Il Marchese, a restaurant and amaro bar in the centre of Rome, is perfectly placed for a drink or a bite to eat after a downtown shopping trip.

Just a few minutes away from Via del Corso and designer brand mecca Via dei Condotti, Il Marchese Rome occupies the ground floor of a splendid eighteenth-century building, recalling the past with a smart chessboard floor and a chandelier or two.

From summer 2020, this centrally located bar and osteria has been able to move tables outside, across both sides of the road, to make the most of warm evenings in the historical centre of Rome. With some tables boasting views of Ara Pacis, and others simply catching the atmosphere of the cobbled street, both indoors and outdoors are now great choices.

Il Marchese aperitivo outside Rome centre

The restaurant and bar’s name takes its cue from a classic Italian film, Il Marchese del Grillo, which tells the tale of a comic life-swap between a Marquis and a charcoal maker. So it is that Il Marchese channels two dynamics: elegant spaces for some aristocratic lounging, with one of the best stocked cocktail bars in the centre; plus a kitchen serving hearty recipes from the Roman working-class tradition – basically the best of both worlds.

The brainchild of two Roman entrepreneurs and friends since childhood, Davide Solari and Lorenzo Renzi enjoyed plenty of experience in the Roman bar and restaurant scene before launching this passion project in 2018. In the kitchens, local chef Daniele Roppo says that his inspirations include his grandmother’s cooking and his grandfather’s insistence that he should try everything.

l Marchese, a restaurant and amaro bar in the centre of Rome, is perfectly placed for a drink or a bite to eat after shopping in via del Corso

Il Marchese restaurant offers classics from Roman cuisine as a base line, but the chef has fun with some of the ingredients and plating, making this a little bit more pop than your average Roman trattoria.

The summer menu includes some lovely fresh touches, including this fun ‘fried green tomatoes’ dish, taking ample inspiration from the world of film.

There is also a new aperitivo formula which gives you another great reason to head down to Il Marchese. Roman pinsas, a heritage grain variation on pizza, have been added to the menu and make a tasty and filling snack at the aperitvo hour. Alternatively, you can order boards of cheese and charcuterie; or three suppli – fried rice balls – served with a pan of amatriciana or carbonara.

Each of these food options costs €15 for a sharing platter, designed for two people. You then get to add one of Il Marchese’s imaginative cocktails (€10-€15 each) or a glass of wine (€7-€9).

Winter season at Il Marchese

On my previous visit earlier in the year, I started with a cocktail at the bar – one of the best things about the Marchese experience. This is a perfectly good spot for some drinking, so come grab a seat at the bar and enjoy some late night (or early evening drinks), even if you’re not dining. My cocktail was sherry and prosecco-based, but they have a great amaro list – and more.

l Marchese, a restaurant and amaro bar in the centre of Rome, is perfectly placed for a drink or a bite to eat after shopping in via del Corso

Dinner started with some classic comfort food – baccala croquettes in chickpea puree. Delicious!

l Marchese, a restaurant and amaro bar in the centre of Rome, is perfectly placed for a drink or a bite to eat after shopping in via del Corso

Next up, this boiled veal meatball was breaded and fried and served with a creamy herb mayo. Yum!

l Marchese, a restaurant and amaro bar in the centre of Rome, is perfectly placed for a drink or a bite to eat after shopping in via del Corso

It was still the season for puntarelle – these moreish, bitter greens found in Rome from November to February. These were dressed in the classic way, with anchovies, oil and lemon. Never had them on a bruschetta before, but this was a great idea!

l Marchese, a restaurant and amaro bar in the centre of Rome, is perfectly placed for a drink or a bite to eat after shopping in via del Corso

Il Marchese’s working-class soul continued with the first course dish – a classic carbonara. This was well made but could have been a bit warmer (maybe the serving dish was to blame).

l Marchese, a restaurant and amaro bar in the centre of Rome, is perfectly placed for a drink or a bite to eat after shopping in via del Corso

For second course, this braised beef jowl with a bitter greens, celeriac puree and a kick of red hot chili pepper spice was wonderfully executed. If you follow my blog you might have noticed that beef jowl is a popular dish at the moment in town, but when it’s served up like this, there are no complaints from me!

l Marchese, a restaurant and amaro bar in the centre of Rome, is perfectly placed for a drink or a bite to eat after shopping in via del Corso

We moved on to dessert – a pistachio-cream tiramisu – accompanied by this fine dessert wine.

l Marchese, a restaurant and amaro bar in the centre of Rome, is perfectly placed for a drink or a bite to eat after shopping in via del Corso

All in all, I really enjoyed my evening at Il Marchese in Rome and would definitely come back for drinks and a bite to eat. This space combines modernity with warmth and is a lively people-watching spot. Be aware, it gets really busy on weekends so be sure to book your table if you’re heading over here on a Friday or Saturday night.

Recommended.

Il Marchese Restaurant & Amaro Bar | via di Ripetta 162 | Rome | Tel +39 0690218872 | Open every day from noon until 1am

Testaccina was a guest of Il Marchese

If you’re interested in Rome’s cocktail scene, you might also want to check out Santo Trastevere, a hip urban-tropical bar in Rome’s cutest neighbourhood; while for something completely different, try floating whisky bar and jazz club Dram down on the river!