We started off our first day in Venice with a Cicchetti and Wine Tour through Urban Adventures (book your own tour and save 10%). I had a hard time pronouncing cicchetti. It helped me to say "baby chick"-etti. Now, the hubs and I are so not tour people. We prefer free-range traveling. However, this tour had great reviews and we wanted a special way to treat my mother-in-law for her birthday and this fit the bill: food, wine, culture. So at 11:30 AM we met our guide, Elisabetta, and a small group of fellow travelers to eat like the locals. It was wonderful! Cicchetti are basically Venetician tapas, often consumed standing up in the streets with a generous glass of wine. Here's our favorites from the tour and other yummy things:
Mushroom. Truffle. Cheese. We went back and ate more.
Cantina do Mori
Baccala on toast. Actually delicious! I now crave it. It's odd. Cantina do Mori is the oldest operating bar in Venice (started in 1462!)
In addition to the tour cicchetti, we made a bonus visit to "Da Luca E Fred" courtesy of our good friends here in TX, the Fiore's. I've heard their baby octopus is to die for but unfortunately, they didn't have that on the menu when we visited. Next time!
This last one is not cicchetti really but pasta to-go. What an amazing concept. At "Bigoi" they have homemade pasta at the ready. You choose your sauce and within 2 minutes you're enjoying a bowl of pasta better than anything you'd get in the states.
We were introduced to another concept while on the tour. In Venice (and I imagine throughout Italy), there is a wonderful thing called "vino sfuso" or "bulk wine" and similar to how we fill up a growler of beer in the States, you can bring in your bottle of choice and fill up on some fresh and extraordinarily cheap wine. Upon discovering this, we found it our duty to find and test multiple spots offering vino sfuso. They are hard to find but we found a few with a lot of googling and a little luck.
Here's a map with their approximate locations:
Our favorite spot to enjoy our vino was in Cannaregio. We stumbled upon this strip on a Sunday evening and it was bustling! We came back multiple times, found ourselves a stoop, and relaxed on the water.