Now that I’ve started talking about it, I can’t stop. La Sagra del Vino (translates to The Feast of Wine–my kind of place) is my favorite restaurant in Rome, for sentimental reasons, the ambience, and the food. Let’s start with the sentimental reasons- and I may have told this story before, but bare with me here. During my time studying abroad in Rome the first time (2008), we were brought here three times a week, something that was included in our program. Then when I came back to study the second time (2010), my friend Kellie and celebrated my 23 birthday here. Katie and I coming back to enjoy an evening together brought back so many memories and so many good feelings.
The meals at this restaurant are top notch; Italian comfort food at its finest. As a starter you are brought delicious sun-dried tomatoes and olives (my least favorite food, but I get it, some people like them) with fluffy fresh bread. Then moving on to the best bean soup in the world; I would literally give up a limb to have the recipe. There are many choices for your pasta dish, but I always go with the carbonara, which is incredibly rich with it’s thick pancetta, fresh eggs, and rich cheese. Other options include cacio y pepe and oxtail, among others. Meat dishes include oxtail, which is braised in a spicy tomato sauce and is fantastic, world famous meat loaf (no ketchup needed), liver, and occaisonally some delicious osso bucco. For dessert, there is only one opti0n- biscotti dipped in vin santo, a sweet white wine.
There is nothing special about the appearance of this restaurant, but it is so quintessentially Italian that it makes up for it (plus the food is so good, so who cares what it looks like?). The tables around you are filled with chatting and laughing friends, and you are treated as a friend of the owners rather than as a customer. The son of the restaurant, Valentino, is the liveliest of the bunch. He remembered our group of study abroad kids, so he may or may not have given us a special customer price. When we tried to leave a tip to make up for it he said, “Never tip a friend, this is home.” I left the place in tears, because I truly felt at home. This was my last night in Rome and I still have no idea when I’ll be back, but it was a pretty excellent last night.
To reach La Sagra del Vino, take the A Line on the Metro and exit Cipro. Go straight up Via Cipro, left on Vaile delle Medaglie d’Oro, which turns into Via Marziale. The restaurant is on your left at Via Marziale, 5, 00136 Roma, Italy. Be polite and call for a reservation- +39 06 3973 7015.