Feb 13, 2013

Wine bars and enoteche in Rome

After publishing my comprehensive lists of where to eat in Rome a reader commented asking for an index of restaurants that focus on great wine, or ones that own a quality wine list. Enotecas, which are wine bars and sometimes only wine sellers, often serve cold and hot food to go with their mescita of wine by the glass. Some of these have turned into veritable restaurants, which tend to design their menu around the bottles.

Here is my list of favorite places to eat among enoteche, wine bars and restaurants with great wine lists, in alphabetical order. I may expand this, so stay tuned for updates.

Al Vino Al Vino - As far as wine bars and enoteche in Rome, this is the perfect place to grab a glass of wine and some tasty snacks after say, a Forum/Colosseum/Palatine trek. The list of wines by the glass changes daily, and the cooked food is to die for, especially the house caponata, droolworthy meatballs, and eggplant parmigiana. There's always something going on at Giacomo's wine bar, like tastings, photo and art exhibits, plus newspapers and magazines for lazy browsing between drinks. Via dei Serpenti, 19 (Monti) - Open daily 11:00am-2:30pm/6:00pm-1:00am

Beppe e i Suoi Formaggi - Beppe from Piemonte, makes cheese. And butter. And owns sheep in Sardinia. Has a terrible temper, and won't let you take photos in his shop. But when you sit at one of the tables in the back, drop your shoulders, beaming at the delights in your plate – and glistening ruby red in your glass of Nebbiolo – nothing else matters. Shelves display French dairy products, foie gras and other Piemonte-border-of-Gaul regional specialties, like hazelnuts, awesome tajarin pasta, jam, honeys and marmalades, olive oils, salumi, rare breads made with autochthonous grains, and a cheese vault that covers an entire wall. At mealtime, the rotating daily specials always include cold cuts and cheese for lunch, and hot dishes in the evening, the likes of Fondue, soups, important meat stews, et al. Via Santa Maria Del Pianto 9/a - Open Tues-Sat 8:30am-10:30pm/Sun 9:00am-3:30pm

Photo © Beppe e I Suoi Formaggi

La Barrique - This ia a welcoming wine bar that serves hot food and wine (also by the glass) at any time of day and night. Nice aperitivo scene, lovely value lunch, and downright delicious dinner of specials like lemony pasta with prawns; beef tartare; cured pork; oysters, plus awesome steak, fillet and other grilled meats. It's great to stop by here even for just a slice of dessert after the theater. Meals are paired with wines by the glass from either small producers or more famous bottles from Italy, France, Germany and Slovenia. There is also an interesting Champagne list. Lunch is around €15, dinner, about €30, wines excluded. Via del Boschetto 41b (Monti) Open Mon-Sat 12noon-1:00am

Buccone - At the end of the 19th century this was once a horse-drawn carriage depot, and in the late 1940's at the end of WWII, it became an informal trattoria. The present ownership has managed this impressive location since 1969. The walls are lined floor to (high) ceilings with racks upon racks of wine bottles, and the food is homey and local, like porchetta from Ariccia, nice salumi platters, and gnocchi on Thursdays, according to Roman tradition. Via di Ripetta 19/20 (Piazza del Popolo) - Open Sat-Mon 10:00am-3:00pm/7:00pm-11:00pm

Casa Bleve - The Bleve family of wine merchant's wine list is impressive and so is the fabulous lunch buffet and evening gourmet dinner. In the elegant vaulted setting, only a few feet below your table, in the wine cellar sits a 1st century BC wall. Guests at midday can enjoy light appetizers, like pineapple and ham wraps, Alpine cheese samplers, zucchini blossoms stuffed with ricotta, or premium mozzarella di bufala with salumi or tomatoes, varies pasta dishes, or steak tartare, assembled at the table by the expert servers. Via di Teatro Valle, 48/49 (Pantheon) Open Tues-Sat 10:30am-3:00pm/7:30-11:00pm

