Donato was recommended to me by an acquaintance. I took 6 of us there to celebrate my wife's birthday. It was a Saturday night and the restaurant was about 90% full the whole time, but not overly crowded or busy. The food was good, not fantastic or terribly original, but well cooked and good. The wait staff was friendly and nice. The ambiance and decor is very nice and appealing, and the table layouts are roomy and decorative. The prices are about 20% less than comparable restaurants in the area, which is impressive. Parking in the area is horrible, and it took me about 20 minutes to find a parking space that was 5 blocks away.
However, the service was terrible, and here's why:
1. the waiter kept forgetting what was on the specials menu and going back and forth across appetizers and entree's confusing everyone.
2. He was full of B.S. Said he was Italian, born in Italy, etc., but couldn't speak a word of it nor did he know much about the country (we were all Italian at the table and were trying to make small talk with him about it). Kept digging himself deeper each time.
3. The kitchen messed up a couple of orders, and the bus staff was completely confused as to what dishes went where (even tried to give us another tables entree). They were so out of synch with the waiter, that we just accepted what they gave us and handed them around to the correct recipient. The bus staff did not understand English at all, and the waiter did not speak Spanish, so communication was ineffective.
4. They never cleared one dish or glass off the table, instead letting everything pile up from drinks, wine, appetizers, entrees, and desert.
Everyone was so irritated and frustrated by the end of the meal, that we just all walked out after paying. It put us in a generally bad mood the rest of the night, and I felt bad for my wife, since it was her birthday with close friends. We won't be going back.
Donato is a great and hip place in downtown Redwood City. The bartender, Johnny is excellent. The service, food and ambiance is great for a fun Friday night or a low key Saturday lunch.
First visit but not the last! Had an excellent meal, the special menu with a very tasty tartare appetizer, lovely pasta dish main and yummy panna cotta desert. All that with perfectly paired wines, recommended by the amazingly knowledgeable and all around wonderful server Robert! Cappuccino afterwards hit the spot, and we left while trying to figure out how quickly we can return!
Perfect, as usual! Great ambient, great food, great wine ... not a better way to start a weekend
Great food as usual. Service was also excellent. We had two toddlers and the staff was very helpful.
Best Italian in the Bay Area outside of sf
Authentic Italian food. Specific to Tuscany and Sicily for food, but wine also from other areas
I went to one of my favorite restaurants to celebrate my wife’s birthday. However the service was very spotty with long waits to receive drinks, one entrée being served 5 to 10 minutes before the other, and both entrées being served cold. A very disappointing evening to say the least!
This restaurant pays no attention to special requests made when making the reservation. For the second time in a row, my special request was not acknowledged. We were served wine that tasted bad, despite being a screw-top bottle (so not 'corked'). I enjoy the food at Donato, but somehow the restaurant is not able to deliver strongly and consistently on service.
Second time dining at Donato. Overall a good experience. I especially enjoyed the pastas. For some reason, the food is never very hot.
We had lunch outdoors. Food was delicious. Restaurant not super busy and they were understaffed but our waitperson and the wine steward were right there. It was leisurely and lovely.
Expensive prefix menu. Overpriced and the pace the meal was rushed with the check being delivered prior to all the food being served. A one star for food quality and $$ for price point. I will not return to this establishment.
Came for Valentines Day dinner with my wife. I’ll start by saying that this experience is based on a unique day with a unique menu. However, why do so many restaurants committ the same egregious acts on nights like this one, with rules about what you can and cant order? On special nights, the experience should be better than average, not less!
First, a “prix fixe” menu. Why abandon the menu that makes them well known and trusted for the quality they normally serve, for a limited menu designed for quick assembly?
First course: My shrimp & asparagus salad was actually great. And my wife’s pasta with wild boar sugo was also pretty good.
The main courses were unfortunate. My wife’s veal filet seemed to be cooked perfectly but was extremely tough/ gamey. My monkfish was “meh”.
Dessert: You had to get it, and there was no option. It was a log of ice cream wrapped in a thin cake. It was OK. But obviously made for mass production. I also thought it unfortunate that there was no choice.
All in all, it seemed engineered for a factory. We were in and out in 70 mins and left freling we just went through an assembly line.
The food is wonderful. Love everything on the menu. Service was a little slow but the individual was very nice. Table for 2 can be small to hold large appetizer board, plus wine, water and bread plates. This is becoming one of our Go-To restaurants on the Peninsula.
Comfortable, quiet spot that was just right for a business lunch. Very attractive dining areas with plenty of space and a Tuscany ambiance. Choice of three pastas on the lunch special were simple, well-made, and reasonably-priced.
As usual good food, good wine and good service
Unfortunately, the service was not great, we repeatedly had to ask for water, we waited for a long time to order our food. It was quite busy but still. The food quality was average. I ordered the mushroom pasta and my friend ordered the ravioli.
There was only one Sauvignon Blanc available by the glass and it was not great.
Hopefully they will improve their overall food quality and service.
Another post theater dinner with friends - have enjoyed this restaurant probably over a dozen times. But tonight’s dinner was a disaster. The key issue was the service, or lack thereof. We were seated in the middle section, in a booth near the bar area. Lots of wait staff in the area. But just getting glasses of water took 15 minutes - this is not an exaggeration. And after ordering our food, not everything we ordered showed up. Our server seemed unperturbed and was almost joking about the fact that we did not have water (no refills although we were there for over two hours!). The food was great. The service was dreadful. We left a tip just because we did not want to do a disservice to the back half of the restaurant. The restaurant needs a manager walking the floor to see what is going on. I’ll likely be back but more restaurants are opening in Redwood City and if they want to hold on to their customers, service matters.
