> SlowTrav > Italy > Travel Notes > Venice

A Different Type of Meal - Cichetti in Venice

Shannon Essa (Shannon)

One of my favorite things about Venice is its tradition of cichetti. Cichetti (chee-keht-tee) are small portions of food served in bars all over the city, usually with an ombra, which is a small glass of wine. Most Venetians eat cichetti, before lunch or before dinner, or in place of lunch or dinner. Eating cichetti in Venice is a great way to hang out with the locals and to eat some great food at reasonable prices.

When you go out for cichetti, you will eat standing up, hopefully in a crowded room. Mosey up to the bar, where all the cichetti will be displayed before you. A typical cichetto (this is the singular) might be a square of mortadella on a toothpick, or a rice stuffed tomato, or a ball of rice stuffed with an olive and deep fried. Summon the bar-person,  order your glass of wine and point to your choice of cichetti, which will then be served to you. The bar-person will keep your tab going and present it to you when you are ready.

Eating cichetti is a social activity, with the day's events being discussed as the wine is quaffed and the bites consumed. You can eat cichetti any time of day, but it is more fun when there are plenty of Venetians around. Don't be shy - let your hunger and your sense of adventure guide you.

The ombra (small glass of wine - the word means "shadow") is the beverage usually drunk with cichetti. These small glasses of wine are very small and very cheap, and sometime rough. If you'd like something a bit better, by all means ask for it. It won't lower you in the eyes of the locals, and for just a bit more you'll get a nicer glass and a better wine.

Suggested Cichetti Bars

Here are some suggestions for cichetti bars, but if you happen to pass by a bar full of people eating and drinking, check it out!

Cantina do Mori

Calle dei Do Mori, San Polo
This is supposedly the oldest bar in Venice. Dark and full of crusty fishmonger types, with copper pots hanging from the ceiling, do Mori has a great list of wines by the glass and an exceptional array of cichetti. It is in every tour book, so has its share of tourists, but still retains its Venetian-ness.

Ruga Rialto

Vecchai San Giovanni 692, San Polo
More of a bar, but Ruga Rialto - also known as "Leticia's" has a small selection of cichetti as well as plates of thinly sliced prosciutto.


Calle della Maddonetta 1457, San Polo
This crowded bar is on the main thoroughfare between Rialto and Accademia, and offers plenty of seafood cichetti as well as wonderful small plates of assorted vegetable cichetti.

Alla Botte

Calle della Bissa 5482, San Marco
To find Alla Botte, find the public restroom in Campo San Bartolomeo and go around the corner. If you see a place full of Venetians, this is Alla Botte. If you see nothing, they are closed. Walk up to the bar and order a glass of Soave or Barbera, and check out the selection of cichetti. Try a square of fried potato and ham, or fried prawn, or a plate of marinated vegetables.

Ai Promessi Sposi

Calle dell'Oca 4367, Cannaregio
Back behind Strada Nova, Ai Promessi Sposi has one of the best cichetti spreads in Venice. There are various stuffed vegetables, marinated seafood, fried seafood, assorted salads, and more. And this place is CHEAP. You can eat and drink all you want for easily under 10 euro.

Osteria da Alberto

Calle Giacinto Gallina 5401, Cannaregio
This is an excellent osteria deserving a sit down meal, but it is also a popular spot for cichetti. They do good veggies here and various squiggly things from the lagoon.

Discover the real Venice: the Venice of cichetti and vino.


Slow Travel Italy - Food/Restaurants - Shannon's Venice Restaurant List: Favorite restaurants in Venice, Shannon Essa

Slow Travel Italy - Trip Planning - Venice Sestieri: The neighborhoods and where to stay, Shannon Essa


Click to order from Amazon

Ruth Edenbaum, Shannon Essa, Chow Venice: Savoring the Food and Wine of La Serenissima, Wine Appreciation Guild, November 2006 (Second Edition)

This food guide for Venice was written by two of our SlowTalk members, Shannon and Ruth. They published their detailed restaurant lists first on SlowTrav, then they wrote their book in 2004. The second edition, revised and updated, came out in November 2006. This is a "must have" for any trip to Venice. In Venice you can eat very well, if you know where to go. This book tells you where to find the best restaurants and caffes.

Order from Amazon

Shannon Essa is a traveler through life who resides in San Diego. She co-wrote the guidebook Chow! Venice about eating and drinking in Venice, Italy. Shannon also owns and operates GrapeHops, Small Group Wine & Beer Tours to Europe and Beyond. Read Shannon's blog Poptarticus and see her SlowTrav Member Page.

© Shannon Essa, 2004

Back to Top

Car Rental Hotel Booking Flight Booking Train Tickets Books, Maps, Events
Europe Cell Phones Long Distance Cards Luggage, etc. Travel Insurance Classifieds

* Advertise on Slow Travel | Post your travel questions on the Slow Travel Forums

Copyright © 2000 - 2014 SlowTrav.com, unless noted otherwise. Slow Travel® is a registered trademark. Contact Slow Travel

RSS Feeds - Link to Us - Terms of Use - Privacy Policy - IB Cookie Policy - Currency Converter - Colophon - Sponsors - Become a Member
Home | Forums | Slow Travel? | Europe Trip Planning | Photos | Trip Reports | Search | About Us | Classifieds