Welcome, fellow adventurers, to the heart of Venice – the iconic St. Mark’s Square, or as the locals call it, Piazza San Marco. This grand open space, flanked by historic structures and echoing with the coos of countless pigeons, is more than just a square. It’s the city’s living room, its pulsating heart, and the stage for centuries of Venetian history. From the towering Campanile bell tower to the stunning St. Mark’s Basilica, every corner of this square whispers tales of the past.
But let’s not forget; we’re in Italy – a country where food is a language, a culture, a way of life. Venice, with its unique lagoon ecosystem and rich history as a spice trading port, offers a culinary culture as rich and diverse as its architecture.
The importance of food in Venetian culture is undeniable. It’s in the bustling Rialto market selling fresh seafood, in the traditional “bacari” (wine bars) serving “cicchetti” (small plates), and in the age-old recipes passed down through generations.
From elegant dining establishments to charming family-run trattorias, this area is a treasure trove of culinary delights.
Whether you’re a seasoned foodie seeking the next gourmet experience or a traveler looking to savor authentic local flavors, the restaurants near St. Mark’s Square promise a feast not just for your taste buds, but for all your senses.
So, ready to embark on this culinary journey? Let’s dive in and explore the top 10 restaurants near St. Mark’s Square that you simply can’t miss on your Venetian adventure.
The Culinary Journey: A Walk Around St. Mark’s Square
As you step into the grandeur of St. Mark’s Square, the first thing that hits you is the symphony of sights and sounds that make up its vibrant atmosphere. The air is filled with a unique blend of aromas – the salty tang of the nearby lagoon, the rich scent of freshly brewed Italian coffee wafting from the cafés, and the enticing smell of traditional Venetian dishes being prepared in nearby kitchens.
The square is a hive of activity. Locals rush by, engaged in animated conversations, tourists marvel at the intricate details of the Basilica, and street musicians fill the air with melodies that bounce off the ancient stone walls. Amid this lively scene, the clinking of cutlery and the murmur of satisfied diners can be heard, guiding you toward the culinary gems scattered around the square.
As you stroll around, the historic cafés and restaurants catch your eye. There’s the legendary Caffè Florian, a Venetian institution that’s been serving customers since 1720. With its grand interiors and orchestra playing in the square, it offers a dining experience that transports you back in time. Then there are the newer but equally loved establishments that serve everything from classic Venetian dishes to innovative fusion cuisine.
Each restaurant and café around St. Mark’s Square has its own story, its own unique charm. Some are tucked away in narrow alleyways, offering a cozy retreat from the bustling square. Others boast terraces that overlook the square, offering the perfect vantage point to watch the world go by as you dine.
This is the start of your culinary journey around St. Mark’s Square – a journey that promises to be as rich, diverse, and memorable as Venice itself. So, loosen your belt and prepare your palate, because we’re about to dive into the top 10 restaurants that define the culinary scene in this iconic square.
Top 10 Restaurants Near St. Mark’s Square
As we embark on this gastronomic journey, let’s explore the top 10 restaurants near St. Mark’s Square that offer a delightful blend of ambiance, popular dishes, unique features, and of course, mouthwatering cuisine.
Stepping into Caffé Florian is like stepping into a time machine. Established in 1720, it’s the oldest café in Venice, and its rich history is palpable in its opulent interiors adorned with Venetian mirrors, frescoes, and velvet seating.
The ambiance is nothing short of magical, with live orchestra performances adding to the charm.
Caffé Florian is famous for its traditional Italian coffee and pastries. However, it’s their Venetian-style sandwiches, or “tramezzini,” that are a must-try. These triangular sandwiches, filled with a variety of ingredients like tuna, egg, and asparagus, are a perfect accompaniment to your coffee.
Dining at Caffé Florian is not just about the food; it’s about experiencing a piece of Venetian history.
Next on our list is Rossopomodoro, a haven for pizza lovers. This restaurant, with its casual and friendly atmosphere, is the perfect place to enjoy authentic Neapolitan pizza in the heart of Venice.
