Best Dining in Venice: Where Locals Go for Authentic Flavors

Among our bespoke offerings, we present exquisite culinary adventures that let you savor the true essence of Italian cuisine. In this blog post, we introduce you to some of the most intriguing restaurants for best dining in Venice. While we won’t mention all our favorite spots here, we will be delighted to share them with you once you book your Italian adventure with us!

Venice, often celebrated for its picturesque canals and rich history, boasts a vibrant food scene that is equally captivating. This enchanting city is a haven for food lovers, offering an array of dining spots where locals go to enjoy authentic flavors and charming ambiances. In this article, we’ll guide you through the best dining in Venice, revealing hidden gems favored by Venetians themselves.

For those seeking an exclusive experience, consider starting your culinary journey with a Private Boat Tour Venice. This allows you to escape the crowds and immerse yourself in the city’s charm up close with personalized service and comfort.

To complete your luxurious getaway, we recommend indulging in a stay at one of the many luxury hotels in Italy, which offer high-class experiences across Rome, Venice, Tuscany, and more. These lavish retreats will make your vacation truly unforgettable.

Get ready to tantalize your taste buds and immerse yourself in the culinary delights of Venice!


Discover Hidden Luxuries of Italy

Dive into our curated collection of Italy's most luxurious, hidden treasures. Tailored for discerning tastes, explore what others don't know.

The Culinary Charms of Venice

Venetian cuisine stands out in Italy’s rich culinary landscape due to its unique characteristics. It is a delightful combination of tradition and innovation, heavily influenced by the city’s historical significance as a major maritime power.

A Melting Pot of Flavors: The Diverse Influences on Venetian Gastronomy

Venetian cuisine is known for its diverse influences:

  1. Seafood: Being located along the coast, Venice has easy access to fresh seafood. As a result, many dishes feature ingredients like fish, clams, squid, and cuttlefish. Examples of iconic Venetian seafood dishes include Sarde in Saor (sweet and sour sardines) and Risotto al Nero di Seppia (black ink risotto).
  2. Spices and Trade: Venice’s history as a hub for trade with the East brought in a variety of exotic flavors through the spice trade. Traditional recipes often incorporate ingredients such as saffron, cinnamon, and cloves.
  3. Polenta and Rice: While pasta is popular throughout Italy, Venetian cuisine leans towards the use of polenta (a cornmeal-based dish) and rice. One classic dish that showcases this preference is Risi e Bisi (rice with peas).
  4. Seasonal Produce: Venetian chefs prioritize using locally sourced ingredients, particularly seasonal vegetables like radicchio from Treviso or artichokes from Sant’Erasmo island.
  5. Cicchetti: Similar to Spanish tapas, cicchetti are small snacks or side dishes that are often enjoyed with a glass of wine at traditional wine bars known as bàcari.

Venetian food culture thrives on simplicity combined with high-quality ingredients. This blend of tradition and innovation creates an always-exciting dining experience in Venice, whether you’re a local or a visitor.

Best Dining in Venice

Best Dining in Venice: Spots Loved by the Locals

1. Osteria Alle Testiere

Osteria Alle Testiere is often revered as one of the best dining spots in Venice, a favorite among locals and visitors alike for its dedication to fresh seafood and authentic Venetian cuisine. Tucked away in a quaint alley, this intimate restaurant offers an experience that combines simplicity with sophistication.

Daily Fresh Menu

The heart of Osteria Alle Testiere lies in its ever-changing menu, dictated by the freshest catch of the day. Each dish is crafted to highlight the natural flavors of the seafood, making every visit a unique culinary adventure.

Signature Dishes

  • Grilled Scallops: Perfectly seared scallops served with a light drizzle of lemon and olive oil.
  • Spaghetti alle Vongole: A classic Venetian pasta dish featuring clams, garlic, white wine, and parsley.
  • Fritto Misto: An assortment of lightly battered and fried seafood, offering a delightful crunch with each bite.