Cavour 313 - One of Rome's oldest wine bars with food, Cavour 313 opens in the morning to sell wine, and at noon it starts serving lunch. Walk through the sales counter and sit at the rustic booths suspended between overhead shelves and a deep wine cellar below. There are two wine lists, based on whether you'll be buying bottles to go, or staying for a meal. The choice is among 1000 labels, with a handsome rotation of wines by the glass. The mealtime menus feature a wide variety of salumi, rare cheeses, cured meats, homemade desserts and cooked regional specialties. Via Cavour 313 (Colosseum) - Open daily 10:00am-2:45pm/7:30-0:30am

Photo © Cavour 313

Cesare al Casaletto - Properly established as Rome's best trattoria, Cesare al Casaletto is a place where you can find authentic cucina romana, good prices and a stellar wine list. Start your meal with the house mixed fritti, light, tasty fried goods like crisp zucchini flowers, supplì and cod fillets, that come served in paper cones. Starters musts: pillowy gnocchi blessed with cacio e pepe (Pecorino cheese and cracked black pepper), or classics like carbonara, amatriciana and pasta dressed with the sauce of stewed oxtail, quintessential cucina romana complete meal dish. Don't forego the polpette di bollito, the house specialty: shredded veal that's been shaped into a ball and breaded before frying. But it's the wine list that wins the gold: besides the great ever-changing wines that grace shelves, cold storage and printed wine list, Cesare focuses on very good quality natural wines. Via del Casaletto, 45 (Portuense) - Open Thurs-Tues 12noon-3:00pm/7:30-11:30pm

Cul de Sac - One of Rome's oldest wine bars, CdS has been serving hot meals and remarkable wines since 1977. It boasts a wine list of 1500-plus items, great choice of cheeses, terrines and patés. I come of the potato and cod brandade, the crostini sampler, the onion soup, red lentil dahl, awesome topik, babaghannush, or the pizzoccheri from Valtellina. Lovely outdoor seating in summer and good looking staff complete the winning offer. Piazza Pasquino, 73 (Piazza Navona) - Open daily 12noon-2:00am

Cybo - A fine and well-assorted wine list of renowned Italian, French and new world wines pairs with the modern seafood cuisine at the Cybo restaurant and cocktail bar, in the heart of the centro storico, at a stone's throw from Piazza Navona. Various appetizers include prawns fried in batter with curry and creamed Tropea onions; gnocchetti with shrimp, asparagus and porcini; and entrées like wild salmon fillet with orange sauce and spinach. Via di Tor Millina 27 - Open daily 10:00am-2:00am

Enoteca al Parlamento Achilli - Over 6,000 wine labels grace the shelves and cellar of this ancient wine merchant. One of Rome's finest Krug Ambassadors, Achilli is proud of its world-famous collection of Cognac and Armagnac, with vintages as old as 1800. Here wine lovers and neophytes can choose from an astonishing variety of Italian, European and new world wines, as well as purchase 80 year-old balsamic vinegars, prized marmalades and rare chocolates. In the restaurant section, all this and more pairs with the haute cuisine gourmet offer, like the antipasto composed of a bufala popsicle with anchovy foam and fried croutons; a foie gras variation: escalope, terrine and cream; Champagne risotto with prawns and green apple; and the delightful crisp sesame feta, culatello and smoked eggplant composition. Check out the online store on the Achilli website for international/local shipments. Via dei Prefetti 15 (Spanish Steps) - Open Mon-Sat 9:30am-11:30pm

Photo © Barbara Santoro

Enoteca Ferrara - At the corner of bohemian and chic, this Trastevere establishment that pretends to be a humble wine bar develops on several floors of an ex 13th century convent. There's an enoteca – deemed among the best in Rome according to certified wine experts – a cafe, a wine shop, an informal "osteria" (serving typical cucina romana), and a gourmet restaurant, which cooks up interesting dishes like fried anchovies with a leek and Pecorino flan, or meatballs with tomato sauce and "muset" (ground pork snout cased as a boiled sausage), and rotates 25 wines offered by the glass, and owns 1600 labels in the impressive "carta dei vini". Prices are through the roof. Piazza Trilussa 41, Via del Moro 1/a (Ponte Sisto) - Open Mon-Wed 7:30-11:30pm/Thurs-Sun 1:00-3:00pm, 7:30-11:30pm

