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Nov 10, 2009 04:17 PM

Affordable, local food in Venice?

Hi everyone,

My girlfriend and I will be in Venice this weekend, Friday until Tuesday.

She speaks a little bit of Italian and we don't mind leaving the beaten track but we don't have a lot of money to spend.

Does anyone have recommendations for simple and cheap lunch or dinner in Venice? We're open to any interesting places, just want to avoid overpriced restaurants, and we can't afford the good and expensive ones at the moment either I'm afraid.
This board has many recommendations for great restaurants in Venice that I'm reading with interest, but we're students traveling on a budget...

Thank you very much for any suggestions!

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  1. I would make lunch as my main meal where many osteria still cook for working Venetians. Also eat cicchetti. Below are couple of links to earlier posts that will be helpful.

    1 Reply
    1. re: PBSF

      Eat in relatively non-tourist areas rather than around San Marco and you are likely to find less indifferent food for your desired low price. Osteria alla frasca, osteria san barnaba (da sandro), and anice stellato, are three places where we have had relatively inexpensive and good lunches in venice. alla frasca definitely serves a less expensive daily lunch for local folks, their pasta and fish are both very good but you want to stick with the pastas and stay away from the grilled fish, seafood platters etc or your price will skyrocket. da sandro has few tables and a few hot dishes (mostly meat based) each day, I had a great rendition of fegato alla veneziana here a couple years back. I definitely agree with the cichetti recc for evening grazing and sampling some of the local seafood specialties and wines with a relatively low investment. If the cichetti does not fill you up, there are several good pizzerias for an evening meal in Venice. People recommend Nono Risorto and Il Refolo - Ive not been to either so far, but can recommend both Dai Tosi, pretty far out in Castello, and closer in, Ae Oche, on Calle delle Tintor 1552 in Santa Croce - which has excellent value pizzas as well as good salads and beer - popular with tourists and locals for good reason we felt. I believe they also have a branch on the Zattere in Dorsoduro. good place to wind up after a ciccetti cruise perhaps.

    2. Taverna San Trovaso in Dorsoduro serves very large plates of pasta at reasonable prices. They have meat and fish too, and they don't skimp. Ae Oche is an excellent recommendation (they have cheap lunch specials and great pizza and it is definitely not expensive) as is Il Refolo (though I wouldn't call it inexpensive - more moderate.) I love Casa Mia on Calle Oca just off Campo SS Apostoli in Cannaregio - fantastic pizza, and it is not expensive.

      Another great restaurant near Casa Mia is Osteria da Alberto, on the calle between SS Giovanni & Paolo and Campo Santa Maria Nova. They have excellent and reasonably priced pasta, meat and fish specials every day, and good cichetti at the bar.

      Definitely explore the cichetti scene and for lunch try "tramezzini" - these are little half sandwiches you will see all over town. If you stand at the bar and have a couple of these and a shot of wine, it'll fuel you till the next stop.

      Have a great time.

      6 Replies
      1. re: Shannon

        Venice has a lot of good cheap eats. Just stay away from the San Marco places with multilingual menus.
        I second all of Shannon's recs.
        Re tramezzini, my fave tramezzini bars are:
        - Bar Alla Toletta, Dorsoduro 1191 (near Accademia bridge)
        - Ai Nomboli, Calle Goldoni 2717, near Campo San Polo. Has about 2 dozens types of tramezzini. My very fave.
        - Ai Do Draghi Calle della Chiesa between Campo Santa Margherita and Campo S. Pantalon.

        1. re: Shannon

          Ditto Ae Oche (we went to the one on the Zattere) - wide range of pizzas - I had one with forest mushrooms (see the pizza menu:, and a crafty Aperol cocktail for lunch.

          Try also the places on the Fondamentas of Cannaregio - we had a lot of fun drinking grappa in al Timon, and a good meal in Da Rioba on Fondamenta della Misericordia, including salad with super-fresh walnuts, which tasted like nothing we'd had in the UK before.

          Have a fabulous and memorable trip.

          1. re: therubyslippers

            This has all been useful information! I am in the process of planning a trip to Venice myself, with some friends. We are also on quite a budget so we have to watch where we eat as well. Actually we are considering renting a little apartment, and that way we would be able to cook. We've found sites like where you can find some pretty cheap deals, or . How easy and cheap would it be to shop at local markets and cook on our own? Does it even make sense to do this? I've heard that the Rialto fish market is worth visiting, but we also like to eat very fresh (and mostly vegetarian!). I also read some more about the markets on
            Any suggestions/ideas would be appreciated!

            1. re: missluisa

              We always rent for our holidays in Europe. The market is such a big part of the fun. And eating out all the time twice a day gets really tiresome, even if you have a good budget.
              The Rialto market is beautiful and fabulous and … inexpensive. In fact there are several markets there - the vegetable market, the meat market and the fish market. In fact I always rank the market experience right up there with the best museums.

              1. re: missluisa

                We spend a month or two in our apartment in Venice every year. Without doubt, it is cheaper to cook than to dine out. Of course, it will depend on how long your stay is. For less than 4 days, I am not sure it is worth it (stocking staples and the work of setting up a kitchen, etc); longer stay, definitely. Keep in mind that shopping and cooking take time, therefore, it will eat into your time for sightseeing, etc. Below is a link to a recent post on cooking in Venice.

                1. re: missluisa

                  Just couple of other comments: the Rialto is definitely the best market to shop for all types of food but every neighborhood will have markets, bakeries, etc. Venice is very compact; unless you on the outer eastern part of Castello, it is easy to get around and shop. Our apartment is in San Polo, conveniently near the Rialto where we do most of our food shopping. If you choose an apartment in another neighborhood, consider posting again and you'll get some good ideas and recommendations.
                  As for the cost of food, it compares to what we pay in the US (probably a little more, taken in the account of the current weak dollar); certain things such as olive oil, wine, pasta, bottle water, cheeses are cheaper, while other such as paper product, dry goods, flour/sugar are more expensive. Good wild seafood is very expensive in where we live, therefore, it compares favorably with what we pay in Venice. If you buy seafood to cook, don't skimp on freshness and pass on the farmed varieties.