Looking for the best cicchetti in Venice? I will introduce you to bacari tours, one of the most exciting traditions in Italy. Discover the best bacari in Venice!
Venice is certainly one of the most beautiful cities in the world, offering important monuments and wonderful alleys with breathtaking views. The Grand Canal, St Mark’s Basilica with its homonymous square and the island of Murano are just some of the most famous and visited tourist attractions.
Perhaps not everyone knows, however, that an ancient tradition lives on in this fantastic city: the bacari tour. It has been handed down from generation to generation and accompanies many evenings of the Venetian people. This typical custom is one of the most exciting experiences to be had when visiting Venice and, thanks to its low cost, it is easily accessible to everyone.
If you want to know more about the bacari tours and the best cicchetti in Venice, keep reading and you will look forward to trying them! 😉
📚 Visit Venice, with lots of useful tips! Read the article “2 days in Venice Itinerary”.
What is a bacaro tour? Taste the best cicchetti in Venice!
In the Venetian culture, bacari are the typical local taverns, recognisable both by their wooden furnishings and by the food and wine offer.
In these places, you can eat the traditional appetizers known as cicchetti and drink the local wine (in dialect, “ombra de vin”). Venetian bacari are very simple bars with rustic interiors. They are quite small and not very bright, but they reflect the identity and traditions of Venice.
In dialect, the word “bacaro” means “to make party” and it is in this context that our tradition is set. This tradition consists in taking a tour of the best bacari in Venice, trying the “ombre” and “cicchetti” from different osterias, chatting with friends and enjoying an evening of fun and merriment.
During the bacari tour, you go from one place to another until you find the right one, in tune with your mood.
Should you try the bacari tour in Venice? Why relive this custom
Taking a bacaro tour in Venice is one of the most exciting experiences to try at least once in your life. When you enter these wooden furnished taverns, you begin to breathe a different air and the atmosphere immediately becomes welcoming and familiar.
Inside these cicchetti bars, you can find both young and old people as well as groups of friends or romantic couples, proving that indeed everyone can try them! The bacari in Venice are therefore a meeting place where you can take refuge and relax after a long day of work or study. They are also perfect for a quick traditional snack, perhaps accompanied by a chat with friends, all at a very reasonable price.
Specifically, however, this tradition consists in taking a tour of the best bacari in Venice and, as they say in dialect, “andar par ombre”, tasting the traditional local food and wine.
As you go from one tavern to another, you will have the chance to walk through the streets and admire wonderful Venetian views that only wine could make you forget.
Continue reading the article to learn more about this fantastic custom. 👇
What is cicchetti meaning? Discovering local food & wine
If I still haven’t convinced you to try this fantastic experience, let me tell you what you can eat and drink in these osterias and you will certainly look forward to your Bacari tours! The dishes and wines on offer are all from the rich Venetian culinary tradition, which I will now tell you about.
As mentioned before, in these taverns you eat the so-called Venetian cicchetti food, typical appetizers that can be meat or fish, and drink local wine. In each bacaro, you have the chance to try something different so you can fully discover the local food and wine tradition.
As far as Venetian cicchetti recipes are concerned, the traditional ones you absolutely must try are:
- Sardines in saor
- Baccalà mantecato
- Musetto and polenta
- Half an egg with anchovy
Traditional Venice bars must also have a wide range of wines, with both red and white local wines, not forgetting the spritz. If you take a tour of the best bacari in Venice, you will have the chance to pair your snacks with good bacaro wine glasses, but you can also find DOC wines belonging to the Lison-Pramaggiore wine appellation, such as white wines:
- Pinot Bianco DOC “Lison-Pramaggiore
- Lison-Pramaggiore” Pinot Grigio DO
- Verduzzo DOC “Lison-Pramaggiore”
Or the red wines:
- Merlot DOC “Lison-Pramaggiore”.
- Lison-Pramaggiore” Malbech DOC
- Cabernet Sauvignon DOC “Lison-Pramaggiore”
If you want to remain more faithful to the concept of aperitif, you can also taste the typical “spriss alla venexiana” or the more famous Prosecco wine, worldwide excellence of the Veneto region.
The best bacari in Venice
If you are looking for the best cicchetti in Venice, you will definitely find these tips useful. If you don’t know where to go during your tour, let me suggest you some of the best bacari in Venice that you can try in this fantastic experience. Read on!
In Venice the districts are known as “sestieri” and there are six of them: San Marco, Dorsoduro, Cannareggio, San Polo, Castello and Santa Croce. In each of these you can find many bacari, but it is difficult to find the right place if you are not local.
Luckily for you, I’m here to suggest, among many cicchetti bars, the most charming and good osteria in each district!
1. Sestiere San Marco: Bacaro da Fiore
San Marco is the oldest district of Venice, known all over the world for its important tourist attractions such as the Basilica of St. Mark and the Bridge of Sighs. Strolling through the alleys of this district, you will have the chance to see many cicchetti bars, but the one I recommend is the “Bacaro da Fiore”, a typical osteria where bacaro and trattoria coexist.
The food and wine on offer includes fish-based cicchetti recipes such as “polipetti con il sedano” (small octopus with celery), grilled cuttlefish and, of course, “sarde in saor” (sardines in salt pudding) and “baccalà mantecato” (creamed salt cod). Don’t miss the meatballs, too. The host will be happy to recommend an excellent house wine to pair with our appetisers.
