Expectations are an incredible weapon. They have the ability to stir up the mind, generate easy enthusiasm and cause profound disappointments. Entering at Felice a Testaccio in Milan, with all that baggage of expectations that you carry with you, you immediately know that you won’t be disappointed. The Milanese venue of one of the most famous restaurants in the Capital has just opened, yet the warmth and the feeling of professional familiarity that strike when you enter, give the impression that the restaurant has been there for a lifetime.
The restaurant is sleek, with a vaguely urban and “milanized” furniture, yet cozy enough, with those warm lights perfect for a dinner for two or with friends (less perfect for Instagram lovers: the lighting is not great for taking pictures), the elegantly laid out tables and those brick walls that may seem like a fashionable choice but in reality are a recall to the tradition, since they are remains of columns of a Roman circus. To make that of Felice a Testaccio a successful experience, there’s also the very available staff, always prepared and friendly, ready to give sincere advice. A typical thing in the good-natured Rome but far less usual for a restaurant in downtown Milan.
And then, of course, there’s the cacio e pepe, the source of all expectations, the pasta that made one of the many good restaurants of the capital an institution since 1936 and that now is ready to conquer the palates outside the Roman walls. With it the expectations have been more than surpassed: the famous tonnarelli of Gatti Antonelli, historical suppliers of Felice, are creamy, tasty, justly spicy. A pleasure for the palate and or the eyes too, if you think that the pasta is whisked at the table by the waiters.
In addition to the cacio e pepe, the menu is almost similar to Roman one, with giants such as the carbonara, the puntarelle, the roasted lamb and their own variation of tiramisù (try it to believe). Felice a Testaccio presents itself as a place of form and substance, where the Roman veracity is within reach of a fork, thanks to the authentic cuisine, rich in tradition and surprises. A kitchen and a reality that for a long time lacked in the austere Milan, made too often of form and too often of substance.