Seven of us shared two charcuterie boards, and each had a cocktail, a different entree, and we shared two different bottles of wine. There was not one slip-up during the entire dinner. The charcuterie, made in-house, was the most unusual and delicious I have had anywhere in the Bay area. The entrees were also both unusual but also truly traditional Italian dishes; not the typical pizza, or tomato base sauces, but dishes like we had in Rome---roasted Duroc pork neck chops served with grilled brussell sprouts and polenta; ravioli stuffed with guinea hen in a light marsala sauce; grilled one-half cauliflower; cacio e pepe; prosciutto di parma and ricotta ravioli; and I believe a pasta with liberty duck sugo. Everyone raved about the the food and the two Italian wines, a Brunello and Nebiola. The desserts were also delicious but not too heavy. And although the restaurant was very busy, the service was excellent, with the server knowing each dish and able to describe it when asked. He was also very knowledgeable about the wines. This isn't an inexpensive restaurant, but it is worth every dollar spent. I highly recommend it for a nice evening out.
This was our first visit and we wanted a reservation for lunch. We found this via Opentable. We got in right on time and had a good table. Noise was minimal. Service was timely and polite. Food was really good. Two had brunch and one had food off the lunch menu and all were quite pleased, we even had a great desert. Highly recommend this place.
I ordered the caccio e Pepe, it was authentic to how I had it in Rome. Would go back and order again. My friend got the oxtail risotto and unfortunately he said he only got 2 bites of meat and the rest was all bones. Considering we went for his bday I was bumbed he didn't enjoy his dish. But I really enjoyed my pasta and would go back.
Great location and food. Conversation was ok... it can get loud at times.
Never disappointed. The food is exceptional and the wine list expansive.
Friendly Italian staff. We were there for Berkeley restaurant week, and the special menu was excellent. Very solid enjoyable experience. I gave four stars only because I rarely give restaurants five stars!
Tried this restaurant during Restaurant Week. We really wanted to like it, since we loved its sister restaurant Desco (now closed) in Oakland. Wine seemed way overpriced: $15 and $18/glass for average wines. Three-course prix fixe menu ($25) seemed reasonable, but the dishes were mediocre (e.g., too-thick dough on ravioli). Also some odd combinations on the plate. Service was very friendly but not super-competent.
Food was bland and seemed like it had been made the day before. A nice, quiet ambience, good service, but the food was a disappointment.
Great evening with friends. Excellent service, delicious,food & wine, nice ambience
Well, I had lunch her recently for the first time, had wonderful experience and knew I had to bring my wife here ( she had not been here before) for her birthday. Needless to say, my wife was extremely pleased and kept mentioning how awesome the food was, days after. I love the atmosphere, their vision and how nice everyone is. We will return.
Donanto is a neighborhood gem but would also be a worthwhile destination choice. Lovely selection of authentic and homemade dishes. Daily menu specials are seasonally appropriate. Now dined there twice and will return. You can't go wrong with any of the menu choices.
Nicely prepared swordfish, the staff went the extra mile on service - a good time was had by all! :-)
Lovely place for lunch. Quiet and delicious! The waiter had great suggestions; I stayed on my Weight Watchers regime with the shrimp salad. Many choices too!
The special crab pasta was extremely ordinary. Two of us ordered it.
The duck portion was lonely on the plate.
Don’t think we will rush back.
Toughest lamb shank I was ever served. They replaced it and comped it on the bill.
I thought the service, food & ambiance was nice. My husband thought the frittata was too salty. Very quiet for Sunday brunch.
After a false start with another restaurant this beautiful big restaurant space is now occupied by Donato.
It seems that nearly everyone associated with this establishment is from Italy - from the chiefs to the servers and there is real Italian family vibe to the place which is really unique. The food is incredibly good. Adn the service is delightly gracious and friendly. Another thingswe love about it is that it's not necessary to yell at your dinner companions to have a conversation. Can't recommend this place highly enough. It's a real winner.
Wait staff did not present the specials, did not offer any bread and I don't think he really understand the special parts of true Italian dining. Other than that, it was great.