2. Sestiere Dorsoduro: Cantinone “già schiavi”
You can’t take a tour of the best bacari in Venice without passing through one of the city’s most charming neighbourhoods, Dorsoduro. Connected to the sestiere of San Marco by the Accademia Bridge, it boasts a series of monuments and attractions that are taken by tourists every year. In this district you’ll have the chance to enjoy breathtaking views over the Giudecca island and take a sunset stroll on the Zattere fondamenta.
The typical bacaro that I recommend you try is the Cantinone “già schiavi”, a historic Venetian tavern. In this traditional osteria, you will immediately be struck by the display cases filled with the various cicchetti, which immediately attract the greediest of observers.
The iconic Venetian cicchetti recipes to try here are those with tuna, not to mention cicchetti with cod and herring. The cocoa cicchetti are very special. As far as wine is concerned, there is no shortage of house wines, but also some important wines belonging to the Lison-Pramaggiore denomination (both white and red ones).
3. Sestiere Cannaregio: Al Timon
When it comes to chicchetti bars Venice knows how to surprise you in other sestieri too! If you want to discover the best bacari in Venice but don’t know where to go, let us recommend the most populated of the six districts, Cannareggio. Famous for its art and history, it has important tourist attractions such as the Jewish Ghetto, the Church of the Scalzi and the Church of Madonna dell’Orto. This district is perfect to visit on foot, enjoying the quiet and relaxed atmosphere of authentic Venice.
Al Timon is Cannareggio’s historic bacaro, as you can easily tell from the furnishings. Old tools, wooden tables, stained glass windows and exposed bricks are the distinctive features of this place. The typical food and wine offer of this osteria includes the famous and tasty crostini with salt cod, sliced meats and cheeses with truffle sauce, liver pâté and ripe figs, but there are many others. To pair with all these delicacies, let the host advise you on the most suitable wine or play it safe and try one of their house wines, you’ll never go wrong!
Oh, I forgot, to make the experience even more evocative and unforgettable, have your “aperitif” in the old work barge moored in front of the canal and now converted into a small annex. What are you waiting for?
4. Sestiere San Polo: Cantina Do Mori
We continue our bacaro tour by arriving at the smallest of the six sestiere, San Polo. Walking through its streets, you will have the chance to breathe a different air (relaxed and quiet), perfect for those who need to recover energy and take some time for themselves. The main attractions of this district are certainly the famous Rialto Bridge, the Basilica dei Frari and the Scuola Grande di San Rocco.
As far as bacari are concerned, in this sestiere I recommend the Cantina Do Mori, a traditional osteria with suggestive furnishings, its demijohns and exposed branches. According to legend, it was here that the young Casanova invited his lovers on a first date, but there is no evidence of this. The Cantina Do Mori has two entrances: one from Calle dei Do Mori for tourists and with a more formal management and one from Calle Galeazza for Venetians characterised by a more “rustic” treatment.
The traditional cicchetti recipes you can find here are crostini, paninetti, as well as meat or fish meatballs. But the real symbol of this place remains the “francobollo”, a mini-tramezzino stuffed with ham, egg, prawns, gorgonzola and much more. As for the wine offer, in addition to the excellent house wine, you can find important labels belonging to the Lison-Pramaggiore DOC wine appellation.
5. Sestiere Castello: Al Portego
If you’re planning a tour of the best bacari in Venice, you can’t miss a visit to the largest sestiere in Venice, Castello. The district borders directly on Cannaregio and San Marco. It is considered one of the greenest areas of Venice, thanks to the Gardens and the Island of Sant’Elena. If you find yourself strolling through its alleyways, don’t miss a visit to the Arsenale, La Biennale di Venezia and the Island of San Pietro.
There are many bacari in this area, but if you don’t want to be disappointed, don’t think about it! Go to Al Portego, a typical osteria with a rustic and convivial atmosphere. The restaurant offers a wide variety of crostini with salted meat and mushrooms, cod, cheese, truffle cream or vegetables without forgetting the presence of “gourmet” food such as scallops, nervetti, moscardini in red sauce, cuttlefish in black and fried fish. Don’t know what to pair all this with? Let the host bring you the house wine and that’s it!
6. Sestiere Santa Croce: Bacareto da Lele
Santa Croce is the least visited of the six neighbourhoods and for this reason it is the one where you can best breathe in the typical quiet atmosphere of Venice. Strolling through its narrow streets, you will have the chance to look at the charming stalls where you can buy traditional Venetian masks or some other souvenir. Buildings not to be missed are the Church of San Giacomo dell’Orio, the Ponte degli Scalzi and Palazzo Mocenigo.
If you want to breathe in the real Venetian atmosphere, I recommend Bacareto da Lele. This fantastic place is appreciated for the quality of its cicchetti recipes and wine, its reasonable prices and its peaceful atmosphere. The food and wine on offer at this osteria includes “paninetti con la porchetta”, salami, cheese, mortadella and artichokes, coppa and prosciutto with mushrooms. This bacaro is never short of local wines, served on a continuous cycle by the friendly host!
How to prepare for a bacaro tour in Venice
A very important thing to do for a bacaro tour is to dress in sportswear and comfortable shoes as you will have to walk a lot.
As far as the time of day is concerned, what I can recommend is to go between 6 and 9 p.m. to enjoy the sunset. Finally, I recommend that you check the opening and closing times of the bacari beforehand so you don’t get disappointed!
If this article on the best cicchetti in Venice has intrigued you and you would like to try this tradition, visit the Italia Delight website and choose the most suitable Venetian experience for you! If you want, you can also customise it with the Local Expert. Book now! 😉