2635 Ashby Ave, Berkeley
The food is well prepared with only the freshest of ingredients. Service was good could use some improvement but I visited during that witching hour... between lunch and dinner. Great place for a date or group with full cocktail bar. I'll be back to try to get that 5 star experience.
The Elmwood's hidden gem! Great food and mixed drinks, good service and reasonable prices.
Wow. Had a stupendously good meal here. About 95% of that was excellent food and the other 5% charming and excellent service. Squid ink pasta was great in particular. Nice atmosphere.
The food was delicious. Our waiter was also so friendly and really helped to make the experience enjoyable.
Sat at the bar. We were warmly welcomed by the bartender, David, who makes perfect cocktails. We shared several delicious dishes including the grilled octopus and calamari and the petrale with broccoli rabe. This was our first time there and we look forward to the next!
Great food, great atmosphere
Good food, great space.
Was looking for a delicious sit down Italian restaurant with yummy wine and I have to say that everything here was super mediocre. I wouldn't recommend it. If you're in the neighborhood - you should check out the other Italian fast casual spot up the street.....
Fair, not great happy hour. Bartender asked kitchen for me if the porchetta appetizer was hot. He came back and said it's warm. Not so: cold as a brick from the freezer. Communication problem? Doh! No reason to return.
I really want this restaurant to make it. I "like-to-almost love" everything about this place except for the food. I have been there twice and had the same reaction. Gotta love that Meyer Sound System. Makes the evening so much more enjoyable to be able to hear each other. It's a lovey space. The waiter and hostesses are lovely and helpful. The service was slow. The menu is excellent. Full of all the interesting things that you expect on a Berkeley restaurant menu. And the salads and appetizers were pretty spot on. There were so many little fried anchovies I couldn't eat them all. The sauce was a little boring but the anchovies were beautifully prepared and delicious. The salumi platter was very good. The meats were beautifully cured and delicious. The pickled cuces were delicious but scarce. The pickled asparagus were a mess. The focaccia that is served as bread and with the salumi platter was a little dry. However, my biggest disappointment was my entree. I had the sous vied prepared Lamb. It was boring and tough. It is my understanding that sous viede is supposed to make the meat more tender. It was served with " three kinds of cauliflower". It was just cauliflower. The sauce was maybe Hollandaise but if it was, they need to step that up. My husband had the lamb shank and his was the best. Our friends had the pappadelle with wild mushrooms. Not enough mushrooms nor cheese. And the the mussels. 5 unopened mussels. Not acceptable. Again, I really want Donato to make it. Maybe it was an off night. But it was the second off night we have hit. Come on folks. Try harder.
This was our first visit to Donato & Co. The service was excellent and the pasta dinners we chose were nicely presented and tasty. We returned later that evening to the bar side of the restaurant for coffee and desert. The desert was amazing and the coffee was perfect. We will visit this restaurant again soon! Maureen
Great food, very friendly staff.
Really pleasing decor. Liked the open kitchen and the great meal that flowed from it. Pasta was cooked perfectly all dente. Service was friendly and attentive.
Just had brunch here with family. Everything was delicious, pasta with tomato sauce, frittata and poached egg with hollandaise. Excellent service, peaceful ambiance.
Full menu even in the bar area. Excellent cocktails! The menu is very varied but not so extensive to make you doubt on the quality of the food which is indeed high.
Went on a Thursday night (early 5:30 pm). Parking is somewhat difficult to say the least. Food average for the price. One special of the day was Buccatini pasta with San Marzano tomatoes and pecorino cheese (or was it parmesan?) for $20. The appetizer a salted cod mousse with fried basil was interesting the only draw back we had to wait for the bread to be out of the oven.... a 15 minutes wait perhaps they should have start baking the bread around 5:00 pm. 1/2 grilled chicken with green beans and fingerlings potatoes again nothing special. We share a dessert. 2 glass of wine but what got me was 2 cokes at $4.00 each wow that's steep! To many other choice in the area I doubt we would go back. But the service was excellent.
Great food , great prices and great service.
Absolutely loved this place. Every one of the dishes was expertly prepared with an attention to flavor. The pork belly risotto was perfectly cooked. The pork belly was crispy on the outside and meaty on the inside. Scrumptious! The grilled chicken was equally tasty. A nice spiced exterior with a tenderness that left you wanting more. My daughter had the eggplant dish and said it was delicious as well. Good flavor and vegetarian friendly. The desserts were all good. My favorite was a vanilla creme crumble something something. Can't remember the name but oh my was it good. Service was friendly and prompt.
