Planning a trip to Italy, must include culinary stops in the country that is often considered one of the best places in the world to eat. The food in Italy is so much more than just pasta and pizza. Each region has its own unique culinary traditions. This is no more evident than in an often overlooked city in Italy for eating, Venice.
The beauty of Venice as a food destination is a result of influences it has had on it’s history connected to the sea as a trading post as well as having had so many cultures pass through. From the French to the Austrians, Venetian food is a homage to its history but also to its location.
Venice is gifted with one of the biggest lagoons in the world. 550 km squared of water, includes some of the main treats that make Venetian dishes so special. From sea bass to clams to cuttlefish to softshell crabs (known in Venetian as “Le moeche”) Venice will surprise foodies and non-foodies alike.
If you are coming to Venice, we have 10 of the best restaurants to eat in while you are in the Lagoon of Venice. To reach most of restaurants on this list we recommend renting your own traditional Venetian boat with an electric engine and drive yourself through the lagoon. If you are not that brave you could rent a boat and guide with the team from Classic Boats Venice on the island of Certosa.
We picked the best restaurants from 7 different islands. For this list we focused only on the Northern Lagoon. The islands featured for this list are Murano, Burano, Certosa, Torcello, Mazzorbo, Vignole and Sant’Erasmo.
Best Restaurants in the
Lagoon of Venice
Al Bacan, Sant’Erasmo
Ai Piantaleoni Restaurant, Murano
Pizza on the Island of Certosa
Trattoria alla Maddalena, Mazzorbo
Ristorante Al Trono di Attila, Torcello
Trattoria Alle Vignole
Locanda Cipriani, Torcello
Villa 600, Torcello
Trattoria Da Romano, Burano
Trattoria Al Gatto Nero, Burano
10. Al Bacan
An amazing location that is a truly local spot. This restaurant / hangout is situated on the island of Sant’Erasmo, located on the Bacan (a famous swimming area for Venetians). During the summer season, Al Bacan become the place to get a drink and enjoy a nice plate of Venetian fried fish. Many people come with their own boat. They anchor near the shore and then walk directly to the restaurant, to enjoy a meal, while looking at the lagoon. After your fried fish and beer, jump in and take a swim with the locals.
9. Ai Piantaleoni Restaurant
A great restaurant with a beautiful view in Murano. The food is fresh, and the prices are perfect. The menu features all the Venetian standards. Definitely go for the 3-course option as this includes an antipasto, we recommend the seafood pasta or seafood risotto as a first dish and the fish of the day as a main. The service is friendly and fast. The terrace overlooking Murano is really something special.
8. Pizza on the Island of Certosa
On a list of unique restaurants in the Venetian lagoon this might be the most unique. On the back side of the Island of Certosa, you can see a small Ape truck with a long line of pizza lovers waiting for a taste of wood oven baked pizza. The deliciously prepared pizza is often considered the best pizza in Venice. Many locals stop by here for a swim and a bite. The price for a personal pizza is very economical. We recommend their Pizza Alla Norma. A real taste of Sicily in Venice.
7. Trattoria alla Maddalena
You know a restaurant is good when people are begging the waiters to find a spot inside the often booked out Trattoria alla Maddalena. The restaurant is a famous staple of culinary importance in the lagoon especially on the small island of Mazzorbo. Trattoria alla Maddalena boasts a lovely view across the canal to Mazzorbetto. It often gets overlooked for its trendier neighbor. But make no mistake about it, the food is always fresh and delicious. Their seafood gnocchi are absolutely a delight. Their moeche when is season are some of the best prepared soft-shell crab in the lagoon. The portions are big and definitely bring an appetite.
