Rialto market by Andy L
Surrounded by garden islands, a strong sea breeze wafts over the Venetian kitchen, with the occasional meaty dish from the mainland and local sides of rice and polenta. Early risers will notice Venetians risking faceplants in canals to grab radicchio trevisano (bitter red chicory) and prized Bassano del Grappa asparagus from market barges. And don’t be surprised if some Venetian dishes taste vaguely Turkish or Greek rather than Italian: with trade routes bringing imported tastes to the city for over a millennium, Venetian cuisine is a highly refined fusion of flavours, featuring signature dishes such as sarde in saor, in which salty sardines are combined with a tangy, sweet marinade of onion, pine nuts and sultanas. To find the best Venetian food, dodge restaurants immediately around San Marco, near the train station and along main thoroughfares and opt, instead, for modest osterie (taverns) in local campi (squares) and backstreets.