Cozy Atmosphere

With only a handful of tables available, the ambiance at Osteria Alle Testiere is both cozy and intimate. The small size ensures personalized service, allowing you to fully immerse yourself in the dining experience.

Reservations Essential

Due to its popularity and limited seating, securing a reservation well in advance is highly recommended. This ensures you won’t miss out on savoring some of the finest seafood Venice has to offer.

Local Favorites

Venetians often find solace in the familiar yet exceptional flavors offered here. The restaurant’s commitment to quality ingredients and traditional cooking methods resonates deeply with those who appreciate genuine Venetian gastronomy.

Emphasizing authenticity and freshness, Osteria Alle Testiere stands as a beacon for those seeking an unpretentious yet extraordinary meal. Whether you’re feasting on their renowned fritto misto or enjoying a simple plate of spaghetti alle vongole, each dish promises to deliver an unforgettable taste of Venice’s rich culinary heritage.


2. Locanda Cipriani

Nestled on the serene island of Torcello, Locanda Cipriani is a special combination of history and great food. This famous restaurant is known as one of the top places to eat in Venice, attracting both locals and tourists with its charming garden and excellent service. The peaceful atmosphere created by the surrounding greenery makes it the perfect getaway from the busy city.

What Makes Locanda Cipriani Stand Out?

  1. Fresh Seafood: Locanda Cipriani is famous for its delicious seafood dishes, which are an important part of Venetian cuisine.
  2. Seasonal Ingredients: The menu changes according to the seasons, guaranteeing that every dish is made with the freshest ingredients accessible.
  3. Must-Try Dishes: Don’t miss out on their risotto di gò (risotto made with goby fish) or the renowned tagliolini with spider crab.

“The food was absolutely divine! The atmosphere was lovely and the staff were incredibly attentive.” – Ernest Hemingway

Famous Guests Who Have Dined Here

Over the years, many celebrities have fallen in love with this restaurant. From Ernest Hemingway to Princess Diana, they have all been captivated by its beautiful location and exquisite food.

Locanda Cipriani is not just a place to eat; it also holds great historical significance. By enjoying each mouthful, you are participating in a long-standing tradition that has been cherished for many years.

3. All’Arco

When it comes to experiencing the best dining spots favored by Venice locals, All’Arco stands out as a quintessential choice. This traditional wine bar, nestled in the heart of the city, is renowned for its authentic Venetian cuisine and vibrant atmosphere.

All’Arco is famed for its cicchetti—Venetian tapas that include an array of small dishes bursting with flavor. Locals flock here to enjoy freshly prepared bites such as:

  • Fresh seafood selections
  • Crostini topped with cured meats and cheeses
  • Seasonal vegetables drizzled with olive oil

The wine selection at All’Arco complements the food perfectly, featuring a variety of local and regional wines. The knowledgeable staff can help you pair your cicchetti with the ideal glass of wine, enhancing your dining experience.

Unlike many other eateries in Venice, All’Arco offers a casual, laid-back environment where you can stand at the bar or grab a seat outside to people-watch while savoring your meal. Its popularity among locals makes it an excellent spot for immersing yourself in Venetian culture and cuisine.

4. La Zucca: A Unique Dining Experience in Venice

La Zucca is one of the top places to eat in Venice, known for its creative approach to local food that has won over the hearts of Venetians. While many restaurants in Venice focus mainly on serving fresh seafood, La Zucca stands out by offering a wide selection of vegetarian and meat dishes that appeal to both vegetarians and meat lovers.

What makes La Zucca special?

