• Nicoletta Fornaro

Venetian cicchetti and street food


Venetian cicchetti. I’m sure you have heard this words many times, but do you really know what they are?

We’ll begin by saying that cicchetti are small nibbles normally eaten standing, like street food, something you can either hold in your hand or eat in one or two bites. The variety of cicchetti is endless and every place has its own speciality, the one thing you go there for. Here I will list some of the most traditional and then I will share some of my favourite spots in Venice for the best must have cicchetti, divided by sestiere (district).

WHAT TO EXPECT:

Mezzo uovo: half boiled egg topped either with a pickled onion or an anchovy

Sarda fritta: fried sardine

Mortadella e peperone: pickled pepper with a thick slice of mortadella

Cipollina con l’acciuga: pickled onion with rolled anchovy

Folpetto: boiled baby octopus

Insalata di piovra: octopus salad with potatoes, celery and –sometimes- black olives.

Seppia fritta: fried cuttlefish

Fondo di carciofo: the heart of the artichoke

Baccalà con polenta: grilled polenta topped with creamed stockfish

Polpetta: fried meatball

Fagioli con la cipolla: borlotti beans and onion salad dressed with a generous amount of vinegar

Spienza: boiled veel spleen

Nervetti: Boiled eef or veal cartilage dressed with pepper and vinegar

Crostini: slices of bread with different toppings (excellent to do at home if you have friends over for the aperitif!)

BEST CICCHETTI BY SESTIERE (DISTRICT)

CASTELLO

Salvmeria

Address: Castello, Via Garibaldi 1769, 30122 Venezia

Opening hours: Tuesday-Sunday 11:00am-11:30pm

Lovely wine bar in Via Garibaldi. The location was a former grocery shop and the name comes from the original marble sign outside the door. Excellent assortment of quality cicheti like baccalà, scallops, baked meatballs, creative seasonal salads and lots of seasonal options for vegetarians.

Read my review

Al Refolo

Address: Castello 1580, 30122 Venezia (VE)

Opening hours: 11:30 am - 00:30 am

Tiny wine bar with outdoor seating located in Via Garibaldi. Excellent spritz and hot toasted sandwiches filled with the most delicious varieties of cheese, cold cuts and grilled veggies. I suggest coming here for the evening aperitif; the place is crowded with both locals and visitors, the atmosphere is nice and vibrant and the view is spectacular.

Read my review

Bonifacio Pastry Shop

Address: Castello, Calle degli Albanesi, 4237, 30100 Venezia VE

Opening hours: 8:00 am - 7:30 pm, closed on Thursday

Pastry shops are excellent places also for people that crave savoury! Here you must try the small pizette, both the ones with the pastry dough and with the bread dough. Bonifacio's pizzetta was my pre-lunch snack when I was going home from school and after all these years it has remained delicious as always.

Birreria Forst

Address: Calle delle Rasse 4540, 30122 Venice

Opening hours: 9:30 am - 11 pm

Located in the highest part of Castello, literally three minutes from the Doges Palace, this small bar with wooden furniture offers delicious tramezzini and small sandwiches. I recommend mustard and porchetta.

CANNAREGIO

Promessi Sposi

Address: Cannaregio, Calle dell'Oca 4367, 30121 Venice (VE)

Opening hours: 11:30 am - 11:30 pm, closed on Wednesday

Traditional restaurant with a vast assortment of cicchetti. Lovely place with very friendly staff, quite busy in the evening.

I suggest trying their stick with 3 small fried meatballs, the baccalà and the sarde in saor.

Read my review

Alla Vedova

Address: Cannaregio, Calle ca' d'Oro 3912, 30121 Venice (VE)

Opening hours: 11:30 am - 11:30 pm; closed on Thursday

One of the oldest and most known Venetian trattorie. Their fried meatball has become famous throughout the world and is still one of the quintessential culinary experiences one ought to have in Venice. Go for it! Here you can also find other local delicacies like (when in season) fondo di carciofo (heart of the artichoke), latti di seppia (boiled squid eggs dressed with olive oil) and canocie (squill fish).

Read my review

Vecia Carbonera

Address: Cannaregio 2329, 30100 Venice (VE)

Really nice traditional osteria with beautiful original wooden furniture and a super inviting assortment of cicheti, from a variety of crostini to aubergine parmigiana, meat and veg fritters and fish skewers. You order at the counter and take your food at the tables and are not charged for the so-called coperto. Highly recommended.

Read my review

Vino Vero

Address: Cannaregio, F.ta della Misericordia 2497, 30121 Venice (VE)

Opening hours: 11 am- 12 am

Lovely wine bar offering natural wine and a selection of mouthwatering crostini topped with cured meats, cheese, vegetables and fish! Perfect if you are into natural wine and want to enjoy a gourmet cicchetto with high quality products.

