Barnaba, a popular wine bar has pegged its position among Romans as one of the most preferred wine spots for the past four years. It is located in the Aventino district and just a stone’s throw away from the Pyramid of Cestius. True what we all say, a bottle of good wine is best enjoyed with great food, so Barnaba has renewed its platform by creating a substantial cuisine to go with its selection of wines. And it does so in great style, with a dedicated gastronomic proposals combined with an almost tailor-made wine list, with the mission of accommodating the needs of every customer who sits at the counter. The kitchen is now led by Chef Emiliano Valenti who recounts his kitchen with more approachability and pairability using raw materials of quality, with the vast selection of Italian and French wine labels of part-owner Fabrizio Pagliardi.
“We have been missing a lot in recent years,” says Fabrizio Pagliardi, “and for someone like me who was born as a ‘counter’ host, staying behind it again, returning to have a direct relationship with the customer, is essential.”
At Barnaba, enjoying a glass of wine with their gastronomic proposals has no designated time starting at 18:30 onwards. Anytime is a perfect time! Whether it is an aperitif, dinner or after dinner, you can sit down anytime and order something to combine with your drink, choosing from: cold cuts, cheeses, vegetables, bread with burrata and tomatoes, creamed cod, hummus, marinated eggs, feta and gherkins, pulled pork meatballs, and perhaps their iconic French fries with percorino cheese and much more. Then starting at dinner time, more concrete dishes can be ordered as Chef Emiliano Valenti starts cooking up in the kitchen. His concept is not overly-constructed, keeping things to substantial flavors and ingredients but not too trivial. Emiliano has a solid background gained in various and important kitchens of the capital such as that of Cristina Bowerman, Settembrini and Il Convivio with Angelo Troiani (one Michelin star).
The entries in the menu can vary depending on the season. Appetizers are between €10 to €18 with options like Beef Tartare, Mini Aubergine Parmigiana, and Octopus Salad with Aioli Sauce; Pasta dishes at around €14 are on the traditional side with a spike of innovation like the Carbonara, Drunk Gricia (an old classic in which the pasta is cooked in red wine), Fettuccine with Baby Octopus and Peppers, and Tagliolini with Yellow Tomatoes and Burrata; and Main Courses between €14 to €28, with Duck Breast and Green Beans, Ricotta and Spinach Balls, and Roasted Octopus with Guacamole and ‘Nduja, and for the sandwich lovers – Roast Beef Club Sandwich and Pulled Pork Buns are in the menu.
Fabrizio Pagliardi has always chosen a path that he has never changed, the one that has often led him to look for wines from small producers, mostly French, but not exclusively. “In these two years we have had to limit purchases from France and beyond, due to the poor forecast of prolonged opening in the first period and the slow recovery then. Now, however, we are back up and running, the wine discharges from France, here at Barnaba are daily and the list of wines by the glass, which has been designed for the counter but is available for the entire service, tells the story well,” explains Fabrizio. With approximately 20 labels in the by-the-glass menu, others are continuously added such as, for example, the entire line of a producer, or at the request of the customer, a label from the wine list can be opened. In short, the password at Barnaba’s counter is freedom.
Barnaba Wine Bar & Cucina
Via della Piramide Cestia, 45
00153 Rome, Italy
Tel: +39 06 23484415
Opening times: Mondays to Fridays – 18:00 to 00:30 / Saturdays and Sundays – 12:30 to 00:30