Over Ombra and Cicchetti


Having ombra (local slang for “wine”) and cicchetti (Venetian tapas) is a traditional afternoon ritual in Venice. Locals end their day with a small glass of house vino, paired with a variety of bite-sized snacks. Wines range from local reds and white to Spritzes, while the food comes in all flavors and colors—making for a simple yet delightful aperitif. Experience the before-dinner custom, from one of the oldest cantinas (winery) in San Polo to an osteria (tavern) in Dorsoduro. Hop from bacaro (wine bar) to bacaro as you go through our round-up of Venice’s best osterias!

Updated 10 months ago

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Venice, Italy • Recommendation • 18 July 2018

Family-run All’Arco tenders an exquisite selection of reds and whites from small producers across Northeast Italy. Choose your cicchetti from the glass display or order their delicious sandwiches filled with all kinds of meats and cheeses! Better yet, ask father-and-son Francesco and Matteo for their recommendations. A long-standing favorite, the bacaro is only open until 2:30PM. The food also runs out quickly during lunch hour, so come early to enjoy the cicchetti. You’re in Venice, anyway—it’s okay to be sipping on wine before midday!


Calle Arco, San Polo 436, Venice, Italy

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Ca D'Oro Alla Vedova

Venice, Italy • Recommendation • 18 July 2018

Ca D’Oro Alla Vedova’s Polpettes (spicy Italian meatballs) are said to be Venice’s best. The well-loved wine bar also doubles as a trattoria (restaurant), so save room for their delicious Venetian menu after a couple of glasses of ombra. Book ahead to get a table for dinner, as the small space is always packed with locals!


Calle del Pistor, Cannaregio 3912, Venice, Italy

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Cantina Do Mori

Venice, Italy • Recommendation • 18 July 2018

Operating since 1462, Cantina Do Mori tells Venice’s storied past. The tavern is one of the oldest ones in the city, allowing you to recall early days in northeastern Italy through dark wooden interiors and copper pots suspended from the ceiling. Its biggest draw is its history, but you’ll still find satisfying servings of cicchetti and good local ombra.


Calle Do Mori, San Polo 429, Venice, Italy

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Al Mercà

Venice, Italy • Recommendation • 18 July 2018

Keep your eyes peeled for locals gathering in a corner in Campo Bella Vienna to discover Al Mercà. The hole-in-the-wall shop serves an appetizing cicchetti menu, best enjoyed with great regional wines. It’s standing room only, so join the crowd on the square to savor your wine the Venetian way!


Campo Bella Vienna 213, Venice, Italy

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Osteria alla Ciurma

Venice, Italy • Recommendation • 18 July 2018

After a round of shopping in Rialto Market, observe Venetians fortifying themselves at Osteria alla Ciurma. The warehouse-turned-bar supplies an excellent house wine and delightful cicchetti, which is a bang-for-your-buck pairing! A sharing plate of cheeses and salami, as well as fresh seafood platters, are also available all day.


Calle Galeazza, San Polo 406, Venice, Italy

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Cantina Do Spade

Venice, Italy • Recommendation • 18 July 2018

Sample Cantina Do Spade’s top-notch cicchetti and find out why author Giacomo Casanova brought his romantic conquests here. The centuries-old bar offers an assortment of fried dishes that will have you floating in gastronomic heaven! Try their Pumpkin Blossoms, which are zucchini flowers stuffed with baccalà mantecato (boiled cod mousse). Happy Hour lasts a while here, so keep on munching until you can’t anymore!


Calle Do Spade, San Polo 859, Venice, Italy

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Al Timon

Venice, Italy • Recommendation • 18 July 2018

Famous amongst younger Venetians, Al Timon sets the perfect atmosphere for a steady evening by the Ormesini canal. Take your ombra and cicchetti to the edge of the waterway, and delight in impromptu jazz concerts held on the barge moored right out front. Later at night, Al Timon transforms into a proper restaurant that serves mouthwatering steaks—great with a bottle of red!


Cannaregio, Fondamenta dei Ormesini 2754, Venice, Italy

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Osteria Bancogiro

Venice, Italy • Recommendation • 18 July 2018

It may be more of a ristorante (Italian for “restaurant”) than a bacaro these days, but Osteria Bancogiro is still a pleasant place for Pinot Noir and cicchetti. On a sunny day, take your combo to Campo Erberia for an al fresco dining experience. While here, bask in the glorious sight of the Grand Canal in between delicate sips and small bites.


Campo S. Giacometto, San Polo 122, Venice, Italy

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El Sbarlefo

Venice, Italy • Recommendation • 18 July 2018

We’ll let you in on a secret: El Sbarlefo does an outstanding baccalà mantecato! Fight through the crowd to order your wine and snacks then bring them straight to the alley to relish over stimulating conversations with friends. Background music ranges from mellow jazz to Elvis Presley for a steady hangout.


Cannaregio 4556/C, Venice, Italy

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Osteria al Squero

Venice, Italy • Recommendation • 18 July 2018

Osteria Al Squero is famous for their Crostinis, which are ideal for pairing with their range of wines from Northeast Italy. Follow the regulars (mostly students looking for a cheap fix) and take your ombra and cicchetti out to the bank of the canal. As boats pass by, witness gondola artisans at work at the boatyard right across the water.


Dorsoduro 943/944, Venice, Italy

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