Terre e Domus - Restaurant/wine bar that offers the food, products and wines of the Province of Rome, featuring a rotation of about 100 choice producers and foods with DOP, IGP, DOC and IGT appellation. These include wines, spumante, grappas, beers, dessert wines – all paired with seafood or meat and poultry, classic Roman dishes, cold cuts and cheeses, jams and marmalades. The offer also includes produce, breads, desserts and biscotti, artisan honeys, and extra virgin olive oil: all local, hailing from the Province of Rome. Free Wi-Fi available but hardly ever works. Foro Traiano 82/84 (Piazza Venezia) - Open Tues-Sat 11:30am-11:30pm/Sun-Mon 11:30am-5:00pm

La Gatta Mangiona – If you're craving pizza but don't want to give up on the vino, this is where you want to be. The pizzas are not only among the best pies in Rome – employing lievito madre natural starters for the dough, prepared by able "pizzaioli" and baked in a wood-fired oven – but the wine list single handedly outshines many so-called gourmet restaurants. Prime Italian bottles share space with excellent French, Slovenian, German and Austrian wines, as well as a handsome selection of Champagnes and fortified wines. There's more besides the awesome pizza: crisp fried starters, pasta dishes and superb entrées. Via F. Ozanam 30 (Monteverde) - Open Tues-Sun 8:00pm-midnight

Photo © Andrea Di Lorenzo

Gibbo's - Keep an eye out for this relatively unknown restaurant. The lighting needs improving, and the decor deceptively brings 1972 east Berlin to mind, but the food and wine are ambrosial. Menu items vary daily, but can include risotto with porcini mushrooms and local Lazio cheese aged in hay; giant prawns rolled in a net of kataifi on avocado mousse and apple balsamic reduction; and stunning desserts like pears cooked in wine with sultanas, pine nuts and cinnamon, served with crumble and custard. Via Castelnuovo di Porto 4 (Ponte Milvio) - Open Mon-Sat 6:00pm-2:00am

Il Goccetto - With a 800+ choice of Italian and (mostly) French wines by the glass, this neighborhood enoteca is the perfect place to taste excellent wines at a good price, great salumi samplers, plus dishes like room temperature bufala, smoked salmon involtini, grilled artichokes, frittatas and a rotation of rare cheeses platters. The place doesn't accept reservations, so while you wait for one of the 12 tables to clear, you can hang around the bar or bring your drinks outside, seated on someone's motorino. Via dei Banchi Vecchi, 14 (Navona) Mon-Sat 11:30am-2:30pm/6:30pm-midnight

NEF - Nuova Enoteca Frascati, in the heart of Lazio's Castelli wine-land, this Frascati institution serves excellent seafood and local specialties to go with the impressive wines of the underground cave-cellar, where frequent events and tastings take place. NEF also offers 'Wine Bank' services thanks to which wine-lovers and connoisseurs can reserve a cell of the grotto for their wine collection, complete with name tags and wine descriptions. On the ever-changing menu, delicious primi piatti may include spaghetti with clams and mullet roe; or dressed with mussels and guanciale; while entrées shine in dishes like porchetta made with gilt-head sea bream (rolled with herbs and spices and spit roasted); or the house special "old school" a complete meal dish made with homestyle bread, grilled calamari, mozzarella, shaved parmesan, tomatoes and served with lemon-scented potatoes. Via A. Diaz 42 Frascati - Open Tues-Sun 12noon-3:00pm/7:00-11:00pm

Palatium Enoteca Regionale del Lazio - This minimalist enoteca specializes in wines and food from the Lazio region, of which Rome is the capital. You can have a glass at the bar, or sit in the adjoining room and also enjoy a light lunch of fettuccine with tomato-less rabbit ragù, or pork roast with caramelized apples. Via Frattina, 94 (Spanish Steps) - Open daily 12:30pm-3:00pm/7:30pm-10:30pm
Closed! :(

