Venice's dining scene is often called out as expensive and subpar, so I was surprised by the fantastic meals I had on my first trip (and subsequent visits). The secret, of course, is to skip the dubious eateries in touristy areas and go to the quieter sestieri (neighborhoods), where locals and in-the-know visitors dine.
Once I broke away from the overpriced and underwhelming pizzerias and restaurants clustered around the city's main sights, I discovered landmark seafood restaurants, bacari (wine bars) serving classic cicchetti (appetizers), and tiny trattorias with canalside tables and traditional fare. Here’s how to avoid disappointing dining experiences and sample the best Venetian cuisine in three days.
Frequent high tides between November and January can flood the restaurants near St. Mark’s Square.
If you only have time for one thing, make it cicchetti at an old-school bacaro (wine bar).
Start your trip with a walking tour that will give you an overview of the city and its rich culinary scene at the same time. After a few hours on your feet, regroup over a Bellini or Spritz at one of the storied cafés in St. Mark’s Square. You’ll pay a premium for table service, but the unbeatable view of the cathedral and great people-watching makes it worth the splurge.
In the evening, put some distance between you and the throngs by heading to a quieter neighborhood for dinner. Buzzy Cannaregio and its historic Jewish Ghetto are a great place to start.
Dedicate this evening to an authentically Venetian culinary tradition: the cicchetti crawl. These tapas-like appetizers are served in traditional bacari (wine bars) and enjoyed with an ombra (small glass of wine).
Prosecco is produced in the Conegliano Valdobbiadene hills, just north of Venice. Explore this scenic wine country and visit local cellars for tastings; opt for a tour so you can imbibe worry-free.
End your time in Venice in a special way with a home dining experience. Spend the evening connecting with locals, eating traditional food, and learning about Venetian culture and cuisine. Alternatively, continue your prosecco tour on a sunset cruise.