Venice’s cafés and bars (the terms are interchangeable) fall into various categories, but all share common traits. More often than not, the coffee there is a pick-me-up: a shot of caffeine downed at the bar counter itself. In fact, many of Venice’s finest cafés don’t have tables at all. When you do sit down, expect to pay extra, on a sliding scale, lower on the backstreets to stellar venues with prices to match. Wherever you are, scan the menu for Venice’s specialty coffee—the macchiato. It’s a half-way house between an espresso macchiato and a cappuccino. Or you can skip the coffee altogether. Venetian all-day cafés serve up spritzes and ombre (small glasses of wine) until 8 pm—staying open just late enough to serve homeward-bound local workers.
9. Pasticceria Dal Mas
Just get to town and in need of some sustenance? Need a caffeine-and-carb boost for the trip back? In the visitor tack turmoil of Lista di Spagna, five minutes’ stroll from Santa Lucia train station, Dal Mas is an island of genuine venezianità, known citywide for its phenomenal homemade cakes and breakfast pastries. Though there’s a decent range of sandwiches, panini, and pizzettas, you come here for the cakes, made by the Balestra family from recipes handed down through generations. The almond slices are sublime.
8. Torrefazione Cannaregio
Genuine espresso heads accumulate in Torrefazione Cannaregio, a hip, laid-back bistro on the exquisite northern Ormesini waterway where numerous mixes and single starting points originate from an antiquated espresso roaster. The wall behind the counter is lined with glass-fronted bean containers with goods from Guatemala, Ethiopia, Nicaragua, and many other places. They’ll put beans in paper bags for you to take home, or they’ll brew something on the spot. At 90 cents for an excellent espresso, this may be Venice’s cheapest coffee, but it certainly doesn’t taste like it.
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