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