Dinner at Donatello’s Italian Restaurant in Carmel

13 Apr

What’s better than a home-cooked meal?  When someone else does the cooking!  That’s what dinner at Donatello’s is like.  And for good reason.  Donatello’s is family owned and operated by mom, dad and son and they cook up grandma’s recipes daily.  Like grandma’s house, it isn’t very big, so be sure to make reservations.

My friend and I started with toasted ravioli, which they call “a Midwestern take on an Italian comfort dish”.  As it turned out, that meant large, filled with a generous amount of creamy cheese and served with a homemade red sauce.  This is without question the best fried ravioli I’ve ever had.  Period.

Donatello's Toasted Ravioli

The rest of our meal didn’t disappoint either.  I try to dine with people who are willing to share, and my friend Kim was more than happy to comply.  We had Tortellini Michelangelo, which is cheese tortellini with mushrooms and bacon in a pink sauce, and Roman Chicken Marsala.  There were two things about the tortellini that really stood out.  First, it had a wonderful smoky bacon flavor that was prominent but not overpowering.  Second, despite the bacon and cream (and butter no doubt!) it was not the least bit greasy.

Donatello's Tortellini Michelangelo

The Marsala was similar to others I have had in the past, but the sauce was a bit thicker and richer and the dish was topped with prosciutto and cheese.  My only complaint about this dish was that accompanying potatoes and vegetables were under-seasoned and came across as an afterthought.  I’m looking forward to trying more of Donatello’s menu, especially dessert.  The cream cake looked amazing but shorts season is rapidly approaching so I grudgingly abstained.

Donatello's Roman Chicken Marsala

Donatello’s has only been open since the beginning of the year, and they have a little room for improvement in the service department.  Don’t get me wrong, they were welcoming and friendly.  But there was much rushing around and a little bit of chaos that couldn’t be hidden from the customers in the small dining room.  However, the food is the shining star here and the minor disorganization does add to the feeling of dinner at grandma’s house.  (If only my Granny could have cooked like that!)

For wonderful food, a pleasant atmosphere and welcoming service, I give Donatello’s Italian Restaurant an overall rating of 2.25.  I’m really looking forward to my next visit.

Price = $$

Deliciousness = 3 Excellent

Ambiance = 2 Pleasant

Quality of Service = 2 Pleasant

Bank for Your Buck = 2 Overall experience justifies the price

Overall Dining Experience = 2.25 Great!

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One Response to “Dinner at Donatello’s Italian Restaurant in Carmel”

  1. La Jolla Italian Restaurant July 26, 2011 at 3:15 AM #

    It is easy to think that some pasta, some marinara sauce, a crust of Italian bread and a glass of wine is the beginning and end of Italian cuisine, especially if you grew up in the United States. When an American conjures up an idea of “Italian cuisine,” often what comes to mind is pasta, red sauce, and garlic bread. There is much more than red sauce and starch on the agenda for most Italian regional cuisines…

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