Within a few days, the lush spring green colors changed to the summer look. The weather isn’t stable yet but the colors do give the season away – consider the last weekend in May “Summer” in Venice.
This post is a brief guide for you where to explore Venetian family food in case you visit Venice in summer. How Venetian summer food differs from a winter menu and what Venetians love to eat for lunch when the weather is very hot.
The places where Venetians stop for lunch needn’t be far off the main tourist areas. To explore them you just need to do two things: Let go of your map and start walking. Remember that you can never get lost in Venice, there are always people who could point you into the right direction and anyway, there are the yellow signs pointing you to Rialto, San Marco, Ferrovia and Piazzale Roma. If you concentrate, you will always find your way, so relax and enjoy your walk :-)
There are places where you can have Venice to yourselves during lunch. Look out for them around Via Garibaldi, the Zattere quay, the Tolentini area and San Giovanni Evangelista, along Fondamenta della Misericordia and in the Ghetto, on Fondamente Nove and near the monastery of San Francesco della Vigna, Campo delle Gatte and San Pietro di Castello.
Here are the “secret” places where Venetian families cook themselves in small osterie serving family food for many decades and sometimes hundreds of years. These places often come with cool gardens. The food you eat is often based on favorite recipes cooked by Venetian grandmothers.
We are in the heart of what is called La Venezia Minore and you can join Venetians for lunch when you come here around 1:30 pm.
You might also choose a restaurant overlooking a canal. Try secret courtyards and gardens which you enter from passing through an archway (sotoportego). Let me give you an example, for I love eating next to the water.
This is an osteria putting its tables out next to Rio di San Giuseppe. Imagine sitting under the huge white sunshade surrounded by summer flowers. Your table is decorated with wild jasmine flowers, Venetians love gelsomino – jasmine !!
What is the simple food that Venetians eat every day in summer? By simple I mean dishes that don’t take much time to cook. My grandmother would never bother with cooking for more than half an hour in summer. Yet everything turns out delicious, made from fresh ingredients, vegetables, fish, salad and herbs. In Venice, there’s always a small market nearby selling freshest produce and fish. There’s even a fish market stall on Via Garibaldi.
In a family osteria, you would start your Venetian summer menu with a cold antipasto or pasta with fish. Your first course is followed by a plate of grilled fish and sea food (frittura mista). We had pasta with crab – tagliolini ai granchi and a plate of San Pietro fish. Both are favorite summer dishes in Venice.
The crabs are fried in a pan with tomatoes and parsley in olive oil, flavored with sea salt and black pepper and mixed with the tagliolini. The fish is fried on both sides in sun flower oil (no olive oil !!), seasoned with salt, pepper and parsley and a slice of lemon. This is the classical Venetian lunch in summer, In winter, we love soup instead of pasta.
For dessert you’ve got so much to choose from. Either you stop for coffee in a little bar and taste a few tempting cookies and little delights or you stay in your osteria and enjoy their torta della casa – the signature cake. Zuppa inglese and tiramisù (or rather tiramesù in Venetian) are my favorites !!