My Venice

Venice is a tough city for food–and an expensive one, too, especially if you’re accustomed to cities like Rome where you can eat very well on a budget. If you plan ahead and make bookings at restaurants well in advance, you will enjoy Venetian dining, particularly if you are OK budgeting €75 and up per person for a meal including wine. I love institutions like Alle Testiere where everything is very good, Da Ignazio and Antiche Carampane for fish, and Al Covo is great for pasta, fritto misto and a very good grappa selection. Vini da Gigio is another favorite for Venetian classics and a deep wine cellar. Covino and Anice Stellato, which are more contemporary, are lovely, too, and book out well in advance. 
For really good bites standing up at a bar counter, the super famous Cantine del Vino già Schiavi is reliably delicious and serves little shots of wine (ombre) for €1.00. Sepa near Rialto is fun and on the other side of the bridge, Al Mercà near the Rialto Market does some sought-after natural wines by the glass alongside everyday drinking options and the sandwiches are great. Pop in next door at Casa del Parmigiano for cheeses and cured meats, then hit Rialto Market (mornings only, Monday to Saturday) for a crash course in Veneto’s produce–look for vegetables from the nearby island of S. Erasmo–and lagoon fish. Also near Rialto is All’Arco, one of my grab a bite and a drink on the fly.
For seated natural wines and snacks, I love La Sete (and their adjacent restaurant, Rioba) and Adriatico Mar. Vino Vero has a great wine list but the service can be super condescending and Stappo has an excellent wine list, though their markup is higher than the competition and the cellar includes a number of problematic wine makers. Estro is amazing for a quick glass and a tramezzino–I prefer this to sitting down to a full-on meal there. Tonolo just down the street is legendary for pastries. Dal Nono Colussi and Bar Toletta are fantastic, as well, especially around Carnevale when they serve warm frittole (sweet dough fritters). Torrefazione Canareggio does excellent coffee. For more drinking tips, read my lates for Prior here.
If you’re on the move in the lagoon, visit Locanda Cipriani in Torcello, Trattoria alla Maddalena in Mazzorbo and Gatto Nero in Burano. In Murano, Acquastanca is the only really outstanding restaurant, while La Perla ai Bisatei does an excellent frittura di calamari and it’s a quick walk to Murano Gelateria in Calle Dal Mistro for a couple scoops. And while you’re in Murano visit Wave Murano Glass for tours, glass making experiences, and glass shopping! (Full disclosure: Wave founder is my boyfriend). If you want your own private transport around the lagoon, I recommend hiring a boat from Classic Boats Venice.