Wine bars in Rome?
For a four day visit to Rome in July, we are planning lunch as our prime, reserved meal followed by casual strolling and possible "grazing" in the evening, depending on our capacity to keep going.
For the evenings, we'd like to focus on wine bars (we are wine devotees), especially those with interesting small plate menus to complement the wines.
Any Chowhound favorite wine bars in Rome? We are staying in the Piazza del Popolo area.
Thanks very much.
I just posted a blog on ths exact s
My top wine bars in central Rome:
1. Il Goccetto Via dei Banchi Vecchi 14
I was introduced to this wine bar a few years ago by my good friend and fellow Sommelier Heather Hanson because I needed a change in my routine. It is a classic. This is my absolute favorite wine bar in Rome for a variety reasons. It is charming, rustic and has a great local ambience. It is slightly off the beaten path, but still in the center, so it is easy for a short term visitor in Rome to enjoy a glass of wine. It is covered wall to wall, floor to ceiling with the best wine of Italy and also wines from abroad. They offer and excellent wine by the glass menu, which is often lacking in some wine bars. There are locals pouring out into the street with a glass of wine in one hand and a cigarette or small dog in the other. You step in and go back in time. It always feels like 1970 when I enter it. The owners take great care to keep up to date in Italian wine treads and make a point to provide their clients with affordable and fine wines. Despite the humble sign on the outside that suggest one can buy only local oil and wine, they promote natural and terroir driven wines and it is not unusual to have a lovely glass of Barolo for €10 a glass. Their pours are generous. I also enjoy this wine bar because they will often have a great selection of non-Italian wines from France or Austria by the glass. Their wine by the glass menu rotates regularly and they always have a great selection from the extreme north, to central Italy an on to the south.
2. Il Piccolo- Via del Governo Vecchio 74
Il Piccolo is the wine bar I go to with friends after work, take clients to and have been known to pop into for a glass of wine when I am in the area. As the name suggests, it is a tiny wine bar. In the winter it has the capacity to seat 16 people max, but in the warmer months, the tables sprawl out in the street and it is a great place to people watch. They offer a great happy hour and have generous amounts of food buffet style. This wine bar has been in the family for about 4 generations and there are photos displayed that show its simple past as a vino olio. These were places where people in the neighborhood could come and fill up wine bottles and buy local olive oil from the Castelli Romani. Usually the owner is outside with his local friend smoking a cigar and playing cards. There is always a very cute hunting dog there with his dad.
3. Vino al Vino- Via dei Serpenti 19
This is a great little place in the heart of Monti, only really only steps away from the Forum. Like Il Goccetto they have an excellent wine list and they have an abundance of terroir driven wines. Come after 6pm to get a feel for local night life, people are enjoying great wine by the glass, and there is an overall jovial ambience. The real reason people flock here is for their unique version of caponata. While I do agree that it is one of the best, my favorite place for caponata is also a place I like to sit down for a fancier glass-or two three-of wine.
4. Ristorante Roscioli-Via dei Giubbonari, 21
Just around the corner from the very well-known forno, Ristorane Roscioli is a gourmand’s paradise. I often go there for truffle paste or specialty pastas. When I have a bit of extra cash, it my favorite place to retreat to between tours. If I finish a tour at the Vatican at noon and have a Romantic Rome tour in the early evening, I usually do not have time to go home first, so I will stop here for a bit of a relaxation and air conditioning the in the summer. Even though it is called a ristorante, the atmosphere is more like and upscale deli. There are tables in the front and the back, though I like to sit in the front so I can watch everyone. The service is impeccable. White tablecloths, beautiful mixed breads and spumante all accompany your meal. I come here for the caponata, which is made with figs and walnuts and is much more exotic and well balanced than any I have ever had and less oily than Vino al Vino’s.
5. Casa Bleve Via Del Teatro Valle 48/49
Casa Bleve is by far the most elegant and beautiful establishment to enjoy both wine and food. Their wine list is flawless and the atmosphere downright divine. It is considered by many to be one of Rome’s most beautiful locations. When I drink wine here I feel like a noblewoman enjoying the pleasures of life. Every detail has been seen to, from lighting to white noise. If you get there early enough you can ask to go downstairs into the cellar which is actually a part of the ancient baths of Marcus Agrippa, from the first century B.C.E. This is place to linger over fine bottle of wine and a plate of food, if not to stay for lunch or dinner.
Palatium Enoteca Regionale-Via Frattina 94
Just steps away from the Spanish Steps this modern and streamlined enoteca is a true Roman treasure. It is the best place to go to for all things Lazio food and wine oriented. This enoteca was created to promote the enogastronomic treasures of Lazio, so you can come here to enjoy wonderful wines of the region while enjoying some of the best products the region has to offer. The menu always changes with the seasons, but is always true to Lazio recipes. They were able to convert me into a pea lover when I had their split pea soup, something I have hated for years and now look forward to. You can also buy olive oil-such as the best from the Sabine Hills-as well as wine and other products to take home.
Of course there are MANY more such as Bibenda, near the Colosseum-great for after a tour, they have A7C, an excellent wine by the glass menu and great plates of food for good prices.
Enoteca 313 is good, but their seats are not comfortable
There are two reasons i didn't add Barrique to my list - their "resistance" to add the excellent Italian sparkling wines like Franciacorta or Trentadoc (a very arrogant "Champagne is better" was the answer to me - this is of course a topic to discuss, but makes the place less recommendable to tourists, who might want to get to know Italian wines better). And the smoke smell. I have never seen anyone smoke, but i guess it happens in the later hours, because whenever i was there, that was all i could smell. But maybe now after the renovation they have gotten rid of that.
Small plate menus are not a tjing here yet like in the US, but in most wine bars you will find plates of salumi and cheeses offered as an informal dinner option. Some wine bars have so called aperitivo hours (usually starting around 6-7 and ending 8-9, depending on the place) where you get a glass of wine (or other alcoholic drink) and have a buffet to graze from (often wiith not very high quality).
Some wine bars i love going to are:
Palatium (closest to you, spanish steps)(only wines from the region lazio)
Al vino al vino (monti)
Tre scalini (monti - very crowded but fun)
Il goccetto (historic center)(best by the glass choice)
Bacocco (trastevere, about the only place i like in the area)
Enoteca provincia romana (piazza venezia)(only wines from around rome)
There are more, of course, but either a bit more out of the way for a 4 day visit, or i don't care for them as much.