Donato Enoteca is an Italian Restaurant in downtown Redwood City, located right next to City Hall. They serve modern Italian focusing on fresh, simple ingredients, and focusing on the chef’s Donata Scotti (formerly of La Strada) Northern Italian roots. Our last visit was in April 2015.
Decor, Vibe – Modern, clean dining room with back room and bar area. Donato Enoteca has patio seating outside for warmer months. Couple, families, and large groups of all ages were here for dinner. This restaurant has gotten very popular over the last year especially on Friday nights. Reservations are a must on Friday and Saturday nights.
Menu Pictures (Click to zoom into any picture)
Donato Enoteca has a Weekly changing modern Italian menu with an emphasis on seasonal ingredients and fine imported Italian artisanal products. Tasting menu available as is a daily special entree and special wine.
Donato Enoteca Picks:
Nice fresh warm bread with an olive tapenade.
CALAMARETTI E FAGIOLI ($9) Fresh Monterey Bay calamari, “Bianchi di Spagna” beans & mache lettuce had excellent tender calamari drenched in lemon juice. Big beans that could have been smaller and more delicate.
MAIALETTO E SPIGARELLI ($9) Slow braised Niman ranch pork belly, sautéed “spigarelli” was very good with a nice cripsy crusty to the 3 cubes of decadent fatness.
BRUSCHETTA DI CINGHIALE ($9) Hand pulled braised wild boar, onion, Chianti vinegar on grilled ciabatta was a solid and very meaty appetizer. Balanced this out with other dishes.
INSALATA DI SPINACI BIETE E NOCI ($9) Savoy spinach, roasted golden beets & walnuts, shallots & goat cheese was refreshing and very fresh. A nice lite dressing glazed it.
Stuzzichini ($15) Sampling of olives, speck, porchetta, pickled eggplant, mozzarella, garbanzo beans arancini, olive oils & “bomba” bread was a fun appetizer with a wide variety of items including an air filled flat bread.
SPAGHETTI NERI ($15) Squid ink, fresh Monterey Bay calamari, fresh tomatoes, Calabria peppers & basil was not fishy but had tons of ink all over the dish. A little more restraint would have been nice, though the home made pasta was stellar. In 2015 they cranked up the heat on this, making it Super spicy.
RISOTTO ANATRA ($17) Roasted duck leg, Treviso, shallots & Sangiovese sauce was excellent. The rice was bathed in flavor while the duck meat just fell off the bone. One of the better ones around.
BIGOLI E CODA Braised Nebbiolo oxtail, Sangiovese, asparagus tips & “bigoli” pasta ($19) was an excellent pasta dish with very tender and flavorful shredded oxtail and a freshly made al dente thin tube style pasta.
Spaghetti Con Cipollotti Gamberoni ($14) Spring onion, prawns, Trebbiano wine; roasted garlic “mollica” had tasty home made, hand made noodles in a garlicy sauce that was on the zesty side. Five good sized prawns pre cut.
Pizza Margherita ($10) Tomato, basil, oregano & fresh mozzarella cheese was excellent. Nice very thin crust, not soggy, crispy edges, flavorful cheese. Some of solid thin crust pizza on the Peninsula.
Tagliata DI Agnello ($19) Marinated grilled & sliced Colorado lamb top round, “aceto balsamico” was a nice meaty dish full of high quality lamb cooked to a rare, making it a little chewy. Not gamey. Included a pretty healthy polenta made with buckwheat and some veggies underneath. If you do not like rare, let them know.
Tagliata ($22) was a beef version of the above entree. Lots of medium-rare pre-cut slices of tender meat, along with a couple pieces of potato and a mushroom ragout housed in a thin pastry shell. Recommended although the pasta and pizza are much more Italian.
RISOTTO GAMBERO E CECI Fresh organic garbanzo beans, roasted jumbo prawn & fresh tomatoes ($17) was super hot out of the kitchen and full of vivid flavors and three large shrimp on top. A very good seafood risotto with bits of chopped prawn.
Merluzzo in Guazzetto ($21) Roasted local cod; San Marzano tomato, Gaeta olives, Pantelleria capers Fregola sarda was a brothy fish done very well. Lots of tomato flavor.
Kid’s Penne Pasta ($5) was a decent quality and should satisfy any kid. The cheese was powdered though.
O C C O L A T O F O N D E N T E E N O C C I O L E Warm chocolate hazelnut cake served with vanilla bean gelato ($9) was an excellent dessert with the warm chocolate cake containing a molten center that oozed out and went à la mode with their milky homemade gelato. If you are chocoholic, come here and just try this dessert!
Lemon Sorbet ($5) was stellar, clearly homemade with lots of sugar and fresh lemon flavor.
Tiramisu ($8) was also a great dessert. Large portion and extremely decadent with lots of mascarpone.
Mojito ($9) was average. Lots of ice and hidden strength.
Biete E Fave ($7) Half Moon Bay fava beans, roasted Chioggia & golden beets salad looked nice but was fairly light and had a little too much olive oil. Nice fresh beets and beans.
S A L S I C C I A E R A P I N I Pizza with Homemade spicy sausage, broccoli rabe, tomato & fresh mozzarella cheese ($13) possessed some excellent flavors but had a soggy middle and a soft crust edge. Compared to a margarita pizza we had on another occasion, there are some inconsistencies here.
Insalada di Asparagi ($9) was overly oily and did not need the bacon.
Foiade di Funghi ($17) looked like an after thought for vegetarians. Tough wide pasta, oily mushrooms. This needs work.
CAVOLETTi ($4) Brussel sprouts with garlic, rosemary, guanciale were dry and over cooked.
Porchetta con Farinata ($10) was a weird appetizer that did not match its description. The pork belly was like cold bacon along with a thin crispy strip. We thought it would come with foccacia bread, but it did not.
Donato Enoteca had good but not great service. Bus boys kept our water full, the server was friendly but not knowledgeable on the food’s special details. On a later occasion the server was overloaded and service faded throughout the meal. On our last visit, the place was crazy and food took a long time to arrive. Service prevents this place from rising to the top like say Perbacco in San Francisco.
Prices are reasonable and quality is high at Donato Enoteca, making this an easy bet for superior Italian food on the San Francisco Peninsula. Acqua Pazza and Osteria Coppa of San Mateo is the other authentic Italian place that comes to mind, but is of lower quality. Nice selection of glasses of Wine from $7, $11 8oz , $21 16 oz carafe. Bottles from $27, with many smaller producers. Kid’s menu available.