  1. Vegetarian-Friendly Menu: The restaurant is famous for its innovative vegetarian options. One dish that stands out is their famous pumpkin flan, which perfectly represents the creative spirit of La Zucca’s kitchen.
  2. Daily-Changing Menu: La Zucca takes pride in its menu that changes every day based on the freshest ingredients available, ensuring a unique dining experience each time you visit. This also shows their dedication to using seasonal produce.
  3. Cozy Ambiance: The warm and welcoming atmosphere of La Zucca adds to its appeal. With its comfortable interior featuring dark wood panels and shelves filled with bottles, diners instantly feel at ease as they savor their meals.
  4. Popular Dishes: In addition to the pumpkin flan, there are other must-try dishes at La Zucca such as their pasta with artichokes and ricotta gnocchi with sage butter. Every dish is crafted with great attention to detail, showcasing the true essence of Venetian cuisine.

A Delicious Alternative

La Zucca offers a fantastic choice for those who want to discover the flavors of Venice beyond seafood. Its dedication to using high-quality ingredients and creating inventive recipes makes it a place you shouldn’t miss if you’re looking for an authentic yet distinctive dining experience in Venice.


5. GLAM: Venice’s Premier Dining Destination

GLAM is known as one of the top places to eat in Venice, with a Michelin star recognizing its outstanding food. Situated in the city center, this restaurant is the brainchild of Chef Enrico Bartolini, a well-known figure in the culinary world who brings his unique ideas and innovative methods to Venetian cuisine.

At GLAM, you’ll discover a modern interpretation of classic dishes. The menu features carefully chosen seasonal ingredients, ensuring that each meal is both fresh and bursting with flavor. While paying tribute to Venice’s rich food traditions, signature dishes often highlight locally caught seafood prepared in new and exciting ways.

Here are some reasons why GLAM stands out:

  1. Creative Seafood Dishes: From raw appetizers to grilled whole fish, every plate showcases the chef’s skill and creativity.
  2. Elegant Atmosphere: The restaurant has a classy yet welcoming ambiance, making it suitable for any occasion.
  3. Impeccable Service: The staff are attentive and dedicated, guaranteeing that your dining experience is smooth and unforgettable.

GLAM’s dedication to excellence and originality has earned it a spot as one of the top choices for dining among both locals and discerning tourists. If you’re looking for an extraordinary culinary journey in Venice, GLAM is sure to deliver an unforgettable experience through its flavors.

Hidden Gems for the Adventurous Foodies

1. Estro – Vino e Cucina

Estro – Vino e Cucina seamlessly blends the charm of a traditional wine bar with the creativity of modern Venetian cuisine. Located off the beaten path, this hidden gem offers an unforgettable dining experience that resonates with both locals and tourists seeking unique flavors.


The interior exudes a warm, rustic feel with exposed brick walls, wooden furnishings, and shelves lined with an impressive selection of wines. The cozy atmosphere makes it an ideal spot for intimate dinners or casual gatherings.


The menu at Estro is a testament to imaginative Venetian-inspired fare. Dishes are crafted from fresh, local ingredients and often feature inventive twists on traditional recipes. Some standout offerings include:

  • Cuttlefish ink risotto
  • Venetian-style liver
  • Seasonal vegetable dishes

Wine Selection

As the name suggests, Estro places a strong emphasis on its wine selection. The knowledgeable staff are certified sommeliers who can recommend the perfect pairing from their extensive list of Italian wines. Wine enthusiasts will appreciate the focus on local and regional varieties, offering a true taste of Venice’s rich viticultural heritage.

For those looking to escape the typical tourist traps and immerse themselves in authentic Venetian cuisine, Estro – Vino e Cucina offers a delightful culinary journey that captures the essence of Venice in every bite.

2. Osteria Enoteca Ai Artisti

Osteria Enoteca Ai Artisti is a hidden gem in Venice that offers a unique experience of Venetian cuisine. Located by a peaceful canal, this charming restaurant is known for its use of fresh, local ingredients. The menu changes daily based on what’s available in the market, ensuring a fresh and delightful meal every time.

