The shop Volpetti has long been a pilgrimage site for obsessive lovers of cheese, salumi and other gourmet products from all over Italy. For travelers with eyes bigger than their hotel mini-fridge, however, their selection has always been something of a tease. How best to enjoy such takeaway bounty when you don’t have a proper kitchen in Rome? Enter Taverna Volpetti, a small wine bar around the corner from the mothership, serving beautiful boards of their outstanding cheeses and cured meats. A handful of wines are available by the glass, but the selection of bottles is more impressive and includes some older vintages.
Barnaba is one of those rare and wonderful places that’s slightly better than it needs to be. It’s a wine bar where the wine is really good, where the food is better than anticipated, and where there’s enough space to spread out with a large group or to drop in without a reservation.
Back in 2014, I interviewed Cristina Bowerman and featured her restaurant Romeo in an article for the Wall Street Journal about modern chefs setting a new culinary course for Rome. This celebrity chef gained acclaim for her Trastevere restaurant Glass and then opened Romeo in Prati as an effort to bring creative cooking to a wider audience. She eventually shuttered that location (it’s now Osteria Birra del Borgo) and reopened Romeo in Testaccio in 2017.
I find this new incarnation of Romeo to be a selfie-taking, over-the-top and embarrassingly cheesy restaurant.