Rustic Italian cuisine w/ a contemporary twist, featuring house made pastas & locally sourced seafood & meats cooked over a live fire.
Berkeley, CA 94705
Hours of Operation:
Lunch and Dinner:Monday - Friday: 11:30am - 9:30pm, Saturday: 11:30am - 10:00pm, Sunday: 11:30am - 9:00pm
$30 and under
AMEX, MasterCard, Visa
donato&co. Ratings and Reviews
Gina, our server, was very attentive without being in our faces. She explained some of the more unusual items on the menu and helped with wine selection. Food came almost too fast, if that is possible. Had a great conversation with folks at the next table and felt very comfortable in the restaurant. Food was tasty and flavorful.
As a long-time Elmwood resident, I have been to Donato & Co. on multiple occasions and would very much like it. to succeed as a neighborhood restaurant, but I have mixed feelings. On the plus side, the food is authentically Italian, with good, if unchanging choices. It would be good to see one seasonal special that changes weekly in each of the categories--small plates, main course, and dessert. The quality of the food is acceptable but not excellent and could be more consistent. The main drawback is the service, which can be inattentive, almost to the point of rudeness. On more than one occasion our service has been delayed; hosts and servers seem overworked or under-experienced. The bar isn't always coordinated with the kitchen. Almost every time the cocktails came late, and all the dishes, appetizers and main dishes, arrive almost at the same time. Service at Desco, the sister restaurant in Oakland that closed recently, was much better. These service issues and menu variations can be fixed--I hope they are so that we can enjoy Donato for a long time to come.
This is my third visit to this neighborhood spot. I had special friends in town and it was perfect. Unique food with small plates to share and enjoy. The ambiance was great and perfect for conversation. The service was attentive but not intrusive, great for us to enjoy our time together.
The food was good, but the service was terrible. Not enough servers and ours seemed overwhelmed. We had to wait an hour for our meal--after many inquiries as to its delay. We were told that the cooks were preparing a catered meal for an event "across the street" which made us feel like we were not a priority.
First time dining here after this new place went up in the neighborhood. Unfortunately it didn't live up to it's predecessor. The menu was mostly italian so i just with with the pollo because i knew what it was! That aside, we ordered the "small" portion of two dishes to have as appetizers, but received (and paid for) 1 small dish and 1 full dish followed by our two main dishes. The price was kind o expensive for the not very filling dishes as well as just overall a bit too interesting for my taste.
Made a reservation a couple of weeks in advance through Open Table. The day before the reservation, the restaurant called and said they forgot to notify Open Table that the restaurant was closed on Super Bowl Sunday. They didn't say why it was closed. Needless to say, at that late date, it was impossible for us to get a reservation at an appropriate restaurant, so we were not happy.
Last time we ate at Donato before this problem, they were short a bartender and our drinks didn't arrive til after the appetizers, after our main course, almost til dessert, an hour and a half we waited. Food was off a bit, pasta so spicy as to be inedible and it was not noted anywhere on the menu, so we are not likely to return, especially since the manager we dealt with wasn't there the next time and the new manager (a male) couldn't have been less interested in making our experience enjoyable. Not going again.
Everyone was nice, but no one quite know how to do their job. It was as if they were not properly trained. Everything was a step behind, from getting seated, to bringing water and taking drink orders, to delivering food, clearing the table and on and on. I had high hopes, but it will be a while before I give them another try.
The mostly Italian menu has options for all—meat, pasta and fish dishes, but with creative presentation and clean uncluttered flavors. The bar is amazing——the bartenders are knowledgeable and creative; the wine list is Italian-leaning, but the sommelier is so adept at describing the options, that I just leave the choice to him, and I’ve not been steered wrong yet. The background music is well-chosen, and is engaging without interfering with conversation.
The large space has been re-thought to suggest Italian countryside, actually very nice. It was full with a nice buzz when we arrived, but my request for a booth was ignored (this was a birthday dinner) and the service was just sloppy. We like the food well enough, easy to share if that's your thing, and several vegetarian options which were really good, as well as the grilled calamari. We both find it extremely annoying when the server whisks away 1 out of 4 diners' plates and then disappears for some time. This seems to be the case, sadly, in many places and we so wish staff would be trained to let everyone finish their meal before being left to eat 'hurriedly' and catch up.
So-so food in small portions and overpriced. Menu is odd: it describes sides for some entrees and not others; it included an ordering option (half-portion) that was a "typo;" the use of quotation marks was distracting: e.g., cookie "salami" because the cookies were like salami but not really salami and "crostini" because?? I had to ask if there was something unusual about the "crostini" on the menu; the answer was "no," but they weren't available anyway. The waitress also failed to tell us that the fried egg that was essential to a salad), although she was knowledgeable about the wine list.
We had a nice experience for restaurant week. The appetizer was kind of strange but we enjoyed the beet risotto. The space is awesome and the wait staff was really nice. I also enjoyed my hibiscus drink. And dessert was pretty tasty too. It was a bit pricey on the regular menu but we got a good deal with restaurant week. I will go back.
The chicken liver with quince jelly was delicious as was the pappardelle with duck. The bacalao - usually one of my favorite dishes in any restaurant - was disappointing: kind of a deep-fried nothing. We went during Restaurant Week, but that menu did not look very appealing.
Tables were so close together, it was really challenging to get in and out. On the plus side, we were able to hear each other. Decor is very attractive.
