Last summer, the team behind the beloved Osteria Langhe (2824 W. Armitage Ave.) quietly introduced its sister restaurant, Testaccio (2456 N. California Ave.). Months later, with a new menu in hand and some exciting projects on the horizon, Testaccio is ready for its official grand opening.
While Osteria Langhe focuses on the cuisine of the Piedmont region of Italy, owner and wine director Aldo Zaninotto’s new restaurant is inspired by and named for a neighborhood in Rome known for its history and vibrant food scene. Under Executive Chef Jacob Solomon’s direction, Testaccio’s menu is driven by this Roman influence and highlights some classic favorites like orecchiette di cacio e pepe, bucatini carbonara, and burrata, alongside items such as porchetta with apples, arugula, and pistachio pesto, and Roman artichokes with preserved lemon and Sicilian olives.
The wine catalogue reflects the restaurant’s traditional menu with selections from Mediterranean vineyards as well as wines made in amphorae. This is a nod to Monte Testaccio, the famous hill in the neighborhood created by broken and discarded pieces of amphorae from as far back as the Roman Empire. Beverage Director, Ashley Akers, also looked to the history books when crafting Testaccio’s cocktail list, drawing on the popularity of honey in Ancient Rome to create cocktails like The Honey Refresher (bourbon, grapefruit juice, and black pepper honey) and Kykeon (gin, Greek yogurt, apricot liqueur, lemon, honey).
Testaccio also recently began offering brunch on Sundays. The menu features items like the Cyprus hash with halloumi and olives, a porchetta tartine, and a decadent Fernet coffee cake.
Those familiar with 2456 N. California Ave.’s underground watering hole (R.I.P. Parlare and Todos Santos) will not be disappointed come Spring 2021. Inspired by Zaninotto’s travels through France and Italy, Soif Wine Lounge will have all the trappings of a great neighborhood speakeasy: an extensive wine collection featuring grower champagnes and natural wines, fun cocktails, and small plates.
Lest we forget the charming patio lining Altgeld Ave., Zaninotto plans to establish a food truck, Pizzica, in the outdoor space this summer. Pizzica will offer casual Italian street food, frozen Italian cocktails, and wines on tap that guests can enjoy at the picnic tables adorning the patio. Rounding out their summer plans, Testaccio will also host a chef series and other community focused events on the patio.
Testaccio is currently open for dinner Wednesdays – Saturdays, 5:30 p.m.–10 p.m. and Sundays, 5 p.m.–9 p.m. Brunch is every Sunday, 11 a.m.–2:30 p.m. Menus and reservations, as well as delivery and to go options, can be found on the Testaccio website.
Featured photo: Rachel Bires