Venetian Fritto Misto

Forget the greasy, carnival-style fritters. The Venetian Fritto Misto is a masterpiece, a symphony of textures and flavors that celebrates the bounty of the Adriatic Sea. Imagine delicate baby squid, plump shrimp, and crisp artichoke hearts, all enveloped in a light, golden-brown batter, served piping hot with a squeeze of lemon and a sprinkle of sea salt. This is the magic we encountered at a hidden gem tucked away in a quiet Venice alley – Antica Sacrestia. Each bite transported us to the heart of Venetian cuisine, and now, we want to share that experience with you.

photo of calamari fritti recipe
This Fritto Misto with mixed seafood, is a specialty of Venice.

So, ditch the takeout menus and get ready to embark on a culinary adventure! With this recipe, you can recreate the magic of Venetian Fritto Misto right in your own kitchen. Forget about complicated ingredients and techniques; this dish is all about using fresh, seasonal seafood and vegetables, and treating them with respect. Let’s dive in!

A Legacy of Simplicity: The History of Fritto Misto

Fritto Misto, which translates to “mixed fry,” has its roots in ancient Roman cuisine. Over centuries, it evolved into a regional staple, with each area adding its own unique twist. The Venetian version is particularly celebrated for its use of fresh seafood and light, airy batter. It’s a testament to the resourcefulness of local fishermen, who used to fry leftover catches to create a delicious and satisfying meal.

The entrance to Antica Sacrestia is along a quiet alley in Venice, Italy.

The Antica Sacrestia Experience

Even in the midst of a June tourist boom, we had the place all to ourselves. The quiet restaurant, which opens to the canals from the dining room, serves up authentic Italian seafood specialties.

The traditional Venetian seafood from Antica Sacrestia is just incredible.

Owner Giuseppe Calliandro serves up his traditional Venetian cuisine in a historic building that dates back to the 1500s. In 1581, it belonged to the Briani family, who were one of Venice’s nobles and members of the Major Council of the Serenissima. You can just feel the history in this place!

Our party of 13 had the dining room to ourselves as we watched the rainfall of a summer monsoon drop lightly into the canals from the open-air dining room.

Our server brought out a medley of delicious dishes to share — ranging from the delightful Venetian fritto misto with fresh lemon wedges, to a seafood antipasto that included prawns, octopus and other delights. 

Several people in our group ordered the menu del giorno, which included a choice of lasagne, spaghetti or vegetable soups as the first course, followed by a grilled pork chop, mixed fried fish or veal escalope with cheeses as the second course. Vegetables and dessert round out the menu.

The Art of Freshness: Key Fritto Misto Ingredients and Ratios

Unlike its heavier counterparts, Venetian Fritto Misto relies on simplicity. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Fresh Seafood: Opt for a variety of seasonal options like baby squid, shrimp, scallops, and whitebait. Frozen seafood can work in a pinch, but fresh is always better.
  • Vegetables: Artichoke hearts, zucchini slices, and sweet potato batons add variety and textural contrast. Feel free to experiment with other seasonal vegetables like asparagus or eggplant.
  • Batter: A simple batter made with flour, water, egg, and a pinch of salt is all you need. No need for fancy ingredients!
  • Oil for frying: Choose a high-heat oil like canola or peanut oil. Ensure it reaches the right temperature (350°F) for perfect frying.

Pro Tips for Fritto Misto Perfection

  • Use cold batter for a lighter and crispier crust.
  • Don’t overcrowd the pan – fry in batches to avoid lowering the oil temperature.
  • Use a slotted spoon to remove the fried items to prevent them from becoming soggy.
  • Serve immediately for the best flavor and texture.
If you get the chance to visit Italy, don’t miss a trip to Venice. It was incredible!

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photo of fritto misto recipe in Venice

Venetian Fritto Misto

Recipe by Jason Hill –
When in Venice, you must eat like a Venetian, and fritto misto is one of the region's most famous specialities. We had the opportunity to sample this dish and other regional favorites at Antica Sacrestia, an absolute gem of a restaurant tucked along a quiet alley in the heart of Venice.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Course Appetizer
Cuisine Italian
Servings 4


  • 1 pound squid cleaned and cut into rings (or your favorite seafood)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup chopped basil or Italian parsley
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tablespoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Canola oil for frying
  • Lemon wedges for serving


  • Whisk together the milk, egg and basil or parsley. Add squid rings (and other seafood if using) and chill in the refrigerator for 20 minutes.
  • Whisk flour, paprika and garlic powder in a shallow casserole dish. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Preheat deep fryer to 375 F.
  • Remove squid from milk mixture and toss lightly in the seasoned flour.
  • Fry until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Drain on paper towels and serve with fresh cut lemon wedges.
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Keyword calamari, Italian food, lemon, seafood, squid
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AboutJason Hill

Hi, I’m Jason Hill, host of YouTube’s “Chef Tips” series. I graduated from culinary school in 1998, and gained my experience working the lines in Southern California. I launched my cooking videos in 2007. I love sharing quick and easy recipes that get people back in the kitchen.

5 from 1 vote (1 rating without comment)

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