Read my review

Ae Bricoe

Address:

Small and friendly bar offering delicious panini and other small nibbles.

SANTA CROCE

La Rivetta

Address: Santa Croce, Calle Sechera 637a, 30135 Venice VE

Opening hours: 11:00 am - 10:00 pm

!!! Pay attention to the address, because there is another trattoria with the same name. La Rivetta is the sort of place you should come to if you really want to experience how an old style family run osteria works. No frills, just trills! .What you will find: half boiled eggs, small panini with Parma ham, salami, cheese and, even if you sit down, you won't spend much. Personally, I love it.

Cantina Arnaldi

Address: Santa Croce 35, 30135 Venice VE

Phone: +39 041 718989

Opening hours: 11 am - 2 am ; closed on Wednesday

Excellent wine, cheese, cured meats and cicchetti in a beautiful location definitely out of the beaten track. Expect a variety of crostini topped with local, organic produce, delicious small sandwiches, sarde in saor and baccalà. A must have is Katia's aunt's salami, too good.

DORSODURO

Cantinone del Vino gia Schiavi

Address: Dorsoduro 992, F.ta Nani, 30123 Venice (VE)

Opening hours: 8:30 am - 08:30 pm, closed on Sunday

Excellent crostini at excellent prices (1,20 each)! The variety of toppings is endless, so just taste as many as you can. I always have a pickled onion with a rolled anchovy. Beautiful location and excellent wines and spirits to take away at excellent prices.

Bar Toletta

Address: Dorsoduro, 1191, 30123 Venezia VE

Opening hours: 7:00 am - 8:00 pm

I am sure you have heard of tramezzini, triangular sanwiches made with white bread (with the crust removed), mayo and stuffed with different fillings. Well, tramezzini are a quintessential street food experience in Venice and Bar Toletta is for sure one of the best places to savour them!

SAN MARCO

Fiore Piccolo

Address: San Marco 3461, Calle delle Botteghe, 30124 Venezia (VE)

Opening hours: 11:30 am - 11:30 pm; closed on tuesday

Restaurant and osteria where it is possible to nibble and drink! We are talking serious cicchetti here, from old style dishes like nervetti (beef or veal cartilage dressed with vinegar) to baccalà (creamed stockfish), fritters, grilled squid, fried fish and more...

Highly recommended!

Sepa

Address: San Marco, Calle della Bissa 5482, 30124 Venezia (VE)

Opening hours: everyday 10:30am-10:30pm

Brand new Venetian take-away with quality cicheti like squid, baccalà, sardines, polenta, but also lots of vegetables, rice salads and at 12:30 everyday they make an express risotto (3 euros for 1/2 portion; 5 for a full portion). One of my favourite places close to my house, I won't deny that I often stop by for a risotto...

Bar Al Theatro

Address: San Marco 1917, 30124 Venice (VE)

Opening hours: 11:30 am - 11:30 pm

Elegant bar with the best tramezzini in Venice! I strongly advise you to try these triangular delicacies, obviously accompanying them with a drink.

Read my review

SAN POLO

Osteria All'Arco

Address: San Polo 436, 30125 Venice VE

Opening hours: 8:00 am - 3:30 pm, closed on Sunday

Located in the heart of Rialto, All'Arco continues to be one of the best places in Venice when it comes to cicchetti. Fresh fish, cold cuts, cheese, plenty of vegetables and something different in the pot or pan every day. Highly recommended.

My review

Osteria al Merca'

Address: San Polo 213, Campo Bella Vienna, 30125 Venice VE

Opening hours: 10:00 am/ 2:30 pm - 6:00 pm- 8pm Tiny osteria offering an interesting selection of wine and delicious small panini filled. Very popular among locals, especially for the aperitif.

Basegò

Address: San Polo, Campo San Tomaà 2863, 30125 Venice VE

Opening hours: 10 am -11pm/12am

Lovely bar with local craft beer and an alluring selection of wines and crostini (slices of bread with different savoury toppings). It's also possible to ask for a selection of cured meats and cheese.

Read my review

Acqua e Mais

Address: San Polo, Campiello dei Meloni, 1411-1412, 30125 Venezia VE

Opening hours: 9:30 am - 7:30 pm Serious street food here. Fried local fish, pasta, baccalà, sarde in saor, octopus salad, marinated sardines, polenta and more. Really excellent and the staff is super friendly. Consider that the area is very busy, so if you want to stop to eat without being in the way and ending up getting annoyed, I suggest reaching Campo San Polo and sitting on the benches!

Read my review

Pasticceria Rizzardini Address: San Polo, Campiello dei Meloni, 1415, 30125 Venezia VE Opening hours: 7:00 am - 7:30 pm

Delicious pastries and ... savoury treats like small pizzette and stuffed salatini! A habit of mine is eating their salted hazelnuts... a real treat that deserves to be accompanied by a small beer. Highly recommended.

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