Taste of Italy: Venice

They say we eat with our eyes first, so we hope you're hungry. Embark on our culinary tour of Venice.
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Photo By: Thinkstock

Photo By: Thinkstock

Photo By: Wikimedia Commons

Photo By: Wikimedia Commons

Photo By: Flickr Creative Commons

Photo By: Wikimedia Commons


Cicchetti are Venice’s version of tapas. These small bites range from fried seafood to hard boiled eggs to meatballs or simply cured olives. An entire meal can be created from Cicchetti by ordering multiple plates at the Cicchetteria. Don’t forget to wash it down with some vino.


Carpaccio was created in Venice and named after the artist Vittore Carpaccio by the Cipriani family, owners of the famous Harry’s Bar. Thinly sliced beef is served on a plate drizzled with Harry’s famous sauce of mayonnaise, crushed tomato, cream, mustard and Worcestershire sauce.


Risotto is a common dish throughout Italy, but in Venice, the Risi e Bisi is well known because of one prized ingredient: Peas. Paired with ham and risotto broth, this dish is rich in flavors of the region.

Fried Sardines

Fried sardines have been a favorite snack in Venice since the 13th century and are served simply with a drizzle of lemon juice, olive oil and parsley.


Prosecco is the sparkling beverage of choice in Venice, not to mention much of Italy. The Veneto region produces much of Italy’s prosecco. It can be enjoyed alone, in a cocktail, or in a Bellini, which was made famous in Venice. Prosecco pairs nicely with the abundant seafood dishes of Venice.


Artichokes are a prized vegetable of the area and can be found in markets in early spring. Early season baby artichokes, or castraure, are highly sought after for their tender and bitter flesh; fondi di artichiochi, or artichoke hearts, are often found cleaned and prepared and sold in buckets of water in local markets. Fried and served with lemon and olive oil, or layered in sandwiches, artichokes appear in many different Venetian dishes.

Fegato alla Veniziana

Fegato alla Veniziana is a local specialty consisting of lightly fried liver with browned onions and a bit of red wine.

Radicchio Trevisiano

Bitter red chickory known as Radicchio Trevisiano is often served in salads, alla griglia (grilled and served with olive oil) and can even be found in some risotto dishes.

Pasta e Fasioi

Venice’s version of Minestrone soup, pasta e fasioi, contains short pasta, fava beans, onion, oil, salt and pepper and has been considered a poor man’s dish for centuries.


Tramezzini is a different kind of Italian sandwich than the ubiquitous Panini. Various ingredients like tuna, eggs, capers and ham are piled onto thinly sliced white bread and cut into bite-sized pieces. These are also considered Cicchetti.

Polenta and Cuttlefish

The deep black color of this dish -- polenta and cuttlefish -- is derived from the ink of the cuttlefish.

Bigoli alla Busara

Bigoli alla busara is a regional specialty featuring a thick, whole wheat spaghetti and a sauce layered with the flavors of melted anchovies and onions.


A simple dessert, baicoli are dry biscuits often served with coffee and zabaglione. The dessert is named such because it resembles sea bass, a local fish, called baicoli by locals.

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