Venice is home to some of the most amazing cuisines in the world. Local recipes are handed down for generations and have survived several hundred years – even before the Roman Empire!
Does Venice need an introduction at this point? This city is incomparable. I don’t know what other city is remotely similar to it.
Venice perfectly combines culture, history, art, architecture, and, perhaps most importantly, food.
Italy has more food traditions than most, and we covered three of the most important:
No matter how many photographs and videos you see of this fabled destination, nothing compares to visiting in person.
It is even more romantic and surprising than you can imagine.
Think about it, most of the world’s preeminent writers and artists have visited and admired the mosaics of San Marco, the Old Masters in the Accademia, and the city’s maze of canals.
If you want a good overview of food in Venice and receive recommendations on what to eat, we recommend taking a food tour in Venice.
The 20 Best Restaurants in Venice
Table of Contents:
- Best Restaurants in Santa Croce
- Best Restaurants in Dorsoduro
- Best Restaurants in San Marco
- Best Restaurants in Cannaregio
- Best Restaurants in San Polo
- Best Restaurants in Castello
Now that the pandemic is behind us and Italy is back open for visitors, the good news is that we can get back out there and start exploring Venice again!
Every time I visit Italy, my wife and I visit Venice for the unique local cuisines. So if you plan a trip to this fantastic city, we have what you need to keep your stomach happy (although not always your wallet).
The culinary scene in Venice is booming, and there are many places to discover, regardless of your palate.
It should be noted that Venetian dishes taste more Mediterranean than they do strictly Italian. Don’t be surprised if you find some dishes that remind you of Turkish or Greek cuisines – both of which have been trade partners of Venice for over a millennium.
While some lump in Venice’s neighboring islands, Murano, Burano, and Torcello, we purposefully left them out of the running. While definitely worth a visit, these islands aren’t making our list this time.
We’re focused on the six sestieri of Venice:
“Best” for us is simple; it is the best food you can buy at a given location. The best might be a 1.50€ cicchetti at All’Arco or a 300€ tasting menu at Oro Restaurant.
Flavor is king. From Sarde in Saor (one of the most popular starters in Venice) to traditional Baccala’ Mantecato (salted cod in creamy butter), they could rank equally as long as the flavor is there.
While we also note location and views, this did not factor into our rating for these Venetian restaurants. Keep in mind that a lot of these restaurants offer outdoor seating that won’t be available in the winter months. Check out our guide on the best time to go to Venice for more information.
Next to the name of each restaurant is the district it is located in, followed by the street address and contact information. Where applicable, we linked to each restaurant’s website.
If you want to learn more about food in Venice, we broke down the most popular local Venetian foods and drinks.
Without further ado, here are our top restaurants and places to eat in Venice!
Best Restaurants in Santa Croce
La Zucca (Santa Croce)
La Zucca (which translates to “the pumpkin”) is a small, canalside dining room offering a romantic setting and a unique menu.
Venetians are not known for vegetarian dishes, but La Zucca turns the tables. Vegetables are the primary centerpiece in many of their dishes.
The menu is constantly rotating, but a few staples are always available, including the delicious ice cream and fresh blueberries, strawberry cream with chocolate sauce, and pumpkin soup.
Make sure you reserve ahead of time because seating is of a premium here. A few seats are outside in warmer months and even fewer are inside.
Best Dishes: Pumpkin and ricotta flan
Ristorante Glam (Santa Croce)
Renowned Chef Enrico Bartolini heads up Ristorante Glam and has led this prestigious restaurant to two Michelin stars.
The first Michelin star was earned in 2017, and the second just two years later in 2019.
At first glance, the menu is classic Venetian, but the technique is anything but.
Enrico and Co use modern twists to bring these traditional dishes to the 21st Century.
The eatery is inside the new Palazzo Venart and places outdoor seating right under beautiful magnolia trees.
We ordered the tasting menu, which provides eight tastes of the lagoon. It took us a few hours to get through everything and it was well worth the time spent there.
While not the most expensive tasting menu on the list (that honor goes to Oro), Glam is also far from affordable. If you want to try something unique, it’s worth the price of admission.
With only 40 seats available, make sure you place your reservation far in advance. We made ours 10 months before our trip to Venice in 2021.
Best Dish: Grilled lamb with artichokes and mint
Osteria Trefanti (Santa Croce)
€€ | Venetian Seafood | Canal-Side Dining
Address: Santa Croce n 888 Fondamenta dei, Fondamenta Garzotti, 30135 Venezia
Hours: 12:30 – 14:30 / 19:30 – 22:00 (closed Monday and Tuesday)
Phone: +39 041 520 1789
Spice lives at Trefanti. Plain and simple.
