review: wine bar rocky river

Last month I finally made it to Wine Bar Rocky River on the quaint Linda Street. It’s been on my must-visit list for ages, and thanks to Metromix, I can finally scratch it off.

I liked everything about this place – almost. Right off the bat I felt at home on the patio. I could easily picture myself spending any given summer evening on the patio with friends. The overall atmosphere of this space quickly won me over.

Next up, wine. Another winner – good thing since it’s in the name. We enjoyed everything we sampled. And I liked how the wine list was presented, the knowledge of the staff and the fact that they offer opportunities for their customers to increase their wine knowledge.

Service – another plus. And the location of the restaurant itself on Linda Street in Rocky River. I hear there are more eateries and boutiques in the works for this part of town. Rumor Mill Alert: I also hear this space itself plans to move to allow for growth. Not sure if there is any truth to this. Anyone?

Now what I didn’t care for. Sadly, it was the food. We tried several different dishes and nothing really did it for me. I had high hopes for the brie and avocado bruschetta. Two of my favorite things, how could this not be anything but ideal? But it wasn’t – along with the majority of our eats. But despite this, I would go back. We genuinely enjoyed the patio and wine. I’d just pass on ordering food and keep my fingers crossed that the cheese and charcuterie offering way outshines the food.

Here’s part of the recap or you can read the full review here.

Food: The menu features an array of dishes that are meant to pair well with your wine or to be enjoyed on their own. There’s a good mix of starters to share, larger dishes and sweets.

On our visit, our eyes were immediately drawn to the brie and avocado bruschetta ($10), which we ordered before perusing the rest of the menu or sampling wine. Unfortunately, this dish fell short of expectations, which were rather high since typically anything that includes brie coupled with avocado should be an automatic winner. Not so in this case. The bread was barely toasted, which meant the brie wasn’t melted as described by our server. Additionally, the avocado wasn’t as ripe as it was likely supposed to be. The only ingredient that really jumped out was the honey mustard drizzled over top that was borderline overwhelming.

The rest of the meal was on par with this dish, except for an order of the wino fries with malted vinegar and cabernet ketchup ($6)—these were quite addicting and rather satisfying.

Other dishes included the BBQ chicken sandwich special on a pretzel bun with corn salsa ($9) and the chorizo and manchego quesadilla with pineapple salsa ($11). The chicken was overcooked and tough, though the bun and salsa were nice accompaniments. As for the quesadilla, this was another dish that based on ingredients alone should have had us coming back for more…but it won’t. You couldn’t tell there was chorizo or manchego stuffed in this tortilla. Two distinct flavors, particularly the chorizo, were sadly rather bland and unidentifiable.

Perhaps next time we’ll stick with the cured meats and cheese selection.

Libations: Where the food lacks, the wine picks up, and is clearly the focus of this establishment. Wine Bar features an impressive selection of wines from all over the world for every palate and price point. The menu is nicely sectioned in categories making it easy to navigate. Groups include: bubbles, slightly sweet, forever fun (sauvignon blanc, fume blanc, pinot gris), toasty (chardonnay), slightly sweet (rose, Riesling), sensational (blends, cabernet, Bordeaux), soft curves (merlot), sensitive (pinot noir), dramatic (chianti, syrah, malbec, zinfandel) and ports. There are also 15 white and red wines each, both ranging from $6.50 to $13.

If you’re not in the mood for wine, there’s a full bar and a handful of domestic, imported and craft beer.

Décor: While the inside of Wine Bar is fairly traditional and cozy with its dark wood and idyllic two top that sits right under the oversized wine window, the patio is the main focal point–and for good reason. Outlined by the quaint little stores on Linda Street and mature trees offering privacy and shade, the patio is perhaps one of the best in town. There’s plenty of seating and even a pergola in one section. It’s the perfect place to spend an afternoon or a long summer evening.

Bottom line: Though the food may fall short of expectations, the wine offerings and atmosphere surely don’t. Wine Bar is a great place for a date night, catching up with friends or to increase your wine know-how.


  1. kristin
    Posted August 18, 2010 at 8:36 am | Permalink

    i agree – the food there is bad time and time again! i have even gotten sick from their food. but i love their wine and patio!

  2. Halle
    Posted August 20, 2010 at 9:14 am | Permalink

    Totally agreed. I hope they read this because it really is a shame. They have such a great place there but always fail to deliver on the food. It could really be something special if they worked the food issues out. The menu is perfect on paper, but the execution always fails to deliver. We use to live right near here but unfortunately always passed this place by when we wanted something for dinner. Next time try Tartine!

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