Bacari are a Venetian culinary tradition, a type of wine bar where Venetians enjoy gathering with friends for a light finger food known as cicchetti and “n’ombra de vin” (a glass of wine) or “uno spritz” (a local cocktail typically made with Aperol and prosecco). Locals in Venice eat cicchetti standing up at a bar counter or gathered around wine barrels constructed as simple tables. While dining options in the area of Piazza San Marco is extremely touristy and not desirable local cuisine, if you are knowledgeable or with the help of a Prontopia Local it is delightful to find some hidden gems in the sidestreets off the beaten path. Here are a few recommendations from the Prontopia community in Venice for local cicchetti bars in San Marco.
Osteria al Portego Calle De La Malvasia, 6014-6015
This popular local Venetian cicchetti bar is in a central location, near Rialto, but blink and you just might miss it as it is tucked away in a hidden corner. When you walk in, it is tight quarters as locals order delicious cicchetti from the counter and select regional wines from the daily wine list (there are nice options for beers, too). Outside there are wine barrels which serve as simple tables. For the dinner hour, there are only around 6 tables in the dining area, which book up quickly, so if you would like to try a sit down meal, be sure to reserve in advance. The menu for both the cicchetti bar and the restaurant area is distinctly Venetian cuisine, with dishes that may not be recognizable for foreign visitors. If you arrive with the help of a Prontopia Local, they can point out their favorites and describe some of the small bites for you!
Sepa Venezia 5482 San Marco
Sepa is a new cicchetti bar in San Marco serving daily fresh cicchetti and select charcuterie and simple dishes (such as the red-wine braised ribs served with polenta pictured above!). They offer a daily risotto special, with delicious gourmet seasonal recipes such as pumpkin with San Daniele ham, and, today’s special risotto – honey, rosemary and beet root. Sepa offers a nice selection of vegetarian and vegan dishes (like today’s risotto…). The setting is lovely, with elegant wine barrels in the middle and two bar counters to stand and enjoy your the foodie atmosphere. It is also very nice to peer beyond to the open kitchen where you can see the chef’s preparing these very fresh Venetian specialties.
I Rusteghi Osteria Enoteca Corte del Tentor, 5513, 30124 San Marco
I Rusteghi Osteria Enoteca is a little more refined than your typical casual Venetian cicchetti bar in San Marco, however, the location in a quiet, intriguing, and very hidden corner off of a tiny street is enchanting. Here there is a tiny courtyard with the typical wine barrel table, as well as some outdoor seating. There is a bar just outside of the entrance for gathering. The extensive regional wine list offers a wide range of wonderful wines from the Veneto, including some vintage wines of distinction. The proprietors will gladly assist with with selecting the perfect wine to accompany your cicchetti or meal (they also serve lunch). The wine list and menu are more expensive than a more casual place, so this is a dining experience to choose if you are in the mood for something very special, not necessarily for a quick bite. It is difficult to find, indeed, but worth it once you get there!
If you find yourself in need of some good local food after navigating the crowds in Piazza San Marco, request a Local from the Prontopia app to help you discover the best local cicchetti bars in San Marco and explore some new dishes worth a try!
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