Our vibrant dish of marinated prawns, hazelnuts, berries, and caramel with garam masala was so far removed from the other dishes we ate in Venice that I can still taste it.
The interior is furnished with old pews from a nearby church. They also use locally recycled copper lamps.
Don’t expect a large menu. Trefanti has pared down the menu to focus on perfecting what they do offer.
Do yourself a favor and try the chocolate bonne dessert – you don’t want to miss it.
Best Dish: Shrimp with curry and pineapple
Best Restaurants in Dorsoduro
Lineadombra Restaurant offers some genuinely great eating heightened by views of Basilica di Santa Maria della Salatue (one of the most beautiful cathedrals in Venice).
You’re sitting on an over-water terrace located in one of the most incredible areas in Venice. It makes for a unique experience.
I know we said we don’t take views into account, and we don’t, but let’s talk about the terrace quickly.
The terrace sits above the Venetian lagoon and offers impressive views of the Giudecca Canal and the Palladian churches of Redentore and San Giorgio.
The lapping water undoubtedly makes this one of Venice’s most romantic experiences.
Alright, back to the food!
Unsurprisingly, their specialty is seafood. While you can order typical Venetian dishes, they also offer unique twists that allow them different flavors to excite your palate.
Favorite Dish: Rosemary-roasted octopus with wild rocket, vanilla cherry tomatoes, and crunchy almonds
Ai Gondolieri ( Dorsoduro)
I’m torn when it comes to Ai Gondolieri. The food is high quality, there’s very little doubt about it, but the service here is less than stellar.
As this is a blog post where flavor is the only factor, I chose not to hold the service against them. It should be noted nonetheless.
The menu is varied at Ai Gondolieri, with a healthy mix between meat, fish, vegan, and vegetarian options.
I tried the Cream of Pumpkin with toasted almonds. It was superb and was undoubtedly welcomed after eating seafood for most of my stay.
If you’re coming here, you should know that you are indeed paying for the quality of food they serve. There’s a reason their online menu doesn’t have prices.
If the service and price tag don’t scare you away, the food is superb and should be tried at least once.
Best Dish: Fegato alla Veneziana (liver with onions)
Ristorante La Bitta (Dorsoduro)
Venice is the land of seafood. Just look at our list, and the majority of what made our best dish pick is seafood. But sometimes you want something else. When you do, come to La Bitta.
The meals feel homemade, the establishment feels cozy, and the meals put you at ease.
Many restaurants are filled with tourists, but La Bitta was different. We were the only non-Venetians in the place, and that says something.
There are very few places like this left in Venice. For that reason, it made our list of the best Venice restaurants.
Best Dishes: Thinly sliced pork with horseradish sauce
Best Restaurants in San Marco
Osteria Enoteca San Marco (San Marco)
In confession, I had to ask my wife for help with this one. I don’t drink alcohol, so the appeal isn’t there for me. I did eat the food, though!
Wine pours freely in every establishment in Venice, but there’s nowhere quite like an enoteca to give you a local feel.
Enconteca’s started as just wine bars with no food available. Still, they began serving dishes over time because patrons would become drunk too quickly and spend less time in the establishment. Less time equals less money. You get it.
Osteria is the best of both worlds. The wine choices are rich and vast, and they offer some fantastic classic dishes like spaghetti with tiger prawns.
Even if you stop by for a glass of wine and a snack at the bar, Osteria is well worth visiting.
Favorite Dish: Bracioline di agnello “scottadito” (roast lamb chops)
Ristorante Quadri (San Marco)
Quadri is one of the longest-existing restaurants in Venice and dates back to 1830. It recently underwent a facelift from famed designer and architect Philippe Starck.
This Michelin star restaurant is known as much for its food as its Murano glass chandeliers, upholstered walls, and overlooking views of St. Mark’s Square.
Depending on the season, Quadri offers either a three or five-course tasting menu, and I highly recommend them.
In addition to traditional seafood, pasta, and meat dishes, the menu includes gluten-free options, which are rare in Venice.
Best Dish: Asparagus and green pepper risotto with beetroot foam
Enoteca Al Volto (San Marco)
This unassuming storefront is one of Venice’s best restaurants.
Enoteca Al Volto is Venice’s oldest wine bar and has been in this exact location since 1936.
Not far from the famous Rialto Bridge, this restaurant takes you into old-world Venice, where a sun-drenched wooden door leads to a cozy dining room with vintage wine labels covering the bar ceiling.
Don’t expect to be seated without a reservation. It is essential even during non-peak hours.
Expect a healthy mix of locals and travelers, warm service, and hearty Venetian cuisine.
If you’ve never been to Venice before, know that portions are often small compared to American dishes and the prices are high. At Enoteca Al Voto though, portions are generous and prices are reasonable for the area.
