Eating Well for Less in Venice

The food: good cheap eats in Venice, Italy

During my first-ever visit to Venice, (on a long weekend in early November) I saw a little high water, many tourists, and beautiful art, architecture and skyscapes, and I ate some very good and inexpensive food.

Our best meal – for both quality and price – was at Taverna del Campiello Remer , a charming, casual and difficult-to-find spot that’s a five minute walk from the Rialto bridge in Canareggio. (For instructions on how to get there, see the end of this post*.)

The taverna is known for its generous aperitivo (AKA happy hour) offer: from 5:30 to 7:30 pm on every day but Wednesday, one orders a glass of wine (a choice of red, prosecco, or a spritz – a mixture of Campari, Prosecco and mineral water) at the bar, pays 5 Euros, and is granted unlimited access to a square buffet table laden with, on the night we visited, several different kinds of bruschetta, and huge pots of a simple pasta and an excellent mushroom risotto, both brought out steaming from the kitchen at around 5:40 pm.

Assorted Bruschetta from Taverna del Campiello Remer Aperitivo

Simple Pasta from Taverna del Campiello Remer Aperitivo

The unmarked entrance to Taverna del Campiello Remer in Venice

Another day, another good meal deal in the Rialto market neighbourhood, courtesy of where Muro Rialto, a bar and restaurant that offers seafood and fish tarts for 2 Euros each in its ground floor stand-up wine bar (shrimp in a rossa sauce and with pesto are shown here).

The main attraction on Saturdays at lunchtime is the lunch special, served outdoors in the Campo Bella Vienna, just outside the Muro Rialto wine bar entrance.

Saturday in the Square Sign from Muro Venice

Here, a lineup forms before noon at an outdoor table set up with a cash register, bottles of wine and wine glasses, and trays of hot fresh-cooked food brought out from the restaurant.

8 Euros gets you a glass of white wine and the special of the day, which was fritto misto (made with very fresh fish from the neighbouring fish market) on the day we visited.

I admit that even after trying a piece of that white block of something on the plate, I had no idea what it was. Some kind of firm whitefish that wasn’t fried? If you can identify it, please do so in the comments below.

In the same square is a small and very busy cheese shop, the Casa del Parmigiano. purveyor of cheeses, salumi, olives and a small selection of house-prepared foods.

Casa del Parmigiano in Venice

From here, I picked up some of the elements of a perfect Italian light lunch. To experience la dolce vita in Venice all I needed to add to a chunk of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and some marinated artichoke hearts from Casa del Parmigiano was a zucchini roll from a nearby bakery and a sliced apple from a fruit and vegetable stand in the adjacent Rialto market.

*To find Taverna del Campiello Remer from the the Rialto bridge, cross the bridge from the south San Polo market (mercato) side to the north Cannareggio side. Turn left on the first street, which is what passes for a main drag in Venice, and follow it for four or five blocks, watching for small side streets (alleys) that open off it to the left towards the curving Grand Canal. The street/alley that leads to Campiello del Remer is not marked, but shopkeepers on the main street will direct you to it (tip: it’s near a tobacconist) if you pronounce it properly (Reh-mehr). Take the dark Remer alley one short block to the end – it opens into a small square on the canal. The taverna, with no sign, is the only storefront in the square.