The open kitchen allows you to watch as the pizzaiolos skillfully stretch the dough and garnish it with fresh ingredients before it’s baked in a wood-fired oven.
The menu at Rossopomodoro is a celebration of Italian classics. From Margherita to more adventurous options like the ‘nduja spicy salami pizza, each dish is a testament to the flavors of Naples. Don’t forget to try their creamy burrata and the classic tiramisu for dessert.
Rossopomodoro offers a slice of Naples in Venice, making it a must-visit for any pizza enthusiast.
€€€€ | Fine Dining | Terrace | Epic Grand Canal Views
Address: S. Marco, 1413/d
For a more upscale dining experience, head to De Pisis. Overlooking the Grand Canal, this restaurant offers an exquisite blend of Italian and Asian cuisines.
The ambiance is elegant and serene, with the option to dine on the terrace for a breathtaking view of the Basilica of Santa Maria della Salute.
The menu at De Pisis is a culinary masterpiece. Each dish, whether it’s the Venetian-style seafood risotto or the Japanese-inspired sashimi, is prepared with meticulous attention to detail.
The wine list is equally impressive, featuring a selection from Italy’s finest vineyards. Dining at De Pisis is a sensory delight, making it a perfect choice for a special occasion.
Tucked away from the hustle and bustle of St. Mark’s Square, Cantina Canaletto offers a cozy and intimate dining experience. It also happens to be named after one of my favorite Venetian painters.
This family-run restaurant is known for its warm hospitality and authentic Venetian cuisine. The rustic interiors, adorned with vintage photos and wine bottles, create a charming and homely ambiance.
Cantina Canaletto’s menu features traditional Venetian dishes, with a focus on fresh seafood. The squid ink spaghetti and the grilled seabass are crowd favorites. Pair your meal with a glass of Prosecco from their extensive wine list for the perfect Venetian dining experience.
Cantina Canaletto’s welcoming atmosphere and delicious food make it a hidden gem near St. Mark’s Square.
Osteria Enoteca San Marco
Just a stone’s throw away from St. Mark’s Square, Osteria Enoteca San Marco is a modern osteria that combines Venetian culinary traditions with a contemporary twist. The ambiance is relaxed and stylish, with a wine cellar that boasts an impressive selection of Italian and international wines.
The menu at Osteria Enoteca San Marco is a creative take on classic Venetian dishes. The codfish in cream sauce and the homemade pasta with duck ragù are standout dishes. For dessert, the tiramisu is a must-try. With its innovative cuisine and extensive wine list, Osteria Enoteca San Marco offers a unique dining experience near St. Mark’s Square.
Favorite Dish: Bracioline di agnello “scottadito” (roast lamb chops)
Cantina Do Spade
For a taste of old Venice, make your way to Cantina Do Spade. This historic spot, dating back to the 15th century, is one of the oldest osterias in the city.
The ambiance is rustic and charming, with wooden tables and historical photos adorning the walls.
Cantina Do Spade specializes in cicchetti, the Venetian version of tapas. From creamy codfish spread to marinated sardines, each small plate is a burst of flavor. Pair your cicchetti with a glass of local wine for a truly Venetian experience.
Cantina Do Spade’s authentic food and historic charm make it a must-visit when seeing Piazza San Marco.
Osteria Ae Sconte
Hidden away in a quiet alley, Osteria Ae Sconte is a local favorite. This unpretentious osteria is known for its friendly service and delicious, home-style Venetian cuisine.
The ambiance is cozy and welcoming, making it a perfect spot for a leisurely meal.
The menu at Osteria Ae Sconte features a variety of seafood dishes, from grilled octopus to spaghetti with clams. The tiramisu, served in a mason jar, is a delightful end to the meal.
With its hearty food and relaxed atmosphere, Osteria Ae Sconte offers a taste of local life in Venice.
Established in 1720, Antico Martini is a restaurant steeped in history. Located close to the famous La Fenice Theatre, it has been a favorite among artists and musicians for centuries. The ambiance is elegant and refined, with a beautiful garden for al fresco dining.
