The golden rule
If you want to reduce your risk of ending up paying high prices for a less than satisfactory meal then the major tourist site restaurants should be avoided. This doesn’t mean you can’t find some good eating establishments in popular areas but the fact is that if a restaurant caters only to tourists and not repeat local customers they will usually inflate their prices. Give-away signs that mean ‘avoid’ includes establishments that have ‘greeters’ or ‘hosts’ outside trying to entice people in and those signs that have ‘tourist menu’ in bold letters. If you do want to soak in the atmosphere that comes with dining at historic St. Mark’s Square then be prepared - the price tag will be as jaw-dropping as your surroundings.
Explore a little further
There’s no real mystery to find a reasonably priced restaurant – walk a little further from the sightseeing areas and search out where the locals eat, restaurants hidden away on canal sides or down little back streets. Make sure to check out the menu, specifically the wine prices – if a restaurant only serves wine by the bottle then they’re more interested in taking your cash than providing a good dining experience. Always ask for or check service charges as these are usually included or are very minimal; avoid establishments that add on a 10% to 15% cover charge. For a good two or three course meal plus house wine you shouldn’t need to pay much more than €30 per person.
Mingle with the locals
Look for eateries where the locals sit at bars consuming small snacks, similar to tapas, this is an Italian tradition and you’re likely to find good food at low prices at these establishments. However, you’ll often see guests standing up while drinking their coffees or eating the snacks and this is because the price does go up as soon as you sit down. Good restaurants open at specific hours during the day, most usually from 12.30pm – 2.30pm and 7pm – 10pm and if you can eat a larger meal during the lunchtime hours you’ll find the prices to be much cheaper. Remember that if you’re visiting during the peak season months or during Carnival you’ll find the prices will shoot up, so checking the menu before sitting down is advisable.
Holidays to Venice can be an affordable option as long as you don’t make the mistake of spending blindly in the tourist traps. Ask your hotel manager or ask a local for the name of the favourite restaurants – word of mouth referrals is the lifeblood of any good dining establishment and it’s the best way to dine out on good food at reasonable prices anywhere you go.
(Photo by © Brandon Elijah Scott / Eye & Pen)
Article written by Roxanne