in Venice are also a must!

From cookies to meringue to marzipan, the shop windows are filled with treats to make you drool.

If you love the sweet life you will love this sweet Cafe and Pastry Food Walk. Lots of fun and guaranteed to satisfy your craving for Italian treats.

Meringue an Marzipan in a Venice pastry display
Meringue and Marzipan in Venice Italy

It will be a simple task for you to find good food in Venice on your travels. 

Make sure to hit up some of these must-try foods when you arrive and appreciate the delicious cuisine of the Venetian people.

Here is a guide with some helpful information while visiting Italy. When you are not eating, make sure to absorb the beautiful culture of Venice. Visit the official Museum Foundation of Venice website to learn more.

As you leave Venice, will the next stop in your itinerary be Tuscany? If so, here is a list of cool things to do in Florence, this guide to the best gelato in Florence, and a list of edible souvenirs from Florence.

Look at this list of souvenirs to grab if Amalfi Coast is in your itinerary. Ciao!


“Cicchetti.” Wikipedia, 22 Aug. 2022. Wikipedia,

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