Two slices of bread on a wooden cutting board. They're topped with cheese, sundried tomatoes, fish, and prociutto.
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My Favorite Cicchetti In Venice – The 10 Best Bacari To Try in 2024

Last updated on March 17th, 2024

What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Venice? Canals. Water. Anything else? If you love food as much as I do then you are thinking… cicchetti!

I have been eating cicchetti in Venice ever since I came to live in Italy back in 2012, giving me plenty of first hand experience in terms of bacari to visit, the best cicchetti to try, and what to drink with them. 

In this article, I’ll fill you in on:

  • What cicchetti are
  • Typical cicchetti in Venice
  • What to drink with cicchetti
  • Where to eat cicchetti Venice (best bacari)

What Are Cicchetti?

Display of cicchetti in Venice behind glass and on shelves.

Cicchetti (pronounced cheek-keht-tee in Italian), sometimes seen written as cichetti or cicheti in the local Venetian dialact, are small snacks or bites that are typically served in bacari in Venice.

The formula for eating cicchetti is straight forward:

A small bite + A small sip

Eating cicchetti is traditionally a quick thing, done standing with a small glass of either local white wine (oftentimes very cheap) or even a small spritz

Man peeks out from behind bar, overhanging wine glasses, and glass display cases of cicchetti in Venice, Italy.

Fact: Bacari are cicchetti bars or small restaurants specializing in serving cicchetti. To learn more, read What is a Bacaro?

For foreigners, it’s sometimes helpful to look at cicchetti as a type of finger food, because they are eaten with your hands! 

Popular Cicchetti In Venice 

Hand holding a white plate with a crostini topped with smoked salmon outside on a canal.

These are the most popular type of cicchetti to try on your next trip to Venice:

  • Baccalà mantecato (pronounced bahk-kah-lah mahn-teh-cah-toh in Italian): a creamy puree of salt cod served on small rounds of toasted bread or crispy pieces of polenta.
  • Polpette di pesce (pronounced pohl-peht-teh dee peh-sheh in Italian): these are small, deep fried fish balls served with various sauces. 
  • Sarde in saor (pronounced sahr-deh in sow-oor in Italian): local sardines are fried in oil and flavored with raisins, pine nuts and white wine vinegar. It makes for the perfect salty, sour, sweet combination. 
  • Spiedino di frittura (pronounced spee-eh-dee-noh dee freet-toor-ah in Italian): a selection of local fried fish on a skewer. 
  • Crostino con salmone affumicato (pronounced croh-stee-noh cohn sahl-moh-neh ahf-foo-mee-cah-toh in Italian): a small piece of toasted white bread spread with cream cheese and smoked salmon. Perhaps not too exciting but very common nonetheless. 
  • Polpette Veneziane (pronounced pohl-peht-teh veh-neh-zee-ah-neh in Italian): deep fried beef meatballs. Venice is well known for these little guys so don’t miss them!
  • Bruschetta con pomodoro e basilico (pronounced broo-skeht-tah cohn pohm-oh-dohr-oh eh bah-see-lee-coh in Italian): your classic toasted slice of bread piled high with vine ripe tomatoes, fresh basil and a drizzle of olive oil.
  • Bruschetta con gorgonzola e noci (pronounced broo-skeht-tah cohn pohm-oh-dohr-oh eh noh-chee in Italian): toasted bread with gorgonzola cheese and walnuts, sometimes with a drizzle of honey to balance it all out. 
  • Affettati (pronounced ahf-feht-tah-tee in Italian): various local cured meats such as prosciutto, mortadella, sporessa and coppa or other sausages. Sometimes served on a slice of bread, other times you will see it just served with a toothpick. 
  • Tortino (pronounced tohr-tee-noh in Italian): a small, savory pie, made with or without meat.
  • Scampo crudo (pronounced scahm-poh kroo-doh in Italian): a raw scampi served with a wedge of lemon and a bit of freshly ground black pepper.
side view of glass case with small cicchetti on rounds on bread with a toothpick on top.