6. Ristorante Al Trono di Attila
Torcello is a beautiful island that feels like a world within a world. The crew at Ristorante al Trono di Attila are really the representatives of that world within a world. The staff are locals who have grown up on the island and the head chef has a genuine love of his local food but when speaking with him a love for cooking as ant art globally is very evident. The beauty is when you try his food that love he describes, and sincerity comes across in the cooking. With its local authenticity as part of its charm you will have a unique experience even while waiting for your food. The seafood pasta is full of flavor and loaded with fish. Each dish is an explosion of flavor. The seafood antipasto is a real beauty, that includes a showcase of fresh seafood from the lagoon near Torcello. Their signature dish just might be their eel, when in season do try, also known as Bixàto in Venetian (or Anguilla in Italian).
5. Trattoria Alle Vignole
One of the essential things you must do while you are visiting Venice is to see the sunset in the lagoon. It is one of the most romantic ways to enjoy the poetry that is Venice. Trattoria alle Vignole located on the wild and beautiful island of Vignole is the perfect spot to view the sun setting over the lagoon. While the food is modest and decent, the primary purpose for the visit is for the surroundings. The owners of this restaurant are aware of this. If you come with a local friend who has a boat or you decide to rent a boat from CBV, the food can be quite good especially their seafood lasagna. It is also just a great spot to watch the sun going down with a plate of fried fish and wine. Definitely bring a camera.
4. Locanda Cipriani
Are you feeling like Ernest Hemingway or even like Kim Novak, if yes, then Locanda Cipriani in Torcello is your place. This lovely restaurant in Torcello is an institution in simple elegance. The food are classics that are simple but created with refined attention in the way it was when it first opened. The grounds are beautiful and fit for royalty. Actually, fit for royalty as Prince Charles and the late Princess Diana visited the Locanda Cipriani in the 1980s. Definitely try a Venetian Classic, Sarde in Saor, which is perfectly prepared. Also Cipriani family classics should be ordered which include their Sampietro fish ‘alla Carlina’ and their carpaccio of raw meat. You can’t leave without trying their famous Bellini, the peach juice and Prosecco cocktail classic.
3. Villa 600
This lovely restaurant is not discussed much, but it is time people did. For some time, Villa 600 has operated quietly in the most beautiful space in all of Venice without much marketing but rather letting the food do the talking. Their menu is seasonal and local. Everything is made in house from the pasta to the desserts. Their service is quite possibly one of the best in the lagoon if not all of Venice. Located in Torcello, Villa 600 has beautiful, lush gardens which makes the dining experience all that more memorable. If you visit, you must order a full meal and at 60 euros you definitely get served an unforgettable meal. You must try the fish as it is delicately plated at your table by a waiter. We also recommend their seafood ravioli.
2. Trattoria Da Romano
When you are looking for a culinary history book of the lagoon-based cooking, you have to start with the menu at Trattoria Da Romano. Based in Burano, Da Romano is always packed with dedicated food aficionados who have read of it’s mythical culinary lore from food historians. It also helps that Da Romano was made famous by Anthony Bourdain in his episode on Venice for his series No Reservations. Bourdain shows off the beauty of what makes this place so special better than we can, discover more here. If you visit you have to try their Risotto di Go. This seemingly simple looking dish might just be one of the most flavorful bowls of rice you have ever had. Their years old recipe has been passed on from generation to generation. The same family who introduced the world to so many Venetian staples still manage the restaurant today.
1. Trattoria Al Gatto Nero
Trattoria Al Gatto Nero or Al Gatto Nero da Ruggero is a place of Venetian passion. Everything is about love and passion for the traditional ways of cooking in the lagoon. While the rest of the city might have moved on, they refuse, they do things as they always have, with a perspective looking at the lagoon and what could be eaten from there. This restaurant located in Burano, is perhaps one of the most popular restaurants in all of Venice and must be visited. As you sit the family of head chef Ruggero takes care of you. Ruggero is a lovely old man with the energy of an 18-year-old culinary student. He is excited as he always was for food, nothing has changed for him and we are lucky for this because the food is magical. Turning flavors and scents into unforgettable memories. As you sit down fishermen walk in bringing in their catch to the kitchen, all with the smiling approval of Ruggero. When you visit surrender your taste buds to the chef, go a la carte and be prepared to be wowed, as it is all good!