While visiting the bustling Rialto Fish Market , you can expect to be a bit overwhelmed. There’s typically just some Italian scrawls explaining which fish are on offer, and that’s it! Although it’s not nearly as lively as it once was in decades past, the market definitely rivals any supermarket experience you’d find throughout the city.
Much of the fish you will find here comes from the Adriatic or even further afield and of course, one of the most popular fish dishes, Baccalà comes all the way from Norway. However, there are several varieties that are local to the the lagoon.
It might be an interesting game to try and guess which ones the seafood samples are simply by remember what you have seen most often on Menus in Venice. And then there is the Venetian name to pronounce! Some are truly unique, such as Schie (skee-eh).
Fish in Dishes
While Venetian ingenuity is classically quite impressive, when it comes to fish they truly manage to surprise you with flavor. This is partly thanks to the fact that the sea fairing adventures brought countless spices to the city which wound their way to the tables. It’s also because, although there is a fair range of fish, there isn’t a huge amount generally speaking. For this reason, instead of the being picky, they’ve found ways to draw the best flavor out of the less desirable fish. (For example: RISOTTO DI GO , a notoriously labor intensive fish to clean, is a scrumptious dish to find on a local menu.)
Nowadays, you will almost always be able to find salmon or tuna of some sort wherever you are in the world, but it’s not so common here in Venice; Instead, we munch on things like Sardines marinated in onions, pine nuts and raisins (SARDE IN SAOR ) and Black Squid cooked in its own ink ( SEPPIA IN NERO ), which you won’t find anywhere else in the world but Venice. Particularly SARDE IN SAOR is wonderful example of Venetian culinary history. It’s a proper flavor representation of how local fish has been fused with culinary traditions brought from the East.The dish is also a testimony to Venetians sailing traditions, as the means of frying the fish and then preserving them in onions is fantastic for storing food on long voyages.
The most famous island for its fishing legacy is that of Burano . The island is still home today to multiple fisherman families who hold generations of closely guarded secrets accumulated over years. These are the families who are the first to know of the legendary arrival of the MOECHE . While they always arrive twice during the year, it is never exactly at the same time and so these well trained masters know exactly what signs they are looking for. The touch.
Bigoli in Salsa
Another typical dish you will find above all in the Veneto region, is Bigoli in Salsa . Effectively a dish based on anchovies and onion. It is not always immediately loved by all, but when it is done well, it is truly fantastic.
It is the simple slow cooking process that brings the onions to a buttery softness and reduces the anchovies to nothing more than a sauce. Coating the whole wheat pasta in a creamy texture that is unbelievably comforting and energy restoring.
Try it for yourself
Of course, our PRIVATE CHEF EXPERIENCE , is no exception to the rule. We try to introduce variety into our menus but we cannot stray to far from the traditional path and take great pleasure in using local fish from the market and bringing our own twist to a dish.
Not an exhaustive list: (but a start for your shopping basket)
schie (tiny shrimps)
moeche (a kind of soft-shell crab)
orada (gilt-head bream)
Go (grass goby)
Moscardini (small octopus)
Canoce (my favorite)