Antico Martini’s menu is a celebration of Venetian and Italian cuisine. The seafood risotto and the Venetian-style liver are standout dishes. The dessert menu, featuring classics like panna cotta and cannoli, is equally impressive. Dining at Antico Martini is not just about the food; it’s about experiencing a piece of Venice’s cultural history.
Best Dish: Scampi with curry sauce and Pilaf rice
With its nautical-themed interiors and charming courtyard, La Caravella offers a unique dining experience near St. Mark’s Square. This restaurant is known for its innovative approach to Venetian cuisine, using fresh, seasonal ingredients to create visually stunning dishes.
The menu at La Caravella features a variety of seafood and meat dishes, with the lobster linguini and the veal chop being crowd favorites. The wine list is extensive, featuring selections from Italy’s best vineyards. With its creative cuisine and unique ambiance, La Caravella is a culinary destination in its own right.
Established in 1830, Quadri holds the distinction of being one of Venice’s oldest restaurants. It recently received a makeover from the renowned designer and architect, Philippe Starck.
This Michelin-starred establishment is celebrated not only for its culinary offerings but also for its interior decor, featuring Murano glass chandeliers, fabric-covered walls, and views that overlook the iconic St. Mark’s Square.
Quadri presents a three or five-course tasting menu, subject to the season, and both come highly recommended.
The menu, apart from featuring traditional seafood, pasta, and meat dishes, also caters to dietary needs with gluten-free options – a rarity in Venice.
Best Dish: Asparagus and green pepper risotto with beetroot foam
Enoteca Al Volto
Enoteca Al Volto, a seemingly modest establishment, ranks among the finest restaurants in Venice.
Holding the title of Venice’s oldest wine bar, Enoteca Al Volto has been situated in the same spot since 1936.
Located a stone’s throw from the renowned Rialto Bridge, this restaurant transports you into the heart of vintage Venice. A sunlit wooden entrance opens up to a quaint dining area, its bar ceiling adorned with antique wine labels.
Reservations are a must here, even during off-peak times, as walk-ins are rarely accommodated.
The restaurant attracts a diverse crowd of locals and tourists, all drawn by the warm hospitality and robust Venetian fare.
For those unfamiliar with Venice, it’s worth noting that portion sizes are typically smaller than what one might expect in America, and the prices can be steep. However, at Enoteca Al Volto, you’ll find the servings to be plentiful and the prices quite reasonable for the locale.
Best Dish: Spaghetti with clams
Beyond the Plate: Other Attractions Near St. Mark’s Square
After indulging in the culinary delights near St. Mark’s Square, there’s a world of cultural treasures waiting to be explored. Here’s a brief overview of other attractions that you can visit to make the most of your Venetian adventure.
St. Mark’s Basilica
Dominating the square is the stunning St. Mark’s Basilica. This architectural masterpiece, with its Byzantine domes and intricate mosaics, is a testament to Venice’s rich history. Don’t miss the chance to climb up to the terrace for a panoramic view of the square.
Adjacent to the Basilica is the Doge’s Palace, a symbol of Venice’s power and prestige during the Venetian Republic. The palace’s grand halls and stunning artworks offer a glimpse into the city’s past.
Campanile di San Marco
The Campanile di San Marco, or St. Mark’s Bell Tower, is another must-visit. Take the elevator to the top for a breathtaking view of Venice’s red rooftops and winding canals.
For art enthusiasts, the Correr Museum offers a vast collection of artworks and historical artifacts. The museum also provides fascinating insights into Venetian life and history.
The Grand Canal
Just a short walk from the square, the Grand Canal is a sight to behold. Take a gondola ride or a vaporetto (water bus) to fully appreciate the beauty of Venice’s main waterway.
La Fenice Theatre
For a dose of culture, catch a performance at the La Fenice Theatre, one of the most famous opera houses in Italy.
These attractions, along with the culinary delights near St. Mark’s Square, make for a truly memorable Venetian experience. So, once you’ve satisfied your palate, let your curiosity guide you through the rest of this enchanting city.
