Best Wine Bars in Venice

Best Wine Bars in Venice

Best Wine Bars in Venice

On a recent trip to Venice there was a slight chill in the air, so I skipped extravagant cocktails outside in Piazza San Marco and with the help of some very knowledgeable friends, I explored the Venetian custom of ombre e cichetti in some of the best wine bars in Venice.  The story, that dates back to Casanova's time, goes that wine merchants once sold their wine in the Piazza San Marco and kept the barrels in the shade - ombre of the bell tower. 

Let's go on a Venetian Giro d'ombra to the best bàcari, informal bars/cafes, for a few glasses of wine and plates of small snacks.

Aziende Agricole – Enoteca da Roberto 
Rio Terà Farsetti, Cannaregio Near the Ghetto

A nationwide transportation strike on the day I had booked a three hour walking tour meant significantly more walking than I had bargained for. At our very first stop to the rustic casual Aziende Agricole I was so parched I could have downed an entire bottle of cold prosecco. Instead I restrained myself and sipped a Venetian style spritz made with a very pleasantly bitter Select liqueur. A plate filled crunchy fried things and melty cheese revived me for the next stop. 

El Sbarlefo
Sestiere Cannaregio, 4556/C

This small spot has lots of choices of Veneto wine, and some of the best cichetti I have had in Venice. I did not always love bacala manecato, but after a big, creamy scoop from here I am a complete convert. The is a small bar inside where you can stand for a quick drink or a few tables outside if you are opting for a more leisurely pace. 

San Polo 1131 Near Rialto

I could smell the garlic before we even walked through the door of this warm friendly spot near the rialto bridge. The cook was experimenting with American style garlic bread and we were the lucky guinea pigs. The specialty of this wine bar is Amarone, a rich red wine made partly from semidried Valpolicella grape and drinking it is one of the very best things about winter in Italy.

Campo SS Filippo e Giacomo 4357

I often look longingly at people leisurely sitting in pretty piazzas with a drink when I am in Rome, usually running some quotidian errand. In Venice I got to be the one enjoying a spritz in a busy Campo at an hour I am usually chopping vegetables and listening to piano scales being practiced. Here you have a choice of a seafood or meat cichetti plate.  We snacked on tender octopus salad, marinated anchovies and sarde in soar, a classic venetian dish of slowly cooked onions and sardines that is sharp and sweet.

El Refelo 
via Garabaldi

Overwhelmed and starving after five intense hours of Biennale art in the Giardini we stumbled out to the via Garabaldi too late for a plate of pasta at my favorite restaurant in Venice, alla Rampa. Just a few shop-fronts away was El Refelo. We ate plate after plate of tiny rolls that were filled with all kinds of delicious things including bacala manecato, grilled eggplant and smoked provolone and thinly sliced salty salami. When we were finally feeling restored, we dove back in and spent the afternoon at the Arsenale until they literally had to ask us to leave. 

Osteria alla Bifora
Campo Santa Margherita

By lucky coincidence we happend to be in Venice at the same time as our good friend Kelly Medford. Kelly was in town finishing up a plein aire painting tour. She was painting and staying around the corner from the spacious, wonderful Campo Santa Margherita. We lured her away from her final day of painting for an hour or two to join us for a lunch of sliced cured meats and glasses of wine and piazza people watching. 

Enoteca Mascereta
Calle lunga Santa Maria Formosa, 5183

Across from the charmingly ramshackle Acqua Alta bookstore this spot was recommended to me by a Milanese enoteca owner. We tried a taste of a very rich risotto, a large plate of flavorful cheeses and a delicate Venetian style spaghetti alle vongole with glasses of local Veneto wine. 

Traveling to Venice? Don't eat badly. Take a tour (one that involves wine and snacks) with Monica Cesarato and download Elizabeth Minchilli's Eat Venice App.

Best Wine Bars in Venice

 Best Wine Bars in Venice

Best Wine Bars in Venice

Best Wine Bars in Venice


  1. Since none of my favorites are on this list, I guess it is time to branch out next time we are in Venice! Thanks for the list G!!

  2. @engred I would love to hear about your faves!


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