Venice is my favorite place on earth. However, there are very limited food options around the places where you’re most likely to want to eat. The best thing by FAR is to go cicchetti hopping – cicchetti is Venice’s version of the Spanish tapas, and you will find the most amazing places here (if you listen to me!). Invest in a really detailed map that has all the street names. About 24 percent of them will be wrong, and I promise you, you will get lost; but it is the best time you will ever have.
— Harry’s Bar at Hotel Cipriani – If you are a Hemingway fan, you have to go there and have an overpriced Bellini – they were invented here and worth every centesimo. It’s on the water right between the S. Marco and S. Zaccharia stops on the ACTV boat. Sit or stand at the bar, don’t go to the tables. The tables are lame.
—Vino Vino – San Marco 2007/A (between Teatro La Fenice and via XXII Marzo) 041 2417688 This place is an awesome, cheap wine bar and “tavola calda” (literally, hot table) with yummy prepared foods. Just pick your wine, point to what you want and they heat it up and bring it to you. Also, they are open continuously – so it’s a good place to go and snack if you are hungry at a weird time.
If you ask really nicely, they will also sell you a bottle of wine, open it for you, and give you two plastic cups to go. (Not that I have ever done that.)
—Alla Vedova – Cannaregio, 3912-3952 at Ca’ D’Oro 041 5285324 This place is at the end of a tiny steet facing you as you walk down it. Such amazing tiny little yummy foods, tons of seafood, and they also have actual meals. Get there close to 6ish if you want to see a bunch of old men have their cocktails, or later for a more stylish crowd.
(Note: I know that link above is to Fodor’s, which automatically turns off many of Miss Expatria’s gentle readers. But I’ve noticed form my own experience that in general, people don’t really stray too far from Piazza San Marco, for whatever reason. Start walking away from that area and all of a sudden you’ll feel the difference; it’s bizarre. I ate at Alla Vedova with my friend Ben, and the place was packed – but the only non-Venetian voices I heard were ours and 2 tiny Japanese girls who were literally trembling with foodie excitement.)
–OK, this is an awesome place for early afternoon, like if you are going to the Peggy Guggenheim Collection. Now bear with me on this because in the traditional Venice style, I don’t know the name of it but I can tell you how to get there.
Cross the Accademia bridge (awesome bridge, wooden; on your way over, stop halfway, turn left, gasp, take a picture) and go to the RIGHT of the Accademia museum. Follow that street down to the end (it curves to the right and should become Calle de Nani). At this point, you should hit a canal. Make a left and that should be Fondamenta Nani. Stay on the near side of the canal and follow it down towards more open water in front of you. At some point on the other side of the canal you should see a single-family, wooden, dark brown home with a second story porch, with boats in the yard, it’s a boat builder’s house. If you can distract yourself from the utter beauty and Italian-ness of this guy and his house, next to you on your left should be a wine shop. The wines are on the left, the bar is on the right, with the food is behind glass in the front part of the bar.
This picture should be what you see as you’re walking down Fondamenta Nani – the boathouse would be out of frame on the right of this picture, and judging from this photo, the place I am talking about is about 100 yards behind you.
There are two kinds of things to eat here: Cicchetti at 1 Euro a piece, and hand-cut meat sandwiches on fresh bread. The old lady makes everything, the old man tends bar and their devastatingly handsome son is the sommelier – if you want to buy Italian wine this is the place to do it, he speaks lovely English and is very helpful and SO HANDSOME.
Anyway, I know these directions are sketchy but I assure you it is so worth the trip. This is one of my top five food experiences in all of Europe. When you find it, can you PLEASE TELL ME WHAT IT IS CALLED or get a business card or something???
Check back for the next post, when Miss Expatria teaches you how to sound like a native when attempting to speak Italian!