Averaging 8 million visitors per year, cooking like dining in Venice has not been a simple task in the last decade. Tourist crowds and leaking resident diners seemed to be written in La Serenissima’s blood but when Covid hit the lagoon Venetian hospitality showed unexpected energy and pride.

With 3 new entries in the Michelin guide in 2022, Venice became Italy’s most dynamic restaurant destination. A garden restaurant, Wisteria, with a superb canal view, opened in San Polo during the lockdown and got its first macaroon in less than 2 years. Just a couple of years before Benedetta Fullin, young and dynamic owner of Wildner, a fave old school trattoria on Riva degli Schiavoni, opened Local in Castello Sestiere, yet, with the same result. Finally, Zanze XVI opened 4 years ago in Santa Croce inside the walls of the historic Trattoria Dalla Zanze.

A small and charming Osteria where the young and peppy head chef, Stefano Vio, 34, brings up the memories of the spice trades in ancient Venice.

Stefano Vio, Head Chef Zanze


Leerfish in Ceviche of Bergamot & Celery, Zanze


Monkfish Char Siu, Calamari, Broccoli & Mortadella, Zanze

Next to these new entries and the most solid Quadri – under the Alajmo family – Cipriani – with Riccardo Canella former sous-chef at Noma – and Venissa – with the sparkling duo Brutto-Pavan – chances for a memorable elevated meal after a day between calle and canals have never been brighter.

Yet good food in Venice doesn’t always need linen gloves.

When hunger strikes we often opt for a giro d’ombra a socializing Venetian crawl of local bars, bacari, where to enjoy classic Cicchetti – eat-standing-in-one-bite morsels of (sea)food, polpette, crostini, pickles – while sipping an ombra – slang for a glass of wine.

One of our favorite areas for bacari is Dorsoduro, the sestiere of Accademia, Guggenheim, and the stunning renaissance Palazzo Contarini.

Just opposite the gondola boatyard Squero San Trovaso, there’s Enoteca Schiavi. Very popular among locals, Schiavi owes its success to the creativity of chef and owner Sandra De Respinis inventor of hundreds of delicious Cicchetti: tuna with leek or radish, primo sale with radicchio and sesame seeds, codfish and pumpkin, gamberi in saor, and many more. 

The queen of Cicchetti Sandra De Respinis, Enoteca Schiavi

Once we were there before the pandemic Kathrin managed to obtain an otherwise improbable takeaway that we enjoyed on our balcony with a glass of Prosecco. Should you be on your way to one of the galleries short in time we suggest Sandra’s panini – the one with creamed baccalà mantecato is unmissable!!!

Cicchetti of Enoteca Schiavi

On the other side of Venice, in Cannareggio, not far from Rialto, is situated La Vedova a historical bacaro of the 19th century. They had chairs and boiserie with the Austro-Hungarian eagle dating to the age of the empire. Just before midday, they crank out delicious crocchette with potatoes, meat, salami, and generous amounts of garlic. A specialty that needs to be tried once in Venice and that the locals like to pair with a little glass of bianchetto novello – in the past with the lost, intense, and forbidden Clinto wine.

PS: for the hard-core entrails lovers check Antico Dolo for the best tripe in town. This is a must for Venetians in winter mornings. Best with a glass of Bardolino, after having shopped for seafood and vegetables at Rialto Market – this would deserve another dedicated post!

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