If you, like me, can’t do without the daily ritual of an aperitif, and you ever happen to be in Rome, go for a tour in the northern part of the capital city.
Over the past five years the elegant Prati and Della Vittoria districts, off the main tourist circuits beaten tracks, but just a few steps from the “Cupolone” (“large dome”) as St. Peter’s Basilica is affectionately called, have freshen up their look and experienced a real renaissance. The streets are liven up with small and cosy restaurants, wine bars and interesting bakeries with a thousand specialities that have become the new meeting and gathering places of the locals, in an area where the habit of meeting for a glass of sparkling wine or a spritz has always been a must. But not only for an aperitif, the wine bars that I would like to introduce you to are also ideal for lunch and dinner.
Here are some suggestions for a pleasant evening. If some of these, which have been around for years, are known to you, then take a look at enticing new entries!
To begin with: I Barbari (“The Barbarians”), a lively wine bar, decorated with industrial style interiors and cosy, warm lighting. The bar, recently opened, is freely inspired by the Umbrian cuisine without forgetting, however, forays into Roman cuisine such as “saccoccia all’amatriciana”, a rich ciabatta bread stuffed with meatballs in tomato sauce. People come here for the giant selections of cold cuts and cheese platters, but the highlight is the home-made “torta al testo”. Halfway between a flat loaf of bread and a piadina; here it is filled with delicious combinations such as vegetables and sausages or mortadella, smoked cheese and eggplant.
Via Riccardo Grazioli Lante, 10
Open every day 10: 00- 00:30; Saturdays and Sundays closed for lunch
Enofficina. This small wine bar opened in October 2013 and can easily be singled out by the old sign “Vini e Oli” as well as the white Vespa scooter displayed in window; it offers an interesting aperitif, which you can enjoy sitting at the tables outside, during the summertime. Even here the wine is not the sole protagonist: in addition to the assortment of cold cuts and Italian cheeses, new interesting hot dishes are offered on a daily basis. Good beers, excellent and rich wine cellar from which you can also pick out take-away bottles.
Via Trionfale, 50
Open Mondays to Fridays 10:00-01:00, Saturdays 12:00-01:00, Sundays 17:30-01:00
Another place you should not miss out is “Banana Republic”, young-atmosphere pub founded in 1993. Once inside, don’t limit yourself to the excellent Olympic-size burgers accompanied by tiny chips, but dare to ask for the dishes of the day, ranging from pasta to a fine selection of seasonal vegetables. If you love cocktails, then this is the place for you: the menu mentions at least a dozen, all masterfully prepared.
via Bettolo, 3A
Open every single day 12:00-02:00
Gourmet. Don’t let the name fool you: it’s not a snooty French restaurant, the stingy-kind in terms of portions, but a delightful place with soft lighting where dishes are hearty and generous in flavours. Gourmet is a bar, a restaurant, a wine bar and a pub at the same time and offers a rich buffet aperitif, wines from all over Italy and a wide selection of intriguing beers.
Via dei Gracchi, 282-284
Open every single day 09:00-02:00
If you want to up the ante and wish to have a whale of a time, all you need to do is make up your mind and come to Enoteca del Frate. This charming and fully equipped winery, in Prati, is not new in the area but has recently opened a new room where you can taste wines while eating. The décor is elegant but not exaggerated and the atmosphere is definitely relaxing. Needless to say it is primarily for its interesting wine list that ranges from sparkling wines to red wines from Italy and beyond. It is the perfect place to indulge in combining wines and dishes cooked with a skilful touch.
Enoteca del Frate
Via degli Scipioni
06 323 6437
Wine bar open from Mondays to Saturdays 12:00-15:00, 18:00-24:00. Sundays closed.
Winery closed on Monday mornings.
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