Best Dish: Spaghetti with clams
Antico Martini (San Marco)
What’s the oldest restaurant you’ve been to? For me, it could quite possibly be Antico Martini.
This historic eatery goes back to 1720, when it first opened to the public, and the menu pays homage to its beginnings.
Antico Martini focuses on dishes they claim have been forgotten over the generations.
Enjoy healthy portions of local cuisine on the idyllic Teatro Fenice square, home to La Fenice (the most important opera house in Venice).
Specialties include black truffle pasta and the John Dory fillet “Antico Martini” style.
Just a five-minute walk from Saint Mark’s square, this piazza is just far enough that you can avoid the regular hustle and bustle that gathers near Doge’s Palace.
Best Dish: Scampi with curry sauce and Pilaf rice
Best Restaurants in Cannaregio
Al Timon (Cannaregio)
Cannaregio is a seriously cool part of Venice with a rich history. It is home to the Venetian Ghetto, where Jews were restricted to live in 1516. They lived there until 1797, when Napoleon Bonaparte conquered the Venetial Republic.
Now though, Cannaregio is laid back and home to one of Venice’s best bars and steakhouses.
At Al Timon, you get it all: awesome locals, views of the canal, boats you can sit on, and great food.
We chose to sit inside for a meal, but you can grab snacks and a glass of wine, sit on a boat outside, and watch the parade of drinkers and dreamers march past.
One benefit to sitting outside is the folk singers. They play sets canalside when the weather permits, so you get some entertainment with your wine.
Favorite Dish: Steak fillet with hand-cut potatoes, spinach, onions, and grilled peppers.
Crepes House by PePe (Cannaregio)
Most people think of France or even Quebec when they think of crepes. I know I do.
You’d be doing yourself a disservice by skipping Crepes House by PePe in the Cannaregio district.
My crepe of choice is sweet, but locals recommended we try the savory, and it was delicious. We came back here twice in one stay, and I instantly knew it would make our best restaurants in Venice list.
While it’s quaint, the lines are anything but. We went right as they opened, and there was already a line with at least 20 people.
The owner is a one-man show: he cooks, serves, and preps all of the food himself. He’s also really super friendly. You can tell instantly that he is passionate about what he does.
Be aware that seagulls are predatory in this area and they will take your crepe as soon as you leave the shop!
Favorite Dish: Nutella creme spalmabili with banana
Ristorante Casa Bonita (Cannaregio)
Just feet from the beautiful and historic Ponte delle Guglie, Casa Bonita might just have the best seafood in Venice.
Everything I tried here was great. From fried shrimp and calamari to vegetarian spaghetti with cherry tomatoes and basil, Casa Bonita hits the spot regardless of your craving.
The only downside is the wait. We were one of two couples at the restaurant, but it still took 45 minutes for our food to come out.
If you’re sitting outside, you have great views of the canal, and the locals are friendly.
This was one of the only restaurants locals unanimously recommended to us when we’d ask around.
Best Dish: Risotto with prawns, shrimp, and zucchini
Trattoria Bar Pontini (Cannaregio)
Trattoria Bar Pontini is directly in front of Ristorante Casa Bonita (featured right above this), and it is equally as delicious.
For the money, you’d be hard-pressed to find better seafood. You get heaping portions that would fill even the hungriest of visitors.
We stopped by randomly when we noticed the plates being brought out to customers. They were able to squeeze us right by the canal.
My wife loved her gnocchi with prawns and Pesce fritti and I thought the seafood pasta was some of the best I’ve ever had.
Best Dish: Seafood pasta
Best Restaurants in San Polo
Bar All’Arco (San Polo)
This authentic neighborhood osteria offers some of Venice’s best cicchetti (bar snacks).
All’Arco makes all of its food with ingredients from the nearby Rialto market and is owned and operated by father-son duo Francesco and Matteo.
They serve what can only be described as miniature masterpieces.
If you’re looking for somewhere that is great value for your money, this is it. We got 10 pieces of cicchetti, a bottle of Prosecco, and water for just over 50 euros.
The only downside to Bar All’Arco is that it gets hectic and they have limited outdoor seating available (3 or 4 tables). It’s best to grab some food and get back to your travels.
Best Dish: Cannocchia (mantis shrimp) with pumpkin and roe
Trattoria Antiche Carampane (San Polo)
Deep within the labyrinth of San Polo is Anctiche Carampane, and boy is it worth seeking out.
The menu has been perfected and passed down through generations of the same family.
If you love seafood, you’ll find it in abundance here. If you don’t, well, you should probably skip this one.
You can tell there is passion behind the classic Venetian dishes, and they’re offered at the highest level.