Other common cicchetti include:

  • Small open-faced sandwiches
  • Crostini
  • Scallops on half shell
  • A small piece of fish or boiled octopus 
  • A square of polenta topped with sauce

Dig Deeper: To learn more about cicchetti, read What Are Cicchetti? and Gluten Free Cicchetti in Venice.

Map Of The Best Cicchetti In Venice

Quick Guide To Cicchetti Venice

Bacaro VeniceAddress (Reference Point)Best ForMy Favorite Cicchetti To OrderWhat To Drink*
Acqua E MaisSan Polo (Rialto BridgeEating cicchetti on the street with localsSpiedino di pesce (seafood skewer)Spritz or wine
Osteria BancogiroSan Polo (Rialto Bridge)Hanging all night, eating dinner here and excellent raw seafood cicchettiBaccalà mantecato/Curried shrimp salad served on polentaWhite wine
Bacarando Corte dell’OrsoSan Marco (Rialto Bridge)Families/Eating cicchetti sitting down indoorsTortino salato (choose from daily specials)Spritz
Bar All’ArcoSan Polo (Rialto Bridge)Authentic and historic bacaro Baccalà mantecato/ Sarde in saorWine or a small beer on tap 
Cantina Do SpadeSan Polo (Rialto Bridge)Travelers looking for an hidden gem at great pricesFried meatballWine
Cantina del Vino già SchiaviDorsoduro (Fondamenta Zattere)Cicchetti outside on the canalCrostino con gorgonzola e radicchioWine
Panini E Vini Da BabboDorsoduro (Piazza Santa Margherita)FamiliesSpritz
Al MercàSan Polo (Rialto Bridge)A quick bite while shopping at Rialto Market SandwichesSpritz
SEPASan Marco (Rialto Bridge)Beer loversGamberi in Saor con polenta/Radicchio marinatoWine or craft beef
Osteria Al PortegoCastelloStudentsCrostini con salmone affumicatoAnything!

*What to drink is based on what I notice the vibe is of that particular bacaro, what they are best at and what most people are ordering. This is just my suggestion but you can order whatever you like! 

Coffee Break: If you need a little caffeine to wake you up, stop in at Caffè Del Doge on your way to Acqua E Mais, one of the best spots in Venice for coffee.

Acqua E Mais

People standing in line outside Acqua e Mais bacaro in Venice, Italy. They're wearing coats.

Campiello dei Meloni, 1411/1412, 30125 Venezia VE

Open: Daily

Acqua E Mais is not only one of the best places to pick up takeout and eat some of the best street food but only one of my top picks for casual cicchetti on the street.

Person behind glass display cases of cicchetti in Venice, Italy.

Acqua E Mais is a hole in the wall so plan on ordering your wine and cicchetti to enjoy standing. They also make some of the best fried fish served in a large paper cone in all of Venice.

You will find traditional Venetian cicchetti options such as seafood skewers and crostini toasts loaded with traditional toppings like smoked salmon and baccalà mantecato.

Osteria Bancogiro

Closed up front entrance of Bancogiro in Venice, Italy. Stickers on door showing awards won. Wooden doors with glass windows.

Campo San Giacometto, Ponte di Rialto

Closed: Monday

Osteria Bancogiro has always been my favorite place for cicchetti in Venice for several reasons. The first is the location just off the Rialto Bridge in a cute square with tables spilling out on the backside onto Campo Erberia (one of the best places in Venice for after-dinner drinks). 

Inside a restaurant in Venice. Glass display of cicchetti, glasses hanging from ceiling, and people working behind the counter.

The cicchetti they serve are more chic and plated with a modern touch. Choose from a selection of raw fish including scampi and oysters or choose from their wide selection of made-to-order cicchetti on their polenta or bread. They are most famed for their curried shrimp salad but I think their baccalà mantecato is some of the best in Venice.

Eat your cicchetti standing indoors or outdoors or ask if they have a table on their terrace outside to sit down at. You can also eat a full dinner at Osteria Bancogiro, making it a one-stop hang out for the evening. 

