Bacareto da Lele in Venice. Photo: J’Adore Food
Venice needs few introductions. The old Italian city, with its picturesque waterways, ancient buildings and romantic atmosphere, features in millions of bucket lists.
You might think that its impossible to find delicious and affordable restaurants in such an iconic (and overpriced) tourist destination, but if you follow locals’ advice (like these tips compiled by our friends at Spotted By Locals), you’ll discover plenty of traditional, less-frequented restaurants, osterias and bacaros that haven’t lost their charm.
Venice travel tips:
• The best budget hotels in Venice for 2018
• How to save on vaporetto (ferry) tickets in Venice
• 10 Things to do in Venice on the cheap
Here are five affordable restaurants in Venice that won’t make a dent in your wallet. All of these places offer snacks for a few euros or even a full lunch for only €15. Hungry? Read on!
Bacareto da Lele
Address: Campo dei Tolentini 183
This bacaro (a neighborhood bar with snacks) in Santa Croce is very popular with locals and usually has long queues outside it at lunchtime, but that is only natural: “there aren’t many spots in Venice where you can have a glass of wine for €0.60 and a sandwich for € 1 or € 2”, reaffirms local Enrica.
Its central location right beyond the first bridge you’ll cross when entering the city even makes Bacareto da Lele an ideal starting point for a traditional Venetian ‘bacaro tour’.
Osteria Al Squero
Address: Dorsoduro, 943-944
A ‘squero’ is a gondola workshop, and this traditional osteria is located just across a canal from the one at Saint Trovaso. The unexpectedly quiet atmosphere at Osteria Al Squero is one of its biggest pluses, as is the rich selection of inexpensive crostini that go for only €1.50 each.
Local Annamaria recommends the ones with sarde in saor (sardines cooked with onions and raisin); salmon, pink pepper and lemon; tuna and olive oil; and the one with bacon and mushrooms sauce.
Related: 3 budget-friendly Venice restaurants popular with locals
Trattoria dalla Marisa
Address: Calle Canna, 30171
Mainly frequented by students and workers stopping by for lunch break during their busy studying and working days, family-owned Trattoria dalla Marisa serves simple and genuine homemade Italian cuisine that brings back sweet memories of their grandmothers to locals.
It’s as old-fashioned, with wooden walls and pictures hanging everywhere, as it is cozy and welcoming, even to non-Italians. The shared tables complete the intimate experience, though you can also opt to sit by the canal. Perhaps the best part? They offer a rotating lunch menu for a very generous €15.
Address: San Croce, 2098
It might be on the other side of Italy, but that doesn’t mean that while in Venice you shouldn’t take the opportunity to sample some specialties from Sicily. The locals themselves love regional cuisines and varieties and local Matteo would recommend the mixed fried antipasto, their caponata and a delicious cassatina (ricotta cake) for dessert.
Everything is seasonal and made fresh at Bacarretto, and if you’re in a hurry or don’t want to pause your exploring for that necessary pit-stop, you can also get an arancinetta for €2 (rice ball) or two to enjoy on the go.
Related: 3 “Pasticcerie” to try for breakfast in Venice
Address: Calle Ghetto Vecchio, 1181
Ristorante e Pizzeria Al Faro is in Cannaregio, in the heart of the Jewish Ghetto, where the word itself comes from. Visiting this neighborhood is worth it on its own, but stopping by Al Faro is a definite must: the quality of the pizza in Venice isn’t that good, because traditional wooden ovens are forbidden, yet despite that, this pizzeria, in particular, manages to not only make some great pizza but also have them ready within 10 minutes after ordering — and for very affordable prices.
Local resident Matteo suggests trying the “Al Faro” with buffalo mozzarella, pumpkin cream, porcini mushrooms, speck and olives (€12).
Related: Search for cheap hotels in Cannaregio
Your favorite cheap eats in Venice
Do you have a favorite place to eat in Venice? Tell us in the comments below.
Dimitris Hall is the editor of Spotted by Locals, city guides featuring insider tips by locals in 70+ cities around the world. Guides for iOS/Android cost $3.99 each and include free regular updates and offline maps.