Cicchetti Veneziani

Tavern Nibblers in Venice (Cicchetti Veneziani)

When traveling to Venice, tasting Cicchetti Veneziani is a must! It is the Venetian "happy hour," resembling Spanish tapas. Local chefs make these finger foods according to the finest Venetian recipes

Where can you find Cicchetti Veneziani? On the Venice map, look for Venetian taverns called bacari. You'll see crowds and people eating outside in front of the bar. It's a good idea to come early in the evening. You can have these tasty bites on a small plate standing or at the counter. 

What are Cicchetti Veneziani? These finger foods usually include local seafood, meats, cheeses, and seasonal vegetables. Enjoy them paired with a glass of wine or an Aperol Spritz. In addition, you'll often see other local dishes, such as Risi e Bisi, Risotti al Nero di Seppia, Risotti alla marinara, and Pasta e Fasioi.

Having Cicchetti Veneziani is an authentic Venetian experience, but it is rather casual. It's not fancy dining, but it is a centuries-old tradition. The most common and the oldest variations are: 

Nibbler DishDescription
Mesi Vovi (Halved Eggs)Boiled eggs cut in halves, seasoned with oil salt and pepper
FolpetiBoiled octopus seasoned with various sauces of oil, celery, parsley, salt and pepper; often served in symmetrical halves.
SpiensaThin slices of beef spleen, stewed and seasoned with oil and spices
SepoineYoung and very small cuttlefish roasted or fried.
RumegalChunks of boiled beef rumen seasoned with salt and oil
PatatineRoasted, stewed or fried potatoes
CanoceBoiled sea onion seasoned with oil, salt, pepper and parsley
MasaneteSmall lagoon crabs stewed in their shells
MoecheSame as crabs, but in the ecdysis period, an embryonic stage where the shell is missing, they are fried.
MusetoThick slices of cotechino (Italian pork sausage) stewed on a bed of polenta
BacalaDried salted cod on toast or small dish, mantecato (creamed), Vicenza’s way, and conso, seasoned in similar manner to that called Capuchin’s way. You’ll rarely still find it in fried fillets, similar to the mannor alla Giudia (Jewish’s way).
Frito de MinuagiaFried fish: anguee (clams), marsioni (similar small fish), totanetti (small squid).
Peoci GratinaiBaked gratinated mussels.
PolpeteFried croquettes of meat and bread, softened in milk, with parsley and sometimes garlic.

Murex murex shells, those used in antiquity to extract the purple dye. In the 1970s the native species of this shell were mostly replaced by more vigorous, but less delicate, invasive species from tropical seas. The Garusoi of this new species are also called Noni (grandparents). 

It is one of the oldest Venetian recipes.

CapesanteLarge, fan-shaped shells, usually au gratin.

These are the best-known Venetian recipes. Trying at least one of these dishes will make you appreciate Venetian cuisine forever. Come to Venice to try Cicchetti Veneziani and enjoy life like a Venetian!