We’ve been plotting to eat at Marzapane for a while and finally the stars aligned this week. Kathy from Food Lover’s Odyssey, who often pops into Rome for brief visits, had suggested meeting for lunch at Marzapane near Piazza Fiume (15-minute walk from Termini Station) on her last visit. But for one reason or another that never materialized.
Lunch at Marzapane Roma
This visit everything fell into place and we had reservations at 1pm. Still slightly early for the lunch by Roman standards, we had the place all to ourselves and were welcomed to sit at any table. Its modern and chic decor with large glass windows brighten up the place and the warm color tones offer a cozy feel. You get a sense it’s upscale but at the same time its unpretentious.
When the menus were brought to the table, Kathy had mentioned she already knew what she wanted. That was until she opened the menu and noted that it was different from what she saw online.
For lunch Marzapane offers two different tasting menus (meat and seafood) as well as à la carte options. I was immediately drawn to the tasting menus and only quickly flipped through the a la carte section. Within minutes I had chosen the seafood tasting menu while Kathy, craving a good carbonara, had her eyes on the one for meat. She is right, it would be wrong to leave Rome without indulging in some Roman food.
We figured this was best as we would get to see and taste a variety of dishes. However, in my excitement I failed to read the print below and when the waiter came to take our order, I realized that the table had to order the same tasting menu. He did say we could mix things up and after a few minutes of indecision, we chose the seafood menu with carbonara instead of risotto.
Service was efficient and we didn’t have to wait long for our appetizer of prawn tartare topped with burrata and served with a cream of smoked eggplants, tomato confiture and pistachio brittle. The brittle provided a nice layer of texture and flavor to the dish, which would otherwise have been a bit bland.
When the carbonara came to the table, the first thought that came to mind was that it had just a touch too creamy. I wouldn’t be one to make a fuss about this as it was ideal for scarpetta, where with a piece of bread, you’d clean up the remaining sauce on the place. I wasn’t blown away by the carbonara but overall, it was decent.
Probably the dish that was the least impressive for the both of us was the baccala with Romanesco broccoli and BBQ sauce. The baccala was tender and moist but the BBQ sauce was more like a reduction of tomato sauce. While I can understand that they were attempting to be creative, it didn’t quite work.
The disappointment, however, was short-lived when dessert rolled around. Not the most eye-pleasing dessert to behold, the chocolate, hazelnut mouuse with peanut sauce, was surprisingly luscious and a winning combination.
After the much anticipated wait, I had expected much more from Marzapane. However, this doesn’t mean I won’t be back here again as overall, it was an enjoyable meal and price wise, it was reasonable where for €30 you get a four-course lunch.
As lunch progressed we noticed that the place started to fill up, mainly with professionals working in the vicinity and almost every table was occupied when we left. On our way out, I happened to glance at one of the tables and was particularly impressed by a pasta dish and thought I might have been better off ordering from the a la carte menu. And as if reading my mind, Kathy said those same exact thoughts out loud. Clearly a sign that I will be back at Marzapane.