No wall separates Spain and Italy at Marzapane Ristorante that's for sure. Instead, the synergy of both cuisines creates something more enthralling in the hands of their young and talented Spanish chef. Bagging the title of Gambero Rosso's Emerging Chef of 2014, Chef Alba Esteve Ruiz shines her way around the kitchen sprinkling distinctive flavors from her native country to her Italian dishes. She comes up with the most interesting flavors that captivates your taste buds. Spanish and Italian are two of the best cuisines in the world without a doubt, and to be able to utilize them both well in harmonious proportions means Chef Alba really excels in the kitchen where she continues to compel us with her dishes in her own fascinating world at Marzapane Ristorante.
At Marzapane Ristorante, the dining area and the kitchen don't have any barriers. Between the two rooms, a wide window gives both sides visual connection and a more personal ambience. It gives the diners the privilege to watch the chefs prepare the dishes and the anticipation in waiting yields a bit more fire - like a kid waiting for his mother finish his favorite dish. Observe yourself when the dish you order is handed by the chef to the waiter and is placed it in front of you. You won't be able to control that excitement building inside you.
|Amuse bouche: Cannoli con baccala (Cannoli with cod fish)|
Marzapane Ristorante was a dream of business partners Mario Sansone and Angelo Parello that became a reality in 2013. The kitchen's helm was taken by Chef Alba Esteve Ruiz, who, at such a young age of 19, worked in the kitchen of the Roca brothers of El Celler de Can Roca in Spain, twice named the best restaurant in the world and having 3 Michelin Stars in their name.
|Amuse bouche: Gazpacho con fragole, anguria, pomodori e cetrioli (Gazpacho with strawberries, watermelon, tomatoes & cucumber)|
The restaurant is styled like an old Parisian chic bistro with solid wood and stone. It has a warm and cosy atmosphere for an ideal dining place.
|Amuse bouche: Grissini|
With a whole kitchen to run, Chef Alba creates dishes that are rich in flavors. It's never a bore to try her masterpieces because every single dish intrigues the senses. The menu changes often, always with the aim to give a complete sensory experience to the diners. To make the most of her work, the best thing to do is try one of the degustation (sampling of small portions of different courses) that the restaurant is offering. The prices vary according to the number of courses and the ingredients used. I tried the most basic which is the Degustazione Marzapane (€39) that has 3 kinds of amuse bouche, appetizer, pasta, meat main course with vegetables, pre-dessert, dessert, and post-dessert. These are all in generous sampling portions.
|Anatra, finocchio, smith, cipollotto (Duck, fennel, smith, onion)|
In addition to the degustation, I also ordered a plate of her famous Carbonara 2013 (Spaghetti alla Carbonara), considered as one of the top five in the city. Her version is pretty intense as she uses much more egg yolks than the whites of eggs solely from the area of Livorno in Italy, spaghettoni in place of the regular-sized spaghetti, 5-month old guanciale and a mixture of Pecorino Falisco that's aged for 14 month and 24-month old Parmigiano Reggiano. The rest are her secrets.
The others are Degustazione Alba that's priced at €59 and Degustazione Il Girone dei Golosi at €69, both with more courses (refer to their site's menu for the specifics). For the entries of the restaurant, click on the full menu in their site. (Note: These are the prices as of writing, prices and specifics can change.)
|Chitarra, frigitelli, animelle, chorizo (Spaghetti alla chitarra, frigitelli, braised sweetbread, chorizo powder)|
|"Churrasco y Chimichurri", agnello, cicoria, peperoncino ("Churrasco y Chimichurri", lamb ribs, chicory, chili jam)|
|Carbonara 2013 (Spaghetti alla carbonara)|
Marzapane è un racconto del gusto, una storia che va dalla terra al produttore, all'arte creativa della chef. (Marzapane is a story of taste, a story from the land to the producer, to the creativity art of the chef.)
- Marzapane Ristorante
|Millefoglie, cioccolata bianca caramellata, liquirizia, sale di Maldon (Millefeuille, caramelized white chocolate, liquorice, Maldon salt)|
Via Velletri, 39
00198 Rome, Italy
Tel: +39 06 6478 1692
Mondays to Fridays, lunch and dinner
Saturdays and Sundays, dinner only
Closed on Wednesdays