As many might assume, we are on a pretty tight budget. Everyday is a fun challenge of where to spend our money and how to spend it so we can actually survive traveling for a whole year. Food is obviously a huge part of traveling and adds to the experience of a city, so with that in mind, we aim to seek out the best food without sacrificing our wallets! Our favorite meals are ones that are home-cooked and enjoyed with others around the table, but on The Table Trail, we are also going to share with you special places we encounter and how to make your money last while still enjoying all that a cities food scene has to offer.
Yesterday, our Table Trail took us to a little restaurant, hidden by all the chaos of one of Venezia’s busiest streets and perfectly nestled at the end of a bridge and a beautiful canal. This place could have very well been a tourist trap, but it seemed as if they prided themselves on being a safe haven for those who wished to escape the “turisto menus” and just have a quick snack or lunch.
While walking around Venezia for the past few days, we stumbled upon many “osterias” which are just little bars that serve wine and simple food. They are usually quaint and down an alleyway – away from the restaurants wanting to charge an arm and a leg for a dish that tastes like Prego or Ragu. Finally, we decided to venture out and find an osteria to enjoy a small lunch. (Ya know that feeling when you aren’t trying to look for something but you see it a million times but then when it comes time to actually WANT to find it, you cant? Yeah, that happened.)
We were on a mission. A hungry and thirsty mission. A mission that was only going to be completed once we found what we were looking for – an Osteria that served little plates and wine. Doesn’t sound like it would be that hard, right? Considering we saw about a thousand the last few days. Welp, we definitely worked up an appetite mindlessly walking the streets of Venezia in search for our lunch time paradise.
FINALLY…we found Cantina Vecia Carbonera and it was exactly what we were looking for. We walked in to a dimly lit room full with the smell of salumi, fresh bread, and wine. The best part? The price-tags: €1.50 for all sandwiches, crostini’s, little appetizers AND €2.50 for a glass of wine = sold. Not to mention, the lovely ambiance. It was quiet, romantic, and the perfect place to just soak it all in. I don’t know about you, but we are total suckers for ambiance – it has to be just right. Lights make a huge difference and the setting of the restaurant completely dictates the tone of the meal. I mean, we aren’t picky or anything but we definitely seek out places that give us “the feels.”
The type of food they offered was called “Cicchetti” which is basically just small appetizers, sandwiches and snack food. We ordered 2 paninetti (small sandwiches) with salumi and prosciutto, 1 crostini with goat cheese and pumpkin puree, 1 crostini with ricotta and sundried tomato, some kind of fried rice ball with cured meat (tasted like corned beef!) a glass of chardonnay and a beer for €13! We parked ourselves along a quiet windowsill and enjoyed the views of the canal to our left and the beautiful osteria to our right.
This little restaurant taught me that you don’t need a lot to make something wonderful. Simple, quality ingredients make the meal – not the quantiy. I asked sean if a restaurant like that would survive in the states and sadly, we assumed not because Americans love big portions, don’t we? Portions that could feed a whole family of 4. Portions that make us HATE ourselves. Right? Well, not everyone but I do believe we are condiditioned to think quantity over quality. But, after visiting this restaurant, I have this image in my head that when we return, we will have friends over for lunch and I will keep it simple with small sandwiches, crostinis and little appetizers and instead, focus on the conversation and enjoy the simplicity of a meal. Who would like to join us?