When it comes to wine bars & enotecas in Rome, I haven’t even scratched the surface. But as I diligently continue my research, I will leave you with this list I put together from the three neighborhoods I’ve lived in thus far:
In the recently turned touristy, yet still trendy neighborhood (I liken it to NYC’s Greenwich Village) it’s hard to find a decent, local place. Which is why I love the following two places so much (and was very hesitant to mention this second place in particular).
VinAllegro – Not far from the madness of Piazza Santa Maria Trastevere, I first heard of this gem from my Roman friend. VinAllegro has a few outdoor tables when the weather is nice, and a few other tables inside on the first floor. But if you ever make it down to the bathroom, you will discover a cute little wine cellar in a room perfect for a private party, dinner, or event. The staff is more than helpful, which is a comfort, given their selection of wine is in the 300’s. Equally impressive is their aperitivo. It used to be cheaper at 7 euros (now around 10) but it’s still the best around in my opinion. They have a buffet spread consisting of some delicious vegetarian and non-vegetarian options: homemade pastas, frittatas, pizzas, couscous, beans, panini - you name it. And unlike other establishments, they actually switch up their menu. Each time I’ve gone, I’m excited to try another dish out.
Tastevere – is located smack in the middle of one of the busiest streets leading right up to Piazza Trilussa. But the modest and nondescript storefront is a brilliant way to keep passersby passing on by. So incredibly under the radar, it took my friend and I our entire second visit to find out the name of the place. The owners are extremely laid back, as is their shop. But do not underestimate- they are damn serious about what they serve out to their customers. Everything is organic and natural– their wine, food offerings, even their juices (if you decide to go the non-alcoholic route). Because everything is fresh, there is no set menu. They just read you a list of what’s good that day and you pick and choose from there. The two times I went were both pretty amazing. Nibbles range from bruschetta with cheese, veggies, and/or fish to sausage and seasonal quiches.
I have frequented Enoteca Giansanti many a time before realizing that one of my friends was good friends with the owner. Third generation, family-owned, Federica (front and center) is the epitome of a gracious host. Their selection is extensive and the place itself looks like a beautiful wine library. Make sure not to miss the massive cellar in the basement when you go. But don’t feel intimidated, Federica and her wonderful staff are happy to help with their skillful recommendations (and a sample). Come at aperitivo time and you’ll be served a scrumptious selection of crostini and taralli. Come a little later and you may be able to catch a live performance. Enoteca Giansanti supports local artists with their organized concerts, events and jam night sessions.
Basilica San Paolo –
The night my friend and I realized we found our new apartment, we decided to celebrate. She had been there once before (or maybe her friend just recommended it) but Quattrochiacchiere (Italian for ‘little chat’) was a real treasure. Owned and operated by a lovely husband and wife who grew up in the neighborhood, this place is more of a wine shop sporting a few, small tables. Luckily the night we went, only one other table was occupied. We left our wine and food selection entirely up to Rosella and Maurizio, who obviously knew what they were doing. They brought out a delicious bottle of white wine (whose name I totally forget) and some assorted snacks to match. It felt like we were sitting in their open kitchen and we soon became old friends with them - as well as the two locals sitting at the table beside us. And when we were finished with our bottle, they were gracious enough to let us sample some decadent chocolates they just got shipped in.
So, if you’re ever in these three neighborhoods - feel free to pop in. But don’t tell too many people that you did…we have to keep these neighborhood gems undercover!