A guide to Venetian seafood and where to eat it Osteria da Fiore

A guide to Venetian seafood and where to eat it

Where to enjoy Venice's seafood culinary pleasures.

The cuisine of this once-great maritime city is based on the fruits of the Adriatic and the bounty of the Venetian lagoon that provides a wealth of shrimp, crab, scampi, mussels, squid and fish one cannot find anywhere else.

Risotto dishes, made with locally grown rice, are in abundance, sauced with delicate seafood or succulent vegetables. Risi e bisi, a risotto made with rice and the first-picked peas of the season, is regarded as the Venetian ode to spring.

Frittura-mista-dellAdriatico-al-covo-veniceFritto misto: Al Covo

Fish is simply cooked and served baked, grilled, sautéed, fried or boiled. Cuttlefish is served in its own ink. Specialities include: Sfogieti in saior – baby sole in a sweet and sour sauce, which was one of the ritual dishes served to the Doges when they entertained; fritto misto – a lightly breaded and fried assortment of calamari, scampi, whitebait and small fish; and Venice’s signature dish, fegato alla Veneziana – thin slices of calves’ liver sautéed with onions. 

Here are our top picks for enjoying seafood in Venice...

Osteria da Fiore

This small Michelin star restaurant is noted for its understated elegance and impeccable service. The owners, Maurizio Martin and his wife Mara, the chef, who learnt to cook from her grandmother, will greet you with a glass of Prosecco and delicious deep-fried baby shrimp to tickle your appetite. The seafood comes straight from the Venetian Lagoon and includes schie (miniature shrimps), razor clams, spider crab, and grilled eel from the island of Burano. Risotto is made with inky cuttlefish sauce or shrimps.

Osteria da Fiore:  San Polo 2202, 30125 Venice, Tel. +39 041 721 308, www.dafiore.net

Osteria da FioreOsteria da Fiore

Al Covo

Al Covo is famous for the quality of its seafood, prepared by Cesare Benelli who describes his cooking style as doing as little as possible to the superb local ingredients – fish comes from the lagoon and the Adriatic. Here you can taste tagliolini with oysters and scorfano (red rascasse), a delicious fritto misto, and two of the lagoon’s most cherished ingredients – moleca, a small soft-shell crab and canestrelli, lagoon scallops. Desserts include semi-freddo and a delectable plum and pear pie.

Al Covo: Castello 3968, 30122 Venice, Tel. +39 041 5223 812, www.ristorantealcovo.com

Al Covo
Al Covo

Osteria Santa Marina

This rustic, yet elegant bistro-like trattoria-restaurant has found a 
perfect balance between tradition and innovation. The cuisine is based on classical recipes with a creative twist and includes dishes such as sea bass in mussel and clam broth, and turbot and mussel- filled ravioli. Raw fish features strongly on the menu. Desserts are superb, all home-made. Located in a pretty square, it has a largely local clientele, which is a recommendation in itself. The outdoor tables are an extra bonus in the warm season.

Osteria Santa Marina: Campo Santa Marina 5911, 30122, Venice, Tel. +39 041 5285 239, www.osteriadisantamarina.com

osteriasantamariabarOsteria Santa Marina

osteriasantamariaOsteria Santa Marina