I wished it was better. My wife was going to order the price fixe dinner but they didn’t have the dish she really wanted. I shared the baccalau with a friend and neither of us was impressed. The fish wasn’t tasty but the salad around it was good. I had a frisée type salad with an crispy poached egg which was good. My pasta with duck breast was very good as was my wife’s squid and octopus entree. Our friends had the swordfish in a tomato sauce with olives etc and the didn’t like it. I tasted it and it was fine but not special. It was their second visit and they won’t return. We may give it a second chance. Beautiful surroundings and a great Meyer Sound system meant one could converse.
we chose the special restaurant week menu for lunch..the appetizer was interesting..the main dish or primer plati was terrible..it was like having a bowl of morning oatmeal with some beet juice poured over for coloring..it may have been ok as a side with some chicKen or meat but as a stand alone a real disappointment.we barely ate half of the bowl..so dense and a pure filler-upper....the desert was creative and scruptious..the wait staff were attentive and knowledgeable and smart..we will return becuase it is close ot home and we will give it a second try.
Donato & Co gave us an evening of absolute frustration. It was not the server's fault, but the restaurant was ill prepared to serve diners. Arriving at 5:30 pm to an almost empty place we ordered cocktails expecting them to arrive in a timely manner. Instead it took one hour to get all four, and each drink came one at a time. The martini and cosmo came in tiny wine or sherry glasses. The excuse was one of the bartenders called in sick. As a customer that is not my problem but as an owner you get a substitute or fill in yourself.
The food is decent, but again came very slowly. After complaining we were not charged for the drinks, but we were still overcharged for our entrees. Our expected pleasant experience was a disaster and shows a very inept and inexperienced ownership.
Our server was excellent and very accommodating; however, the food was terrible. We tried a salad and a calamari appetizer both of which were bland and unseasoned. For our entrees we had the special (branzino) which was not seasoned and not filleted so I was left removing every bone from the fish. The seafood pasta special with mussels and clans had 5 clams that did not open. We sent the dish back and they kindly replaced it with a dick ragout pasta which was also bland tasting. The service was great but the food a big disappointment. We won't be going back again.
I was surprised at the stingy wine pours. The whole branzino was quite small, really a single portion, and not especially moist or tasty. The cauliflower was very nice, and pastas were fine. Nothing objectionable, just not particularly special, and pricey for what you get. I live in the neighborhood and am offering this by comparison with similarly priced alternatives.
This was the poorest meal I've had in a long time. Seafood with couscous was a tiny portion. Couscous was hard and undercooked, the seafood tasted old with little taste, and the dish was terribly salty. Dessert was supposed to be choc cake and it was a tiny soft choc cookie with choc sauce on it. Even though I live in the neighborhood, I will not be back
Went with a friend I hadn't seen during the holidays. We both really enjoyed Donato & Co. In fact, we already have a reservation to go back again.
I had the Il Maiale (pork rib, pork belly, pork sausage over cabbage and beans). It was so delicious! The pork belly was the least fatty I've ever had, and fell apart when touched by my fork. Even the cabbage was wonderful, and I normally am not a cabbage fan. The Nebbiolo we had was excellent and well priced. I like that you can order a glass, a half-bottle, or a full bottle of any of their non-sparkling wines (which you can get by the glass or bottle). We had the Torta al Cioccolato for dessert, and practically fought over who would lick the plate (we decided to be polite and neither of us did, but it was tempting). Also, the Pera Invernale cocktail was DELICIOUS (gin, pear liqueur, lime, and spiced syrup).
I look forward to going back!
The setting is lovely, the ambiance great. The staff were friendly but inattentive. There was no offer of bread or olives whil waiting for our meal. The food was beautifully presented, but perfectly bland. The wine was a small pour for a large price, and both the Italian reds we tried were so awful we sent them back. Overall these guys are more about image than quality.
The food was delicious! One issue was the dungeness crab pasta- it was supposed to come cracked already but it wasn't thoroughly done...so we had only 1 small fork and had to crack it apart and pull it out- would be helpful to have a cracker, and a pick, and a wet-wipe. It was unclear from the menu we had to do the work....It should be clear so you know what you are getting into.
Service was spotty- slow, although attentive...Seemed like everyone wanted their check at the same time so that would be tough for any server.
We will be back and hopefully they will sort out some of those issues.
The restaurant was out of several drink items. They said it had been a very busy New Year’s. There is no excuse for that.
The service was terrible in the beginning- we sat without anyone coming over for quite a while. It got better, but it set a bad tone, and then it didn’t help to be out of something you wanted to order.
Donato is new but I predict in a few mo’s the it will be hard to get a rsvp. Restaurant is spacious with big comfy booths and a feeling like you stepped into an old Sephia photograph of Italy. Frisée salad with deep fried soft boiled egg was perfect. The charcuterie plate was a bit small for our expectations- with 4 in a group we could all barely manage a very small bite of each item. The cured meats were superb in quality- the roast pork was a bit bland and not on par with the preparation of the other items. We had the black ink spaghetti w/calamari, calamari +octopus guancale and Dungeness crab pasta. The first 2 were superb, the last was a bit bland but with exquisitely prepared crab. However our wait staff did not provide bowls for the crab shells nor wipes, so that put a bit of a damper on the service with trips to the bathroom. Either serve the crab as lump, or provide us stuff to keep us tidy plz. Overall I think they will work out the kinks. The chef is quite skilled, we will be back
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