“Donatello endures while others come and go” - July 08, 2010
By ROMMIE JOHNSON | The Tampa Tribune
The menu at Donatello focuses on traditional Italian dishes with an emphasis on Northern recipes.
TAMPA - With a pool of rich, decadent bone marrow awaiting its arrival, our veal shank doesn’t so much fall off the bone as dive. Forget the knife. A delicate twist of the fork pulls away a tender piece of the succulent, slow-braised meat for a quick dip before it hits our mouths. Soundless gasps ensue. Glances of disbelief are exchanged. If words didn’t fail us, the conversation would go something like this: “We're not in Milan, and we don’t care.” The ossobuco at Donatello may be the finest we've ever tasted.
These days, of course, bone marrow is all the rage, but Donatello has been doing this for decades. This venerable Italian restaurant isn’t hip or trendy. You won’t find brown butter gnudi, foie gras ravioli or truffled anything on the menu. But there’s a reason it has been a Tampa institution for 26 years.
It all starts with inviting ambience and crack professional service. Walk through the door and there’s a good chance owners Guido and Gino Tiozzo will greet you with a warm handshake and a friendly smile. The foyer opens into an expansive, dimly lit dining room with stucco arches and gold-leaf ceiling tiles. The restaurant’s signature roses -- a prize for ladies at the end of the evening -- grace every table. Once seated, a meal unfolds as artfully as the restaurant’s name implies, with tuxedoed servers attending to every detail or whim with grace and precision.
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