Eating out isn’t always about wanting to experiment and try all sorts of wacky new flavour combinations. Sometimes you just want food that you know you’re going to enjoy, a nice bottle of wine, and a pleasant atmosphere; this is exactly what Marylebone’s Il Baretto is about, even if it doesn’t come cheaply. The food isn’t exactly ground-breaking and neither is the décor, but it’s still an incredibly pleasant place to go for some pretty decadent Italian cookery.
The restaurant’s navy façade initially screams classic French Bistro rather than upscale Italian Trattoria. However, once you’re inside, a framed print of an Italian flag hangs from the exposed brick wall and Italian TV blares in the background. It’s nice that the restaurant doesn’t take itself too seriously but equally there’s something a little jarring about football being shown in a restaurant where your napkins are refolded when you leave the table. The interior of the two-floor restaurant is simple but cosy, with the downstairs feeling slightly more formal than the floor that you enter on.
When it comes to food there isn’t a lot to complain about. A subtle tuna carpaccio comes served atop a disk of crushed avocado whilst crisp slices of rosemary bread are perfect for dipping into the creamy burrata. We couldn’t stop eating the acorn-fed San Daniele ham generously served on a long wooden charcuterie board. Larger dishes included a wonderfully rich fillet on beef served alongside foie gras and a deep red wine jus, finished with shaved black truffle which added an earthy edge. If you possibly can, try and leave space for a classic but particularly special tiramisu served in something resembling a silver goblet.
The accompanying wine list is impressively extensive, but with very few wines under £30 for a bottle, you might just want to stick to glasses or carafes.
Il Baretto is old-fashioned in style and is certainly by no means cheap, but if you’re wanting top quality Italian produce cooked really rather well and can afford the hefty bill, it’s not a bad option.