Rectangular white plate with a baccala cicchetto and a raw shrimp and glass of white wine on a counter.
My favorite baccalà mantecato that I’ve tasted in Venice

Start with cicchetti standing, move to your table (pre-booking recommended) and then hang out in Campo Erberia after dinner, literally right on the Grand Canal. 

Bacarando Corte dell’Orso

Entrance to Bacarando restaurant in Venice, Italy. Two people standing at register inside.

Sestiere di S. Marco, 5495, 30124 Venezia VE, Italy

Open: Daily

Bacarando Corte dell’Orso is my suggestion if you are a family looking to sit down for cicchetti or looking to make a whole meal out of it. 

They have one of the largest selections of cicchetti in all of Venice, all of which are reliable and affordable. Choose from smaller bites such as polenta with scampi or a whole savory quiche or tortino

Glass display case full of shelves of cicchetti in Venice, Italy.

Order at the counter and bring your cicchetti to one of the large wooden tables in the next room. The indoor seating space is big enough to accommodate larger families as well as smaller parties.

Wine glass, bill, change, and platter of cicchetti in a restaurant in Venice, Italy.

Even if you aren’t traveling to Venice as a family, Bacarando Corte dell’Orso is famous for having one of the best variety of cicchetti at any given time. You can also drink your spritz and enjoy your cicchetti standing at the counter or outside on the benches.

Bar All’Arco

People sit at small tables and eat cicchetti and drink wine at All'Arco in Venice, Italy.

S. Polo, 436, 30125 Venezia VE, Italy

Closed: Wednesday

Bar All’Arco is arguably the most famous bacaro in Venice serving up some of the most traditional cicchetti to Venetian locals.

Because All’Arco has made such a name for itself, you will certainly notice all the tourists as well but fortunately, the bar hasn’t changed a bit over the decades.

Glass display case of cicchetti at a bacaro in Venice.

The selection of cicchetti is traditional and limited and if you happen to pop in at a busy moment, you may have to wait a minute or two for their staff to refill the cicchetti platters.

If you can manage, grab one of the few tables outdoors, lined up against both sides of the bar. It’s not easy though! Every time I have been, I haven’t been lucky enough to grab a table. Instead, I eat my cicchetti standing at the window. 

All’Arco is most famous for their crostini with various toppings. After tasting numerous cicchetti throughout Venice, I think All’Arco makes the absolute best crostini cicchetti because they are made with thin slices of baguette, sliced on an angle and toasted, keeping the cicchetti crunchy, even as it sits on display.

Hand holds bread with fish spread in Venice, Italy.

All’Arco is particularly famed for their soft shell crab, when in season. Unfortunately, I have never been lucky enough to visit at the right time but if you see them (only for a couple of weeks in the spring and fall), order it! 

The prices are also some of the best in the city. Each cicchetto only costs a couple euros, unlike other bacari, which serve many more options but at higher prices.

Cantina Do Spade

Sign at entrance to Cantino do Spade in Venice, Italy. Woman at table inside.

San Polo, 859, 30125 Venezia VE, Italy

Open: Everyday

Cantina Do Spade is an excellent choice for cicchetti if you like fried nibbles. They have the most famous fried meatballs, from which there is always a wide selection including fish, vegetarian and beef. 

Fried cicchetti in a glass display case at Cantina do Spade in Venice, Italy. Two women are behind the bar working.

Cantina Do Spade is located in a small street, tucked away behind the Rialto Bridge, catering to locals and tourists alike. If you are lucky enough to get one of the three tables designated to having your aperitivo and eating cicchetti indoors, you are one of the lucky few! If not, eat your cicchetti standing at the bar (but quickly – it’s small in there) or outside on the bench for a more leisurely experience.

Unlike other traditional Venetian bacari, Cantina Do Spade is one of the few places who serve cicchetti as they once were – with just a tiny sip of wine. Order un bicchierino di vino, which is literally a baby glass of wine, just a couple of sips. 

White plate with fried meatball on a table and small glass of white wine on left.

