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Best Food Tours of Venice

If you are thinking of taking a trip to the city of canals, take a look at these gastronomic tours of Venice. I propose both guided and self-guided tours.

Ana Caballero

Ana Caballero

10 min read

Best Food Tours of Venice

Venice, Italy | ©Jutta Weber Vidal

Italian gastronomy is known all over the world. One of the best cities in terms of cuisine is Venice. The Serenissima is a city famous for its osterias and its bacari, two types of informal establishments where you will get to know the real Venetian culture.

In this article I will tell you about the best gastronomic tours in Venice. You will find from private tours of the best establishments in the city to group tours, as well as others that you will do independently. In case you are a food lover and you have several days of travel, I recommend you to do most of the tours that I propose.

1. Private gastronomic tour of Venice

Lasagna with Fish| ©Ariane
Lasagna with Fish| ©Ariane

I start this list of the best gastronomic tours in Venice with one of the most requested. This activity has excellent ratings from users, which is not surprising considering its characteristics. In this culinary tour of Venice, you will be able to taste the best delicacies of the city' s gastronomy. In addition, this experience is completely personalized, taking into account your tastes and possible needs.

The tour will be guided by a specialized local guide. Throughout the activity, you will taste 10 typical dishes of Venice, including both desserts and drinks. As if that were not enough, there is the option of a vegan menu for those who follow this type of diet. The first thing you will do is fill out a form in which, through various questions, you will let the guide know what your preferences are. Then, the expert will make a selection of dishes. As I mentioned before, the menu includes both drinks, such as espresso coffee or Venetian cocktail, and recipes, for example, the delicious fish lasagna, gelato or fried sandwich.

Another great benefit of this private gastronomic tour of Venice is that, in addition to pleasing your palate, you will be able to see some of the main sights of the city. The tour starts at Campo Manin and ends at Via del Scaleter. As for cancellation policies, if you cancel your reservation 24 hours in advance, you will receive a full refund.

Interesting details

  • Price: the price of this private gastronomic tour of Venice is 185 euros, including drinks consumed.
  • Duration: this tour of the region's gastronomy lasts about three hours.
  • Means of transport: the tour is on foot, allowing you to see some of the most important places in the city.
  • Advantages of this option: the main advantage of this activity is that it is completely personalized, making it ideal for those who require special menus.
  • Disadvantages of this option: the main disadvantage is that it is not wheelchair accessible, although it is accessible for strollers.

Book your gastronomic tour

2. Gastronomic group tour with gondola ride

Tasting Prosecco wine| ©Melissa Wang
Tasting Prosecco wine| ©Melissa Wang

The second option I propose is a group gastronomic tour. Usually, you will share this experience with 11 other people. This way, it is a small group, which is always more convenient. During the tour, you will taste the local products of Venice, such as its famous wines. You will do all this under the personalized attention of a local guide specialized in the subject.

Among the delicacies you will taste are the typical wines of the region, local desserts and renowned savory tapas. In addition, the guide will tell you the main curiosities of the different recipes you will taste. Likewise, he will also give you valuable tips on the most recommended restaurants in the city, as well as other typical dishes that you should try. Thus, this experience will help you in the rest of the days of your trip in Venice, saving you from disappointments.

On the other hand, the experience includes a ride in a traditional gondola traghetto, so you can fully experience the Venetian essence (if you want to know all about gondola rides, read this article). During the ride, your local guide will tell you the curious history of this important Italian city. The tour starts in Campo della Magdalena and ends in Campo San Bortolomio. As additional information of interest, assistance animals, such as guide dogs, are allowed. Also, if you are unlucky enough for the activity to coincide with a rainy day, you will have the opportunity to reschedule or receive a full refund.

