Wine bars in Rome

Enotecas, vini olii, and other wine bars in Rome, from traditional to trendy

Cavour 313 - This gourmet wine bar of long pedigree is lined with dark wood benches and paneling, its ceiling a grid of double-stacked shelves crowded with wine bottles. The wine list features more than 1,200 labels, around a dozen of which are available at any given time for tasting by the glass. To accompany your vintage, order a mixed platter of cheeses or cured meats, all of them hand-crafted regional specialties from across Italy... Via Cavour 313; tel. +39-06-678-5496;; Closed Sun in summer. » more

L'Angolo Divino - Massimo Crippa and his brothers have transformed their grandmother's wine shop into a fashionable and lovable wine bar just off Campo de' Fiori. Although old-fashioned in style, with wood ceilings and shelves of vino, it's trendy in its culinary offerings—like most wine bars, it offers mixed platters of cheeses, salamis, and smoked fish and bruschette with daily dishes like lasagna, rustica ripiena (a cousin to vegetable quiche)... Via dei Balestrari 12, tel. 06-686-4413,, Closed Mon. » more

Trimani il Wine Bar - For a gourmet experience and a light meal that won't break the bank (but may bend it to €30 or more, depending on the wines you select), head to this postmodern wine bar. For Marco and Carla Trimani, serving fine foods to accompany glasses of wine chosen from among their thousands of labels is merely an extension of the family's 190 years in the vino trade. The wine bar's tiny rooms, long stylish bar, and outdoor gazebo are tinged with elegance and popular with intellectuals and journalists. The food is excellent, from cheese assortments or Italian salamis to dishes such as carrè d'agnello alle erbe con cavolo rosso (herbed loin of lamb with red cabbage)... Via Cernaia 37b, tel. 06-446-9630,; Closed Sun and in Aug. » more

Enoteca Corsi - This dirt-cheap, old-fashioned, utterly genuine Roman enoteca has kept up with the times—but not the prices—so while the wine shop looks every inch the vini olii of 1937, behind it and next door are large, fan-cooled rooms with long tables to accommodate the lunchtime crowds of local workers. The chalkboard menu of Roman standards changes daily... Via del Gesù 88, tel. 06-679-0821,; Open lunch only, Closed Sun. » more

Tips & links

General dining tips
  • "Pane e coperto" is not a scam: Nearly all Italian restaurants have an unavoidable pane e coperto ("bread and cover" charge) of anything from €1 to €15—though most often €2 to €5—per person that is automatically added onto your bill. This is perfectly normal and perfectly legal (though a few trendy restaurants make a big deal about not charging it).
  • Find out if service (tip) is included: Don't double-tip by accident. If the menu has a line—usually near the bottom of the front or back—that says "servizio" with either a percentage, an amount, or the word "incluso" after it, that means the tip is automatically included in the price. (If it says "servizio non incluso," tip is, obviously, not included.)

    Even if the menu doesn't say it, ask É incluso il servizio? (ay een-CLOU-so eel sair-VEET-zee-yo)—"Is service included?" If not, tip accordingly (10%–15% is standard).

    Don't be stingy about tipping, though. If il servizio is, indeed, already included but the service was particularly good, it's customary to round up the bill or leave €1 per person extra—just to show you noticed and that you appreciated the effort.
  • Tourist menus: The concept of a bargain prix-fixe menu is not popular in Italy. Some restaurants do offer a menu turistico ("tourist menu"), which can cost from €8 to €20 and usually entails a choice from among two or three basic first courses (read: different pasta shapes, all in plain tomato sauce), a second course of roast chicken or a veal cutlet, and some water or wine and bread. With very few exceptions, tourist menus tend to live up to their name, appearing only at the sort of tourist-pandering restaurants that the locals wisely steer clear of.

    However, a menu à prezzo fisso ("fixed-price menu") is often a pretty good deal, usually offering a bit more choice than a tourist menu.

    Then—especially at nicer (and pricier) restaurants—there is the menu degustazione ("tasting menu"), usually far more expensive (anywhere from €25 to €110) that is a showcase of the chef's best, or of regional specialties, and can make for an excellent way to sample the kitchen's top dishes.
  • Book ahead: For restaurants that I am truly eager to try, I go ahead and book a table—at least at dinner. I find that a corollary of Murphy's Law seems to apply. If you prudently book ahead, you are likely to show up to a half-empty restaurant and feel a bit like a fool for having worried about finding a table. If, on the other hand, you just show up at the door expecting to find a free table, the place will inevitably be packed and its bookings full for the evening.
Culinary tours of Rome
Italian dining phrases
English (Inglese) Italian (Italiano) Pro-nun-cee-YAY-shun
Good day Buon giorno bwohn JOUR-noh
Good evening Buona sera BWOH-nah SAIR-rah
Good night Buona notte BWOH-nah NOTE-tay
Goodbye Arrivederci ah-ree-vah-DAIR-chee
Excuse me (to get attention) Scusi SKOO-zee
thank you grazie GRAT-tzee-yay
please per favore pair fa-VOHR-ray
yes si see
no no no
Do you speak English? Parla Inglese? PAR-la een-GLAY-zay
I don't understand Non capisco non ka-PEESK-koh
I'm sorry Mi dispiace mee dees-pee-YAT-chay
Where is? Dov'é doh-VAY
...a restaurant un ristorante oon rees toh-RAHN-tay
...a casual restaurant una trattoria
oo-nah trah-toar-RHEE-yah
oon ohst-air-EE-yah
I would like to reserve... Vorrei prenotare... voar-RAY pray-note-ARE-eh
a table for two una tavola per due oo-nah TAH-voal-lah pair DOO-way
...for 7pm per le sette pair lay SET-tay
...for 7:30pm per le sette e mezzo pair lay SET-tay eh MET-tzoh
...for 8pm per le otto pair lay OH-toh
I would like Vorrei... voar-RAY
...some (of) un pó (di) oon POH (dee)
...this questo KWAY-sto
...that quello KWEL-loh
chicken pollo POL-loh
steak bistecca bee-STEAK-ah
veal vitello vee-TEL-oh
fish pesce PEH-shay
meat carne KAR-neh
I am vegetarian sono vegetariano SO-no veg-eh-tair-ee-YAH-no
side dish [veggies always come seperately] cotorno kon-TOR-no
dessert dolce DOAL-chay
and e ay
...a glass of un bicchiere di oon bee-key-YAIR-eh dee
...a bottle of una bottiglia di oo-na boh-TEEL-ya dee
...a half-liter of mezzo litro di MET-tzoh LEE-tro dee
...fizzy water acqua gassata AH-kwah gah-SAHT-tah
...still water acqua non gassata AH-kwah noan gah-SAHT-tah wine vino rosso VEE-noh ROH-so
...white wine vino bianco VEE-noh bee-YAHN-koh birra BEER-a
Check, please Il conto, per favore eel COAN-toh pair fah-VOAR-eh
Is service included? É incluso il servizio? ay een-CLOU-so eel sair-VEET-zee-yo

Share this page

Intrepid Travel 25% off