Venice’s cuisine is a crossroads of unforgettable flavours – here are 11 venues to give you an authentic flavour of Venetian gastronomy (Photo: Marriott International)

Venice’s cuisine is a crossroads of flavours, a melting pot of culinary traditions that reflect the city's thousand-year history as a major maritime centre. Galleons would arrive laden with exotic ingredients – spices, almonds and raisins, to name a few – that became part of the local cuisine, giving life to a truly distinct gastronomy. As you explore the city, make sure you pop into a bacaro (ancient tavern) to refuel with the city’s much-loved savoury delicacies known as cicchetti. Here are 11 venues to give you an authentic flavour of Venetian gastronomy.

Agli Amici Dopolavoro

JW Marriott Venice's Agli Amici Dopolavoro restaurant

The airy and elegant Agli Amici Dopolavoro Venezia graces JW Marriott Venice Resort & Spa with its flavourful lagoon dishes (Photo: Marriott International)

Housed in the JW Marriott Venice Resort & Spa on the lush private island of Isola delle Rose is the airy and elegant Agli Amici Dopolavoro Venezia. Set in a 1920s building with beautifully preserved original features, the restaurant's menu focuses on fish and vegetables. Fresh greens come from the restaurant’s kitchen garden, while the olive oil used is produced on the island. Sit back in the stylish dining area and tuck into flavourful lagoon dishes such as crab tortelli with saffron and seaweed, or spaghetti with anchovy butter, egg toffee and shoal herbs. This is food to soothe the soul, as befits a resort focused on well-being. The restaurant has a private dock, making it easy to zip across by boat from Venice proper.

Sagra Rooftop Restaurant

JW Marriott Venice's Sagra Rooftop restaurant

Located in the JW Marriott Venice Resort & Spa, Sagra Rooftop Restaurant takes diners on a culinary tour of Italy (Photo: Marriott International)

Celebrating Italian cuisine from north to south, Sagra Rooftop Restaurant is located in the JW Marriott Venice Resort & Spa. Upon arrival, sit back on stylish cushioned seating with sapphire-blue and coral accents, and soak up sublime views of the lagoon and Venice skyline. Savour the likes of seafood risotto, cacio e pepe pasta or Milanese-style breaded veal cutlet. Come evening, patrons flock here to nibble on cicchetti and sip on expertly prepared cocktails as they watch the sun set over Italy’s fabled maritime city.

Osteria Al Mercà

Osteria Al Mercà is a traditional fish restaurant housed in the Lido di Venezia, a long and narrow strip of land that separates the lagoon from the Adriatic Sea. Film buffs will know this barrier island hosts the annual Venice’s Film Festival, known to attract red carpet attendees from the world over. Head here to savour cicchetti and flavoursome fish-based specialities including fish risotto, seppie in umido (stewed cuttlefish), and frittura mista, a dish of freshly caught and deep-fried fish and seafood in a light, perfectly crisps batter.

Sapori Cooking Academy

JW Marriott Venice's Sapori Cooking Academy

Learn how to prepare some of the delicious dishes you've enjoyed in Venice at Sapori Cooking Academy in the JW Marriott Venice Resort & Spa (Photo: Marriott International)

You can hone your culinary skills at Sapori Cooking Academy in the JW Marriott Venice Resort & Spa, where experienced chefs reveal the secrets of Venetian cuisine. The experience kicks off at the buzzing Rialto fish market, where you’ll learn how to pick out the freshest catch on display. Back at the Academy, you’ll stroll the kitchen garden and orchard to gather fresh greens and fruits before you head to the kitchen to rustle up Venetian specialities. You can also learn to make the city’s much-loved cicchetti, prepared using lagoon ingredients, then enjoy them with a glass of wine.

Osteria Al Portego

This rustic, lively spot tucked away on a little calle a short walk east of the Rialto Bridge offers an authentic Venetian experience. The counter of Osteria al Portego is packed with all manner of traditional cicchetti – make your choice and join the locals with a glass of Spritz, or take a seat at one of the tables and tuck into classic Venetian dishes such as baccalà mantecato, a deliciously creamy dish of dried cod whipped with olive oil and served with polenta or bread, and sarde in saor, deep-fried sardines marinated in vinegar, onions, raisins and pine nuts. There’s a good selection of Venetian wines, too.