Details of interest

  • Price: this gastronomic group tour has a total price of about 99 euros. In addition, cancellation is free.
  • Duration: the gastronomic tour I propose lasts two and a half hours, including the gondola ride.
  • Means of transport: the experience is on foot, except for the walk along the Venice canal.
  • Advantages of this option: the outstanding advantage of this tour is that it includes a gondola ride, which makes it a very complete experience. In addition, you will also receive interesting information about the city of Venice.
  • Disadvantages of this option: if I have to highlight a disadvantage, the least advantageous thing about this tour is that it is done in a group. Even if it is not a very large group, it offers a less personalized experience than private tours.

Book a food tour in Venice

3. Visit the famous Hard Rock Café in Venice

Hard Rock Café| ©Magda Ehlers
Hard Rock Café| ©Magda Ehlers

In the previous options, I suggested a tour around the city. This time, I recommend a tour that consists of a visit to the famous Hard Rock Café in Venice, one of the best establishments in the city. This activity is great if you are going to be several days in the city and you have already tasted the most typical dishes of Italian gastronomy.

It consists of an American dinner based on hamburgers, chicken delicacies, sandwiches and other typical recipes. You can choose between different menus: the Gold, the Diamond and the Ultimate. The first consists of two courses and the other two of three courses. What differentiates the Diamond from the Ultimate is the collectible T-shirt included in the Ultimate. In addition, during the delicious dinner you can enjoy a live rock concert, something very typical in this restaurant chain. Among the soundtracks, you will find classics such as Jimi Hendrix or The Beatles.

I can not leave behind the beautiful views that will showcase during your dinner, as the Hard Rock Café in Venice is located in front of the Grand Canal. In case you go with small children, they have a children's menu perfect for children up to 10 years old. On the other hand, the menu includes a drink, either soft drink, tea or coffee. Finally, the restaurant has real relics autographed by great musicians.

Details of interest

  • Price: this visit to the Hard Rock Café in Venice is priced from 28 euros.
  • Duration: the duration of the activity will depend on the number of guests, as there is no stipulated time.
  • Means of transportation: transportation to the Hard Rock Café restaurant is not included in the activity, so you can choose the one that suits you best.
  • Advantages of this option: you will be able to dine on an abundance of typical American dishes while enjoying a rock concert, all with the best views of the city.
  • Disadvantages of this option: the only disadvantage of this activity is that it only includes one drink, which may not be enough considering the amount of dishes available.

Reservation with menu for the Hard Rock Cafe of Venice

4. Free tour of the best osterias and bacari of Venice

Pasta at Ristorante Ai Barbacani| ©Giovanni P
Pasta at Ristorante Ai Barbacani| ©Giovanni P

On this occasion, I propose a gastronomic tour ideal for one of your days in Venice. This is a great plan if you want something informal to feel like a real Venetian and to know the best restaurants in Venice to eat cheap. Osterias are a common type of bar in Italy. An informal establishment serving both wine and regional specialties. Diners usually sit at shared tables to enjoy pasta, meat or fish dishes. As for the bacari, they are taverns that serve wine and cicchetti, which is the Venetian equivalent of a Spanish tapa.

This tour is free, and you can manage your own time and routes. I recommend you head to San Polo for the best seafood cicchetti. In this area, you will find Cantina Mori, famous for its cod and octopus dishes. In this link, you can see the menu of Cantina Mori. In San Polo you will also find Pronto Pesce, whose specialty is swordfish croissant with scallops. If you are more into meat than fish, I recommend All'Arco or Osteria Bancogiro. In the first establishment, meatballs with aioli are common. At the latter, I advise you to give the polenta crostini a try.

Interesting details

  • Price: this gastronomic tour has a variable price, depending on the number of establishments you decide to go to and what you consume in them.
  • Duration: just like the price, the duration of the tour also depends exclusively on you.
  • Means of transport: since it is a free tour, you can choose the transport that suits you best.
  • Advantages of this option: the biggest advantage I see of this tour is to be able to discover the purest essence of Venice, away from the more touristy side of the city.
  • Disadvantages of this option: since it is a self-driven gastronomic tour, it has the disadvantage that there is a possibility that you will choose unsuitable establishments.

