By now you may have realized that Venice is the type of city that banks on its past to keep its streets milling with sight-seers, even as the divide grows ever larger between its authentic roots and the contemporary tourist culture that has transplanted it. There is no greater example of this than in its cuisine.
Which is not to say that Venetian food is bad. Not at all, actually. The majority of dishes are risotto or polenta-based in the typical fashion of most of northern Italy, while cuttlefish and/or its mildly flavored dark ink are prevalent. There are also a number of seafood dishes that benefit from the freshness of local catches. This is most apparent at the daily Rialto fish market in San Polo. You'll encounter other cuisine staples from greater Italy, but Venice has earned a reputation as a poor substitute for the pizza and pasta of more southerly Italian cities; if you must attempt these, Rossopomodoro on Piazza San Marco may be the only place worth eating within a few city blocks, while Ae Oche and Pizzeria Pier Dickens in Dorsoduro are also comparable options.
Cuisine in Venice also comes with a handful of warnings. First off, do your eating at the counter. Once you are seated at a table, many eateries will up the price of food as much as double. Also, be aware of restaurants that tout reasonable food prices out front, only to heinously overcharge for drinks. If there is an employee out front attempting to gain business, then avoid in general. The best restaurants in Venice don't need to beg you to come in and eat. Lastly, be aware of how the food is priced upon entering an establishment. You may find out too late that your dinner was priced by weight, driving the listed menu price up drastically depending on the size of your dish.
Despite our desire to caution you, Venice, as you may have read here before, is a city worth wandering in. When it comes to food, this is the most true. Authenticity is most apparent where tourists invariably are not, so make some time in your itinerary to get lost and drink a spritz or grab a meal in less-frequented corners of Venice (Dorsoduro and Santa Croce, perhaps?). For more on cuisine in Venice, browse our activity pages or interact with our travel community.