Rome: 3 secret bars for natural wine lovers

Alisa Bruno


Fancy restaurants, easy trattorias, thousands of bars—Rome offers endless options for food and drinks, especially in the tourist-flooded historical centre. Such plenitude makes it hard to spot authentic places where the locals love to hang-out. And when it comes to natural wine, The Eternal City hides its gems with extra care. The good news is that you will discover three of them right now. Here come the gems…

Enoteca L’Antidoto in Trastevere: informal elegance and hip Roman vibes

Trastevere is a charming and picturesque neighbourhood in Rome. Its crooked narrow cobblestone streets, ivy-covered buildings, and medieval piazzas attract tourists and locals alike. But while the former tend to follow the main passways, the latter know secret corners, like Vicolo del Bologna—home to one of the best natural wine bars in town.

Opened during the height of the pandemic, Enoteca L'Antidoto is a testament to the true creativity of its owners. Its informal elegance will put you at ease even before a first sip, and the tiny space with only five tables will make you feel chosen.

When you enter the sliding glass doors, you see iron and wood shelves going up to the ceiling—like in a bookstore, except filled with bottles. L'Antidoto offers about 200 natural wines from different countries, including Italy, France, and Georgia. Pick a bottle that smiles at you from the shelf, and the staff will help pair it with something from the menu. Or vice versa.

The menu is short and carefully curated. Chefs change it every few weeks to always offer local, seasonal, and high-quality dishes. An open kitchen means you can watch chefs at work, adding to the convivial atmosphere of this small bar. And while there are no tables al fresco, there is a place to sit on the outside window sills, enjoy a glass (a bottle) and a truly trasteverian, bohemian vibe.

Address: Vicolo del Bologna 19

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Carter Oblio in Prati: gourmet chic with the most delicate food and wine pairings

Prati is a chic residential area known for its upscale atmosphere and proximity to the Vatican. Its elegant buildings, wide streets, and green spaces tuck away numerous gastronomical gems. And the next pick is one of them.

Located in the very heart of Prati, Carter Oblio restaurant is a must-visit if you want an elegant contemporary dining experience. Just like L'Antidoto, it opened its doors during the pandemic and has already caught the attention of the Michelin guide. The sophisticated yet relaxed atmosphere pitches perfectly for a romantic dinner. Nordic minimalism at its best—wood, stone, iron, and neutral shades of gray and brown—will keep you focused on your vis-à-vis, and the food.

As for natural wines, they are not the only protagonists but there are many. So what will it be? Bubbles to start? Natural orange with beef carpaccio? Rosé to go with paella and smoked paprika? Or a deep Umbrian red to complement the lamb? Make a choice, and don't worry: all flavours are exquisite.

So if you want a beautiful evening with beautiful people eating beautifully served food, and zero kitsch, move this place to the top of your list.

Address: Giuseppe Gioachino Belli 21

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Enoteca La Mescita in Garbatella: buzzing and bottomless natural wine bar

Founded in the 1920s to house workers, the young district of Garbatella grew out of its humble past and is now a lively, trendy hood or quartiere. Close to the centro storico yet off the beaten tourist track, it will hide you from the crowds and show you the true Roman life—the life of a piazza. While there are plenty of restaurants and bars to discover, the place to go for fine natural wine is Enoteca La Mescita.

La Mescita is a perfect spot to relax and soak up the atmosphere of Garbatella. It has a few tables inside, but if you want to do as Romans do, enjoy the outdoors and book a kerbside table. Don't expect a long menu of pastas—this is not your typical tourist spot. But it is also exactly what makes it so special. Among the seasonal offerings, you can try zucchini flowers stuffed with buffalo ricotta, seared tuna, fresh porcini sautéed with basil and parmesan, roasted octopus, and all-time classics—the cold cuts and cheese platters.

And finally, the wine. You'll find a vast collection of 400 natural wines, from Italian to Australian. The staff will help with selection, and chances are—you won't be disappointed! Even Dave Gahan's portrait hanging inside says he just can't get enough—of La Mescita, which means Poured Wine.

Now sit back, enjoy your glass of organic and biodynamic, nibble, and people-watch—there is no better place for all four.

Address: Via Fincati 44

Book a table: +39 333 3015847

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