By Anna & Alberto, aka The Getaways
The Venetian word for snack or nibble is “ciccheto” (chikéto). This is the most common phrase you’ll hear in Venice when locals meet, have a chat and eat together.
“Ciccheto” means appetizer in the Venetian dialect and refers to any sort of savoury snack, be it basic or elaborate, which is eaten in a “bàcaro”, the Venetian version of a pub, where people can eat, drink and have a chat standing or sitting.
Venice is packed with places where you can eat any sort of meal, traditional or international, and you can eat very well OR, not so well depending on where you go.
It’s easy to be satisfied if you can afford a hundred euros for a meal in the most famous restaurants here, but it’s a bit more difficult if you don’t have that much to spend. However, a variety of old and new taverns offer many kind of appetizers and meals on a budget, and that’s what Venetians love the most.
Out of all the typical taverns and bars, there are three that have definitely grabbed our attention. In fact, in our opinion these are the top three taverns if you want to taste a typical Venetian-style meal.
1) Rosticceria San Bartolomeo, also known as Gislon, close to the Rialto Bridge is a very old, cheap and fast “rosticceria”. A sort of bar or cafeteria where you can sit and have an excellent savoury meal at a very low price. It opened in the 1930s and isn’t considered a proper restaurant, but rather a place where people working in the surrounding offices go to for a hot meal, so a very Venetian experience.
Usually people have their lunch standing at the counter because it’s not a place where you’d want to spend all afternoon. They do have a room upstairs but if you do go up be prepared to pay extra, because food actually costs more if you have a seat.
At the counter you can choose an array of ready-made dishes, but the most popular is the“mozzarella in carrozza”. It’s a mozzarella cheese sandwich with a choice of anchovies or ham. In our opinon it’s probably the best in Venice.
The average price you will pay for a meal is between 10-20 euros.
2) La Patatina. This is a real “osteria” or tavern with a very good selection of dishes, wines and fish. It used to be a place for working class people during the 1970s and fried potatoes were the only food they served, hence the name.
Today it’s a very cosy little restaurant at the foot of a bridge in the very heart of Venice with a tiny door. Most people don’t even see it. It usually gets packed by around 7.30pm, so it’s best to reserve a table or be there for at least 6.30pm.
When you step into this tavern your eyes will be captivated by the huge amount of food on top of the glass counter right in front of you, especially during happy hour. You will find smoked salmon canapés, fried and sauce meatballs, fried potatoes on a long toothpick and of course, prawns, ham, cheese and wines.
The average cost per person is 20-40 euros
3) Bigoi. Walking along Calle Crosera, on the other side of the Grand Canal, is the area known as Dorsoduro, San Pantalon, where we have many a time been inticed by the smell of freshly made pasta and sauce from Bigoi.
It’s a little crowded place full of people eating take away pasta. As Venetians, the word "bigoli", in dialect "bigoi", made us think immediately of the Veneto traditional pasta.
There are no tables inside as everybody stands eating homemade pasta with fresh ingredients, and you can also choose your sauce: Fresh tomato, pesto, duck meat, bolognese and amatriciana, the traditional Venetian sauce called bigoli in salsa, pescatora and squid ink.
It's full of students during the day as it’s very close to Ca’ Foscari University, but you will also find many tourists who love trying their typical Venetian dishes.
The average cost of a meal is 5 euros.
So are you hungry now?
These are the only three of a multitude of typical taverns and bars from our beautiful city, but we think they represent true Venetian dishes at a good price. So come to Venice and try them all.
Article by The Getaways