When I am treating myself to a day of cicchetti or indulging in a bacaro tour (hitting up several cicchetti bars to eat and drink in one evening), I appreciate the small glass. I would never make it through the evening if I was always given a full 6 oz glass of wine. 

Good To Know: Cantina Do Spade also has a very good restaurant serving up Venetian classics. Their pasta with shellfish is particularly delicious.

Cantina del Vino già Schiavi

Woman looks in window at Cantine del Vino gia Schiavi in Venice, Italy.

Fondamenta Nani, 992, 30123 Venezia VE, Italy

Closed: Sunday

Cantina del Vino già Schiavi has become one of the most famous bacari in Venice if you want to sample a wide selection of wines and cicchetti at a good price AND dangle your feet over the edge of the canal. They are most well known for their wide selection of crostini cicchetti but you will also find less common items such as thick slices of salami on a toothpick or a square of hard cheese. 

Shelves of platters of cicchetti behind a glass display in Venice, Italy.

You know all those pictures you see of people eating their cicchetti along the canal in Venice? It’s most likely here. Cantina del Vino già Schiavi is larger than other bacari in Venice but it’s so popular that many people ask for a paper plate and eat outside. 

I suggest coming here if that is what you are looking for. If you have a good day at hand, this is where you want to be. 

Small plate with three cicchetti on a marble counter with glass of white wine.

Good To Know: Cantina means winery in Italian and apart from being a bacaro, Cantina del Vino già Schiavi also has a great selection of wines for purchase to bring home as gifts of souvenirs

Panini e Vini Da Babbo

Wooden tables and chairs set up on both sides of corner location of Panini e Vini da Babbo in Venice, Italy. People sitting at some of the tables.

Sestiere Dorsoduro, 3059, 30123 Venezia VE, Italy

Everyday 7:00 am – 11:00 pm

Panino e Vino Da Babbo is a really great place to enjoy cicchetti sitting down outdoors in the beautiful Santa Margherita Square (one of my favorite squares to eat and drink with kids in Venice) in the Dorsoduro neighborhood in Venice.

Panini e Vino Da Babbo is my top pick for eating cicchetti in Venice if you are with kids. There is ample outdoor seating that opens up onto the square, allowing kids to run freely without the danger of the canal right there. 

Apart from the ideal location, it’s also casual and easy going, furnished with wooden tables and staffed with very friendly locals. 

Woman walks past wooden table with cutting board and two cicchetti in Venice, Italy.

Enjoy classics such as crostini with sardines, smoked salmon, cured meats and cheese. 

Good To Know: Just around the corner is some of the best pizza in Venice at Pizza a Volo and a great, casual restaurant, perfect for kids, Osteria alla Bifora.

Al Mercà

People sitting to left of entrance of 'Al Merca' baccaro in Venice, Italy.

Campo Bella Vienna, 213, 30125 Venezia VE, Italy

Closed: Sunday

I suggest Al Mercà for those of you who are looking for a little sandwich and want to hang out with the locals. Al Mercà is located right next to the Rialto Market, catering primarily to locals working the market, fishermen and Venetian butchers lining the surrounding streets.

Al Mercà is literally a window on the street with one small bench. Order your two-bite sandwich made with things like salami or fish salad and eat it standing in the square. 

Wooden and glass display case of cicchetti in Venice, Italy. Wine bottles on back wall and handwritten signs on wall.

This is a great place to grab a snack if you are in a rush, as most others are as well. Patrons here are quick to trot, ordering just one or two items and they are off. 

I noticed several locals hanging out and chatting over a small glass but for the most part, it was a quick bite and quick sip, par cicchetti tradition. 

SEPA

Inside the modern Sepa in Venice, Italy. Glass counter with cicchetti displayed and people working behind in the kitchen.

Calle de la Bissa, 5482, 30124 Venezia VE, Italy

Open: Everyday

SEPA is one of the best places to get cicchetti right off the Rialto market if you are looking for a more modern option and formula.

SEPA specializes in making excellent takeout food, fast lunch options and non-traditional cicchetti, best enjoyed standing at the window.  

