Welcome to this guide about the favourite Venetian food by Venetians, cicchetti!
If there’s one thing that I’m certain about when it come to travelling to Italy, it is that a trip to Venice can not be considered complete, without trying the cicchetti.
Visiting Venice requires a lot of energy, and at the end of the day, believe me if I tell you that you’re not the only one to feel like just having a drink and some food.
Well, that’s why aperitivo exists in Italy! In Venice, aperitivo means eating cicchetti and drinking a glass (two, three, or as many as you want) of wine or Spritz.
Best Cicchetti in Venice
Before I get your tastebuds too excited though, what even is cicchetti? Better yet, where are the best places to have aperitivo with cicchetti in Venice?
With this guide, I’m going to cover all your burning questions about cicchetti and share my advice as a local, to enjoy this culinary experience to the full.
This food guide aims to explain what are the famous Venetian snacks called cicchetti, where you can find (and eat) them in Venice and how to order them.
I suggest you read this fully comprehensive guide all the way until the end to learn my local’s tips to eat cicchetti and some tours with local guides you can join.
Tours can be great to learn about the tourist attractions in Venice and also some of the most loved Venetian food during your time here. Why? Because you’ll be accompanied by expert guide that knows Venice like the back of their hand.
What is Cicchetti?
The cicchetti (pronounced chi-ket-tee) are small savoury bites that Venetians use to eat for a quick lunch, aperitivo or in some occasions, instead of dinner.
They are basically like the Spanish tapas, but prepared with local fresh ingredients. The word ‘cicchetti’ comes from the Venetian dialect and means ‘small quantity’. Cicchetti comes in different shapes and forms.
Let’s look at some of the most popular Cicchetti in Venice:
The cicchetti are considered the best street food in Venice, because they’re prepared with fresh and seasonal ingredients, they only cost a couple of euros (between 2 and 4 euros each) and can be found everywhere around Venice.
The best places to eat cicchetti are the bacari, small taverns with dim lighting, and just a few tables to accommodate customers.
Locals usually grab a couple of different types of cicchetti, ‘ombra de vin’ (glass of wine) or Venetian spritz and eat cicchetti outside, on the street.
As a visitor to the Veneto region, it’s important to know that the aperitivo with cicchetti and a glass of wine or spritz is a well-established custom in Venice.
For locals, it’s the preferred way to socialise at the bar, spend time with friends and family. Don’t be surprised if you can’t find a seat at the best bacaros in Venice.
Where to eat Cicchetti in Venice?
There are a lot of great places to eat cicchetti in Venice, and of course, there are taverns that offer higher quality cicchetti than others.
So below I have listed a selection of some of the most loved and/or personally tested bacari where you can eat some of the best cicchetti in Venice:
Just to remind you that Venetians can be seen eating cicchetti during anytime of the day. So feel free to join in, and if you’re really hungry, 6 or 8 should do the trick.
Venice Cicchetti map
Below I have added a practical map of Venice with the bacari mentioned above:
You can save the map to your phone or even print it. That way you can use it as a guide while you are exploring Venice. If you happen to be visiting Venice in winter or you arrive on a wet day, don’t let that deter you from finding the best cicchetti bars.
Cicchetti in Venice
I’m a regular at bacari in Venice and after a day of exploring new corners of the city, I love the custom of going to eat some fresh cicchetti accompanied by a Spritz!
These are my tips for eating the best cicchetti in Venice:
How to order Cicchetti in Venice
Now that you know what cicchetti are and have a list of bacari to try out, it’s time to look closer at how locals order cicchetti (and how you should do it too!).
Cicchetti Tours in Venice
Now that you have a lot more insight about where you need to go to find the best cicchetti in Venice, you might just want to explore the cicchetti scene by yourself.
Or, maybe, you can join a guided tour during which a local guide will take you around the city and give you a thorough explanation of this street food custom.
Other reasons why tours are worth your time, is that you can meet fellow foodie travellers like yourself and get to know curious facts about the cicchetti and the city.
This is knowledge you can also apply to other parts of the Veneto Region as well.
See my selection of the best cicchetti tours in Venice you can join below:
Food Tasting Tour with Cicchetti Dishes and Wine
If you have the afternoon spare, this Food Tasting Tour with Cicchetti Dishes (and Wine) is the perfect tour for you, not only to discover some of the best places to eat cicchetti in Venice but also to visit the city along the way.
Starting from the lesser-frequented residential district of Cannaregio, your guide will share with you interesting facts about Venice’s history.
You’ll then have the chance to cross the Grand Canal by traghetto a gondola and then reach the Rialto area where the food tasting begins!
During the tour you’ll try several cicchetti that will be paired to local wines and the most loved Venetian alcoholic drink: the Spritz.
Street Food Tour with a Local Guide and Tastings
Without any doubt, the best cicchetti in Venice are prepared with fresh seasonal ingredients. Where can you find the best ingredients? At the market!
As any local will tell you, the markets in Venice are the best place to visit to find fresh and zero-kilometre fish and seafood, vegetables and fruits.
By joining this Street Food Tour with a Local Guide and Tastings, your guide will take you to the oldest market of Venice: the Rialto market. From here the tour starts, during which you’ll visit famous and less touristy locations in Venice.
Walk past Campo San Polo, the Basilica dei Frari and Campo Santa Margherita, in the laid-back Dorsoduro district. Taste the best cicchetti in the city in the bacari and join Venetians in one of their daily rituals.
Cicchetti Street Food Tour
You can also opt for this Cicchetti Street Food Tour during which you’ll explore the city led by a local expert guide with a small group.
With this walking tour you’ll visit the Rialto bridge, Campo San Polo and Basilica dei Frari and of course, stop by some bacari to try the cicchetti.
The tour is perfect to get a glimpse into the Venetian lifestyle by doing what locals love doing: aperitivo. Enjoy your cicchetti with a glass of wine or the Spritz.
Best Cicchetti in Venice
With this food guide you should now know what cicchetti are and where you can sample the best cicchetti in Venice. Remember to keep my cicchetti map handy whilst in Venice (or download it before leaving).
If you decide to stop at one or more of the bacari suggested by me, please let me know if you liked their cicchetti and drinks!
Now that you also know the cicchetti etiquette and my tips to enjoy cicchetti in Venice, you can either ‘andar per bacari’ by yourself or join a guided tour.
Will you be travelling to Venice soon and eager to know more about the local cuisine here? Just head over my must eat food in Venice guide for more local tips.
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