Venice is an Italian gem that needs no introductions. The old aesthetically appealing town, with its romantic vibe and ancient waterways, has been mentioned as ‘must-visit’ in hundreds of backpackers’ favorite destinations lists. With more than 25 million visitors each year, you might think it’d be difficult to find affordable and budget-friendly eateries, but despite its reputation for being an expensive destination, it’s possible to eat cheaply in the picturesque city. Below is a list of Venice restaurants that’d give you a full dose of Italian goodness without requiring you to spend a fortune.
1. TrattoriaAllaRampa (Castello, 1335)
This is one of the best places for travelers to immerse in a budget-friendly lunch. It’s popular for the tourist-friendly workmen’s lunch that is served between 12:00 pm and 12:45 pm (strictly within the mentioned time). The meal costs Euro 12 to Euro 15 and includes coffee, wine, and TWO main dishes. If you go early and manage to find a table, you can order meals from the same menu as the Venice locals. Ask for the menu operai when you arrive. After 1 PM, the workers are going to leave, after which the restaurants begins it’s a la carte service, which naturally costs more but the price is still reasonable. The restaurant ups its pricing for both menus in the evening.
2. Rosticceria Gilson (San Marco, Calle de la Bissa, 5424)
Street food lovers rejoice. The city has a restaurant that specializes in the fried mozzarella sandwich called Mozzarella in Carozza. It’s a classic that won’t burn a hole in your wallet. In the 1800s, the historic food made its way from Naples to Venice, and has become an iconic street grub in the water town; it’s even sold in wine bars and affordable fry spots. Rosticceria Gilson is famous for selling this cheaply priced fast food since its establishment in the 30s. There’s a deli on the restaurant’s ground floor where crowds of tourists and locals gather to stock eat up supply, aracini, and Mozzarella in Carrozza (there are only a few tables, so it’d be a good idea to make a reservation or visit the place a few hours in advance of its opening time).
3. Osteria Al Squero
Though it’s not the ideal place to visit for a full course, it is one of the most visited Venice restaurants. It’s an affordable, cozy eatery that servers Venetian chichetti, the Italian place for small servings of aracini and crostini, which are typically accompanied by an afternoon beverage. A visit here won’t make your money drown either. Order a few cichettis and a serving of Prosecco, and your total bill is unlikely to be more than Euro 5. We recommend visiting this place on a beautiful afternoon, as you may get an opportunity to perch on the canal’s wall just outside the eatery and watch others taking selfies in the famous gondolas.
4. RistoranteAlla Basilica
RistoranteAlla Basilica is an ideal place to visit for a perfect, cheap, and quick meal. Situated in a tiny side street behind the Doge’s palace is RistoranteAlla Basilica. Its canteen-style serving means the food gets served in a fast-paced manner, but the owners and managers are vigilant enough to ensure there’s no compromise on quality. For Euro 13-15, you can get a three-course lunch/dinner, consisting of a large pasta plate, and a choice between vegetable of the day, salad, or roasted potatoes. There’s also a 0.5 l bottle of sparkling or still water in the course. The restaurant has a welcoming and warm interior, and there’s a hall large enough to accommodate more than a hundred patrons. When you’re out and about sightseeing different places in Venice, spare a thought for your tummy and visit RistoranteAlla Basilica.
This tiny hit spot was historically a storeroom. Later, OsteriaAllaCiurma was converted into this small, quaint eating place that resembles a boat’s internal body. The eatery today has a tiny meal preparation area where the head chef cooks portion meals of cod, and meatballs (creamy meals FYI). For a price of Euro 1 till the price of Euro 15, backpackers and budget-conscious travelers can order many sharing plate varieties of cheeses and meats up to a big sharing plate of salami and cheese. If you love wine, 90 cents at this place would get you incredible house wine. Though a few tables are situated inside of the restaurant, most people eat while standing/sitting outside. Overall, the restaurant is an inexpensive and great place to visit if you’re near the Rialto Bridge.
QuantoBasta is situated in the historic, popular Cannaregio neighborhood. It’s known for it’s quality cheap eats and amazing restaurant service. They sell all fresh, HOMEMADE meals including chocolate, kebabs, pizza, and gelato. There’s something for everyone to eat, regardless of what age bracket you fall into. The small, cozy restaurant even has a dedicated Gelateria of its own, where people can walk up to and order ice cream. More than 35 flavors are available to choose from, though the quantity and choice of flavor may change on an hourly basis. This is a must visit place for a cheap and quick meal, and of course, gelato.
The last on the list is a place that serves the best Venetian desserts you’d ever find in Italy, that too at non-touristy prices. When you’re there, do as the locals would: order a mouthwatering dessert along with a cup of coffee, take a table and wind down. If you ask the server for a recommendation, they’re likely to suggest a nascero, tiny cakes with ricotta layers mixed with rum-soaked raisins. Another must-eat dessert is the puncetto, which are small portions of roasted-nut coated chocolate salami.
These are just a few of the places that offer cheap eats in Venice. To find more of them, go and explore the alleys, street sides, and canal and you’re likely to discover Gelaterias, cafes, and restaurants that won’t make you broke.