Rome has some fantastic restaurants. My favourite for a long time was Casa Coppelle, and it is still one of the loveliest restaurants for a date in Rome. I’m also a fan of some of the more traditional, proper ‘local’ places, like La Quercia, Maccheroni and Taverna Trilussa. However, I recently read about Marzapane, a restaurant not in the ‘centro storico’ like the rest, but in the more residential Rome. Having lived in Rome for a year, I’d never actually been here and so I persuaded the family to bundle into a cab and take the short 15 minute ride across town.
The initial hesitation of leaving the beloved historical centre was abandoned upon walking into this wonderful place. It is very different to most Roman restaurants. The interiors are bordering on Scandi, but without being too minimalist. There is plenty of light wood and the design is simple, but it’s cosy and welcoming and yes, stylish. Small touches like little wooden chairs for your bag (or your dog, I was thinking) are welcome. Wine bottles stacked in the wall add more warmth.
And then comes the food. If you’re hungry, go for the tasting menu at EUR39 for five courses. It’s a steal. We decided to just choose a starter, main and pudding. Choosing was the tough part. The carpaccio with an Asian twist was a hit with my father who normally doesn’t even really like Asian, the prawn tartare with burrata was fresh and unique (and I loved the pistachio biscuit). The vegetable starter was also a surprising hit (they’re really into the word Crucifer in Rome), we’re not sure how they got the cauliflower cream like they did.
And the main courses were equally delightful. The carbonara was more delicious and heavier than any we have tasted before. The lamb with a Mexican hit (chilli), was so tender and delicious, even the fat was a joy to eat. The roe egg linguini was another treat.
Pudding maintained the high standard, as did the petite fours which came with the coffee in a remarkable dish. By which point none of us could fit anything more in our mouthes (meanwhile I’m writing this hungry and wishing we’d eaten them all).
And the wines we had were all different, all wonderful (and Italian of course – mostly either Sicilian or form Piedmonte), and all very reasonably priced. My Dad did see a Gaja on the menu but the EUR200 price tag kept that one at bay. Next time.
So, bottom line. It is worth parting form the historical centre, and taking a 15 minute (10 euro) taxi across town. It is also worth booking ahead, as this is apparently one of the most popular restaurants in town (it was completely full when we dined). For me, it was fine dining without the ridiculous price tag, and I’d recommend it to all.
Via Velletri 39
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