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Da Felice A Testaccio

Via Mastro Giorgio 29, Rome, Italy

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Da Felice a Testaccio is situated in a distinctly unpromising, graffiti-riddled residential area, but its simple but authentic Roman dishes draw in the locals. On the Tuesday night that I visited the place had 140 bookings, straddle over multiple sittings. The traditional dining room has a tiled floor and plenty of dark wood. A crusty but well-made bread (14/20) arrived as I studied the menu and wine list.

The latter is very fairly priced, though vintages are, bizarrely, omitted. Jermann Dreams cost just EUR 48 for a wine you will find for around EUR 40 in the shops. Similarly Firriaro Camelot was EUR 38 for a wine that retails for around EUR 35. The pricing policy is to add at most 20% to the retail price, which of course encourages you to order better wines, and therefore have a happier overall experience; if only more restaurants adopted this philosophy. 

A speciality of the house is tonnarelli cacio-pepe, a Roman dish that here used home-made egg pasta, with cheese and pepper mixed in at the table. This dish was superb, the thick pasta having wonderful flavour and texture, the pepper kick offsetting the richness of the cheese (17/20). 

Spaghetti with anchovies and tomato and demonstrated real skill with the pasta, while the tomatoes had good taste and seasoning was bold and punchy (16/20). Broad beans with sausage and pork skin was a Roman take on cassoulet, and was merely pleasant, the beans properly cooked but for me lacking flavour (12/20). Better was a version of tiramsu served in a glass, with more rich chocolate and less coffee flavour than is usual, but none the less enjoyable for that (14/20). 

The waiter who served me was very friendly and dishes arrived at a clip. The bill at EUR 110 was distorted by my having the costliest wine on the list (just EUR 55!), and an extra pasta course. Chef Salvatore Tiscione definitely knows his pasta.

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