I was determined to discover Testaccio, the district of Rome where the slaughter-house used to be located. Testaccio is still known for authentic Roman cuisine, simple and tasty. It's still linked to the meat market in people's minds and there's lots of expertise in cooking meat and offals there, so you know what to expect.
I chose to have lunch at Da Felice after hearing about it from a Roman friend. It's a short walking distance from Piazzale Testaccio, where there was an excellent market with fruits, vegetables and meat, poultry and charcuterie. I bought 6 huge green figs for .80 Euro cents... to give you an idea.
Then I asked the way to Felice's: it was just down the street (a bit hidden, on a corner.) I liked the place the minute I saw it and read the menu outside. Felice offers a different traditional dish every day of the week (the typical Roman way) and it looked good so I went in.
My meal is described below. Just to say that I LOVED watching the servers work, mix the spaghetti, call out hello or goodbye to customers, it was quite a cool atmosphere.
I would have given it a "Great Experience" rating IF they had reminded me that I needed to order contorni (accompaniments to the meat dish) if I wanted more than just tongue. There is a feeling that they're insular and content with their usual patrons, they don't pay that much attention to the curious food explorer. But then, you have to expect this when you insist on going to places not yet popular with tourists.
They only take reservations by phone. They say on their website "Sèmo dè Testaccio!" (We're from Testaccio!) -- to explain why they don't accept emails... being "from Testaccio" means one is rather old-fashioned. :)
Favorite Dish: I had Capellini in brodo (fantastic!) as primo (to start) and
as secondo, lingua di manzo bollita. I loved it! that's boiled beef tongue btw.
I forgot to ask for contorni so all I got was tongue, but it was worth the trip.
They offered their house wine and it was good. I was especially happy that it was wine from the Lazio as I was trying to have regional wines everywhere I went during my month in Italy.
It was Principe Pallavicini Rubillo
Cesanese Lazio I.G.T.
Bottled by Colonna (Roma), 12,5%
Produced on volcanic and hilly soil.
For dessert, a torta di fragolini di bosco (wild strawberry pie) on a very rich and yellow crème pâtissière. It was okay. I liked it especially because I needed a sugar lift that day, at that time.
total cost was 35 Euros.