Traditional Food in Venice: Tale of a Venetian Frittelle Marathon!

Frittelle alla Veneziana

traditional food in venice

Venetian Frittelle Marathon!!!

A traditional food in Venice

I have been writing about the Venice Carnival, its history, the masks and about typical Carnival cakes  so much so, that in the end, I kind of worked out a massive craving for the all lot.

traditional food in venice

Frittelle alla Veneziana

So last Friday, with the help of an American gourmet connoisseur friend who lives in Venice, I decided a testing of the best frittelle in the city was in order – one of the most traditional food in Venice!

As we say in Italy, “Pancia mia fatti capanna” (that means Please tummy, get as big as a hut!) and that was my mood for the morning.

I set off for Venice early Friday morning and got there to find it empty of tourists!

What a lovely feeling: just few Venetians walking, talking, going on about their own business, greeting each others. No pushing, no running, no stepping on people’s toes, no queuing.

Just a normal day like in any other small city (not talking about big metropolis – Venice is not that anyway). Some old ladies walking with their shopping trolleys, some old men going to buy the newspaper, some young students rushing to school, some people cleaning the front of the shops and so on.

I have not seen Venice like this for ages. Nice!!!!

traditional food in venice

Drooling over frittelle

So, after taking in this unusual sight of Venice, I made my way to Campo Santo Stefano where I was going to meet my dear friend L., who has been living for few years now in the city and who knows practically everyone here! 

I spotted her in the central bar in Campo Santo Stefano (where else could she be??) and from then on we took the Traghetto to San Tomà (the traghetto is a very quick way to cross the Canal Grande, very cheap and fast and funny). After having a quick chat with the two traghetto men (typical Italian ones, chatting up every single skirt passing by) we headed to Campo San Tomà where we set off to try our first Frittella of the morning.

We walked inside this tiny little bakery in the edge of Campo San Tomà and proceeded to dig our teeth in one of the best frittelle I have ever eaten. It was light, full of raisins, with an after-taste of orange. Just fantastic.

And whilst we were there we managed to engage in a conversation on how to make the best frittelle with the owner of the shop and a customer of hers, a Venetian old lady! Having picked a few tips and having given some in return, we left the shop with a certain amount of sadness ( the cakes on the display kept calling us) and headed to Pasticceria Rizzardini, near Campo San Polo, one of the best pasticceria here in Venice.

The place lives up to its name: as we stepped in the it was full of customers and the displays were packed with all different goodies, all traditional food in Venice. The pasticceria is small but it offers all different types of frittelle, the real traditional food in Venice. The typical Venetian frittele with cream, sensa gnente (empty), with zabaglione and some I never heard of, filled with whipped cream and other strange fillings.

traditional food in venice

Pasticceria Tonolo

L. was greeted by the owner like she was a long lost relative and I just concentrated on deciding which frittella I was going to try. There was way too much choice, I think this shop deserves a whole day testing!! I finally picked a whipped cream filled frittella and was delighted by my choice. It was so light and sweet and….. my mouth was so full which I was left with no words, I am afraid.

After another little chat with the owner, complimenting him for the choice and the way he cooked the frittelle (which gained us a nice discount!!!) we finally managed to walk out of the shop and headed for another of Venice’s best pasticcerie, Tonolo in Calle San Pantalon, near Frari‘s Church.

The place was absolutely jam packed, it took us more than ten minutes to finally get served, but it was well worthy it. This pasticceria/cafe has an amazing selection of cakes and frittelle. Whilst I picked a nice zabaglione one, L. opted for a new type: frittella di mele. Not your typical apple fritter, but made with the same dough used to make frittelle. Yummy!

We walked out of Tonolo and being the last one our 5/6 frittella of the day, we decided it was time to call it quits.

We did not manage to agree on which of the frittelle was the best, each one had something so particular and different from the others, that at the end we decided to give each pasticceria a big thumbs up. We decided, though, that another marathon needs to be taken, since each pasticceria in Venice offers its own version of the Frittella alla Veneziana.

Well, it is a hard job, but someone has to do it and we got till the beginning of March to go on our testing trail!

Will keep you all posted!

And if you fancy joining us in our testing, well, you are welcome, just let me know!


Food & Travel Blogger, Culinary & Food Tour Guide, Cooking Consultant & Instructor - this is well as an event organiser and overall talker - always in Venice! #aphotoofveniceaday Offering cooking lessons at As a friend once said: A Fire Cracker full of energy, not crazy but a visionary!


  • Monica

    Sorry, it is only a winter dessert – but try At Quanto Basta in Lista di Spagna, sometimes they have them out of season

  • andrew

    Great article Monica – I will be sure to try the local Fritelle in July when staying in Dorsoduro.
    ciao Andrew

  • Food Lover Kathy

    Monica – this looks like so much fun. I’m looking forward to checking these pasticcerie out soon….and especially the fritella di mele. Thanks!

  • Mel

    Hi, I followed your fritelle recipe linked to on Twitter BUT you don’t mention in it what to do with the salt… Please help! The fritelle were nice but they obviously needed the salt to do ‘something’ to them!

  • mc

    Thanks for pointing that out!!! You need to add the pinch of salt to mixture before adding the eggs.

    Happy cooking!

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