My first time at this restaurant: early dinner at 3pm! Had the special, Branzino (white bass), exceptionally delicious, with tasty diced roasted potatoes. While waiting for my entree, had Chianti and fresh sourdough bread with good tapenade. Finished with yummy dessert, Sbriciolona. Attractive decor and good service. So happy to have this fine restaurant in Elmwood.
I enjoy that Gin Fizz and Paper Plane
Thoroughly enjoyed the mussels. The waiter was nicely attentive and decor was elegant. However, the Hostest soured the experience with her reluctance to seat us in the practically empty restaurant at 5:00pm. She was concerned that we would linger over dinner and still be there at 7:00pm when she was expecting many reservations to be seated. Not a very good way to welcome new diners.
The food was very good. Real Italian restaurant.
If you have dietary restrictions, make sure you look at the menu online before going. I went with a party of seven, and none of us eats pork and I additionally don't eat shellfish. We then found out that all pasta dishes with meat have either pork or shellfish. The entree I did end up ordering was good (swordfish), but we were all a bit disappointed that no pasta dishes were available with e.g. beef, lamb, chicken, duck or fish.
Great service and great food. My first time here and I will recommend this place to everyone.
Creative TASTY food locally sourced
Went for lunch today and ordered the Ciabatta house made porchetta. It was mainly fat. I was very disappointed. Didn't even taste like porchetta. Have had dinner here which was very good.
I'm Italian guy& I think this restaurant is a true Italian restaurant the food is so good bravo Chef.
Great food, great drinks, nice wine list, what more can I say?
I have not been to Donato for dinner, but have enjoyed their happy hour, appetizers, and small dishes in their bar area. The seasonal salad with trout, yogurt, arugula, and white nectarines was especially good. Lovely service, and nice bar menu! A great option when you are in Elmwood.
Excellent food. Moderate prices. Great service.
Donato has done an excellent job of making their restaurant work and making the food more exciting and delicious. The range of choices is good and the wine list is complimentary. The service was a bit disjointed but it was fun to watch the open kitchen. Our guests were unhappy that the coffee was not refillable. However, with so many new things on the menu, we will be back to explore again.
Nice spot. Fresh and flavorful.
Ok atmosphere but $5 for a cup of tea?
This review is only for lunch, though I can see from the reviews that I've been missing out by not going to Donato & Co for dinner. Maybe someday. I can affirm the various positive comments about the decor, with its light and spacious feel so I'll focus on the sandwiches, specifically, the bread, a focaccia, which is served with the crispy fried chicken sandwich. It is too crumbly and soft to stand up to its sturdy companion items of chicken, tomato, lettuce. Either Bakesale Betty's or Proposition Chicken offer a sturdier bread with their tastier chicken sandwiches. Why do I say tastier? Because Donato's chicken, while nicely fried with a golden crust, is lacking ... something. Some more assertive seasoning? Marinate in buttermilk? And one has to request a salt shaker to spark things up. Maybe they don't want to clutter the tables with extraneous items, I can understand that, but the shaker is teeny-tiny. Is a slighter more useful salt shaker possible, please? The bread situation continues if you request some bread as you're waiting for your dining companions to arrive. It is dry and unsatisfying, though the green olive condiment that was served with it livened up the bread. Finally, in the restroom-sink area (there are about 5 individual restrooms, so no waiting) the soap dispenser was broken (who knows for how long?) and a ketchup bottle with a handlabelled sign saying "hand soap" served to dispense soap. Really? Could you not just go out and buy a bottle of Method or Mrs Meyers, something just a bit classier to accompany the otherwise fine decor? It was almost empty so I had to notify the waiter, who is very friendly and competent but does not have a proficient grasp of the English language, that someone should put more soap into the bottle. (which someone did)
Ordered the CIABATTA house-made porchetta, wild arugula & pickled onions, it was warmed prosciutto di parma instead. I love porchetta and was very disappointed. The restaurant came highly recommended by a colleague.
Love to come here with folks willing to share plates and tasting experience. Good options for vegetarians and pescetarians! Extensive wine offerings both by the glass and bottle. Most important -- easy to hear your table's conversation without any strain.
Sunday brunch with friends wad quite good. Pappardelle was excellent and the bacon was unusually good. One salad disappointed but all in all it was quite worthwhile.
Excellent service and a great menu. Really a treat from start to finish.
The salt cod starter is amazing! Great place for small plates and drinks.
2635 Ashby Ave, Berkeley, CA 94705