Very, very solid offering in Berkeley. Anything done on their wood grill is done to perfection! Leave room for dessert. A restaurant I plan to visit many times. Service is friendly and good; needs to work out a few communication kinks. Prices are very reasonable for the quality and wine selection is mostly Italian and American wines and very good The reason for the 4 stars is that I go to too many Michelin star restaurants. Solid value here
Great food, inventive but not fussy, in pleasant surroundings with friendly, professional service makes this restaurant a delight.
Excellent food. Sea bass was wonderful. Generally, fish is strong here as well as appetizers and pasta. Chocolate mousse dessert was irresistible. Donato&co has an authenticity that most other Italian restaurants in the East Bay lack. The chef and the owner are Italian. They know how things should taste. The space is attractive, pleasant, and informal. The moderate noise level makes it possible to have a conversation. Convenient location where street parking is usually not a problem within a couple of blocks. Highly recommended.
Excellent food and friendly staff, a bit expensive but worth it.
Went there for a work lunch, ordered the chicken salad appetizer. There were meager scraps of chicken and what there were had bits of bone in it, like it was picked off an old carcass. It’s too bad because the greens were fresh but the chicken was terrible. Service was decent. I can’t speak to their pastas. Restaurant was utterly empty.
I have now been to Donato&Co five or six times this year. There were several dinners and several lunches. I have always enjoyed the food and thought that it represented a good dining value. Over the course of the past nine months or so, dishes that stood out were the pasta with duck ragu (a special that I hope I cross paths with again), a grilled lamb shoulder that was actually shoulder lamb chops, and most recently squid ink pasta with calamari. If I would make one recommendation it would be to consider bringing a bottle of wine along. They do have a nice wine list, but if you prefer a nice Zinfandel then you may wish to bring one. As I recall, there are very few CA wines on the winelist. I hope the restaurant continues to have success and that more people discover it. In the past few years there has been a real Renaissance in fine Italian dining in the Berkeley-Oakland area. Donato&Co is certainly on my list of preferred venues for Italian food, and has the advantage of being a five minute walk from my door.
We thoroughly enjoyed our meal at Donato & Co! We had the rabbit sugo special with buckwheat parpardelle and a gorgonzola sauce, the squid ink spaghetti with tomatoes and chiles, and the trout flatbread - all were excellent, fresh, and made with high quality ingredients. The service was great too.
I really liked the sausage burger I ordered. It was not huge, and very flavorful. The peppers were delicious, and the bread was soft, and not dried out. This is a good place to go for lunch, as well as dinner, and I hope the fact that there were only a few people there doesn’t mean they will stop serving lunch. The only drawback I can think of is that the table wasn’t spotless when we sat down, and no one came over to clean it.
Loved the physical space. The host was especially nice and welcoming. Waitress got a bit distracted towards the end of the meal and coffee was late to the point that my friend was going to cancel it even though the restaurant was relatively empty. Food, was unfortunately, meh. Wished it had been better. I had high hopes for it.
Friendly staff, delicious homemade food, quiet table by the window, very good service, excellent espresso, relaxing evening for good conversation. Expected to pay more.
amazing food amazing people! best italian restaurant in the bay area.
Much of what is pleasurable about dining at Donato & Co. needs description beyond categories. It is a comfortable and friendly environment. Service was excellent including a couple visits from the manager/owner (?) who is concerned about guests having a good experience without being at all overbearing. This was the second time for my husband and I at Donato's, and we were as happy with this experience as the first. The food is delicious. This time the stand-outs were the salads. We had the deep fried risotto and mozzarella balls with green tomatoes, and the baby kale salad. Both were so tasty and novel-really fun.
We asked if the bartender could make us Hugos-a drink we had enjoyed on a recent trip to Italy, and were surprised with an excellent version, even though it was the first time for the bar. We highly recommend Donato and Co. and will be back there ourselves soon.
Extremely over priced for the food quality. A boring salad was $12. Lamb was extremely hard!
Not worth it.
The service was friendly and the right amount of attention. This was my first visit to the new location on Ashby. Vibrant atmosphere and nice open structure. Our server was wonderful, and the manager (?) even checked in on us. The wine list featured a favorite (Aglianico) that we rarely see; and inventive cocktails that were masterfully made. Tuna Tartare, Aroncini, calamari and pork chop entrees got rave reviews. I had oxtail ravioli which was quite tasty, though the pasta was a bit thicker and firmer than I prefer. The wonderful sauce made up for it. The variety of desserts made it hard to choose, so we all had our own, where we would usually share. The portions were enough to share too. Will definitely return!
The ambiance and the decor were wonderful, but the food wasn't quite as good although decent. I got the lamb and was unimpressed, but the rest of my party enjoyed the cappelletti and risotto dishes. The cocktails looked interesting but didn't want to indulge on a weeknight.
I would have given a 4 star review but they made no mention or congratulations on the occasion (a birthday) despite mentioning it while booking the table.
Our experience has always been wonderful here. The dessert was a special touch with great attention to details and the wines were amazing! Our wait staff Gina was passionate about the food and able to provide great suggestions of pairings. One of our regular places now!
Enjoyed the food service and ambiance. Most delightful evening. Would go back again.
the salads were divine as was the pasta. I have been there about four times and every time is delicious.
