Best wine shop in Rome: do you want some advice? This article is for you. After talking about whiskey bars and cocktail bars, I will guide you to the choice of a historic wine bar in Rome. Oh yes, I say historic because in the streets of the town’s center few restaurant businesses can boast of having managed to hold out even in this difficult year of pandemic. Many wine bars, wineries, and restaurants, over the years have dedicated their service to tourism, which has been absent for some time lately. The companies who resisted are those who who never betrayed the taste of local customers, distinguishing themselves with a quality offer.
Il Piccolo, one of the best wine bars in the center of Rome since 1980
Enoteca Il Piccolo opened in 1980 in via del Governo Vecchio 74-75, one of the streets to discover when visiting Rome, a stone’s throw from Piazza Navona. Since the 1980s and 1990s, under the management of Giancarlo Davoli, this wine shop was usually open in the evening until late. The choice of wines in the first decades of activity has fallen on the most valuable local realities but over time it has opened up to international bottles. With the entry of Giancarlo’s son, Riccardo Davoli, a selection of excellent natural wines and some organic wineries were added. «It wasn’t easy to convince my father – Riccardo says with a smile – because he saw natural wine as something of little value. Over time, however, he has learned to understand that among these labels there are excellent products and our customers also love to experiment».
A small but welcoming wine shop in central Rome
While the offer has changed and expanded over the years, the atmosphere in this historic location of the Eternal City hasn’t changed. The interior spaces are small and welcoming, characterized by wooden tables and original paintings on the ceilings that depict all the entrances to Rome. The walls are filled with shelves full of bottles of white, red, rosé wines, and some liqueurs.
The novelty of recent times that have limited the opening hours of the restaurateurs (because of COVID-19)is that Il Piccolo is now also open for lunch and also offers a menu of treats and hot dishes. To enjoy them on sunny days, you can also sit outside the restaurant, at the colorful cast iron tables.
Eating in the best wine shop in Rome, Italy: here is the menu
The products included in Il Piccolo menu are all of high quality, in fact, the owners of this wine bar source their supplies from established businesses in the area, such as Il Forno Campo de ‘Fiori for white pizza. This is one of the foods that you can nibble along with your glass of wine, perhaps with stracchino and rocket. Other examples are:
preserves in oil;
bruschetta (I tasted the classic and exquisite one with butter and anchovies but there are also with tomatoes or broccoli);
platters of cured meats and cheeses with specialties such as BioBuò di Amaseno mozzarella, and Falorni raw ham (how could I resist the buffalo? Definitely excellent);
assortment of club sandwiches;
tasty and crunchy stuffed sandwiches, heated on the spot;
the Pacchetella that is the Piennolo del Vesuvio D.O.P cherry tomatoes from the Olivella winery;
the Reserva del Cantabrico anchovies;
traditional soups and lasagna or cacio e pepe with black cabbage;
rustic pie with spinach, stracchino, and almonds.
For those who order by the glass among the “bubbles”, I can mention the best seller of the wine shop, Nicos, Glera Col Fondo, awarded by Slow Wine 2020 as Daily Wine. Alternatively, a Franciacorta di Vezzoli or Champagne Carte Noire J.P. Deville.