Venice, as a prime tourist attraction, is one of the most beautiful places on earth, and nearly perfect for everyone. The sights, the sounds, the feel, even the smell of the surrounding sea all contribute to the total appeal of Venice. Except, of course, to the nagging question of many: where does one eat a good meal in Venice?
This had been the common complaint about Venice: the absence of good places to enjoy food. From the experienced traveler, a very good tip: get away from the tourist-filled areas and make your own discoveries.
Like the other popular destinations, the best places to eat or drink are not found in areas frequented by tourists. Rather, the better ones are those that are out of the way, hard to reach places.
In Venice, these places may lack the usual beautiful view of the canals, but you can always look at these canals at other times. This time you want to eat, and eat good food. Be prepared, though, because the menu might only be in Italian and nobody speaks English. (You have your handy Italian phrase book with you, of course.)
Venetian dishes are based on the produce from the sea like sardines, cod, eels, crabs and prawns, whatever is in season. Appetizers like marinated sardines, risotto with the local prawns, pasta with baby clams. These and more are standard fare in the Venetian table.
La Colombina di Sigfrido e Domenico.
If you want to eat some of the best Italian food ever, whether in Venice or anywhere in Italy, this is the place. An added plus: the place is not even that expensive compared to the other pretenders in the business. (The dinner is under 20 Euros, worth going back again and again.)
Dona Onesta, or Antica Trattoria di Venezia Dona Onesta.
This is where you find perfectly textured cream sauce for your pasta, as well as perfectly grilled “verdura” (vegetables like mushrooms and eggplants, artichokes, spinach). You can also find traditional grilled salmon, liver and onions, pork chops even.
Ristorante S. (San) Stefano.
Try their spaghetti with clams. The slight saltiness of the clams balance out the pasta, which has a sweet buttery taste, topped with chopped parsley. An attentive waiter can grind some fresh pepper and make it perfect. The bill? Around 12 Euros.
Another good place to enjoy Venetian food that is not that cheap (40 Euros for 2, and with good wine) but not that outrageously priced either, is in the Jewish ghetto. This is near the Jewish museum (Campo del Ghetto Nuovo). The ambience is cozy and just right. It is off the beaten tracks of tourists, with people going around their regular daily business.
Some other few places that offer good food at non-tourist prices are located right in front of St. Mark’s Square, but on the opposite side across the Grand Canal. Once there, you would suspect the place might have good food if the patrons are Italians and your group is the only English-speaking people around.
All in all, the search of places for good food is another part of the attraction of Venice. Consider it part of the adventure, too. Again, to find the good places on where to eat in Venice is to go the other way where tourists go.