Virago Journeys travels to Venice this September to taste their top eight most authentic seafood dishes
Yes, we’re going! Virago Journeys heads back to Italy this fall and Venice is one of our stops on our Absolute Italy tour this September 2021.
Italy abounds in diverse, eclectic dishes. No matter where you roam throughout the country, you'll get an entirely new dining experience. And Venice, especially, is not just the city of love but a city made for those who love food. So, whether you head to the lagoon to enjoy Venetian cuisine or the shores of the Adriatic Sea to experience traditional seafood dishes, Venice will always delight your palate. And, in case you’re not sure where to begin, here is our list of their eight most unique, authentic delights to try:
Spaghetti in Nero di Seppia (Spaghetti with Squid Ink)
This charcoal-colored pasta looking dish is pieces of squid slow-cooked in tomato sauce. The charcoal color comes from the ink of the squid, which gets added after the preparation is complete.
Squid ink has a unique earthy flavor, silky mouth feel and alluring jet-black color that couples perfectly with pasta. It makes a dish both elegant and rustic at the same time. Try it and see if you find it irresistibile!
Sarde in Saor (Sweet and Sour Sardines)
In Venetian saor means “flavor” or “taste” and connotes a specific seasoning—based on vinegar and onions—that the local fishermen invented to preserve their fish in the absence of refrigerators.
Fritto Misto (Mixed Fry)
This divine dish is simply shrimp, fish balls, and calamari all breaded and deep fried to perfection. Great served in a cone while strolling the Rialto Food Markets.
In Venice, fritto misto is usually served naked or with just a squeeze of lemon juice, but it’s also delicious with tartar sauce. Although many restaurants serve this dish, they all add their own flavors, bread topping, and touches, so don’t hesitate to try them all!
Baccala Mantecato (Creamed Cod)
For hours, dried codfish is cooked until the bone is nearly dissolved. It is them creamed with oil to the most impeccable consistency. It makes a great late-night spread for bread and best paired with some Venetian wine.
A holiday favorite during the Christmas season, baccala mantecato is authentically accompanied with polenta.
Bigoli in salsa (Bigoli in Sauce)
Bigoli in salsa is a beloved Venetian dish dating back to the 16th century when peasants would make this simple dish on fasting days, such as Good Friday or Christmas Eve.
Bigoli is a long, thick noodle made from whole wheat flour. Its coarse texture helps the sauce adhere to each strand. And the sauce is made with onions, anchovies, and fennel seeds. This is one of Venice’s signature cuisines now served year-round.
I never liked anchovies but when I mistakenly ordered a side of what I thought were vegetables and received a small plate of anchovies dressed in onions, oil and fennel, I found them to be absolutely delicious. So be sure to savor them in this authentic Venetian pasta dish. Fantastico!!!
Tramezzino (Midmorning Snack)
This snack entails using pieces of bread in the shape of a triangle and filling them with all sorts of delicious foods such as cheese, tomatoes, artichoke, olives, and more. The options are endless! My favorite are the olive- and tuna-filled ones, but I tend to veer toward foods with briny bite.
The name tramezzino was invented by Gabriele D'Annunzio (an early 20th-century Italian poet), meaning “the middle morning snack” (tra - mezzo, in the middle) and created as an alternative to British tea sandwiches. But Italians don't eat these with tea, they are to be savored with an ombra or a birrino. Available throughout the day at most local Venetian bars. And beware, because they can be little or ginormous!
Frittelle actually translates to pancakes, but the only thing they share with our American pancakes is their absolute deliciousness and the need to eat more than one.
Traditionally made for Christmas Eve, these delectable doughnuts make the perfect midday treat. They come overfilled with cream or raisins and candied orange peel, and then dipped in sugar.
For authentic frittelle veneziane, the dough batter is laced with liquor-soaked raisins and fragrant pine nuts, fried, and then coated abundantly in granulated sugar. Yum!
Moeche Fritte (Fried Soft-Shell Crab)
These small crabs are a seasonal treat only available in the spring or fall. The tradition of raising these unique crabs was once a well-kept secret of the crab farmers of Chioggia, passed down from generation to generation and now practiced on Burano and Giudecca, an important industry for the region.
Moeche are smaller than their U.S. counterparts, only 2-3 inches. They are breaded and fried whole without the shell. You will find this delicacy served at many fancy Venetian restaurants. And for a truly delightful experience, stroll down the Rialto fish market and grab the moeche in one hand and a glass of prosecco in the other. Salute!
Share the knowledge
W. Anne Jones
A curious explorer, learning and growing. Join me as I travel the world one day at a time.