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It is true that the average meal in Venice is much more expensive than in the rest of Italy. There is a simple reason for this: All the restaurant supplies have to be carried by hand to each restaurant, therefore increasing the cost of ingredients and supplies by at least 1/3 of normal prices.
But, fear not, there are some restaurants which offer typical Venetian food at reasonable prices. To spot these restaurants, stay away from the main tourist routes and look for the locals. If there are many Italians (or, even better, Venetians) sitting at the tables, it is a good sign that it’s a well-priced place to go and try some food.
Here are three of my suggestions:
Trattoria Pizzeria La Rosa dei Venti
Fondamenta Minotto 164, Santa Croce
This place is always full of Italians. To get a table, either book first or go before 8 PM,when the locals go to eat. The trattoria offers a tourist menu (“menu turistico” — don’t be afraid by the name), which usually includes a first course (a pasta dish), a main course (meat and side dish), and a dessert all for €18. (Drinks are extra.)
The menu varies every day and it is full of authentic Venetian recipes. Try the Antipasto di Affettato, a plate of cold meats (delicious with fresh bread), the Risotto di mare, or the homemade Tiramisu.
Situated at the back of Campo San Polo, this is a very nice restaurant with limited space. (As indicated for the trattoria above, book first or make sure to go before 8 PM). The house specialty is the massive pizza, which start at around €7. The pasta is also quite good, and the portions are generous. Try the pasta alla carbonara, a creamy dish with plenty of bacon. You will find a lot of locals at the Ristorante Pizzeria Le due Colonne, and it is a friendly, very Italian, place.
Osteria ae Cravate
Santa Croce 36/36, Salizada di San Pantalon
+39 33 5638 5000
Just around the corner from the Rosa dei Venti restaurant, the Osteria ae Cravate is a charming place. You’ll find ties hanging throughout the restaurant (yes, ties – hence the name “Ae Cravate”- Italian for “tie”). There isn’t a written menu, but the owners speak English and will be happy to explain the dishes for you. (Ask for Sigfrido.)
The dishes change every day according to the ingredients in season. The restaurant specializes in fish. I personally recommend trying the selection of “cicchetti” (similar to Spanish tapas) and the Spaghetti allo scoglio (seafood spaghetti). An average meal is about €30 per person—including a good bottle of prosecco.
About the author: Monica Cesarato runs her own B&B on the Riviera del Brenta, just outside Venice. She also blogs about life in Venice and the Italian lifestyle http://www.monicacesarato.com.