Untrapped: The Anti-Tourist's Guide to Venice with Jamie Oliver

By: Sara Levine
Related To:

The canals, the singing gondoliers, the crowds of pigeons and tourists in Piazza San Marco. These are the iconic images of Venice that you’ll see on all the postcards. But if you, like Jamie Oliver, center your trips around culinary exploration, the highlights of this romantic Italian city include spaghetti alle vongole, cuttlefish, fresh peach bellinis and tiramisu.

Join Jamie on his first-ever trip to Venice, and he’ll steer you clear of the tourist traps and into the delicious culinary traditions of Venezia. Jamie’s travel philosophy is simple: Eat like a local. “My advice is to go where they go, and eat what they eat,” he says on his website. “Don't ask for dishes that have nothing to do with Venice! Look for local specialties like egg pasta, polenta, seafood, risotto and seasonal vegetables.”

Tourists usually walk through the Rialto fish market briskly to get to their next shopping destination. Jamie, however, stops to chat with a fishmonger, checks out the sweet vongole (clams) and gets down and dirty with the fresh cuttlefish to show us their briny black ink. Sure, the smell of the fish market is not for everyone, but don’t come to Venice without taking a moment to appreciate the amazing seafood on hand here.

Jamie gives the anti-tourist menu buzzwords to look out for in Venice. Pizza? No way. “That’s not even Venetian!” Think seafood, polenta, risotto, butter. Yep, in the Northern regions of this olive oil-obsessed country, they actually use butter quite often. Jamie stops by to cook with the “Risotto King” of Venice, who finishes his classic risotto bianco with a healthy knob of butter.

For a memorable trip to Venice that you’ll still be tasting when you return, follow Jamie’s lead and avoid the restaurants with English signs and fixed-price “menu touristici” lining the Grand Canal. Instead, seek out the indigenous dishes he highlights — risottos, fresh seafood, beef carpaccio. You could even (gasp!) skip that overpriced gondola ride.

Watch Jamie explore and prepare the food of Venice on Jamie's Food Escapes, premiering Wednesday, February 16 at 8pm/7c on Cooking Channel.

Next Up

Guide: Salumi & Italian Meats

You can find cured meats all around the world, but nowhere is the tradition as rich as in Italian cuisine.

David Rocco's Italian Basics

Let David Rocco be your guide to the staples of Italian cuisine: perfectly cooked pasta, fresh tomato sauce and more.

Define: Italian Meals, Course by Course

Traditionally, the main meal in Italy is a lengthy affair, composed of a number of small courses. Dishes typically are relatively simple, with seasonal and fresh ingredients.

On TV

Crazy Cakes

8am | 7c

Crazy Cakes

8:30am | 7:30c

Cake Hunters

9:30am | 8:30c

Cake Hunters

10am | 9c

Cake Hunters

10:30am | 9:30c

Cake Wars

11am | 10c

Cake Wars

12pm | 11c

Cupcake Wars

1pm | 12c
6pm | 5c
7pm | 6c
On Tonight
On Tonight
8pm | 7c
9pm | 8c
10pm | 9c
11pm | 10c
12am | 11c
1am | 12c
2am | 1c
3am | 2c
What's Hot
What's Hot

The Best Thing I Ever Ate

Sundays 10|9c

So Much Pretty Food Here