/Caponata at Al Vino Al Vino

Caponata at Al Vino Al Vino


One of the many dishes in Italy I cannot go without is caponata, a sort of sweet and sour eggplant concoction of Arab origin that has been made in Sicily in one form or another for the better part of 1000 years. While there is no doubt that it is best consumed there, I think a pretty strong rival can be found at Via dei Serpenti 19 in Rome. I am speaking, of course, of Al Vino Al Vino, my favorite wine bar where some of the best damn caponata around is served either on tartine (a bit spooned onto small slices of bread) or in a heap on a plate (I prefer this communal help yourself style). The owner Giacomo’s mom makes loads of caponata at home and he brings in a new batch daily. Like so many recipes in Italy, caponata’s ingredients vary; hers combines eggplant, capers, onion and liberal amounts of tomato. Compare this to the eggplant-olive-celery-capers recipe served at Taverna dei Fori Imperiali a few blocks away. Of course, both use lots of extra virgin olive oil, vinegar, sugar and love. I think it is worth trying both for the sake of comparison, but I think you will agree, Giacomo’s Sicilian mamma does it better.

2016-01-07T14:37:55+00:00 May 17th, 2009|Categories: Gastronomic Traditions, Restaurants, Rome & Lazio, Sicily|11 Comments


  1. gillian May 17, 2009 at 10:05 am - Reply

    this is my absolute FAVORITE caponata!

  2. sarah May 17, 2009 at 6:49 pm - Reply

    I agree, it’s a close call but al vino al vino is even better, although both are great

  3. Katie May 17, 2009 at 10:01 pm - Reply

    wow, this topic is much less controversial than I thought. So far, no one has challenged la mamma siciliana’s prowess. And I dont blame them!

  4. Megan May 19, 2009 at 9:53 am - Reply

    Hate to ruin the party but I find Al Vino Al Vino’s version a tad too sweet. I like the chunky consistency of Taverna’s but then I miss the tomato tang that ties everything together. I guess I really am my mother (in law)’s daughter- her chunky, tomato sauce-based caponata is the perfect balance of sweet and sour and totally delicious. I like when she mixes things up a bit and adds in some thinly sliced artichoke.

  5. Katie May 20, 2009 at 11:17 pm - Reply

    @Megan Your comment begs the question: when the hell are you going to bring us marco’s mom’s caponata?

  6. Petulia May 24, 2009 at 5:34 pm - Reply

    I have to agree with Katie. Giacomo’s mom (who just turned 80) does the best caponata ever. In fact, I might have to go to Al Vino Al Vino tonight, just to get my weekly dose!

  7. Katie May 27, 2009 at 1:28 am - Reply

    @Petu lets get back there together sometime soon. I need it!

  8. JP June 3, 2009 at 3:50 pm - Reply

    Sorry we didn’t make it to Al Vino Al Vino last week – I LOVE their caponata! What was I thinking??? There’s always next trip…

  9. […] If you’ll be in Rome between June 15th and July 31st, be sure to swing into Al Vino Al Vino in the Monti neighborhood to check out Jessica Stewart’s (of Rome Photo Blog) photography show. And while you’re there, stay for some of the owner’s mother’s famous caponata. […]

  10. Flavia January 8, 2010 at 9:38 am - Reply

    Katie, first of all let me compliment you on you blog, what a vast collection of food you have gone through!
    I agree with you about Giacomino’s enoteca, it is my favourite too!
    But I think that his mothers “parmigiana” needs a mention as well, it is nothing like the other hard and dry eggplant parmigiane you find. Tt’s saucy and sweet It is something to die for!!

  11. […] Via Baccina is worth a stroll. With bougainvillea draped over several facades and little traffic, you can be forgiven for thinking that you’ve stepped back in time here. Of course, this find tangible expression at the far end where Baccina runs into the large tufa wall erected by Augustus Casear to protect his new forum from fire—an awe-inspiring piece of engineering still standing after two millennia. My course takes me in the opposite direction towards Via Serpenti where a small detour to the north brings me to Vino al Vino, one of the best enoteche (wine bars) in the city and where we hold our Italian Language Workshop and numerous Context parties. Giacomo, the proprietor, can always be counted on for a great local wine and some of his mother’s homemade caponata. […]

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