Rome’s enoteche, or wine bars, are the ideal place to drink wine paired with meat, cheese, or a light meal. Some offer full lunch and dinner service while others stick to the basic antipasto menu. These enoteche are some of my favorites:
Al Vino Al Vino
Via dei Serpenti, 19
Open daily 11AM-2.30PM, 5PM-1AM
If you need to kick back after a long day of touring the Colosseum and Forum, Al Vino Al Vino is the place to grab a glass of wine and some snacks. There is an ever-changing list of wines by the glass. The owner’s mother prepares heavenly Sicilian dishes such as caponata (sweet and sour eggplant), melanzana alla parmigiana, or polpette (meatballs). It’s located Rome’s classic and colorful Monti neighborhood.
Via dei Banchi Vecchi, 14
Mon-Sat noon-3PM & 6PM-2AM
With a large selection of well chosen wines by the glass, this neighborhood enoteca is the ideal place to come if you are looking to try lots of regional wines at a fair price. The towering shelves displaying thousands of labels along the walls create a convivial environment that walks the line between intimacy and claustrophobia. If you can’t find a table (there are only 10 or so in the place) you can hang around the bar or share some sidewalk space outside.
Via di Teatro Valle, 48/49
Tues-Sat Saturday 10.30AM-3PM, 6.30-11PM
The Bleve family has been in the wine business in Rome for decades and this place embodies the culmination of years of experience. I often stop here for a bottle of wine with friends or clients and I always order their mixed appetizers-zucchini flowers filled with ricotta, steak tartar, mozzarella di bufala with semi-dried tomatoes. They have a fabulous lunch buffet and now serve dinner. Did I mention there is a 1st century BCE wall built by Marcus Agrippa in their wine cellar?
Palatium Enoteca Regionale
Via Frattina, 94
This enoteca specializes in wines and food from the Lazio region, of which Rome is the capital. It’s proximity to the Spanish Steps draws a professional crowd during lunchtime and happy hour. The decor is minimalist and the atmosphere is low key.