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Sitting down to eat or drink at an Italian café costs more than standing at the counter and nowhere will charge you more for the honour than Venice, particularly if you're outside, in somewhere like St Mark's Square and there's an orchestra playing. The mark-up on your bill can be over 500%! Here are a few tips that will help you keep within your food and drink budget.
Eating out in Venice is very expensive, but choose to perch at the counter and opt for the dish of the day or a selection of bar snacks, and the tab will be much lighter on your pocket.
Venetian's tend to stop after work for a series of ombre with friends, drink these at the bar and the shots of red or white wine will only cost you 2 or less. The spritz al bitter, a killer cocktail of wine, campari and soda water, shouldn't cost you any more than 2.50.
The fin-de-siècle Café Florian on Piazza San Marco is magnificent and as a result can be one of the most expensive places to enjoy a drink in the whole of Europe. But if you don't opt for a table and successfully manage to get one of the four stools at the bar, you can have your drink at regular bar prices.
The bright market stretching from the Rialto bridge (mornings, Monday to Saturday) is in my opinion, the best place to pick up delicious food for a picnic. For a gourmet touch, opt in for some of the fishy delights that are on offer.
Possibly one of the cheapest lunches you'll find in Venice, is the Alla Basilica restaurant. Two courses plus a side dish comes in at around 13 with drinks as an extra.
Picnic spots can be tough in Venice, and settling down to eat your sarnies on a busy bridge will get you angry looks indeed! Instead it's probably best to head east and keep going to San Pietro in
Castello: the green outside of the church is delightfully restful.