Not unlike other bacari in Venice, there are no sitting options. Instead, the walls are lined with chest high counters where you can take your cicchetti and wine. Choose from a selection of local white and red wines served in 1/4, 1/2, 3/4 bottles or whole bottles, filled on tap to order in their back room.

Bottle of wine and paper plate with cicchetti on table at a bar in Venice, Italy.

Although not traditional, instead of white wine, order a beer here with your cicchetti. SEPA has one of the largest selections of craft beers to choose from. 

Souvenirs From Venice: SEPA also has a small selection of their packaged cicchetti spreads to bring home as a gift or souvenir.

Favorites include fried meatballs, savory quiches, seafood skewers and marinated local radicchio served on polenta or toasted bread.

If you are traveling with small children, I don’t recommend SEPA for cicchetti because they don’t have seating. Instead, read Kid-Friendly Restaurants in Venice or go to Bacarando  Corte dell’Orso.

Good To Know: Located just around the corner is L’Osteria di Santa Marina and Suso for some of the best gelato in Venice.

Osteria Al Portego

Woman with a glass of wine in front of entrance to Al Portego in Venice, Italy in the evening. Stickers and signs fill the windows.

Calle de la Malvasia, 6014, 30122 Venezia VE, Italy

Open: Everyday

Osteria Al Portego is my top pick for students looking for a cool hang out in the center of Venice not far from the Rialto Bridge.

Osteria Al Portego prices are affordable, the atmosphere is casual and the cicchetti selection is reliable. 

I particularly recommend this hang out in warmer weather. There is no space to sit down indoors, just a small corner to rest your glass for a moment. The wooden tables are reserved for patrons who want to eat a full meal.

Close up of cicchetti with loads of toppings behind a glass display in Venice, Italy.

Instead, order your aperitivo and head outdoors to one of the few stools or stand among the locals in the small piazza. 

Osteria Al Portego is not only one of my favorite places for cicchetti and drinks before dinner but also a student hang out post-dinner.

Venice bound? Get prepared with all of our Venice posts:
20+ Must-Try Foods And Drinks In Venice – And My Favorite Places To Eat Them
What Are Cicchetti? + Where To Eat Them In Venice
What Is A Bacaro? + A Local’s Self Guided Bacaro Tour Itinerary
My Favorite Cicchetti In Venice – The 10 Best Bacari To Try
Best Restaurants in Venice + Nearest Cicchetti Stops
Best Gelato In Venice – My Italian Family’s 10 Favorite Gelaterie
7 Food Markets In Venice Worth Your Time
Where To Get Coffee In Venice
Where To Eat Breakfast In Venice – A Local’s Favorite Breakfast Nooks
10 Amazing Bakeries In Venice – Where to Get Your Pastry On
Best Spots In Venice For Aperitivo – My Top Bars & Squares for Pre-Dinner Drinks
Dinner On The Water In Venice – My Top 7 Restaurants
Best Pizza In Venice – My ‘Don’t Miss’ List
My Favorite After Dinner Drink Spots In Venice
Shopping at the Rialto Market in Venice – Tips + Printable
5 Street Foods To Try In Venice & Where Eat Them
Best Places To Get Takeout In Venice – My Top Picks
Where To Eat Before Catching Your Train At The Venice Santa Lucia Train Station
My Favorite Food Chains To Try In Venice
Eating Gluten-Free In Venice – Restaurants, Cicchetti & Gelato
Gluten-Free Cicchetti In Venice – What To Order (& Avoid) and How to Order
Eating Vegetarian In Venice – My Top Five Vegetarian Friendly Restaurants + Tips
Eating Vegan In Venice, Italy – My Top Five Vegan Friendly Restaurants

Eating in Venice While Pregnant
8+ Kid Friendly Restaurants In Venice
Best Squares To Eat And Drink With Kids In Venice
24 Hour Food Guide For Venice – A Self Guided Tour For Foodies in Venice
Eating Around Venice in 48 hours – 2 Day Venice Itinerary For Foodies
10 Best Food Souvenirs From Venice, Italy + Where I Buy Them