photo by Nan McElroy
For decades, Rialto has been a hub of Venetian wine bars or bàcari (bàcaro being the singular). The best one—All’Arco—serves simple, no-name wines from the Veneto and die-hard Venetian bar snacks like mezzi ovi, half a hard-boiled egg topped with an anchovy, or seppie in nero, cuttlefish in its ink with grilled polenta squares. At Al Mercà, a few steps from Rialto’s outdoor produce market, the wines have names. The hand-written list includes classics like Kante Malvasia and Lageder Lagrein as well as more hard-to-come-by bottles such as Slatnik, an unfiltered chardonnay and friulano blend made by Stanko Radikon’s son Sasha. Should you arrive with an appetite, a glass display case standing next to the bar is filled with bite-sized mortadella or asiago panini and fried meat, fish and eggplant balls.