I was warmly greeted by the host and given plenty of attention while waiting for my colleague to arrive. The dining room is lovely, warm woods, large format photos of Italian cities, and a cute Vespa on display. The menu had many enticing lunch choices. I was pleased to see that they serve half portions for many items, so that it made it possible for me to combine a couple of small dishes so that I could taste more than one dish. My grilled sausage and polenta was tasty and quite generous, even in a half portion, as was my colleague's panini. My grilled squash was quite simple and tasty--very fresh summer squash of various types, grilled over wood and lightly dressed with olive oil. I would have like a bit of herbs too, but the squash was delicious. We had outstanding service throughout lunch, and everyone was very friendly. If was breezy and comfortable, and an easy place to spend a business or pleasure lunch. Both of us plan to go back with our families for dinner.
We were looking fir a lunch place that took reservations. Donato&co is in a great location for exploring this part of Berkeley. We were seeing a movie at the Elmwood and it’s just steps away.
I had the frilly greens with grano padano and chicken. It also canecwith sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and chia seeds. Very generous! And a perfect light lunch. Husband had the ciabatta sandwich with porcetta and homemade chips. The chips were good, but some were on the soggy side. We had a carafe of an Italian Sauvignon Blanc that was quite nice.
Service was pleasant and professional. It’s a lovely restaurant! We will totally come back.
P.S. I told my sister who lives in Berkeley about it and she and her husband had dinner and LOVED it!
Service and wait staff were great. We enjoyed meeting the two Italian owners. Food was spectacular - seasoned perfectly. Definitely looking forward to coming back. Thank you for a great experience!
Cocktails were great. There was just something missing with the taste of the actual pasta dish we had.
Had an excellent dining experience here tonight with my husband. Great food, great service and quiet enough to have a decent conversation. Lovely ambiance too. Other reviewers commented that they thought the portions were small, but we did not find this to be the case. Two appetizers and two mains were more than adequate for the two of us to share. It's also great that the restaurant offers carafes of various wines. Highly recommended for a date night or adult night out.
Very good chopped liver with fig jam. Tuna dish was fine. Slightly disappointed in dessert, which looked better than it tasted.
Would definitely go back - delicious, well prepared, innovative menu. Fantastic cocktails - One of us is a little "pickier," so would probably choose another Italian food venue when good ol' fashioned pasta/sauce/meatballs is in order! Otherwise, well done and worth a visit!!
Interesting Italian food. Great menu with lots of small plate options. A few pasta dishes can be ordered as appetizers. Loved this place when it was the Advocate. It's a great atmosphere. Donato & Co. has reworked everything and made it an equally appealing spot. We'll be back!
Good is very good and unique
We loved every bite. This was my third dinner at Donato & Co. and I haven't been disappointed once.
We've been dining at Donato's since they first opened in the Elmwood but had not been there in a while. This was our best experience yet, with high quality cocktails, small plates, and entrees. The deserts were of particularly high quality. There were a few specials and dishes that have been of uneven quality in the past were really delicious this time (lamb shank, calamari/octopus) The wine list appeared to be new and provided a great selection. Service was also more professional and prompt than before. Although our waiter was great, we still felt that they could use additional wait staff. Overall we are delighted that food and service has continued to improve. We will definitely return and invite our friends.
Starters were excellent, mains were good, and the desserts were awesome.
We had an awesome brunch the Sunday before 4th of July -- I had the frico and eggs which was balanced by a tasty green salad [that came with the dish] and my daughter had the polenta and guancaile, which was amazing. A great find.
I'm sorry to leave such a poor review. The manager was very nice and tried to make amends but the food was terrible. We started with the baked ricotta which was the best dish we had. The minted zucchini was nice. Otherwise it was a bland dish. The crackers that came with it were not a good device to eat the ricotta -- too small and not well matched to the dish. My husband found them stale. The second dish we had was the trout. I love cured and smoked fish but found this cured trout quite fishy. And the flatbread-sized cracker it comes on was odd. It just was not enjoyable to eat and added zero to the dish. But the worst dish was the octopus and calamari. We ordered the entree size as octopus and calamari are among our favorite dishes. This was inedible. There was one small piece of octopus and the texture was all wrong. It was beyond chewy; it had a mealy quality. The squid also was rubbery and without flavor. We each took a bite and could not eat another. The manager did the right thing, whisking it away and taking it off our bill. He offered us something else but, without finding a single dish good, we were done. Maybe the pastas are fine but we unfortunately will not be back to try them. It was too disappointing.
Our second dinner at Donato. We were not disappointed! Fantastic service and excellent food. One would expect this restaurant to be loud, but it’s not- one can barely hear conversations of the people next to you.
Great restaurant- first time and would definitely recommend!
Outstanding Italian food with interesting wine list, friendly service , beautiful open space that isn’t too loud. This is a new favorite!
The worst service that I have encountered in a long time. It was ridiculous to wait 20 minutes for water, another 20 for taking our order.
Excellent Italian restaurant in the Elmwood district. Nice location, great menu, good prices, good cocktails, and a great chocolate mousse with sherbet dessert compete for my wife’s birthday.
Very welcome addition to our neighborhood.
We were a table of 10 family and friends. Everyone of us was super pleased with our choice and we shared First courses of salads and appitizers. The salume was especially good (for meat eaters) and the pastas perfectly cooked with fresh local ingredients. The rabbit ravioli was a favorite. Glad to find this restaurant so close to home.
In general I like their creative cuisine. I would like to see more salad appetizers on the menu.
I also thought, while delicious, some of their appetizers were really small for the money, like the Ricotta appetizer.
Nice place to relax with friends. Great addition to the neighborhood.