The Best Wine Bars in Rome

I’m here in Rome, camping out between bike trips. While looking up wine bars, I happened across an entry in Hungry Girl, where she runs into Mario Batali and he tells her “I only eat at wine bars in Rome. That’s where the best food is.” So I decided to put my list of bars up against Mario’s. The research has been exhausting! In checking them out, I found some new favorites, found that some of my old faves had gone downhill, and verified that the tried-and-true great wine bars of Rome are NOT resting on their laurels! For this “best of” list assume fabulous wine selections and good food … wine bars with sh**y selections didn’t make the list. Each address below is linked to the google map.

 

  

Cul de Sac – This has always been my favorite. Why? Walls lined with bottles, outdoor seating, always crowded, perfect location, great array of cheeses and meats, darn good food, too. Along a cute sidestreet close to the Piazza Navona. Piazza di Pasquino, 73

 

Il Simposio di Constantini – Classy place connected to a very good restaurant. I was sitting at the bar, enjoying a glass of Pinot Nero and the free hors d’oeuvres, and I met a group of ex-pat journalists, which led to two more glasses of wine, which led to …

… a party a couple of nights later, which led to more new friends, which led  … you just gotta love Rome. Close to Castello Angelo.  Piazza Cavour, 16

 

Enoteca Ferrara  I can’t totally like this, as it’s the favorite of my ex-hubby, but with 24 wines by the glass and a cruvinet, there is always something interesting to try. Free antipasto served all night. The seating in the front room is kind of cramped in a weird layout and doesn’t lend to a good “da solo” experience, so bring a friend. In a student-y area of Trastevere. Via del Moro, 1/a

 

Trimani – Great food and atmosphere, and open for both lunch and dinner. Call for reservations, so you don’t get stuck sitting upstairs in Siberia which has next-to-no atmosphere (but good for large parties). Close to the train station. Via Cernaia 37B

  

313 Cavour One of the largest selections in Rome, and an extensive menu, too. Unlike some Roman wine bars (can you say “Trimani”?), the service is very friendly. But always call beforehand because they are often closed for no apparent reason. (No posted hours). On a traffic-heavy street close to the Coliseum. Via Cavour 313

 

 

Roscioli –Incredible cheese and salami case out in the front. Not a lot of food options, but the pasta is truly the best I have ever had in Rome. Great music, great service. Jewish Quarter. Via dei Giubbonari, 21

 

Il Goccetto – Old, old old school. Lots of Italian wine biz guys hang out here. Some of them look like they’ve been around since the days of Mussolini! The walls are lined with bottles, so go to it and find something great. Little rickety wood tables … place looks like it hasn’t been cleaned in 20 years. But good prices, and what a selection! Via dei Banchi Vecchi 14

 

Runners Up 

These ones didn’t make the list. If you are only in Rome for a couple of days, these won’t give you the full Roman wine bar experience, but if you are hanging out for awhile, there are still reasons to try these out. 

 

Enoteca Piccolo – small selection, but other than Cul de Sac and Il Simposio, the only other one with outdoor seating.

 

‘Gusto– Huge, modern interior. ‘Gusto is a pizzeria, restaurant, grocer AND wine bar. Nothing about this place feels Roman to me.

 

Casa Bleve – In a 15th Century building off of Piazza Navonna.  Very elegant, but very expensive.

 

Palatium – Specializing in the not-that-great-but-interesting wines of the area (Lazio). This is an excellent place for lunch as it serves very authentic Roman cuisine. Always hopping with locals. By the Spanish Steps.

 

Hint: At many places you can reserve a table! It’s such a drag to enter a fun, crowded bar and find out there are no available tables. But a little-known secret is that many of these places will take reservations. Numerous times we got dirty looks from people who had been waiting a long time but because we called ahead, we got seated right away.

