It would be hard to argue against the fact that Venice is the most beautiful city in Europe. The canals, the palazzi, the gondolas and the narrow fondamentas make this city a unique one. However, beauty comes at a price and Veniceis also just as expensive as it is beautiful; in other words, very. Of all the districts in Venice, San Polo and San Marco are the most expensive ones due to being where the tourists concentrate, but there are also places here where you can eat for a lot less money and a lot better than your usual pizza/pasta tourist traps.
Eating in Venice is complicated. There are many restaurants to choose from, but their menus and their cover charges keep putting us off and go searching for the next one. San Polo, despite being the area where the Rialto Bridgeis, has some excellent places to eat. If you’re hungry before lunch and you fancy eating some famous cicchetti, cross theRialtobridge towards San Polo and immediately to your right there’s Campo Cesare Battisti. There, you can find a small bar called Al Mercà, where you can eat some of the best cicchetti inVeniceand drink a glass of spritz or wine for just a few euros. There’s no place to sit down and only room for 3 or 4 people standing at the bar, so make sure you go there before eating time during the day and the night. For proper lunch, few places are set in a more beautiful location and offer such low prices. Osteria Al Nono Risorto has a beautiful garden to eat in, and although you sit in plastic chairs, the pizzas and, especially, the spaghetti alle vongolle are truly delicious and abundant. For 20€ per person you can eat three courses. Find it at Sottoportego della Siora Bettina, in Santa Croce.
After walking off the lunch, it’s time to stop again and enjoy the beauty of the city by sitting back and watching the world go by. For that, head to Campo Santa Margherita and sit on any of the bar terraces that you find there. But before you do so, on the corner with Rio Terà Canal, there’s a gelateria called Dogo, where you can have some of the best ice cream in Venice at great prices per scoop. In most bars, you can sit on their terrace eating the ice cream, but make sure you ask permission before.
It’s dinner time and the narrow streets of San Marco are filled with tourists checking out restaurant menus. If you fancy something more typical and less touristy, head over to Canareggio, where five minutes from the Rialto bridge you can find Osteria Ca’ d’ Oro. This bàcaro is really cheap, and its speciality is meatballs. The other cicchetti are also around 1€ each and all dishes are typically Venetian, with all of them at cheap prices. So much so that the place is filled with locals, something that tells you a lot about it. However, it’s so popular that you will have to make a reservation first, at least a day before. Find them at Ramo del Ca’ d’ Oro and call them on +39 041 522 2349.
To finish off your evening, walk further into Canareggio to Al Timon, which is open until 1am and where you can drink some great wines and also, if you’re still a bit peckish, try some of their delicious crostini. It’s on Sestiere Canareggio, right by the canal.