Gio’s

The St Regis Venice's Gio's Restaurant

Settings do not come more iconic than the Grand Canal scene that accompanies diners at Gio’s Restaurant & Terrace, part of the St. Regis Venice (Photo: Marriott International)

Head to Gio’s Restaurant & Terrace for Grand Canal-side seating on a magnificent, breeze-cooled veranda and sweeping views of the Basilica di San Giorgio. With its stylish white parasols, leafy trees and pastel-hued cushions scattered on cream-coloured seating, Gio’s exudes a Mediterranean vibe. Come evening, candles are lit, creating a decidedly romantic ambience. The menu includes Venetian and Italian favourites along with a smattering of international dishes. The restaurant is part of the St. Regis Venice, which has one of the most coveted addresses in the city: Piazza San Marco, Venice’s largest square.

Arts Bar

The St Regis Venice's Arts Bar

The mixologists at the St. Regis Venice’s acclaimed Arts Bar prepare cocktails of the highest order (Photo: Marriott International)

The St. Regis Venice’s sophisticated Arts Bar offers seating along one of the world’s most iconic waterways: the Grand Canal. Mixologists shake up drinks that take inspiration from Venice’s rich cultural and artistic heritage, with signature cocktails inspired by celebrated artworks connected to the city. Settle in with an expertly crafted drink, enjoyed on velvet seating in rich hues of amber and burnt orange. Alternatively, make for the terrace, where you can sip your preferred tipple as gondolas glide past the baroque Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute across the water. Contemporary jazz tunes add to the ambience.

La Zucca 

La Zucca offers a wide selection of plant-based dishes that are sure to entice, whether or not you're a vegetarian. Savour the likes of rich, creamy pumpkin flan made with seasoned ricotta and butter; grilled mushrooms stuffed with pecorino cheese; and vegetable lasagne featuring fresh, seasonal greens. La Zucca in the district of San Polo, with oak panelled walls and finishes in bottle green creating a warm and cosy feel.

The Gritti Terrace

The Gritti Terrace at The Gritti Palace, A Luxury Collection Hotel

The sweeping panorama from The Gritti Terrace in The Gritti Palace, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Venice is a perfect accompaniment to the restaurant's excellent food (Photo: Marriott International)

With seating along the waterfront, The Gritti Terrace in The Gritti Palace, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Venice offers some of the best views around. The sweeping panorama stretches from Punta della Dogana to Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute, with the island of San Giorgio Maggiore in the near distance. It’s perfect for a light meal, whether for lunch or an afternoon bite to refuel between one sightseeing stop and another. On the menu, you’ll find salads, hamburgers and pasta dishes, along with zesty soups (think watermelon, strawberry and cherry tomato gazpacho) as well as fish and meat mains such as fried calamari, grilled squid and Venetian style calf’s liver with polenta.

Club del Doge

Club del Doge at The Gritti Palace, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Venice

Set in a 15th-century noble palace, Club del Doge in The Gritti Palace, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Venice celebrates Venetian culinary tradition (Photo: Marriott International)

If you’re seeking a venue to dine in historical surrounds, then look no further than Club del Doge in The Gritti Palace, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Venice. Set in a 15th-century noble palace, Club del Doge Restaurant offers seating in a sumptuous, gilded dining room that has seen centuries of luxurious enjoyment. If you’d rather dine al fresco, ask for a table on the canal-side terrace, which offers expansive views of the city’s main waterway. The cuisine celebrates Venetian culinary tradition, with dishes expertly crafted with a contemporary, international twist. You’ll find the likes of red chicory from Treviso served with puttanesca sauce and crunchy waffle, and fish dishes such as cod with lentils, miso and soy broth.

The Gritti Epicurean School

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For nearly four decades, The Gritti Epicurean School has been teaching cooks how to perfect their culinary skills (Photo: Marriott International)

Part of the The Gritti Palace, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Venice, The Gritti Epicurean School has been teaching both budding and experienced cooks how to perfect their culinary skills since 1975. You’ll enjoy a hands-on cooking class and learn about the Venice's rich culinary heritage. As well as a visit the Rialto Market, the masterclass includes a typical Venetian aperitivo with cicchetti at one of the city’s traditional bacari, where participants can get a feel for authentic Venetian life. The school also offers wine tastings where you can explore the differences between whites and reds from northeastern Italy.

Check out More Cravings by Marriott Bonvoy™, Marriott International's one-stop destination to discover a world of culinary inspiration and rich rewards. For more information, check out More Cravings on Instagram or visit www.morecravings.com

Published: June 29, 2023

Last Updated: November 10, 2023

Article Tags:  Italy , Venice

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