Must-Try Street Food in Venice and Where to Find Them

You can say a lot of wonderful things about Venice: it’s hauntingly beautiful, always exciting, and full of surprises. Weirdly enough, you can describe street food in Venice in the exact same way. 

3 cones with fried fish and seafood
From seafood to gelato, this is the best street food in Venice. Photo credit: Dennis Matheson

We couldn’t miss our chance to share the best mobile bites in Venice. Here’s our selection of the most unmissable street food experiences in the city!

Scartosso De Pesse Frito, a Venetian Street Food Classic

A scartosso de pesse frito is fried fish in a paper cone. There couldn’t be something more rooted in Venetian traditions. You did notice that Venice is a coastal city, didn’t you? So, you just go fishing and fry your loot. Easy, right? Wrong. Because the perfect scartosso is not easy to find: it must have that delicate balance between the crunchiness of the crust and the softness of the fish.

Not all fried fish falls within this description. But to make sure you’ll find the perfect scartosso, we’ve decided to reveal to you the only two places where culinary prowess can create works of art:

  1. Frito-Inn (Campo San Leonardo, 1587): a minuscule place where rings of fried squid and shrimps are a must!
  2. Acqua e Mais (Campiello dei Meloni, 1411-1412): proudly traditional, you’ll find fried fish, vegetables, and more…

Insider’s Tip: don’t try to pronounce scartosso de pesser frito outside of Venice. It’s from a local dialect, and nobody will understand you—unless, of course, you meet a fellow Venetian.

someone holding cone of fried dish
Scartosso De Pesse Frito are so good they’re addictive. Photo credit: Kotomi

Meet Your Majesty, the Cicchetti

Ahh, cicchetti, that perfect Venetian street food.

Small bites that you can hold in the palm of your hand, like perfect creations: these are cicchetti. It doesn’t matter if they’re fish or meat, if they’re fried or not, or if they’re served with or without bread. As long as you drink something with them, you’re bound to call them cicchetti

Cicchetti are served in their own temples, called bacari. Scattered all around the city, these old traditional taverns are the places where true Venetians meet their friends and unwind after a long day at work. Try an authentic local experience by hopping from one bacaro to another, and never stop at the first one!

Small bites served on little pieces of bread placed atop a wooden board, with a person's hand pointing to them
A delicious selection of Venetian-style cicchetti.

Mozzarella in Carrozza, a Travelling Recipe

Mozzarella in carrozza is a slice of mozzarella and a little anchovy in sandwich bread, battered and fried. And it has gained all Venetian respect as one of the most incredible street foods in Venice.

This recipe traveled from one seaside town to another: born in Naples, it was adopted by Venice. But the original version misses the fundamental detail of the anchovy, which makes all the flavors dance in harmony as if on a carousel.

You can find the best mozzarella in carrozza in Rosticceria Gislon (Calle de la Bissa, 5424/a). But, if you want to take an even greater risk, you should also trust El Sberlefo (Calle S. Pantalon, 3757) for adding its own twist to the tradition: a slice of ham instead of the anchovy.

grilled cheese sandwich
Essentially a mozzarella stick in sandwich form, mozzarella in carrozza is the perfect Venetian street food. Photo credit: chefpercaso

Gelato, a Sweet Street Treat

The creamy, cold pleasure of a true gelato, could you even think about something more delightfully sweet? During the warm days of summer, a cool gelato can give you that extra energy to go the extra mile (quite literally) and keep sightseeing.

There are so many places for a great gelato in Venice, whether you’d want a cup or a cone. But remember: to the complete and authentic experience, indulge your sweet tooth and put some whipped cream on top!

Person's hand holding a cone of red gelato with a wafer stuck into the top
Meet your new best friend when it comes to Venice in summer: gelato. Photo credit: Spencer Davis

Chinese Dumplings

The link between Venice and the Far East has always been strong. It’s no coincidence that Marco Polo, the first European explorer to arrive in China, came from Venice. You can see this connection in the fine arts, architecture, and even among the students. Did you know that the University of Venice is one of the best places in Italy to study Chinese languages?

But there isn’t a better way to prove this bond than food. Enjoy the experience of being carried to the Far East with just one bite! The best place to have Chinese dumplings is Ravioleria Venezia. But don’t stop at just dumplings, try also their amazing bao zi

9 small Chinese dumplings in a round basket
The dumplings at Ravioleria Venezia are a must-try street food when in Venice. Photo credit: Victor Mui

Just a Warning

There are two kinds of people in Venice: the ones that zoom around the city because they have things to do and places to be; and then we have the wanderers: their heads in the cloud, their eyes everywhere but on the road.

If you fall in the second category, but still want to enjoy your street food, consider eating on the side of the road, or in a less crowded calle. If you don’t want to make people mad and yell at you, don’t sit on the steps of a bridge.