How to Eat in Venice on the Cheap

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You don't need to spend a fortune to have a great culinary experience in Venice, Italy. Dinners in Venice are expensive, so enjoy a larger lunch and indulge in snacks throughout the day. Supplement your meals with fresh fruit, vegetables, wine and desserts from local campos and farmers markets.

Eat Snacks Instead of Meals

Rather than eating full meals, indulge in small snacks during the day. Not only will it give you continuous fuel to explore the city, it will be easier on your pocketbook.

Tapas and other small snacks referred to as cichetti are available at bacari - small bars - for a low price. According to Becky Barnicoat, a writer for The Guardian, customers can usually purchase snacks and side dishes for only one or two euro per item. There's tons of bacari in the city but Barnicoat recommends All'Arco on Calle Arco and Alla Vedova on Ca D'Oro in particular.

John Brunton, another writer for The Guardian, recommends the creamed pumpkin, swordfish tartare and smoked tuna at Al Bottegon in the Dorsoduro neighborhood. At the time of publication, the bacaro offered more than 60 cichetti for around 1.20 euro each.

Tip

  • Gratuity is included in your bill, so there's no need to leave the standard 15 to 20 percent American tip when you're dining in Venice. According to EuropeForVisitors.com, 5 or 10 percent is a nice gesture if you receive excellent service.

Opt for Lunch Rather than Dinner

Eating out for dinner in Venice tends to be quite pricey so, if you want to eat out, opt for a large lunch instead. Price of Travel notes that the average budget dinner in Venice, at the time of publication, was about $11 to $20 in U.S. dollars per person while lunch was slightly less at $8 to $13 per person.

Anne Hanley, a writer for the Telegraph's travel channel, recommends Dai Tosi for a casual lunch. It's located on Secco Marina near the Giardini vaporetto stop. Trattoria Storica, situated near the Gesuiti church, offers budget travelers a set price lunch menu.

Tip

  • Look for restaurants that are situated in alleys instead of on a main square - since rent's lower, they're more likely to offer you lower prices.

Stock Up at Markets and Stores

Dining out adds up no matter what so keep food and drink at your hotel or hostel to supplement your meals. Frommers recommends a visit to Campo Santa Margherita to stock up on fresh produce and drinks. Locals sell fruits and vegetables in open air stalls on Tuesday through Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to around 1 p.m. The campo is lined with stores and bakeries that sell alcohol, desserts and other fixings for a picnic.

Tip

  • High foreign transaction fees on credit card purchases can add a lot to your food purchases. To get the best deal, Rick Steves recommends travelers obtain a credit card with low fees or use cash whenever possible.

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