Remigio - This is a fabulous Champagne bar in the Tuscolana suburb, where it's common to bump into wine makers and producers sitting glassy eyed while they make love to a heap of Belon du Belon oysters resting on crushed ice. The place is aptly named after Saint Remi, the patron saint of Reims, Champagne world capital. Opened by the same owners as La Barrique, which is a guarantee of quality, at Remigio you'll find a wine list that carries lovely French wines and Champagnes by small vintners, many of which are natural or classified as bio-dynamic; alongside an attractive selection of German rieslings, and innovative Italian productions. Price/quality ratio is good and the food focuses on small, artisan producers of the finest salumi, cheeses, meat, seafood and desserts. I come for the stellar croque monsieur sandwich, the Scottish salmon, and the duck and pistachio terrine, to go with my bubbly. Via S. Maria Ausiliatrice 15 (Tuscolano) - Open Mon-Sat 6:00pm 'til late.

Photo © Remigio

Roscioli - This is one of my favorite places, it never fails. A deli that at mealtime turns into an A-list restaurant, with tables pushed up against the cheese counter, pricey Pata Negra legs jutting above the diners' heads, and a list of remarkable Italian and foreign wines, awesome cheeses, bread and coldcuts, as well as stellar cuisine, perhaps the best carbonara on earth and delightful burrata, local and Spanish cured pork, and Cecina de Leon (ridiculously good cured beef). The experienced sommelier staff is always there to answer questions, suggest pairings, or hold fun English language tastings for all levels of wine lovers. Via dei Giubbonari, 21 (Campo de' Fiori) - Open Tues-Sat 9:00am-1:00am

Salotto Culinario - This is a restaurant whose innovative cuisine by charming chef Dino De Bellis pairs very well with the small yet cleverly thought out wine list. Here you can find delightful homemade gnocchi alla genovese enriched with Fiocco della Tuscia (an Italian delicacy reminiscent of Camembert); cod fillets served with roots: lampascioni, creamed Jerusalem artichokes and turnips; lamb "cacio e ove" an Abruzzo recipe involving egg, pecorino and thyme. All dishes are geared to pair with the Italian regional bottles, or French Champagnes in the wine list. Vegans and celiacs can go with the ad hoc special menus. Via Tuscolana 1199 (Romanina) - Open Mon-Sat 12noon-3:00pm/7:30-11:30pm

Photo © Andrea Di Lorenzo

Sesto Girone - This newly inaugurated enoteca stocks over 500 types of wine, focusing on all Italian regions, an interesting selection of natural and bio-dynamic wines and microbrewery craft beers. Although this is more a store than an actual eatery, at aperitivo o'clock, patrons and shoppers can stop for raw fish carpaccio aperitif, nibble from platters of salumi and cheese to pair with very good French bubbles. Via Salaria 91 (Villa Albani) - Open 9:00am-7:30pm Closed Thursday afternoon and Sunday.

Photo © Andrea Di Lorenzo

Trimani - Historic venue that's been selling wine since 1821, Trimani occupies an entire block on Via Goito with Rome's vastest assortment of 6000 among wines – Italian and not – spumante, Franciacorta, Champagnes, liqueurs e spirits, beers and soft drinks, plus edible delicacies and custom designed gift baskets. The food served at the tables is good and the atmosphere is charming in the restaurant section, but the prices for meals à la carte are way too expensive, so your best bet is a fabulous glass of wine and a light snack before heading somewhere else for dinner. Via Cernaia 37B (Termini) - Open Mon-Sat 11:30am-3:00pm/5:30pm-12:00am

Uve e Forme - The 300+ bottle wine list by the counter, where patrons can savor the delicious samples of vegetarian dishes, specialty cheeses, sustainably sourced organic and biodynamic produce, and fine vintage wines, is chalked on an old control-tower air traffic board. The staff is very kind and the food is delightful, with several vegetarian options, homemade bread and desserts. DOn't miss the savory butternut squash and crisp guanciale flan, the orecchiette with Sicilian broccoli, sun-dried tomatoes and smoked ricotta, or the kale, farro and potato soup. Frequent wine tastings and verticals on the calendar. Via Padova 6/8 (northern suburbs) - Open Mon-Fri 12:00noon-midnight/Sat 4pm-midnight

