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)