Key Highlights:

  • Location: Situated by a picturesque canal, providing serene views while you dine.
  • Menu: Features dishes like secoe salad (veal cartilage) and pasta with sausage and green peppers.
  • Ambiance: Intimate setting with limited seating, making reservations highly recommended.
  • Wine Selection: Extensive list curated to complement the flavors of the dishes.

The chefs at Osteria Enoteca Ai Artisti are passionate about showcasing traditional Venetian recipes with a modern twist. They are dedicated to using high-quality ingredients and preserving the authentic flavors of the cuisine.

“Dining at Osteria Enoteca Ai Artisti feels like stepping into Venice’s culinary heritage. It’s not just a meal; it’s an unforgettable experience.”

Photo credits @St Regis Venice
Photo credits @St. Regis Venice

Tips for a Memorable Dining Experience in Venice

Seeking Out Authenticity: Avoiding Tourist Traps

Venice, with its labyrinth of canals and historic charm, attracts millions of tourists each year. This popularity means that many restaurants cater specifically to tourists, often at the expense of authenticity. To ensure a memorable dining experience, it’s crucial to seek out genuine Venetian cuisine and avoid tourist traps.

Here are some tips to help you find the most authentic dining spots:

  • Do Your Research: Look for recommendations from locals or trusted travel guides. Websites like TripAdvisor can be helpful, but pay attention to reviews from people who emphasize authenticity and local flavors.
  • Venture Away from Popular Tourist Spots: Areas around major attractions like St. Mark’s Square tend to have higher concentrations of tourist-oriented restaurants. Instead, explore neighborhoods like Cannaregio or Castello where locals dine.
  • Check the Menu: Authentic Venetian restaurants often have menus that reflect the seasonality of ingredients and local specialties. Be wary of places with extensive menus in multiple languages that seem too generic.
  • Observe the Crowd: Restaurants filled with locals are usually a good sign of quality and authenticity. If you see a lot of Venetians enjoying their meals, it’s likely a good spot.
  • Look for Daily Specials: Many authentic eateries offer daily specials based on fresh, locally-sourced ingredients. This is particularly common in seafood restaurants where the catch of the day dictates the menu.
  • Avoid Overly Aggressive Promoters: Restaurants that employ staff to lure in customers from the street are often more focused on volume than quality. Authentic places typically rely on their reputation rather than aggressive marketing tactics.
  • Ask for Local Recommendations: Don’t hesitate to ask your hotel concierge or local shop owners for their restaurant recommendations. Locals are usually proud of their food culture and happy to share their favorite spots.

Embrace Venetian Specialties

Venetian cuisine is unique and deeply rooted in its history and geography. Here are some must-try dishes:

  • Cicchetti: These small snacks or side dishes are similar to Spanish tapas and are best enjoyed with a glass of wine at a local bacaro (wine bar).
  • Sarde in Saor: A traditional dish featuring sardines marinated in vinegar, onions, raisins, and pine nuts.
  • Risotto al Nero di Seppia: Risotto made with cuttlefish ink, giving it a unique black color and rich flavor.
  • Baccalà Mantecato: Creamy whipped salted cod served as an appetizer or spread on bread.
  • Bigoli in Salsa: Thick spaghetti-like pasta served with an anchovy and onion sauce.

By following these tips and embracing local specialties, you can enjoy an authentic dining experience that captures the true essence of Venetian cuisine.


Discover Hidden Luxuries of Italy

Dive into our curated collection of Italy's most luxurious, hidden treasures. Tailored for discerning tastes, explore what others don't know.


Exploring the diverse culinary scene of Venice offers an opportunity to venture beyond the popular tourist areas and discover hidden gems that locals cherish. The journey through Venetian cuisine unveils authentic flavors that capture the essence of the city, from seafood delicacies to vegetarian delights.

While Luxo Italia can assist in making reservations at the recommended restaurants, it’s essential to note that availability is limited. Booking in advance ensures a seamless dining experience, allowing you to fully immerse yourself in the gastronomic wonders Venice has to offer.