600 different amaro labels to choose from & many surprising cocktail creations
Conveniently located near Piazza del Popolo, Il Marchese (named after the movie Il Marchese del Grillo) claims to have two souls. A concept illustrated perfectly with their unique menu, space and cocktails. Combining French elegance and décor with the heart found in traditional Roman cuisine, it is equal parts Osteria and Cocktail Bar.
Il Marchese is also Europe’s first Amaro bar who has completely changed my mind about the bitter, after-dinner digestif. My only point of reference previously had been the free offering post-meal at local Roman trattorias. And I was not a huge fan. But after trying their famous Clarified Milkamaro Punch and their newest addition to the menu – the Forest Hill (a twist on the classic Americano), Il Marchese has opened me up to a whole new world of cocktails.
There are 600 different amaro labels to choose from and an extensive list of cocktails with that ingredient as the main protagonist. They also have a list of 30 amaros that change monthly.
But don’t be fooled into thinking Il Marchese is just for amaro lovers–it’s among the best cocktail bars in the city. Desire Verdecchia is the new barlady at the helm of the bar – a professional who started her journey in the cocktail world as director of Salotto 42 at just 21 years of age, or Caffè Propaganda, of which she was bar manager. Il Marchese offers classic and experimental cocktails with combinations that pair perfectly with the restaurant’s dishes. Try “Battito d’Ali”, made by only three ingredients: two mixed by the barman and one added by the customer for a “wow” factor.
Another must-try is a drink with homemade pineapple or a cordial with parsnip and lavender, which recalls the taste of carrot (but is not); a preparation with blackberries, mushrooms and grapefruits processed with cooking techniques by roasting them on coals to smoke their pulp. Mixes that seem to the eyes and nose different from how they look and taste: a game of surprises revealed, simple bases used with great technique and creativity.
If that’s not enough to lure you in, they also have an amazing aperitivo deal from 6.30pm – 9pm at only 15 euros (for 2 persons) in addition to your beverage of choice with 3 options to choose from: romano with a carbonara or amatriciana tasting, tagliere with your choice of cured meats and cheese, pinsa romana with ham and figs or mortadella, buffalo mozzarella and pistachio. I, being the carb-lover that I am, went with the Romano option that includes a little plate of Carbonara or Amatriciana and a selection of 3 different supplì.
The space is both beautiful and versatile. You can dine on the plush, light-blue banquets or opt for the cozy corner in the back. Or, if you’re like me, you’ll grab a seat at their Amaro bar, so you can see your cocktail being created firsthand.
Il Marchese, is also the perfect venue for customized tastings and aperitivo events with many low-alcohol and non-alcohol options to choose from.