 

 


15 thoughts on “The Best Wine Bars in Rome

  1. Elizabeth Reply

    Robin,
    You forgot a couple:
    I don’t know what he calls it now, but Gino’s place in the Ghetto, the original Bleve, is where I go these days. Very cozy atmosphere, and Gino makes you feel right at home. The food is excellent (same as at Casa Bleve) and half the price. Enoteca, Via Santa Maria del Pianto, 9
    Cavour 131 is one of the first Enotecas in Rome, and still one of the best. Extraordinary wine selection, and changing menu every day.
    x,elizabeth

  2. kate Reply

    ah yes…those chance meetings at the roman strongholds. As a 13 year resident of this eternal city, love your selections! One left off which is worth slipping into, though. It is the original Casa Bleve in the Ghetto. La Vecchia Bottega del Vino where Gino not only has the battle horse bottles, but modern, interesting wines and a selection of cheese and deli-select foods that sing in harmony with the imbibables. Robin, next meeting won’t be by chance..and it will be there.

  3. rstark Reply

    Yay, a reason to go back: La Vecchia Bottega (as if anyone needs a resaon to return to Rome). Will correct Enoteca Cavour … seems its name is as inconsistent as its hours, but google finds more entries under “313 Cavour”

  4. Carrie Reply

    I think that you should also include some great photos of Italian arm candy of the male persuasion in your blog. Bring one home for me!
    Seriously, what a wonderful adventure. Thanks for the great list.

    XXX,
    Carrie

  5. Marie Daniels ~ Shine Editor Reply

    Aaaaahhhh… to be in Rome instead of organizing yet another year of Kids Korps events. Luck gal. I knew you couldn’t make it. Just wanted to keep you posted to the excitement in my world too! LOL.

    Looks like you are still enjoying EVERY moment. Love to keep up with your adventures.

    Marie

  6. Marcie Reply

    What a terrific post…if only San Diego could create as many fun, interesting wine bars with good food (only a couple come to mind). I look forward to more posts from your trip!

  7. Stacy Reply

    Robin,
    Your trips sound FABULOUS; I hope that I can one day make it onto one of your adventures!!
    Hugs from Stacy

  8. charlie Reply

    How is the wine at the wine bars? Big ol rip off’s like in America? I remember in Italy i was drinking some great wine for ridiculously cheap prices!

  9. rstark Reply

    One of the best things is that the pricing of bottles is just a little over retail. Glasses were typically 6 to 8 euro, and if you are in denial like me, and tell yourself that 1 Euro = $1 then that’s a MUCH better deal than in the States! Please Lord, deliver me from $15 wine-by-the-glass pricing!

  10. Gayle Reply

    Your wine tours and bike tours look fantastic!
    Keep us informed of your future adventures. G&P

  11. Sharon Reply

    Ah, the wine in Rome, truly a great sampling of the best Italian wine. Although I just got back from tasting some of those “best Italian wines” with you in Nothern Italy I can’t wait to get back and go to Rome Italy and do some more Italian wine tasting at these Rome wine bars and discover some more of the best Italian wines (YUMMY).

    I love all things Italian! Especially wines from great Italian wine regions and traditional Italian wine producers and the wine bars in Rome sound like THE way to try the best Italian wine out there! Last trip I had a teaser from a few of the the best Italian wine bars in Rome Palatium, Trimani and a few other Italian wine tasting bars but I my next trip I will refer back here to see what additions to the best Italian wine bars in Rome!

    Ciao Bella!
    Sharon

  12. [...] gets the best ratings and has great atmosphere. For more recommendations from insiders, see Starklandcel... modernrometravel.wordpress.com/2008/11/13/wine-bars-in-rome
  13. Cherie Reply

    An off to ROme to verify Robin’s wine bar choices. Stay tuned…

  14. Lana Reply

    I agree Culdesac in pz. pequino has a fablous list of wines. Also in Coco & Mimi has a good wine list. At least some Ornellaia on there.

    Another great place is Enoteca Capranica. We had the best thin crust pizza and great wine list. The owner Mauritzio is very nice. Very inviting inside.

    Seems as if the wine bars in Rome have the best wine list at good prices.

  15. Tee Reply

    My friend and I are off to Italy in a week to travel the country for a month, first stop Rome and it is also the last stop a few days each, thank you so much for the insight. We will be sure to check them out! Grazie!
    Tee

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