Lifestyle & Culture

Venice in 24 hours of food: Dining at the cafés and restaurants you’ll never forget

A few weeks ago I got the chance to experience Venice almost tourist-free. I have been waiting for about five years to discover the city and, of course, could barely sleep at night thinking of the gorgeous canals, houses and streets a few steps away outside my hotel. So I decided to share some breakfast, brunch, lunch, 5 o’clock and dinner spots so that if you ever go to Venice, you may have your food endeavours covered for the day and night.

Breakfast at Pasticceria Da Bonifacio

In the morning, follow the Italians to this one or another local pasticcheria. Take an espresso or a cappuccino and a cornetto (the equivalent of a croissant). Italians almost always eat sweets for breakfast, so forget the savoury: you may be disappointed with the quality and the price. A Venetian breakfast will cost you about 5-to-8 euros and those carbs will surely boost you right in the beginning of the day.

Pasticceria Da Bonifacio doesn’t have a website, but you can read more about here on Condé Nast Traveller.

Pasticceria Da Bonifacio scores 4.5 out of 5 on Tripadvisor, 229 reviews.

Brunch at Cocaeta

This affordable pancake (crêpe) spot is a 5-minute walk from the Santa Lucia Train Station and makes you feel at home with small tables and chairs and a cosy atmosphere. In case if you are famished, you should give the large pancakes with 4-to-5 types of minced meat a try.

A portion of pancakes costs 6 euros on average. If you don’t want to stay inside, grab a pancake and stroll down to the Grand Canal to enjoy the food and some picturesque views of the city.

Cocaeta scores 4.5 out of 5 on Tripadvisor, 1,318 reviews.

Lunch at Trattoria alla Rivetta

This was a place I discovered during my “Brodsky in Venice” walk around the city. During my trips, I personally don’t eat much and luckily this osteria was one of the places I found some great cicchetti. In the osterias and bakars, you can see locals and tourists alike consuming two local specialities – Aperol Spritz Veneziano and little snacks called cicchetti. Many Venetian grandmothers follow this ritual around midday, so keep up with them.

Cicchetti are often compared to Spanish tapas: They are mini-sandwiches with various ingredients which can be conditionally divided into two categories – “gifts of the sea” and “gifts of the land” (cheese, vegetables or meat). Such snacks cost from around 1 euro to 3 euros. I suggest you opt for a large plate with a dozen of varieties to see which ones of them are your favourite.

Trattoria alla Rivetta scores four out of 5 on Tripadvisor, 1,808 reviews.

5 o’clock at Pasticceria Tonolo

Back to a pastry shop, this time for some desserts. Tonolo is one of the oldest sweet spots in the city and is only about two minute’s walk from L’Accademia bridge, full of locals and university students. It has a long counter filled with sweets and it can be hard to choose, but since they are mostly at 1-to-3 euros each, it’s easy to be on a budget and still enjoy at least a few of them.

Fritole, bussolai and chiacchiere were my favourites!

There are no chairs or tables at Tonolo but you can find room to eat your chosen dessert at the coffee bar or standing along the small counter in the back. The coffee comes served in beautiful blue and white china cups, which seem at odds with how otherwise casual the Venetian institution is.

Pasticceria Tonolo scores 4.5 out of 5 on Tripadvisor, 920 reviews.

Dinner at Antica Locanda Montin

During my visit there, I barely heard a word of English, which is definitely a bonus bearing in mind how many more tourists there are in Venice than locals. Venetians rarely hurry, but dinner is an especially long meal – I was sitting close to a large family and compared to how fast we eat in Moscow or even in Paris, they were taking all the time in the world to soak in the atmosphere and the great food.

A fish dish would be advisable since many restaurants buy fresh fish at the Rialto fish market every day. Don’t forget the dessert and perhaps even a starter if you are still hungry after a long day’s walk – local radishes and asparagus are at their best in the summer months. Dessert wise, a tiramisu was a perfect finish to the day spent admiring Venice and taking delight in its foods.

Antica Locanda Montin is also a small hotel.

Antica Locanda Montin scores 4 out of 5 on Tripadvisor, 303 reviews.

About the author:

Elena Kalmykova is a pastry chef, gastronomic guide, arts lover and passionate traveller. She’s originally from Moscow, Russia. It was her love for pastry that led Elena to study and then work in a Parisian pastry shop, a 3-star Michelin restaurant and now in a 5-star hotel.

She loves to discover new technologies as well as the latest trends in food, great spots to eat or drink and share her knowledge.

You can follow her on Instagram at elena_kalmykova.

See all of Elena’s Dispatches posts here.

See more Italy travel posts here.

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