In Venice, as everywhere in Italy, there are many different types of eating establishments beyond “restaurant” or “cafe” where you can eat and drink. When considering your choices for restaurants in Venice Italy, you must consider instead which type of meal you would like, and select the place accordingly. Here is our go-to local guide to the various names of places to eat in Venice, with a Venetian recommendation for one of our favorite places for each type:
Bacaro: A bacaro is a typical wine bar in Venice where you can stop for a drink and some cicchetti (snacks and finger foods). Here you can order a glass of house wine (known as “un’ombra”) and pay only a few euros. Every bacaro has its special cicchetti: from fried meatballs (polpette) to fingerfood with stockfish (crostini di baccala’), the choice is yours! Usually you cannot sit, as Venetian locals eat and drink standing and chatting with their friends. Try one of the many in Venice, for example All’Arco near Rialto bridge.
Osteria: An osteria is an informal dining environment, tgenerally focused on wine (and sometimes draft beers) that serves finger-food, or cicchetti. Some osterie has have sit down table service with a full menu, which is why an osteria can also look like like a restaurant. The perfect example for this is Osteria Al Timon in Cannaregio, a delicious place for roast meats, seafood, or just cicchetti and a drink canalside.
Enoteca: An enoteca is a place where you can taste many types of wine, usually very good from local vineyards, and they do have small foods like tagliere (salami, cheese, and other typical antipasto dishes). Try out at Enoteca al Volto in the San Marco area, serving locals “un’ ombra” since 1936 near Rialto.
Cantina: A cantina is like an enoteca but a little less formal. In Venice the difference can be very minimal, though. Try out one of our favorites at Cantina Arnaldi (Salizada San Pantalon, 35) in Santa Croce.
Bar: A bar is a wide range word in Venice that means everything from a place that serves coffee to a place where to drink your spritz or a grappa after dinner or even where to pass the night with some live music. It can have tables and chairs and some cold or hot food. In Venice usually a bar is where you can find tramezzini: the typical triangular shaped, white bread, panino with a lot of delicious different flavors. Choose a tramezzino at Bar Alla Toletta (Dorsoduro, 1191), we strongly recommend it!
Pasticceria: A pasticceria is where fresh bread, cakes, croissant and small cakes called pastine are sold, and often also baked. In some pasticcerie you can also have a coffee and enjoy your simple breakfast there. Get your piece of heaven, and an espresso, at Pasticceria Tonolo in Dorsoduro (Calle San Pantalon, 3764). See Prontopia Local Eloisa’s explanation of typical Venetian cakes here, or better yet, book help from a local on the Prontopia app and stop at a few of these favorite places along the way!
Panificio: A panificio is a bakery. Usually you can also buy other things here like milk, pasta, tomato sauce, and sodas. It’s possible that a panifico is also a pasticceria, but not always! Try some baked goods (also kosher) at Panificio Giovanni Volpe near the Venice Jewish Ghetto.
Trattoria: A trattoria is usually a family-run restaurant that serves local cuisine dishes in an informal setting: less formal than a restaurant but more formal than an osteria. Trattoria dalla Marisa (Calle del Magazzen, 652) in Cannaregio is possibly the most local and Venetian one in Venice with amazingly affordable prices for lunch but with the most rustic service ever.
Ristorante: as simple as that, it’s a restaurant in Venice Italy — a place that is more formal than a trattoria and will serve not only typical dishes from the region could also offer you other regional dishes or just more sophisticated variety of courses. In this category there are way too many to choose, so we choose for you one of the most delicious and creative ones: La Zucca (Santa Croce, 1762), a true favorite among locals. Reservations are generally required here.
Pizzeria: This is a place that is specialized in pizzas, of course, but not only. You will be able to find here also first and second courses (primi e secondi) especially if it’s written ristorante/pizzeria. Al Profeta is a very good option if you are around Dorsoduro. Al Profeta has a nice courtyard as well, and is a great spot for families visiting Venice with kids.
Cocktail bar: In Venice a cocktail bar is a place that serves not only normal spirits but (and especially, I would say) delicious cocktails. Sometimes they serve also some appetizers or a light menu just to make your evening more enjoyable. We strongly recommend Il Mercante which serves also very nice fingerfood, especially during aperitivo time. Here you will also find live music on select evenings. The mid-century modern decor is super hip and cozy, with views over Frari Basilica.
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