Recommended Booking Resources
The companies I’ve listed here are my top picks when it comes to travel. Their offerings consistently outshine the competition in terms of value for money, quality of service, and exceptional customer service. These companies form the foundation of my search for travel deals, given their reliability and excellence, that I have personally experienced numerous times.
Best Flights Deals with Skyscanner
Skyscanner is an excellent resource for finding the best flight deals. The website compares prices across various airlines and booking sites, helping you secure the best possible price.
Affordable Hostels with Hostelworld
For budget travelers, Hostelworld offers a range of affordable hostel options in Venice. The platform provides detailed descriptions, reviews, and ratings to help you choose the right place for your next stay in venice.
Varied Accommodation Options with Booking.com
Booking.com provides a wide variety of accommodation options in Venice. From budget hostels to luxury hotels, you can find something that suits your budget and preferences.
Cheap Flights with Going.com
Going.com searches for cheap and rare flights and will notify you when one matches your home airport and a destination of your choice. We scored a non-stop, roundtrip flight from Newark (EWR) to Milan-Malpensa (MXP) for $359 in 2021 and then again from Philadelphia (PHL) to Marco Polo Airport (VCE) for $475 in 2023.
Hostelpass for Budget-Friendly Stays
HostelPass can help you save money on your accommodation. With a single flat fee, you can stay in hostels in Venice and other European cities.
Plan Your Excursions with Get Your Guide
Get Your Guide offers a range of guided tours and activities in Venice. Whether you want a guided tour of St. Mark’s Basilica or a cooking class, you can find it here.
Efficient Train Travel in Italy with Trainline
Trainline can help you navigate Italy’s extensive train system and get you to Venice’s Santa Lucia train and bus station. It’s an efficient way to travel between cities if you’re planning to visit more of Italy during your trip.
Pocket-Sized Wisdom: Venice Travel Guide 2023 Book
For an in-depth guide to Venice, consider purchasing the Venice Travel Guide 2023. It’s packed with useful information, tips, and maps to help you make the most of your visit.
Sustainable Tourism: LifeStraw for Reusable Water Bottles
Help keep Venice beautiful by practicing sustainable tourism. Consider investing in a reusable water bottle with a built-in filter like LifeStraw. It’s eco-friendly and ensures you have safe drinking water wherever you go.
Walks of Italy for Culturally Rich Walking Tours
For a deep dive into Venice’s rich history and culture, consider booking a walking tour with Walks of Italy. The guides are knowledgeable, and the tours offer a great way to explore the city on foot while visiting the main sites and top attractions.
And there you have it – a culinary journey around St. Mark’s Square, Venice. From the historic charm of Caffé Florian to the modern mixology at Bra’s Cocktail Bar, each of these establishments offers a unique dining experience that reflects the rich culinary heritage of Venice. But remember, the adventure doesn’t end at the dinner table. With a plethora of cultural treasures right at your doorstep, your exploration of Venice continues long after the last bite.
Whether you’re a seasoned traveler or planning your first trip to Venice, we hope this guide helps you navigate the culinary landscape near St. Mark’s Square. After all, food is not just about sustenance; it’s a gateway to understanding a place and its people. So, go ahead, indulge in the gastronomic delights, soak in the ambiance, and make memories that will last a lifetime.
Now, it’s your turn to share your experiences. Have you dined at any of these restaurants? Or perhaps you’ve discovered a hidden gem near St. Mark’s Square that deserves a shout-out? We’d love to hear your recommendations and stories. So, leave a comment below and join the conversation. After all, the best travel advice comes from fellow travelers.
Here’s to unforgettable meals and adventures in Venice. Buon appetite!
Embark on a culinary journey with our guide to the 10 best restaurants in Burano and Murano. Savor authentic Italian cuisine, from seafood to pasta and soup.
Cicchetti, Venice’s version of tapas, are small dishes with a rich history dating back to the 15th century. Today, they’re an integral part of Venetian culture.