A great way to eat, drink and explore Venice and it’s quieter less touristy parts, is to pick some cicchetti bars to go between. It’s a cost effective way to see the city and take part in something that’s still part of the daily life of the locals but most tourists ignore or know nothing about. Cicchetti are little snacks of classic Italian ingredients – hams, cheese, anchovies etc. – on slices of baguette. You have a few along with a glass of good local wine. It’s usually about €12-15 for two small glasses of wine and a few cicchetti. It’s not to be missed, and moving round a few bars certainly makes for a good lunch or evening meal. You’ll find a lot of the best cicchetti bars in and around the Dorsoduro.
Open 10am-10.30pm this coffee bar come wine and Cicchetti bar has an open light, whimsical feel to it with old wine corks lining the bar. Set on a quite square in the Dorsoduro this is a great place to head to to escape the crowds and meet a younger crowed as the day wares on. There’s a wide selection of decent well priced Italian wines to choose from along side a wide selection of classic and simple cicchetti – cheese and honey, ham and mustard, spicy salami, and baccala on slices of baguette, to name just a few. The cicchetti are good and decent quality, but, as with the wine, there’s nothing stand out about them.
Campo S.Tomà Venice, Italy 30100
(3.5 / 5)
A five minute walk from Basego, this red fronted bar with it’s building number and a red telephone sign adorning it, is one for the students that flock to Campo Santa Margherita in the Dorsoduro after lectures. The bar, covered in bare strips of wood, serves up a selection of wines, beers, a few micro brews, gins and apperativo also side a smaller, but slightly more creative, selection of cicchetti than you’ll find at Basego. The thick slices of baguette are topped with smoked salmon that’s lifted with fragrant pink pepper corns, baccala with pink or black roe, marinated artichokes, prosciutto and soft cheese. Sadly where they fall down is the freshness of everything. The cicchetti seemed to have been out a little longer then you’d like and were going slightly dry at the edges. Nonetheless a great atmosphere in the evenings during university term time. Make sure you visit the Red Cafe on the Square too, it’s a classic of its type with coffee and those Italian style thin crust less lunch sandwiches and toasted flat breads.
Calle de la Chiesa 3665
(3.5 / 5)
By far the best and oldest cicchetti bar in the city, it is sadly only open until 5pm. It’s also become a tourist spot, but fear not, this has not led to a reduction in quality, and as such the locals still turn up daily to meet, chat and have an afternoon drink and snack. Just avoid being there at the same time as a walking tour turns up to order. Serving wine and Spritz, the cicchetti are unbeatable. The section is wide, creative and superb in quality and flavour, the pressed pigs head salami with wild mushrooms is superb, as is the blue cheese and anchovy.
Sestiere San Polo 436, 30125 Venice
(5 / 5)
Cantina do Mori
The oldest wine bar and cicchetti establishment in Venice, it has a list of food and drink framed from 1665, and is just across the ally from All’Arco. The dimly lit room is filled with copper pots hanging from the ceiling, while the bar running the length of the room has stacks of old wine vats (still in use) behind it. Sadly despite all this, of all the cicchetti bars I’ve been to this has the worst wine, what one might term classic Italian gut rot. The same is true for the cicchetti themselves. Anchovies topped with a pickled onion on stale baguette, a lettuce leaf and anchovy on stale baguette, and similar, all slightly dry. While not worth a trip on its own make sure you visit after All’Arco as it’s worth visiting just for its history and to see a bar that is nothing like anything else you’ll find.
Sestiere San Polo 429, 30125 Venice
(3 / 5)
Cantine del Vino gia Schiavi
This one gives All’Arco a run for its money. Situated on a beautiful canal just across from the gondola workshop, it’s a must visit. You go in, get your wine or spritz in a plastic cup (because you’re going to want to go outside and perch on the wall – just watch out for seagulls diving for your plate) and choose as many of the huge range of cicchetti on offer as you can handle. They each have their own price. These are by far the prettiest and most creative cicchetti, some covered in delicate dried flowers. There’s a pistachio humous, an octopus with relish, a number of smoked fish options, a hard boiled egg topped with wild mushrooms, and creamed cheese with salmon roe, to name but a fraction of those available. This place is legendary and for good reason.
Dorsoduro 992 Fondamenta Nani, 30123, Venezia
(5 / 5)