Sometimes we call them “oenotables”, emphasising the centrality of wine in the proposal of this type of establishment, perhaps accompanied by a “cold” cuisine based on selections of high-quality products. However, in the best wine bars, the (great) cuisine now competes very well with the encyclopaedic and passionate selections of bottles, a distinctive trait of a type of dining that truly celebrates the poetry of wine.
The best wine bars in Rome and Lazio
All confirmations, the awardees in the new edition of the Gambero Rosso guide are often historic labels, born as stores (wines and oils, gastronomy, wine shops) and then transformed, in unsuspecting times, into formats that are extremely popular today—stores with kitchens, in this specific case, wine shops with kitchens. The first ones were the Trimani: their history as wine merchants dates back to the 19th century, but for more than thirty years, they have also opened the doors of their wine bar, the first in the Capital, not far from Termini Station, inspired by venues that were already widespread in Europe, like the French wine bars. Instead, the delicatessen and wine shop with a kitchen of the Roscioli family, whose story began fifty years ago from a bakery, has passed the twenty-year mark on via dei Giubbonari. During the same period - in 1972 - the Del Gatto family, in Anzio, transformed their original family tavern into a wine shop. More recent - almost three decades ago - is the story of Enoteca Quattro Ruote in Montalto di Castro, now an oenological reference of excellence at the foot of Castello Orsini. Here is the detailed description of the labels awarded with Tre Bottiglie in the new guide 'Rome and the Best of Lazio'.
For over 30 years, the Trimani family's wine bar has piqued the curiosity of Italian and international enthusiasts in the food and wine sector. Carla personally manages the entire restaurant section at the historic location, while Francesco takes care of the wine section. The other brother, Paolo, can often be found at the historic Buccone wine shop on via Ripetta, which the family took over some years ago. The great strength of this wine bar is its elegant, thoughtful, and highly accessible wine list. The selection's original and brilliant subdivisions extend beyond regional and national filters, catering to customers with wines characterised by a crystalline, enveloping, or profound nature. Label prices are notably reasonable compared to the Roman average, applying markups from the adjacent wine shop. On many cult bottles, the quality-to-price ratio is among the most compelling available. Commendably, they offer magnums, even from lesser-known producers, and their international scope of research includes French bubbles and grape varieties from all over Europe. The wine selection completes with an original and refined array that encompasses diverse categories and stylistic ranges. It's advisable to arrive here for an aperitif and then decide whether to continue with dinner given the extensive and diverse offerings. You can start with a platter of cured meats and cheeses, anchovy pastries, a pizza with ham and figs, or even exquisite oysters or tartare. Then, there are first courses or mainly meat-based second courses in a well-balanced menu that constantly changes based on market availability and the seasons.
wine bar Trimani – via Cernaia, 37b – Roma - trimani.com
Four generations of bakers, a family of artisans who have left, and continue to leave, an indelible mark on the gastronomy of the Capital. A few metres from Campo de' Fiori, in the heart of Rome, Roscioli 'delicatessen and wine bar' is a mythical venue for enthusiasts of great wines and culinary excellence. In 2002, it transformed into a modern store with a kitchen. Brothers Alessandro and Pierluigi lead this important and ambitious project with great professionalism and entrepreneurial spirit for over twenty years, elevating it to the highest levels not only in the city but also nationally. Here, the cuisine is tied to the territory and tradition, yet it is sought after and prepared with the same excellence found in their products for sale, making Roscioli over time one of the best restaurants in Rome. Booking well in advance is essential because despite the narrow spaces and constant hustle and bustle, it remains one of the most sought-after spots for lunch, an aperitif, and dinner.
It's not just about luxury shopping: an incredible selection of national and international cheeses and cured meats parades at the counter, while shelves display preserves, condiments, oils, spices, jams, and even kits to reproduce some recipes at home. The same applies to wine: every wall is entirely covered with the largest collections of labels from all over Italy and the world, forming a wide and profound selection. It's mandatory to seek recommendations from Alessandro Roscioli and Maurizio Paparello, the head sommelier. In addition to the indispensable selections of precious cheeses, anchovies, marinated vegetables, and mixed cold cuts, all accompanied by irresistible bread and 'pizza bianca' from the nearby Antico Forno Roscioli, for newcomers, tasting typical Roman pasta dishes like carbonara or cacio e pepe is advisable. However, the menu is extensive; even the rigatoni with butter and Parmigiano 'alla Francescana', featuring a trio of Parmigiano cheeses from different origins, have their own remarkable appeal."
Salumeria Roscioli – via dei Giubbonari, 21 – Roma - salumeriaroscioli.com
The Del Gatto family's establishment is a 'cabinet of curiosities,' shelves brimming with goodness, primarily bottles, but ranging from the finest teas to jams, pasta to biscuits—a haven of happiness in the centre of a town that has much to offer in terms of eating well. Credit also goes to this label, born as an osteria at the behest of Franco Del Gatto and evolved into a wine shop in 1972. All members of the family play a prominent role, Simonetta, Daria, and Cesare, year after year growing a project that remains unchanging in terms of quality level but constantly evolves in selection.
Naturally, the anthology of wines is at the heart of the offering: here, one encounters rarities alongside everyday labels, delving deep into Champagnes and small artisans, with a constantly updated eye on the natural world. During the day, shopping is done at the store; then, as evening falls, one can sit at indoor or outdoor tables and choose their bottle or opt for the foolproof selection by the glass, which always offers guests new insights. From 6 p.m. with the aperitif, guests can delight in the best food specialties selected by the house, from assortments of cured meats and cheeses, delighting enthusiasts, to bruschetta and tartines (elsewhere called tapas) that elegantly bring together numerous delicacies. An excellent selection of beers is available, along with liqueurs, spirits, and a few classic mixed drink options. The atmosphere is relaxed and informal, perfect for a break after returning from the sea, with consistently friendly and knowledgeable service. Reservations are recommended as seating is limited. They often organise themed tastings and special evenings. When far from Anzio, their online shop serves as a worthy substitute.
Enoteca del Gatto – via G. Mazzini, 2 (ang. via XX Settembre) – Anzio (RM) - enotecadelgatto.it
Enoteca Quattro Ruote
Thirteen years have passed since Stefano Fioravanti and Letizia Soldani poured their passion and expertise into this establishment, which has long been a point of reference not only for the Tuscia region but beyond. Their passion for wine has also been passed down to their son Filippo, who efficiently manages the work in the dining area and passionately explains the numerous labels available at the venue. There are hundreds of references from all over Italy, as well as from Germany, Alsace, and France, with a strong emphasis on sparkling wines and spirits. There are also focused selections, with depth in vintages, on specific areas such as Barolo, Brunello, and Burgundy. Additionally, the by-the-glass selection is interesting, featuring at least fifteen rotating labels preserved with the Coravin system that maintains the integrity of the bottles. Over time, this label has also stood out as a fantastic place for traditional flavours of the area, bridging the gap between the Viterbo countryside and the Tuscan Maremma, offering delicacies like Cinta Senese cured meats, peposo, meatballs in sauce, and excellent dairy products from all over the Peninsula. It's a stopover dedicated to oenological excellence and delicious dining, right at the foot of Castello Orsini and a stone's throw from the Lazio coastline.
Enoteca Quattro Ruote - via G. Garibaldi, 17 - Montalto di Castro (VT) - enotecaquattroruote.it