Venice is probably one my favourite cities in the world: being forced to reach any place of interest by foot or boat, its canals, the grandeur of the buildings, the illusion to step back in time make me feel alive and overwhelmed everytime I visit(and, believe me that’s quite often since I basically live in Venice because I’m a student at the Ca’ Foscari University).
Every year the city offers its beauty gems to thousands of tourists and travelers; however, although everyone agrees about how wonderful the city is, I’ve often heard complaints about the prices of food or, sometimes, its quality. Eating frozen food, expensive food or awful and expensive food is something that shouldn’t happen, especially in Italy, and that’s why I believe they’ve probably fallen in a tourist trap! So here is when this article comes in handy: I’m about to give you a few useful tips on how to avoid tourist traps in Venice when looking for a delicious Italian meal and what to look for instead.
Location: stay away from the renowned tourist spots
This may sound obvious, but don’t venture in Piazza San Marco for a coffee: it surely is excellent, the location amazing, the music pleasant, but the bill? The terror! An espresso will cost you around three euros or more, add table service and maybe something else to drink or eat and you’ll end up paying the amount of money you could spend on an entire meal!
Of course you can do that, it’s certainly an interesting experience, but I’d suggest to try and see the city from a local’s perspective, finding the best and hidden spots in order to live the “real Venice” and not heading to the usual Rialto, Ponte dell’Accademia etc.
Menus in multiple languages accompanied by several flags displayed outside? Run!
Venetians don’t bother much with translations if their bacaro or restaurant is well-established or offers a really good service: they’ll help you choosing a tasty course and explain everything in a broken English and through manneristic gestures. Therefore you’ve probably stepped (again) in a tourist trap: if you’re offered multiple menus translated in lots of languages, avoid the place and go on wandering around! (Some exceptions may occur, obviously, but it’s a good rule to follow)
Restaurant looking too Italian? A more or less Italian waiter or waitress hailing at you? NAY
Suddenly, your attention is caught by this charming dark-haired waiter, trying to perform a very Italian accent, smiling and convincing you to come in the restaurant and go for the tasteful meals they provide. A stereotypically Italian music is playing, the place seems come out from a movie, it must be great here! Agan, tourist trap! You’ve just met what here we call battitore, hitter, a waiter specifically paid to “hit” on people and make them eat in the restaurant he’s working for. I can’t say anything about the quality of food, but I bet it would be as expensive as can be.
My final advice? Look for hidden places, small ones, maybe with a few locals inside, even if they don’t even speak English. Avoid crowded bars or restaurants with a excessivily varied clientèle. You’re not sure? Ask for advice! Ask to the hotel staff, the owner of a shop you like, anybody. Try also with Tripadvisor and blogs, I use them too and I always find some interesting places to visit!
In conclusion, what can I say? Bon appétit!