The fritto “sempio” (scampi and calamari) is lightly battered and fried to perfection. They also offer fresh catches of the day.
Reservations are essential, even during non-peak hours. Be sure to call in advance of your trip.
Best Dish: Spider crab pasta
Best Restaurants in Castello
L’Osteria di Santa Marina (Castello)
Osteria Campo Santa Marina started as a sandwich shop and has become one of the best restaurants in Venice.
At Osteria, they focus on paying homage to traditional Venetian recipes while elevating them to an art form. It is truly one of the most creative dining experiences I’ve been to.
There’s indoor and outdoor seating, but, if you can, opt for the indoor. It’s unlike any other restaurant on our list. It’s cozy, warmly lit, and rustic.
If you’re prepared to let the chef guide your palate, order the tasting menu to understand the restaurant completely.
Best Dish: Black tagliolini with cuttlefish ink sauce and citrus-flavored bread
Al Covo (Castello)
Al Covo is precisely what you need if you want to try traditional Venetian and Veneto regional dishes.
This small rustic restaurant has outdoor seating on warmer days, but the indoor seating is far from a downgrade.
Here, the portions are hearty, fresh, and presented just as nicely as some of the more expensive options on the list.
My wife got the panna cotta and said it was “to die for.” They also offer wine-pairing suggestions for those that would like to partake.
While here, chat with owners and married couple Cesare and Diane. Cesare, a native Florentine, has great stories of the area and had recommendations for our upcoming trip to Florence. Diane hails from Texas and was a fun reminder of back home.
Best Dish: Adriatic monkfish with pancetta, celeriac fondue and Gialet beans
Met Restaurant (Castello)
The Met Restaurant is temporarily closed and has been since January 7, 2020, but they still offer private events and banquets.
I chose to add it to this list because it was one of my favorite dining experiences from a 2019 trip to Venice. When it opens again, you should consider going.
Located in the Metropole Hotel, this elegant restaurant features an antique setting not found elsewhere on our list.
The Met Restuarant has a history of excellence, and when I first became interested in gastronomy, their name appeared.
In less than 10 years, this restaurant went from regionally known to internationally famous:
In 2005, they were awarded their first Michelin Star under the famed chef Corrado Fasolato.
In 2008, they underwent a massive restyling effort to bring in locally resourced goods, such as Murano glass chandeliers and 17th-century paintings.
In 2009, due to their new concepts, they were awarded their second Michelin Star and the Three Forks of Gambero Rosso.
In 2013, they were awarded their third Michelin Star.
They might have the most impressive resume of all the restaurants on our list.
Their menu is just as lavish as their interior decorations.
They focused on infusing classic local dishes with Asian elements for a unique combination in every course when we went.
Best Dish: Beetroot linguine
Restaurant Terrazza Danieli (Castello)
€€€€ | Classic Recipes | Rooftop Dining
Address: 4196/4° piano, Riva degli Schiavoni, 30122 Venezia
Hours: 12:00 – 15:00 / 19:00 – 22:30
Phone: +39 041 522 6480
Located inside the Hotel Danieli, which is worth a visit for the architecture and interior design alone, this rooftop dining room offers classic, top-class recipes.
The views from atop the hotel are some of the best in Venice and allow you to see the Grand Canal, Punta della Dogana, Giudecca, and San Giorgio Maggiore.
The menu features recipes that date back to 1909, including Dandolo risotto with sea urchin, sole and fresh tomatoes.
We opted for the a la carte menu which showcases typical Venetian cuisine, French dishes, and traditional Mediterranean plates.
Although pricey, Terrazza Danieli is worth every dime.
Best Dish: Seared foie gras escalope with pears, “saba” cooked must reduction, dried fig bread, and mixed salad
Bonus: Oro Restaurant (Giudecca)
The Oro restaurant is famous and is located in the equally well-known and well-regarded Cipriani hotel.
It’s not part of the six sestieri of Venice, so that’s why it didn’t officially make our list. It’s such a great experience that we include it as a bonus option.
The Oro (Gold in Italian) is not a budget-friendly location. I found this out the hard way when my wife booked our reservation several months in advance.
If you are going to splurge, though, this is the place to do it. At the time of writing, their seven-course tasting menu will cost you around 300€ a person and is worth the heavy price of admission.
The menu mainly consists of seafood, but meat and vegetarian options are also available.
The views are beautiful and give you fantastic sights of Fondazione Giorgio Cini and the Church of San Giorgio Maggiore (seen in the background of the photo above).
If you’re not interested in spending a small fortune on a meal, you should still check out the premise for the views and architecture.
Venice Neighborhood Series:
There you have it. The 20 best restaurants in Venice, Italy. What do you think? Do you have a recommendation we should consider? Add a comment below.