Where can I eat well in Venice, Italy? I get that question a lot, along with some whining about how the questioning travelers just know that Venice isn’t a great food town. Oh really? I have to tell you that I couldn’t disagree more. Last year my great pal Elizabeth Minchilli mentioned that she was planning a Venice eating trip in service of her latest app, EatVenice. Would I like to tag along? Well, yes I would and as a coincidence I was planning a trip to Parma a week later. Perfect timing is a beautiful thing.
Now Elizabeth doesn’t play around so I knew that this wasn’t going to be a breakfast, lunch, dinner kind of trip. And I was right. I would say we averaged seven to ten eating locales a day including the famed baccari or snacking bars where you can stop in, have just one or two ciccheti (Venetian Tapas) or make a meal of them along with a glass of wine. A word about the baccari. Who came up with such a perfect eating plus drinking format? (That was a rhetorical question). The good ones are incredible. Historic, comfortable, friendly, with delicious little bites and local wine and or beer to go along, they are my ideal eating establishment.We also ate in sit down restaurants, trattorie, bakeries, coffee bars and delis. The food was fascinating and nearly universally delicious. Of course when you eat in that many places you’re going to have some clinkers but overall the food was fantastic. It may be 2013, but Venice is still rigorously regional. It’s position on the Italian peninsula combined with the challenges of getting food to all shops, bars and restaurants by boat pretty much ensures that local will trump global whenever possible. So what did we eat? Fish. Fish and Seafood and Polenta. White polenta. Squid Ink everything and tiny soft shell crabs and Mortadella. Great thick chunks of mortadella, the kind that convinced me that a vegetarian life was not for me.