5. Visit to Cantina do Spade

Mussel soup| ©any_kate_UA
Mussel soup| ©any_kate_UA

Very close to Rialto is one of the oldest osterias in all of Venice: the Cantina do Spade. With almost 600 years of history, on your visit to Venice you can't miss this establishment. The most famous of the Cantina do Spade are the wine tastings offered to its guests. Therefore, if you like wine, it is more than recommended that you go to a wine tasting.

In addition to the above, you should also try the tapas or cicchetti of the Cantina do Spade. Among the whole menu, the mussel soup stands out. Other fish and seafood dishes include black squid with polenta, bigoli in squid ink and small octopus. Beyond the menu from the sea, I also recommend the mozzarella in carozza. To finish, opt for the tiramisu, which will be one of the best you have ever tasted in your life. If you still have room, give a chance to the bussolai, cookies shaped like donuts with vanilla and lemon flavor.

Interesting details

  • Price: the price of a visit to the Cantina do Spade is between 15 and 40 euros, depending on the number of dishes you order.
  • Duration: the duration will depend on the speed at which you are served, but is usually about 40 minutes on average.
  • Advantages of this option: you will visit one of the oldest osterias in Venice and taste delicious dishes.
  • Disadvantages of this option: you will have to book your table well in advance, so as not to run out of room.

6. Try the menu of the osteria Ai Storti

Pizza Capresa| ©skormama
Pizza Capresa| ©skormama

A few meters from the previous establishment, there is an ideal place for wine lovers. Ai Storti is in Rialto and has a wide and varied wine list of very good quality. Here you can get to know Italian culture and its gastronomic richness from the inside. To accompany your glass of wine, try the cicchetti of Ai Storti.

The dishes prepared with fish and seafood stand out. Of course, you will also find pasta, pizzas and meat on the menu. However, I recommend that you leave this for another occasion, as there are establishments in Venice with more recognition in this type of dishes.

Interesting details

  • Price: the tapas and drinks at Ai Storti have an average price, neither too cheap nor too expensive for Venice.
  • Duration: the place is usually very busy, so it is normal that it takes a while to serve you. As an approximation, it will take between 40 minutes and an hour to eat.
  • Advantages of this option: you will taste one of the most authentic places in Venice and taste good wine.
  • Disadvantages of this option: among the experiences of users, the treatment received by the staff of the osteria stands out, who do not stand out for being very pleasant.

7. Gastronomic tour of the Rialto and Cannaregio markets

Rialto Bridge, Venice| ©Ivan PC
Rialto Bridge, Venice| ©Ivan PC

The Rialto market has been the nerve center of Venice for over 700 years. It is located next to the Rialto Bridge. Here you will find fishmongers, greengrocers, seasonal vegetables and quality meat. All the stores sell fresh and local products. I recommend that you browse the stalls and shop at some of them. Afterwards, continue this gastronomic free tour by crossing the Grand Canal by gondola, where there are many things to do. On the other side awaits Cannaregio, a district known for its wide range of typical Venetian bars and restaurants.

Among the best establishments in Cannaregio is Birreria Zanon. It is a bacari known for its beer and cicchetis. On the other hand, the next stop on the tour is the osteria Barababao, a small restaurant famous for its fish dishes, such as pasta with clams and squid ink or pasta with shrimp. At Barababao you can also try one of the best tiramisu in town. For after dinner, head to Via Terra San Leonardo. Here you will find Torrefazione Cannaregio, a great local coffee shop.

Interesting details

  • Price: the places I recommend are not excessively expensive, as they are informal. Perhaps, the least cheap is the osteria Barababao, where the average price is about 14/20 euros per plate.
  • Duration: this tour, besides being gastronomic, is also cultural. It is advisable to stop in the little streets you pass through and savor every corner of Venice. Therefore, the duration can be about 3 hours.
  • Advantages of this option: being a gastronomic free tour, you have total freedom to move around, letting yourself be guided only by what your stomach dictates.
  • Disadvantages of this option: you will probably have to wait to be served in some of the establishments that I recommend.