I've recently returned from a short trip to the beautiful and unique city of Venice in Italy. It's been a dream place of mine to visit for as long as I can remember and I had such an amazing time exploring the city. Of course one of the things I was most excited about was the food! So I wanted to share my foodie tips based on my experience in Venice, and I hope they help you enjoy your trip there too, or even inspire you to visit.
1. Head to a local bakery
Dotted around the city you're sure to come upon a bakery. Meringues, 'S' shaped biscuits, strudels, cakes and macarons line the windows. Head on inside to try the delicious treats. We enjoyed some fresh sugar coated mini donuts with raisins inside that were absolutely scrumptious.
2. Try a Spritz!
You'll see people drinking this bright orange drink from wine glasses, and it really is the drink of the city. It's most commonly served with ice and a slice of orange, sometimes you'll get an olive in it too. The flavour is bitter orange, it reminded me of the cocktail Negroni.
3. Gelato comes in lots of flavours
So try as many as you can! Trust me - it's worth it. We got a different flavour every time we visited a gelato counter and in 3 days we managed 12 flavours! The scoop size is fairly modest and you're on holiday so why not! I also saw vegan friendly gelatarias if you don't eat dairy.
4. Take your time
Meals tend to be eaten later in Venice, for example breakfast in our hotel was served 8 - 12. So take it easy and enjoy a leisurely meal as the Italian tradition is to take your time and really enjoy your food.
5. Eat Seafood
If you eat seafood like I do, then take advantage of how fresh and plentiful the seafood options are in Venice. Every menu I saw was packed with options from the more well known like calamari and lobster, to the more exotic like octopus and squid ink pasta.
6. Avoid the restaurants in Piazza San Marco
During my research for this trip I constantly came across warnings about the restaurants and cafes directly in and around Piazza San Marco (St Mark's Square). I've read stories about being charged for sitting down, and a bill for €100 for 4 coffees! I've not experienced anything like this myself, but personally I'd rather not take the risk.
7. Grab a slice...
Of pizza! There are so many toppings to choose from and the slices are reasonably prized and generously sized. It'd be rude not to! We shared a delicious slice of spinach and ricotta pizza for €2.50.
Also known as tapas, this is the Italian version of small bites of food and it's worth checking out for authentic Venetian flavours. They are also great value for money! We didn't get a chance to try any as the restaurant we were recommended was so busy people were stood outside on the street eating (a good sign I know, but we wanted to sit down after walking all day), so it's high on my list for next time.
9. Take it home
The pasta section the supermarket near our hotel was the biggest pasta section I've ever seen, and also the most diverse. We grabbed the pasta haul above to take home with us, which includes red wine flavoured pasta and rainbow coloured pasta. I also saw lemon flavour, and orange and paprika flavour pasta. I wish I had a bigger suitcase!
10. Enjoy a drink
Drinking alcohol in Venice is a relatively low cost pursuit, so it was nice to treat ourselves for a few days whilst we were on holiday. I enjoyed a glass of prosecco with a meal for only €2.50 and we found 3 bottles of beer in the supermarket for under €2! When eating cicchetti (see tip 8) you can also often get a deal where a glass of wine is included in the meal price.
And one final bonus tip...
If you go to Venice I highly recommend the hotel we stayed in, Ca Maria Adele, it really was very beautiful and the service was excellent!