A walk through the part of Rome this spot is named for would yield encounters with awesome cuts of meat, working class folks and hip, young locals — and that’s just what we've found at this eatery on Vernon Avenue.This Long Island City trattoria borrows its name from the original Roman neighborhood near the extensive archaeological digs at Monte Testaccio, an area famous for its interesting artifacts, skilled butchers and culinary hotspots. A walk through this part of Rome (a few hundred, er, thousand, years ago, that is) would yield encounters with awesome cuts of meat, working class folks and hip, young locals — and that’s just what we've found at this eatery on Vernon Avenue. On a nice day, the front doors open up to the street, and the friendly staff welcomes passersby in for a meal. The interior feels dark and rich, with walls peppered in photos of Rome and a fireplace nestled snugly in the dining area.
On the menu, look for succulent dishes like the Ciccia al Caffe, an espresso-rubbed skirt steak; or the Coda Alla Vaccinara (braised oxtail in a rich sauce). The pastas are also a filling (and fitting) taste of the Italian capital. We're especially fond of the Chitarra Alle Vognole E Bottarga, thick spaghettoni noodles topped with clams, a white wine and garlic sauce, and shaved, air-dried mullet roe. The pizza, on the other hand, is a light, crispy pie that doesn’t leave stomachs feeling like they’ve fallen into that all-too-familiar gut-busting haze. (Not that we’ve ever committed such gluttony. Nope. Not us.) But then again, we wouldn’t worry about eating too much while we're at Testaccio. When in Queens, do as the Romans do... right?
Antipasto Testaccio, $15 per person (minimum for 2 people)
Ciccia Al Caffe’, $22
Branzino Intero Al Forno A Legna, $27
Chitarra Alle Vognole E Bottarga, $16
Coda Alla Vaccinara, $21
Sunday - Thursday, noon to 11 p.m.
Friday & Saturday, noon to midnight