Il Marchese Osteria & Cocktail Bar in Central Rome – Complete Review

Hardly a better neighborhood in Rome for a restaurant to welcome hungry foreign and local passers-by on the lookout for a fancy meal in a cozy set-up. Il Marchese Osteria is a relatively new opening (it launched two years ago, in 2018) conveniently located in Via Ripetta near the Ara Pacis, the Lungotevere, and Via del Corso shopping street.

Whether you are a vegetarian or are in for a meat or fish meal, Il Marchese got you covered. And if you are in Rome with a baby, don’t worry, they provide a high chair (albeit without belts) and they even make a non-spicy pasta on a tomato sauce toddlers can eat. Just a tip, ask to cook the pasta a little extra as their al dente for your little one might be too hard.

Image: Inside Il Marchese restaurant and cocktail bar in Rome

Il Marchese Osteria and Cocktail Bar – Our Experience + Full Review

Our experience at Il Marchese

We planned to have lunch at Il Marchese, often regarded as one of the best restaurants in central Rome, on a Sunday, so being the weekend and the privileged location, we booked before going. Thankfully so since the place got pretty packed very quickly. We went with our baby so we arrived a little early, around 12.30, so there were several tables still empty but in half an hour both who had previously booked and passers-by arrived.

As soon as we arrived, we were accommodated at our table, which included also a high chair for baby D. Unfortunately, their high chair is without the belt, so our son started moving impatiently pretty soon and we were busy trying to keep him from jumping off.

We were accommodated inside quickly given the menu and served our slightly sparkling water. Before even ordering for us, we asked for pasta on a simple tomato sauce for our baby so that he could start eating.

The service at Il Marchese was extremely helpful and prompt. Anything we asked arrived in less than no time. A few items on the menu weren’t available and we were promptly given an alternative. We ended up ordering a starter and a first course for me (marinated salmon with salad and squid ink agnolotti stuffed pasta) and a main dish of grilled beef steak on a wine-flavored salt with a side “puntarelle” salad (a very typical Roman side dish) for my husband.

This time around, we decided not to have the dessert here because we wanted to try a nearby coffee shop, but with hindsight, we regretted it. Next time, the dessert here will be guaranteed as they had some pretty delicious options such as pistachio tiramisu and figs cheesecake.

Il Marchese Menu and Prices

Given the location, the original dishes and the visibly high-quality ingredients, the prices of Il Marchese Osteria and Cocktail Bar are definitely affordable. Obviously, in the city center you can find also cheaper alternatives, but not so much the same standards. Since they use seasonal ingredients, the menu changes in summer and winter and also depending on what their suppliers delivered fresh the same morning, you can have a different option day by day.

The starters can accommodate any dietary preference as they include fish such as marinated salmon with red beetroot, passion fruit and mixed salad or cod patties on a rosemary-flavored chickpea cream, meat such as beef steak tartare with peach, mint and lime or vitel tonné Piedmont-style, as well as vegetarian options including fried green tomato with buffalo mozzarella cheese and basil-flavored mayo. Prices range from 9 to 12€.

Image: Marinated salmon starter at Il Marchese restaurant in Rome

As first courses, they serve recipes like agnolotti stuffed pasta with black squid ink, prawns and bottarga fish eggs, or a cacio e pepe with lime and salmon, pasta on a simple tomato and basil sauce with the addition of stracciatella soft cheese as well as the dishes of the Roman tradition such as carbonara, amatriciana and gricia. Prices range between 13 and 18€.

Image: agnolotti stuffed pasta with prawns and bottarga

The main dishes included options like citrus-flavored meatballs, tuna with herbs, melon, mint and berries, steak with red wine-flavored salt and rollé of chicken and sausage with mint, lemon and pine nuts. Fares range between 17 and 22€.

They also serve rich salad for 13€ and side dishes such as sauteed chicory, sweet and sour purple cabbage and roasted potatoes for 5 or 6€. Probably the only options that were not present on the menu were for vegan eaters, but I’m sure if you ask, they could adapt some vegetarian dish vegan-style.

Image: Beef steak at Il Marchese restaurant in Rome

The beverages ranged from 6€ for a 33cl beer to 9€ for a glass of wine and 3 to 5€ for a bottle of sparkling or still water. Their desserts looked very enticing with options like classic or pistachio tiramisu, fig cheesecake, ricotta and strawberry tart with prices from 8 to 9€.

What To See And Do Around Il Marchese Osteria and Cocktail Bar

They are located in the very historic center, so most of the places you want to visit in Rome are within easy reach. Here are some sights you can walk to from the restaurant.

  • Ara Pacis. This is a museum that hosts always interesting new temporary exhibitions.
  • Piazza di Spagna. Walk for ten minutes and you reach the Spanish Steps, a must if it’s your first time in Rome.
  • Via del Corso. This is a long shopping street that you can reach also with a few minutes’ walk. Many landmarks are close as well as great shops, including those of the nearby Via del Babuino.
  • Piazza Navona. With less than 10 minutes, you can also get to the gorgeous Piazza Navona regarded as one of Rome’s most beautiful piazzas.
  • Pantheon. Just across Corso Rinascimento very close to Piazza Navona is the all-gods temple known as the Pantheon. One of the most fascinating sights in the historic center.
  • Castel Sant’Angelo. The Hadrian Mausoleum has served different purposes throughout history and now it’s a gorgeous landmark to visit inside out and to enjoy the beautiful view from its terrace.
  • Saint Peter’s Basilica. From the Hadrian Mausoleum, Saint Peter’s Basilica is really close. You can actually see it right in front surrounded by the scenic columnade of St. Peter’s Square. This is a must-see in Rome and worth a stop unless you are devoting a day to visiting the Vatican or taking a Vatican tour and you can include the basilica as well.

Tips For A Perfect Dining Experience At Il Marchese Osteria & Cocktail Bar

  • Book in advance. You don’t even need to call too much in advance, but you definitely need to reserve your table. Especially if you are in a group and if you are going when most Italians eat, around 1 pm.
  • Check Google Maps. I know Via Ripetta is a famous and central street, but remember that it’s crossed by a pretty confusing intersection so when you get there and Google Maps tells you to keep going, trust the app and you will find Il Marchese right after. Provided that you are coming from Piazza del Popolo or Via del Corso.
  • Take the dessert. Unless you want a gelato, for which I can recommend some of the best gelaterias in Rome not far from the restaurant, I suggest you enjoy your post-prandial dessert right here as they have delicious options.
  • Mention that you come with a baby. If you are traveling with a baby, mention that when you book. I’ve seen quite a few families when we went and most of them asked for a high chair. So, if you need one, mention it while reserving your table.

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