Venice: Food Guide - Dining Out
Queen of the Adriatic
It's easy to go wrong with restaurants in Venice, spending a fortune on poor food. People rarely get too worked up over Venetian food. Venetian cuisine favours seafood, particularly calamari, octopus and other creepy-crawlies that Americans would rather step on than eat. Chinese and Indian restaurants have a token presence. Cichetti, the city's traditional tapas-like bar snacks, are regaining in popularity. Restaurant prices are subject to IVA (value added tax) at 10% but this is always included within the prices given. A 15% service charge is usually added to the bill at the end. It is customary to round up the bill and leave a tip (maximum 10%) as well, if the meal and service have been good. There are still plenty of over-priced, under-inspiring restaurants vying with each other to keep it that way. St Mark's square and surrounding area is expensive, but a little further away from St Marks and the Grand Canal, the restaurants' prices do drop. Vegetarians usually don't have problems in Venice, as many pasta dishes, salads and pizzas are made without meat. The average main in a restaurant can vary, but they are usually around €8-€10. Pizzas are between €5 and €10. Look for places where you can get finger-food called cicchetti and eat like the locals. Imbibe in a local tradition of an afternoon glass of white wine called an ombra and you’ll really feel like you belong there.
Fruit, vegetable and fish markets
The Rialto food market right by the bridge of the same name has always been the heart of commerce in Venice. Venetians have depended on the Rialto markets for their daily supplies of fish, vegetables, fruit, and other foodstuffs. The markets are open to the public, and there's no better show in town. The markets are located alongside the Grand Canal, to the north-west of the Rialto Bridge in the district of San Polo (the opposite side to San Marco. The colourful and vociferous fish market offers abundance and is fundamental to the famous Venetian cuisine.A forewarning to the faint of heart: some of the fish sold here is still alive and will be cleaned before your very eyes!