Great food at great value. The allure of street food, small takeaway places, food carts, etc. is that you can indulge in something hearty and delicious and pay less for it. Little or no real estate overhead, no tables and settings, less staff required. That is what economical “fast food” is about. Global branded “fast-food” chains have basically ruined the positive image of REAL “fast-food”. Almost every nation seems to have its fabulous entries to this food category, and in Italy, a slice of pizza is one of their top “fast-food” choices. When we travel, we often seek a variety of meals over the course of a day. We might indulge in a slice or two of pizza at lunch standing up at a counter, then have a leisurely dinner at a top-rated restaurant for dinner. Other days we check out the local watering holes for ladies and gentlemen who lunch, but hit the market cafeterias for dinner. It’s all about balance, it’s all about experiencing a fairly wide spectrum of culinary tidbits. And yes, it is about balancing costs as well! :)
Venice is one of the most expensive cities to visit… I suppose if everything has to be brought in on boats and find their way through all the little nooks and crannies of the city, the high prices are somewhat understandable. But if you don’t watch it, you could easily spend a small fortune on restaurant bills during a short trip. We managed to eat very, very well at a couple of nice restaurants, as well as neighborhood pasta joints and an occasional pizza fix. At this particular pizza place not far from our hotel, you could get a wonderful slice of thin-crusted pizza for Euro2.50 a slice (roughly PHP180 at the time!) or Euro3.50 for a thick crust pizza. Together with a bottle of water or soda, you had refueled for roughly Euro5! If you wanted to save even more, hit the local groceries for pre-made salads or buy some prosciutto, cheese and bread and eat while walking… (there aren’t many park benches to sit on)!
The variety of pizzas on offer is always impressive, from several types of vegetable pizzas, to plain ones, those swimming in sausages and other meats, cheese, etc. And the pizzas were SO GOOD. Great crusts, wonderful ingredients and balance of toppings. Right context. It was nice to be able to sample two or more types of pizza in one sitting if there were several of you dining. Notice how these pizzas are sliced in triangular shapes or wedges, like most of us are used to. In Rome and other places in Italy, the pies are often cooked in rectangular pans, and you buy a square or rectangular portion that more likely than not, is folded over so that it’s easier to eat while standing up or walking around… Yum. Now I want some pizza for lunch…