Top 5: What to Eat in Venice
What to Eat in Venice
Famed for its enchanting atmosphere, labyrinthine canals and eye-catching gondolas, La Serenissima also has a rich culinary identity unique among Northern Italy. Davide Bisetto, Executive Chef of the Michelin-starred Oro restaurant, counts down 5 things you have to taste on your visit to Venice.
Mołeche – lagoon crabs
Gems of the Venetian lagoon, Mołeche are small green-shelled crabs that have a very specific window of seasonality. They can only be harvested twice a year, when they are ‘between shells’ and soft enough to be eaten whole. They are famously tasty when fried—a rare treat, rivalling the white truffle.
Baccalà mantecato – creamed cod
Dating back some 600 years, this dish traces its roots to Scandinavia, where residents of the Lofoten Islands first taught stranded Venetians how to dry fish. Today you can find baccalà mantecato as a staple cicchetti in bàcari across the city. The cod is creamed, spiced and often served on bread. It shouldn’t be missed.
Sardee in saor – sardines served with saor
Another staple cicchetti, the robust and salty flavour of sardines is elevated when fried. They are then served in saor—a sauce that has was originally used in ancient times to preserve food. It’s made with caramelised onions, vinegar, pine nuts and raisins, with the result being moreishly sweet and sour. It pairs perfect with a crisp white wine.
Polenta e schie – polenta with prawns
This is a dish to warm your heart. Polenta is something of an art for Venetians. Once a staple dish of the poor, locals now feel a great fondness for this nostalgic cuisine. Here it’s served with local prawns, which are small but astoundingly tasty. In this dish they are usually boiled or fried. You can find it on menus across the city.
Bigoli in Salsa – thick buckwheat pasta
Bigoli was once only eaten by locals around religious festivals—Christmas Eve, Good Friday and Ash Wednesday. But it has since become a favourite of the city, especially among those who love bold, punchy flavours. Thick, coarse buckwheat pasta is served in a rich sauce made with anchovies and onions. The dish in itself is a reason to celebrate.