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An Off-Season in Venice - 2; Cicchetti bars, All' Arco

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July 21, 2017 / Italian / By
Anna

St Mark's Square, at 12.45pm on a lovely late November day. Not exactly crowded, is it?

Because it was winter, we had decided that we would not use the vaporetti at all this time in Venice and we would walk everywhere starting from the moment we left the station. Normally, we head straight for the closest vaporetto stop, but not this time. With our small trundle suitcases and Google Maps on our phones, we headed off across Venice to our hotel. It was right on lunch time and having risen at 5 am to catch our train, we were hungry.

Really, I had thought we would stop at the first likely-looking lunch place, but it soon became clear that launching in to any one of these small bars with suitcases, however compact, would not make for a good start to our little holiday. So we trudged on, then due to the signal being weak in the small streets of parts of Venice, we found ourselves in a blind alley or two. The infuriating thing was that the phone showed us where our hotel was, but neither it nor we could find it.

Just as I was about to collapse with hunger, we headed through a most unpromising looking alley to emerge into a large, attractive piazza with our hotel dominating a segment to the left. Relief! Checked in, bags dumped, we headed back through the alley to where all the food had been. First we bought some street food which we ate out of paper cones – squid for me and patate fritta for The Tall Guy. Blood sugar levels restored, we headed into a really crowded cicchetti (think tapas or antipasti) bar in the San Polo area. 

So how do we go about finding these places in an unfamiliar town? Unfamiliar to us it may be, but not to tens of thousands of others who have been here before, made a "find" and written about it. Looking for a cool cicchetti bar? Just use your pocket digital friend and try key words like best/cicchetti/Venice and you'll find loads of articles and references, like this one. Don't waste your time and energy racing across to the other side of Venice just to get to No.1 on someone else's list; No.3, if it's nearby, will probably be every bit as good. And exactly that easy process is what took us to Bar All' Arco.

Cicchetti at All'Arco. The perfect light snack lunch...with a drink, of course!

I thought we had little chance of getting much service as it seemed to be bursting with Italians on their lunch breaks. Nevertheless, we threaded through the counter and ordered a select of items and wine. As I vacillated over what to drink, the charming young man offered me a chance to taste. Imagine my horror when not once, but twice I found the red wine on offer unpalatable. I don’t know why I didn’t just shut up and drink to keep him happy. But he was the nicest young man in Venice and happily selected me a white, which was something I could enjoy. 

We elbowed our way back from the bar, clutching our drinks and food and perched in the corner of the room, just outside the loo, but in the window where there was a bench and some high stools. The cicchetti were delicious and the wine was good, too. 

However, on the way back to the hotel for a nap, (we had been up since 5am remember),  we called into a pizza bar for even more food. That is another advantage of Venice in winter, the cold means you NEED to eat more than usual.

 


N/A

Country: Italy

Province/State: Veneto

City: Venice

Address: Sestiere San Polo 436

Zip/Post Code: N/A

Location Tips: Short walk from Rialto Bridge, on the Cannaregio side.

Phone: +39 041 520 5666 (but no need to book)

Website:...

Price Guide:$$ (What's this?) N/A = home cooked meal,etc
$ = street food, fast food,etc
$$ = bistro, cafe, pub, bar,etc
$$$ = fine dining,etc

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