Venice is one of the most unique destinations on Earth and it is supported and plagued by tourism.
The best way to try authentic specialties in the Floating City is by heading to a local bar and ordering a plateful of Venetian cicchetti, but are there even local bars in Venice?
Yes, there is. Here’s our list of the top 10 cicchetti bars in Venice from people that know.
Pro Tip: In my opinion, you should eat cicchetti and only cicchetti while in Venice. A great way to beat the curve and ensure you’ll hit a ton of great spots is to join our Venice Evening Food Tour in Cannaregio. It’s the best… there, I said it.
What are Venetian Cicchetti?
If you have been to Venice before but haven’t had the experience of trying “cicchetti” and “ombra” at a “bacaro”, you’ll need to go back.
Venetian cicchetti are local finger foods, serving as the main elements of every authentic happy hour or social gathering. They’re served at bacari, the local bars in the Lagoon, alongside a glass of red or white wine, called ombra (shadow).
They are more casual dining than true restaurants but sometimes that is better – especially in Venice. If you are looking for the best Venetian sit-down restuarants check out this article.
Most bacari serve an assortment of fried fish (such as calamari and sardines), mixed vegetables (called frittura mista) and traditional Venetian dishes made with local fish, meats and cheeses.
For a better experience, start your tasting experience early in the evening, or even at lunchtime. Bacari are usually tiny, so this way you’ll avoid crowds and will find seating. Besides, day drinking in Venice is perfectly acceptable. You’ll see locals enjoying a glass with cicchetti even at in the mid-afternoon. Now let’s finally move on to where to eat the best cicchetti in Venice!
What Classifies as Best?
I have thought long and hard about what makes these the best or not. You may say, “the ones that taste the best, right?” Yea.. no.
Eating the best cicchetti on Earth in the Ohio doesn’t really compare to average ones on a Venetian canal. Sorry Ohio but the same things go for Venice. Some places have great cicchetti but you have to eat them standing up on a busy street.
For me, the best is a combination of these three things:
- High Quality Ingredients
- Friendliness of Staff
Here are my picks.
Top 10 Cicchetti Bars in Venice
If you’re looking for a quieter venue to have a relaxing dinner, you should probably go to one of these delicious restaurants in Venice, as bacari can get noisy! As always, bookmark this article if you like it and create an Italy or Venice folder so you can circle back when you’re in Italy.
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€€ | Aperitivo | Steakhouse
Located in the beautiful Cannaregio area, Al Timon is a favorite among students and young people in Venice. In the warmer months, you can sit on a traditional wooden boat outside and enjoy a drink while floating on the water. On a nice evening, this is my favorite place to be in all of Venice.
The specialties there include grilled polenta bites with fried fish and fresh toasted bread topped with Italian goat cheese and berry compote.
Last time I was there I had a nice long chat with the owner who is extremely passionate about food, how it is produced and the looks on people’s faces when they eat it! They actually have real nice cuts of meat here too if you want to extend your aperitivo to a full dinner.
Hours: 11 AM- 6 PM. Open every day
Il Paradiso Perduto
€€ | Big Assortiment Cichetti | Live Bands
Venetians know this bar for its live music performances and great assortments of fried Cicchetti. From “mozzarella in Carrozza” (fried mozzarella), to meatballs and fried anchovies, you can enjoy many of the most typical Venetian Cicchetti.
Hours: Noon- 11 PM Closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays
€€ | Great Atmosphere | Very Local
I would say that this Bacaro has it all. You can come in just for a drink, so it’s a bar. You can come in and have some cicchetti so it is a Baccaro. They also have a separate room as a restaurant for dining, so you get the best of all three worlds and you can choose!
The history of the establishment goes back well over 100 years under different names. The current bar has been around for around 30 years and is a hot spot with locals. Take your pick if you want to just have a snack or dine in. Either way, you will be happy that you did.
Hours: Noon- Midnight | Always Open
Cantina do Spade
€-€€ | Local | A Bit of Everything
This is one of the historical Osterie in Venice which supposedly dates back to the 1400s. I happened to pop into this place not too long ago and have to admit that I had a great time! It is very popular with locals and tourists alike so you might not find a seat right away. You can always sit outside or plop your food on one of the barrels.
For food, you can opt for their delicious array of Cichetti and wash them down with an Aperol spritz. If you are really hungry they also make pasta dishes like gnocchi and Venetian specials like Bigoli in salsa or spaghetti al Nero di Seppia.
Address: San Polo, 859, 30125 Venezia
Hours: 10 AM- 10 PM Open every day
€€ | Chic | Huge wine Selection
This is the number one spot for the absolute top-quality Cicchetti and wine in Venice. Right by the Rialto Bridge, it’s the chicest Osteria (wine bar) in the lagoon, with over 875 bottles to choose from.
Try one of their bite-sized panini called “meraveje” (marvel in Venetian dialect), stuffed with ham and truffle sauce.
Hours: 11 AM- 6 PM | Always Open
Cantinone del vino già Schiavi
€ | Historic Establishment | Aperitivo
This is a historic structure in Dorsoduro. There is no place to sit so you have to eat and drink standing. While this might seem strange, it is the custom and way so why buck the trend?
You won’t find anything fancy. What they serve are glasses of wine and finger food which are called cichetti. You can find many seafood options and also many vegetarian options as well. Be a local and check this place out.
Address: Fondamenta Nani, 992, 30123 Venezia
Hours: 8:30 AM – 8:30 PM. Closed Sundays
€ | Small, but Cozy | Outdoor Seating
All’Arco is one of the tiniest cicchetti bars in Venice, but also offers outside seating, great for people-watching during the warmer months.
It’s a family-run business and all the goodies are handmade with care every day. Try their veggie-based Cicchetti for €2 each, as the fresh produce comes in from a nearby market every day.
Address: Calle Arco, 436, 30125 Venezia
Hours: Every day 9 AM – 2:30 PM | Wednesday Closed.
Cantina Do Mori
€ | Local hangout | Authentic
Many say that Cantina Do Mori is the oldest bacaro in Venice, with its old-fashioned atmosphere and huge wooden wine jugs. Some would say that this kind of Bacaro is dying out, but I personally feel that there are still plenty of great ones and we have been adding them to our lists around the city.
Their specialty is called “francobollo.” It consists of a tiny square sandwich made with soft bread and stuffed with crab meat, shrimp or fresh meat cuts, just for €1 each!Service is friendly and brisk. The cichetti are delicious and the wine is high quality. What else do you need?
Address: Calle Do Mori, 429, 30125 Venezia
Hours: 8 AM- 7:30 PM Closed Sundays
Al Bocon DiVino
€ | Wine Bar | Aperitivo
Call it fried cicchetti paradise, starting from €2 each. The portions are abundant and a choice of main courses is available for lunch and dinner.
The portions are abundant and a choice of main courses is available for lunch and dinner. For a local experience, order cicchetti “al banco” (at the counter). If you prefer sitting, remember to ask about the extra service fee!
Hours: 8 AM – Midnight. Closed Sundays
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Osteria Alla Bifora
€ | Local | Just Snacks or Full Meal
Located in Campo Santa Margherita, this is a favorite with locals and tourists alike. Expect it to be busy and you might have to wait for a table, but order a glass of Prosecco, it’s worth the wait.
The menu itself is quite small. You won’t find all the typical cicchetti , but a delicious “tagliere” full of prosciutto, mortadella, porchetta and other fresh meat cuts available. You can also sit down for a full meal as well.
Hours: 12 PM- 2AM Open every day
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