Venice Food Guide

A short review of three Venice food guide books, “Chow! Venice”, “Francesco’s Kitchen”, and “Venezia Food & Dreams”.

For many visitors, a guide book on dining out in Venice is an essential tool to finding the places where locals eat, and avoiding the restaurants catering to tourists.

Majority of the restaurants in Venice, in fact, have been established for the over 15 million annual tourists to the city…

…while the best local restaurants (serving local foods) are mostly off the beaten track, used by the 60,000 or so locals.

Using the “insider” guidebooks below, therefore, is a great shortcut to learning the ropes in how to get most out of your stay in Venice, in a culinary sense.

Chow Venice

Chow! Venice is a 194 page guidebook from two Americans, Shannon Essa and Ruth Edenbaum, who dined at Venice restaurants and tasted the menus to get the best to this book.

The result is a list of 40 restaurants and 40 bars, from cheap to very expensive, with detailed information on each…including the best menu items and directions how to get to the restaurant.

Essa and Edenbaum compiled information for many tastes, for…

  • simplest Italian sandwiches to
  • four course meals, and
  • authentic Venetian pizzas.

If you’re interested in the local culture, the authors give detailed insights into how, when, and what the Venetians eat and drink.

Because most of the suggested restaurants/bars are the same ones that the locals use, you are unlikely to get ripped off with ‘tourist prices’ or substandard service.

For those staying here long-term, there is also information on Venice’s markets and specialty food stores.

Francesco's Kitchen

Francesco’s Kitchen is a 320 page guide to Venetian food and cuisine, by Francesco da Mosto, famous for his BBC miniseries on Venice history, “Francesco’s Venice”.

The book contains instructions on how to prepare a total of 150 classic Venetian dishes, with the book filled with stories of origins and history surrounding these meals.

Francesco also provides personal accounts on these Venetian foods, as his family is from Venice and the author lives there himself.

Highlights within the recipes include ancient broeto and mollusk soup, as well as the many foods based on local (Venetian) fish varieties.

Venezia Food and Dreams

Venezia: Food and Dreams Venice food guide by Tessa Kiros is a 288 page introduction to the Venetian cuisine, covering 105 recipes, illustrated with 120 four-color photos.

However, the book is not a simple cookbook, but Kiros also provides special insights into the city itself, as a personal journal and a travel guide.

Chapters in the book are Eating in Venice, Essential Recipes, Cicchetti (small bites), Antipasti, Zuppa/Pasta/Gnocchi, Risotto, Secondi, Contorni (sides), as well as Dolce (sweet things).