I've been to Donato a half dozen times and have had very uneven experiences. One time, my wife and I started with liver pate which arrived at our table frozen rock solid. When mentioned to our server, he returned it to the kitchen, then back to the table but now it was just soup around the edges and still rock solid in the middle. They'd microwaved it. Most recently, my duck breast was over cooked and very chewy, a real disappointment for $26. And my companion's crab pasta was just boring. On the other hand, their oxtail risotto is excellent as were the shrimp & veggie Frito. Service is under experienced and slow to check in.
Good overall. Food is great including the daily special. Wait service was also very attentive
I was disappointed with the taste of the food and the desserts. It didn't have enough flavor and the sea bass was way too salty and dry. The only thing I like about my meal was my pisco sour cocktail.
What a warm and welcoming restaurant. The housemade pasta and salads were fantastic. The desserts were unbelievable. The waiter kept including our 13-year-old friend as his name was the same as one of the owners -- Marco. We took our time, catching up after months of not seeing our dear friends from Ojai and were thrilled to find a family welcome to this great restaurant in Rockridge. We will definitely be headed back.
Excellent service and prompt serving like a well-rehearsed orchestra despite a full house. A place where quiet conversations are actually possible.
Adriano and his team were terrific!
Excellent food, great service, wonderful atmosphere.
As regulars, we know the menu and some of the staff. We keep returning because the food is real Italian and created by an excellent chef. The wait staff know the wine they are serving and how it works with the food one is ordering. Even though there may be a full house, it is quiet enough to have a good dinner conversation.
Check it out. Great food, really great staff, great ambiance.
Food was delicious, service was at a pace that you could relax between courses and not feel rushed, wait staff picked up empty dishes in appropriate time, restaurant was full but could still carry on conversation. Overall great experience.
Nice for birthday celebration
We had the Christmas Eve prix fixe dinner, which was delicious and an excellent value. The Italian artisanal beer (A Modo Mio) stood out - very fruity. We really appreciated our server Adriano's recommendations and personal perspectives.
and my 2mo old baby. We spent almost $600 dollars on dinner- cocktails/appetizers/mains & desserts.
We were presented with the check and then asked to leave within 10 minutes of signing the bill. The GM comes over and asks “how much longer were we planning on staying? Because they need the table to seat another reservation.”
I couldn’t believe how rude and tacky they were, especially after the amount of money we spent, the fact that is was a holiday and we’d made reservations in advance. AND they are Europeans themselves and know how significant Christmas Eve is a holiday and how rude it is to ask guests to leave. TEN MINUTES after dropping the bill-crazy.
So incredibly rude. I’d left to nurse my 2 mo old in the car and returned in ten minutes to find my elderly disabled mother trying to rush out from the restaurant so they could seat their next table. TACKY! Never have I ever had this experience as a guest.
Heads up Donato— the classy thing to do is offer your next reservation a round of drinks in your bar while the previous table of guests finish their meal! Or vice versa!
Donato has an unusual menu, and tries, sometimes successfully, to be innovative and interesting with their dishes. Often, they almost come off beautifully. More often, they are interesting but just missing. Example: a shrimp and arugula salad with almonds. The shrimp were terrific but the salad was under-dressed and with the crunchiness of the almonds didn't quite come off. It was good but not as good as it could have been since the flavor and texture didn't come together as they should have.
The room is lovely and at lunch not very crowded, making it a perfect place for a friends' lunch, a business lunch, etc.
Great ambiance/food, excelente service and a wonderful selection of wine
The best pasta we ever ate!!!! Will be back for more!
Took our friends tonight and it was super. Fantastic Italian food. We’ll be back again
We have liked Donato's in the past, but this time the food was not as good -- maybe it was my choices.
We have meals here often. It is always very good, well served, and remarkably affordable. A neighborhood gem.
Delicious food -from appetizers through dessert. We could hear ourselves talk (unusual in many good restaurants these days and a major plus in my book)! Only (relatively minor) complaint was that our waiter seemed to have too many tables to provide top quality service and wasn’t very attentive. For example, forgot to bring bread when requested. Overall, this is one of my favorite places for a delicious ‘special meal’ with prices within reason. I’ve been several times and will return again and again.
Perfect for lunch. We each had a simple main dish and a dessert and felt happy with our various choices. Attentive service. Not many people in the restaurant which means we could have an extended conversation without yelling and without wincing at noise generated by other tables. A rarity much valued by the three of us. Hopefully that will hold true for dinner which we plan to do soon .
Fun place and lived decor