So, as previously warned I was rather completely unhappy with the Lower Class (Low Quality) shops obtained from Sarissa and reviewed previously on this site. As a result when I noted that Empires at War had added a couple of new buildings to their Spanish/Italian range, one of which looked like it could be modified into a better Roman shop row (Convent/Monastery Dormitory). I then purchased a pair of these buildings and have completed them. Herewith the review.
Here is an aerial view of both floors with partitions attached. The ground floor is a simple four cubical business spaces. The "Upper Floor" has four rooms 'for let' with the one on the right being slightly more 'posh' possessing an entryway.
The two in the front of the above picture are for alcohol. The Romans would display the wine they carried in large pottery amphorae stored on the walls. Each style of wine had its own specific shape of pottery vessel that it came in so at a glance a customer knew what was available. Meanwhile, in a stand on the floor cheap wine would be available from a chilled stand. In a proper eatery the wine was chilled by hooking up to the city water supply and letting the water flow into and through the brick and mortar stand. I have no idea what I am going to do for he display amphorae, but these are the "table wine" stands. One of the cold vessels would be Rome's infamous "Posca". This would be the largest container and was made up of spiced vinegar and water (the original Gatorade). The others would be mixtures of the ends of multiple amphorae lumped together for quick sale as no one wanted the dregs of an amphorae and chilled wine sold better on hot days.
The back row would be from the food stands. These usually consisted of some sort of stew, and some sort of casserole that customers would buy by the ladle based on personal preference. There would also be the "Roman Ranch Dressing", Garum, available to be added to taste by the customer. Garum was made from fish guts and vinegar allowed to 'fester' in the sun for a couple of weeks. All of these would be kept in separate sunken containers in a brick and mortar stand. This time instead of hooking up to the water supply the store would simply put charcoal in the stand and allow it to burn slowly to keep the food hot (and safe to eat).
So that brings the majority of my Roman buildings to a close. On the whole I highly recommend the Empire's At War Spanish/Italian range for Roman buildings. The company is working on a range of Roman buildings, but currently only have a rural villa available for purchase. I do not like to color chosen for the Roman range so in general would say that even when it does come out the Spanish Italian range is better. Although some quality control issues are showing up and their directions leave much to be desired the building are fairly easy to assemble. The building can be modified if desired. And the building look very good coming in a range of heights and styles.
The other company offering buildings in this arena is Sarissa. This company has the direct market tie in to the Gangs of Rome skirmish game recently on the market. However the quality of most of their buildings reviewed leaves much to be desired. That said they also offer some excellent specialty buildings like their temple, slave auction, and market sets which do not have any competition so unless you want to scratch build the items you either have to buy from Sarissa, or do without.
Speaking of unique offerings, Sarissa just released some boats. A Trireme and a cargo boat. I have purchased a couple of the cargo boats so there will be a review at some point in the future of those.
Finally, Sarissa also offers an amphitheatre kit, an actual gladiatorial amphitheatre kit. That will be my next build. It is bigger than anything I have thus far constructed so expect that review in pieces. But that will be the next thing in my docket.