Photo @ Eleonora Baldwin

Vino e Camino - Good seafood selection, interesting flavor combos and a good wine list: this is what makes both the Bracciano and Rome branches of Vino e Camino a success. I come for the Cinta senese sausages cooked in the wood-fired oven; the hearty chestnut, leek and smoked ham soup, the typical Apulia broadbean purée with wild chicory, the farro cooked with pumpkin and parmesan, or the orecchiette with clams, asparagus and pecorino cheese, and some of the best fresh pasta with cacio e pepe sauce north of Flavio al Velavevodetto. All desserts are homemade, but foregoing the zuccotto with coffee cream would be a grave mistake. Wine list is not huge, but well structured and wisely stocked. Piazza dell'Oro 6 (Castel Sant'Angelo) - Open Mon-Sat 7:30-11:30pm


  1. This list is going to be hugely helpful. There are so many places I haven't tried yet - or even heard about, before this!

  2. This is one of my favorite posts you have done, I wonder why lol.
    Too bad the cheese merchant won't let you take photos in his shop. I'll bet you would have taken the most amazing photos of those beautiful cheeses.
    I hope to come and try some of these suggestions one day.

    1. Always feels good to take part in the future of a friend's liver! LOL
      When you come to Roma, we'll visit all of them together.

  3. Great Post! Pictures are sumptuous!

  4. Wow! We are only in Rome for 2 weeks. Hopefully we can take them all in. Fab post

    1. Thanks! Two weeks is more than enough, that's if you plan on !tasting wine" at every meal ;)

  5. Ok, now I want to go to Rome, and spend a week eating and drinking wine!
    Seriously, Lola, this is a great resource, thank you for posting it, and I really hope to use it some day soon....
    Happy Valentine's Day!

    1. Aw, Mimi thank you!! Yours is the first Valentine wish today... so sweet. Please come to Rome so we can actually meet in person finally, possibly over multiple glasses of wine!

  6. This is a great list!! It'll take me some time to work through it, but I think this is going to form my 'getting to know Rome better' challenge this year! :)

    1. It definitely will, Pete! Glad you enjoy it. The best way to learn about a place is through its food and wine, you know that right?!
      A presto!

  7. Grazie, Eleonora! I'm the reader who suggested you do this list. Fabulous! I can't wait to get back to Rome to try some of these places.

    1. Fabulous, thank you! I'm happy you enjoy it! Cin cin!!

  8. What an education was all this to me, Lola.
    I am gradually being weaned off McDonalds as my pallet is trained in the high life of food and drink.
    Bet it is all wonderful - Hugs, Eddie

    btw Where art thou? Your coffee has gone cold again ROFL

  9. Oh! Belated Valentine greetings, Lola
    Hugs again ~ Eddie

  10. favolosa! l'ho mandata ai miei amici romani ed anche ai miei genitori

  11. Eleonora!
    What fantastic attention to detail in EVERY way!
    We are coming back to Roma in 8 weeks and I can't wait to try some of your suggestions! We arrive late, around 10pm and will be tired - is there a quiet but fabulous place you could suggest for our first night's cena?
    We'll be in Piazza Rotunda!
    Mille Grazie!
    Catarina di Canada

    1. Quiet and fabulous? My current favorite place is a art deco barge on the river Tiber, where you can score some pretty awesome cucina romana and some Sicilian treats like panelle. The place is called Baja, located on Lungotevere Arnaldo da Brescia, and you can reach it with a taxi :)
      Otherwise, if you don't feel like walking, just cross the square and head into Armando al Pantheon. Tell the chef Claudio I sent you.

  12. After publishing my comprehensive lists of where to eat in Rome a reader commented asking for an index of restaurants that focus on great wine. order wine online

  13. And thank *you* for leaving your comment here :)

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  17. Nice! We are just in Rome for 2 weeks. Hopefully we can take them all in.Thanks to share us

  18. Hello,, I am gradually being weaned off McDonalds as my pallet is trained in the high life of food and drink. Bet it is all wonderful