We went to Donato Enoteca because the Porcini mushrooms arrived and the chef prepared them with a very good handmade pasta. Furthermore the wine list is always exceptional! Grazie!
Awesome dinner. Great food and service and the price is very reasonable
The food was very average. We were given a table in a separate area which was an enclosed space with about 15 guests and they kept closing the door. It was hot and extremely claustrophobic. Our server though was excellent.
Ordered the lamb polpette and octopus as appetizers. The lamb meatballs were overpowered by the cheese and there were exactly 3 small pieces of octopus in the other appetizer. Pasta was ok, the proscuitto pizza had an inch layer of arugulla with barely a hint of proscuitto and the branzino filet was bland and had no salt. Not to mention a guest behind us who would not stop talking at a high volume.
Overall a very disappointing experience.
All our requests were honored. Lovely evening with the exception of substandard Manhattans straight up. That said, we ordered light and it was quite pricey. Will save for special occasions.
I am not a fan of this type of Italian food. I find it heavy and harsh. Just my opinion. I'm sure the quality is great, I am just not a fan.
I like the happy hour at Donato for value, drinks, and bar tender skills and demeanor, but the restaurant dining is disappointing. The food is pretty bland and the service we had this week was horrible. It was a Wednesday and somewhat busy but not overly so. The food took a long time to come, each course took a long time. We finally had to ask for the dessert, and when it finally arrived (bread pudding), it was as bland as everything else.
This was so sad. I know this restaurant could have delicious food and good service but not for us this night, it was awful! The fish was way over cooked, like rubber and dry and served luke warm! The server clearly didn’t want to have her job and was downright rude when she would show up. Overall terrible dining experience! I’d never go back after this experience.
This place only decent for their happy hour otherwise will not go back.
We were placed at a table in the farthest right hand corner of the dining room where the wait staff passed behind us continually. Asked to move and we were accommodated at the large dining table which was fine.
Ordered a cocktail had to get it at the bar when I went for fresh ground pepper for my salad.
Not impressed with the portion sizes and my husband was still hungry after finishing his pasta dish, even after having several slices of bread.
Many options in the areas, this one definitely no longer on my recommendation list.
This was the first time at this restaurant and it won't be the last. We both enjoyed our choices and will definitely be back. Very convenient to downtown Redwood City.
I love this place, but this is a hard review to write because it’s hard to put into words what makes this restaurant so great. Donato Enoteca is the closest I have seen to European dining in America. The food and service are both excellent, but unpretentious. I would describe the food as Italian Trattoria dining at its finest. The dishes are simple, but delicious. The servers have that European sensibility that food service is a respected profession to be proud of, not a day job, not some kind of show business. It’s at once an easy-going place, yet somehow they treat your visit as important without seeming to be trying too hard. Really, this is the only restaurant I’ve ever been to in the US that feels like I’m in Spain or Italy.
I know a fair amount about wine, but Italian wines are really difficult to understand and evaluate. I never like to have to put myself in the hands of the waiter or sommelier, but the wine list at Donato Enoteca requires me to do so. And I’ve never had anything but the best wine experiences there. Every recommendation has been spot on and what I was looking for in terns of taste, food pairing, and budget. This restaurant is a long way from my home, but I try to get there several times a year because it’s so great. Love it.
Great spot to go for our 10 year Anniversary. Food was excellent- we did the Chefs samples. Is a bit pricey but excellent for a special occasion. Food was excellent.
The jazz music on Thursday nights is a fantastic addition to the dining experience!
We are never disappointed here. This as our fourth visit.
Great food, professional service and consistently comfortable. Took my son, sister and brother in law and was confident it would be wonderful. ONLY PIE(pizza) done right outside of NYC!!!!!!!
It was holiday season and the restaurant was festive. We chose to sit at the bar and our Bartender was fabulous! He was well versed in the wines and food and was super friendly. Our dinner and the wine was excellent.
Dinner for Xmas Eve was great. The restaurant was crowded. Many times when you go on special occasions you get mediocre service. Here on Xmas Eve, we had a very nice dinner with great service. Everyone loved their dishes and the service and the wine recommendations were great.
Lovely ! Great place!
Wonderful, as always. Everything was flawless. Throw a dart at the wine list and anywhere it lands is exceptional quality—even the lowest price wines. Their imported cheeses are unparalleled in the Bay Area, so order something with some cheese. Also true of the cured meats. Top end food without pretense. Walkable to everything in town. It’s our favorite for birthdays or other occasions.
A busy upbeat restaurant, excellent service and very tasty food (raviolis with 3 kinda of filling, appetizer portion, was very large and filling so share if you are also having an entree), pork loin with wild
Mushrooms also very tasty and plentiful. Nice unusual wine selections (by the glass). Parking is a bit of a challenge. CalTrain station very close however.
We are considered to be frequent visitors at Donato Enoteca. We will order squid ink pasta every time we are there. My kids did not like it couple years ago and now are loving it for no reasons at all. I guess we become foodies. It is quite yummy. Give it a try.
Great food and service, but the chair was very uncomfortable; my back still hurts from sitting there for 1.5 hour.
The waiter was very good and they were always checking up on you. The food is good but it is very much fine dining and TRUE Italian food.
Good ambience and location, underwhelming food and wine.