Last updated on February 8th, 2020 at 09:11 pm
With sprawling canals, charming paved squares, and balconies brimming with geraniums and heartsease, there is virtually nowhere in Venice that wouldn’t make a good lunch spot. However, there are corners more enchanting than others and I would like to raise you my four favourite outdoor restaurants out of my three days of dining in the city of water.
Recommended by the guidebook my sister picked up from the library, Il refolo sat next to the canal on the back side of Church Cattolica Parrocchiale S. Giacomo Dell’Orio, away from the hustle of the main square. With several dozen tables sat across the deserted little square and music drifting from the main square, it’s the perfect place to order a glass of wine and watch the occasional boat tootled down the canal. Entrance to church in the background.
Starters are around €12 to €15, with pizzas and pasta from €10 to €17 which are extremely affordable. Mains with meat and fish are more expensive, averaging around €19 to €23. Desserts, in my opinion, are a bit expensive costing €7, and drinks are €3.5 upwards. I actually ended up ordering a glass of white wine because it only costs 50 cents more than soft drinks.
As with most Italian restaurant, free bread is offered. We ordered pizza Carbonara (€14) and Lasagna (€17) to share and some of you might want to know that they do charge a 10% service.
Address: Santa Croce 1459. Campo San Giacomo del’Orio, Venice, Italy
Opening times: Mon – Sun 8:00 – 22:00
Ristorante della Conchiglia
Not all tourist menus are traps, especially when restaurants are vying for your attention next to one another along a busy canal.
If you ask me where the prettiest canal side restaurant is, it would definitely be Ristorante della Conchiglia on Rio de S. Lorenzo. With pretty wooden fence lined with potted plants and iron-wrought dangling lanterns, it’s without a doubt the most romantic and picturesque setting.
The tourist menu they offer is of great values too, with the two of us paying a total of €38.5 for a three-course menu of ample choice and water. Less of a starter and main situation, you get two small mains with dessert. The black cuttlefish spaghetti was excellent, but the calamari and sea bass we shared for the second main was mediocre. The salad they offered was essentially a bowl of washed lectures and the desert was suspiciously like store brought crème bulee. However, given the price and the view – I would definitely recommend this place for a relaxed lunch or evening.
Address: Fondamenta San Lorenzo n° 4990 | Venezia, 30122Venezia, Italia
Opening times: daily 12:00 – 22:00
a Beccafico Ristorante
When my sister got the guidebook from the university library, it came with a restaurant card inside – a Beccafico Ristorante. Intrigued by this breadcrumb, we headed there on our last full day for lunch. It’s situated in the beautiful Santo Stefano’s Square, facing the statue of Niccolo Tommaseo, an Italian linguist, journalist and essayist. With a neat set of outside tables under a much needed white umbrella, the restaurant is more on the high-end side, but the food is definitely better.
We were given free starters: tomato salsa on bread. For the main meal, we ordered a seafood pasta and sea bream; I don’t remember the individual price, but we ended up paying about €30 each for the two courses and water.
If you are a fan of fish and staying somewhere you can cook, you should check out the Rialto Market where they sell the freshest catch!
Fruity sea bream 🙂
Address: Campo S. Stefano, 2801, 30124 Venezia, Italy
Opening times: Daily from 12:00 – 15:00, 19:00 – 23:00
Telephone: Campo S. Stefano, 2801, 30124 Venezia, Italy
A magnificent chance found at the north end of Venice, We Crociferi is a gorgeous little café hidden in a courtyard that is easy to miss. Apart from the affordable prices, its main selling point is the balcony they had at the back perched on the side of a canal, looking out to the North Adriatic. The canal is relatively quiet with a serene feel, perfect for a pit stop to plan your next leg of the journey. I had a Belini for €6 (which is a lot cheaper than the other bars and cafes) and my sister a hot chocolate for €3 which she later regretted because it was a hot day. We shared a Panini with Parma ham and cheese, which was €9.
Fun fact: it is also a boarding school and you can rent a room there! I thought it was a university at first.
Address: Campo dei Gesuiti, Cannaregio, 4876, 30121 Venezia, Italy
Opening times: daily 12:00 – 23:00
Telephone: +39 041 528 6103
Venice food tour
Want to catch a glimpse of Venice locals’ life and the region’s typical food? Then a food tour is a good way to do that! Run by the Tour Guy, we had a 3 hours long food tour completed with 4 stops. Our tour was led by Alicia, who was informative and gave us a great insight into the modern day Venetian’s life. We met at the San Bortolomio square by the Rialto bridge and the direction was clearly given. Here is a quick run down:
I was hosted for the food tour but all opinions are my ownNam
Note: they can accommodate if you have any dietary restrictions. Simply inform at booking and the tour guide will ask you again at the start of the tour in case the information isn’t passed along.
Aperol Spritz with Cicchetti
Our first stop is at what is locally referred to as the Baccaro, a type of stand up tapas bar with wine or cocktail. The signature Veneto region drink is Aperol Spritz, a drink that’s a mix of the Aperol alcohol that gives the orange colour, soda water, and Proseco. It is done to perfection with an olive at the end of a stirring stick.
The cicchetti, which is the Italian version of tapas, are some sandwiches with a variety of fillings. There’s fish, meat, cheese in a plethora of combinations, each with their own name. Admittedly these are not the best sandwiches in the world, but it’s curiously wonderful to join the locals for a snack out in the open.
On our way to the next stop we stopped by the produce market near the Rialto Bridge, which was already winding down since it’s getting towards the afternoon. There’s usually a fish market too but it closes on Sunday and Monday, also August is the resting season for fishing industry to allow the fishes to breed again.
Next up we got on a Gondola, which is called Traghetto as it is a way for people to cross the Grand Canal outside of the four bridges that span across its entire length. It is purely logistic and they load a full gondola of people across, which is a lot less romantic. That said, it only costs 3 euros (included in the tour price) and a cool way to experience crossing the canals of Venice without breaking the bank.
Presco with more cicchetti
We stopped at a small osteria next for some more snacks and a glass of prosecco. What I love is that this small shop has access to the courtyard behind it, one of the many hidden oasis of Venice that only allows residence (and I guess restaurant guests) in.
Instead of sandwiches, here we have a few different snacks, including a tuna cake, a spinach cheese square pastry, and two aroncino (a rice based base) with different toppings.
Lunch with wine
For lunch, we visited a small restaurants favoured by locals. We ordered our choices at the previous place with four choices, three pasta dish and one gnocchi, one vegetarian friendly and one pescaterian friendly. We also got a glass of wine each; I had the gnocchi and white wine and both were simple but delicious. This is also a good bathroom break point!
Last stop before we head back to our starting point is gelato. It’s an easily overlooked shop by one of the many side streets that leads to the Rialto Bridge. There wasn’t a lot of choices, apparently due to the changing of seasons, but what we had was pretty good.
All in all, I think it was a good insight into the Venice food scene and local life!