I live and work in Rome and Florence so I admit, when it comes to restaurants in Venice, I rely on the advice of locals like our Venice guide Andrea. He’s a food historian so when it comes to where to eat in Venice, he really knows his stuff. It’s hard to get off the tourist track in tiny, crowded Venice but if you know where to look, you can have some truly incredible culinary experiences from traditional restaurants to Andrea’s tasting tour of local bacari (click here to see details). Here I’ve listed four restaurants that embody what matters to me when I eat out: traditional food, local flavor and great ambience.

Osteria Anice Stellato: For a special occasion

  • The location: Wooden tables, flickering candlelight and an ancient stone column holding up the roof make this place charming and romantic. Perfect for a special occasion dinner or for your last night in Venice.
  • Address: Fondamenta de la Sensa, 3272 (Cannaregio district)
  • Price: €€€
  • What I ordered: The risotto of the day was expensive (€24 per person for a minimum of two) but it was one of the best dishes I HAVE EVER HAD. Creamy roquefort cheese, the slight tang and sweetness of clementine juice and the earthy spice of golden cumin. It was to die for. We followed this up with the pork cheek, all paired with a simple, local red wine on the advice of the sommelier.
  • For more information visit their website: www.osterianicestellato.com

Trattoria alle Due Gondolette: Where the locals go

  • The location: Small, simple, casual and full of locals. Their dishes seem to be local classics with interesting and creative twists but for a good price.
  • Address: Fondamenta de le Capuzine, 3016 (Cannaregio District)
  • Price: €€
  • What I ordered: A superb appetizer of chickpea puré, grilled octopus and artichokes followed by light, lemony pasta topped with raw scallops and creamy burrata cheese.
  • For more information visit their website: www.alleduegondolette.com

Al Vecio Marangon: Cozy & Cute

  • Location: Incredibly cozy interior with a few outdoor tables. Casual, easy and pleasant service.
  • Address: Calle Toletta, Sestiere di Dorsoduro (Dorsoduro district, near the Academia)
  • Price: €
  • What I ordered: The delicious squid ink pasta and purple potato gnocchi with ricotta and zucchini.

La Perla ai Bisatei: Local, casual and simply delicious on the Isle of Murano

  • Location: Just look for the only restaurant in the Campo di San Bernardo, as you won’t see the name of this place on display. (I think the locals are trying to keep it to themselves as much as possible and I can see why.) Crowded, bustling with simple and tasty food, the perfect lunch spot.
  • Address: in Campo di san Bernardo (Isle of Murano)
  • Price: €
  • What I ordered: Seafood pasta and the fried seafood second course. All washed down with sweet wine and cookies.

Rosa Salva for the best Tramezzino near San Marco

  • Address: Sestiere di S. Marco, 950 (San Marco)
  • In Rome, the tramezzini sandwiches leave a lot to be desired but in Venice I couldn’t get enough of these soft, tasty little snacks. Rosa Salva is close to San Marco square so it’s the perfect location to grab a quick tramezzino and a coffee to keep you going (either standing up or, if you pay a little more, they do have some indoor seating). The best thing to pair with a tramezzino is of course the classic Italian summer cocktail: the Aperol spritz.

Bar Filovia: For a very local Tramezzino near the Station

  • Address: Fondamenta Santa Chiara, 521 (near the Santa Lucia Station)
  • So unassuming that I almost couldn’t find it, the name of this bar is only written on the inside. The picture above is what it looks like on the outside, right across rom the Piazzale Roma water bus stop. As you are exiting the station turn right, this tiny corner is located over the bridge called “Ponte della Costituzione” on the right as you step off the bridge on the other side of the water. Don’t miss the tramezzino with “baccala mantecato”, the classic creamed, dried cod that is whipped up into a smooth kind of mousse, not unlike the texture of a tuna salad. It’s just way…way…better. Try the prosciutto and mushroom, the shrimp, and anything with eggplant.

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