From 19th-century palaces to canal-side bistros, discover the best places to stay and eat in Venice with our guide to the enchanting Italian city.
From the exquisite mosaics of Basilica di San Marco to the pink-tinged patterned façade of the Palazzo Ducale, Venice proudly boasts some of Italy’s greatest cultural treasures. Yet the city’s lip-smacking cuisine is undoubtedly one of its greatest draws.
Coffee-laced slabs of tiramisu, mountains of creamy risotto and steaming bowls of bigoli are all Venetian staples. There’s no arguing that the star in its culinary crown, however, is seafood. Venice’s lagoon location means fish dishes pepper menus and markets across the floating city, with all the soft-shell crab, fresh anchovies and mantis shrimp you could ever dream of.
Roam Venice’s maze of romantic waterways and you’ll find hundreds of restaurants tucked away in quaint back streets or at the heart of bustling piazzas. Begin a love affair with Venetian cuisine with our guide to the best places to eat in Venice, as well as the best hotels to stay for a trip you’ll never forget.
Where to eat in Venice
For superb seafood: Alle Testiere
At this tiny restaurant, the menu works in symphony with whatever fish has been plucked from the lagoon that day. Intimate Alle Testiere seats just 24 people and its dishes change daily, but you can expect swordfish carpaccio, clams sautéed with ginger, crustacean soup and smoked ricotta and prawn ravioli. Buon appetito!
For cicchetti: Cantina Do Mori
Cicchetti is the Italian answer to bar snacks. Walk into the dark and compact Cantina Do Mori, with gleaming copper pans hanging from the ceiling, and graze on small plates of fried tuna, mini meatballs and tramezzini (mini sandwiches). Harking back to 1462, it’s thought to be the oldest bacaro, or wine bar, in the city. You’ll find it in the vibrant San Polo district near Rialto Bridge.
For street food: Acqua e Mais Venezia
Forget pizza slices – this is the best way to enjoy street food in Venice. Acqua e Mais Venezia doles out paper cones brimming with mixed deep fried fish and grilled polenta, costing around €5 a portion. Wash this authentic Venetian treat down in local style with a glass of bubbly prosecco.
For a quick bite to eat: La Bottiglia
Picking up grub on the go? Head off the beaten track to La Bottiglia. This unsuspecting canal-side bistro draws in crowds at lunchtime for a reason. Their legendary, freshly-made, meat-stuffed sandwiches have long been winning hearts in Venice. Ask for the chef’s choice and you’ll be handed a delicious concoction oozing cheese and filled with delicious marinated veggies and smoked meat.
For gluten-free goodness: Vecia Cavana
Coeliacs, rejoice. It may come as a surprise but Italy is great place to eat gluten-free and Venice is no different. Try Vecia Cavana with its dedicated gluten-free fish menu. Dine in a former 16th-century boathouse, serenaded by the tinkle of a live piano player – the tomato mussels, fresh ravioli and flavorsome fish soup will all delight.
For coffee and pastries: Pasticceria Dal Mas
Kickstart a day of sightseeing with great coffee and mouth-watering croissants – known as cornetti – from Pasticceria Dal Mas. As well as pastries and freshly-baked brioche, there are gorgeous macarons, biscotti and cannoli to sample. Give in to temptation and ask for a box filled with sweet goodies to take away.
For a traditional trattoria: Trattoria Altanella
Escape the bustling city crowds and speed out to Giudecca in pursuit of Trattoria Altanella. Don’t expect to see lasagne or pizza on the menu at this family-run Venetian tavern – instead, dishes take on a traditional fishy form. Grab one of the coveted canal-side tables and feast on homemade cuttlefish-ink gnocchi.
For gelato: Suso Gelatoteca
Prepare to indulge in mind-blowing ice cream. Rows of rainbow-hued flavors beckon from behind the glass counter at Suso Gelatoteca – lemon, coffee, vanilla, pistachio and chocolate included. Vegans and gluten-free needn’t miss out, with gelato on offer to suit both dietary requirements.
For a Michelin-starred dinner: Quadri
If you’re looking to top off your Venetian trip with an indulgent dining experience, Quadri is the place to do it. With incredible views over the Piazza San Marco and a seriously ornate dining room, this ristorante pulls out all the stops to impress its guests. Dishes are a blend of modern Italian cooking and Venetian classics – tuck into black cuttlefish risotto, roast suckling pig or burrata cheese ravioli.
Where to stay in Venice
For ultimate luxury: Hotel Danieli
This pink-tinged hotel is spread across three buildings dating back to the 14th, 19th and 20th centuries. Overlooking the glittering Venice lagoon and just 200 yards from St. Mark’s Square, Hotel Danieli is a premium place to rest weary feet.
For contemporary cool: Hotel L’Orologio
Behind the vintage exterior is a contemporary hotel boasting handy mod cons, avant-garde lighting and bright artwork. Hotel L’Orologio is ideally located right next to the Grand Canal and only a few minutes from the Rialto Bridge.
For boutique hotel beauty: Hotel Corte Di Gabriela
Live out your Venetian fairy tale at Hotel Corte Di Gabriela. Disguised as a 19th century palace, the hotel offers rooms with a balance of historic features and contemporary design. Its location is pretty perfect too, hidden away from the busy streets, but central enough to reach all of Venice’s jaw-dropping sights.
For a home away from home: Venice Halldis Apartments
With apartments located all across the city, sleeping various numbers, Venice Halldis Apartments is perfect if you’re searching for a homely stay. All the apartments are decked out in contemporary style and offer a cozy place to lay your head.
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