Atlanta’s Westside is booming with cool new developments, popular with mainstream crowds and counter-culture hipsters alike. And those must-see hotspots are most obvious in the neighborhood’s food scene — most recently with the addition of Donetto.
Donetto offers Westsiders a modern take on the rich, delicious flavors of Italy’s Tuscan region. Don’t expect clichéd Italian food at Donetto — executive chef and partner Michael Perez’s menu celebrates imagined takes on wonderful fare, like delicate salt cod fritters sitting atop flavorful squid ink vinaigrette with tangy capers and preserved lemon, and fusilli mixed with duck sausage, with a tangy profile of garlic, red pepper and Pecorino Romano.
Donetto is the latest brainchild of Indigo Road Restaurant Group, which also started delish spots O-Ku and Oak Steakhouse. The Italian restaurant recently opened in the Stockyards Atlanta development, across the street from Miller Union. Genius must breed genius as the area now features mouthwatering, gourmet options within walking distance from one another.
I recently sat down for a meal at Donetto and was instantly impressed as I approached the front door. The restaurant offers a warm, industrial vibe, ensconcing diners with wood and metal that play off each other. The large windows look out to the Stockyards industrial setting, while soft leather menus and Italian tiling create a symmetrical balance of hard and soft.
Donetto’s menu pays homage to the Tuscan region’s fare and creates authentic flavor profiles that I’ve never come across. When it comes to the antipasti section, the burrata simply couldn’t be beat — the mild cheese comes dressed with smoked trout caviar (which I’m told is smoked in house), delicate zucchini and radish strips, and out-of-this-world grilled focaccia. Another top on our list was the octopus, served atop white beans, fingerling potatoes and a basil tarragon aioli that is so freakishly delicious you could spread it on your iPhone and be happy.
The kale salad (Donetto’s version of a Caesar) was amazing — turned up with sunflower seeds, a six-minute egg and fabulous Parmesan vinaigrette. I’m not sure if they soak the kale overnight or Donetto’s dressing is just THAT good, but the leaves are very tender and mild (unlike kale in the hands of amateurs, which can taste bitter and rough).
Of course you can’t skip the carbs when visiting an Italian restaurant and Donetto’s takes on pasta and risotto are spot on. Hit the classic offerings: the tortelli, stuffed with potato, ricotta and covered in brown butter and pine nuts, or raviolini featuring one of my fave ingredients: black truffle. On the modern side, we tried the pumpkin risotto, with a delicate smoke that will have you scraping the plate for more. Move down the menu to the entrees and try the hanger steak, braised in fresh Cipollini onions and mushrooms, or the smoked half chicken. I ordered the vegetarian-friendly butternut squash “steak” that sat atop a mix of tasty fall produce, including apples, turnip greens and potatoes.
The desserts complete the meal, and destroy your diet, and I have to recommend the rustic local apple crostata (uh, with salted caramel gelato … yum) AND the bittersweet chocolate budino (think the fancy offspring of a chocolate-pudding-and-mousse hookup), served in a clever glass jar with cocoa nib shortbread cookies on the side.
If your focus is more on the glass than the plate, Donetto delivers on that end as well. Their draft cocktail is The Negroni, a twist on a classic with gin, carpano antica, amaro nonino and Campari. I went with a liquid palate refresher — Netspritz and Chill (get it?!) is a zippy concoction of house limonata, rosemary aperol, prosecco and a lemon twist. Cards on the table: I tried a few more signature cocktails (The Smokey Cocchi is like a campfire in a glass) so just be sure to flip the menu and take a look at the list. If cocktails aren’t your thing (though you should at least take a look at some of the awesome drink titles (i.e. Absinthe Makes the Heart Grow Fonder), Donetto also offers a collection of more than 100 bottles of wine and Italian beers and sodas.
Donetto is on its way to becoming another Westside landmark, so make sure to visit this fabulous Italian eatery, which celebrates the iconic flavors of the country with clever, delicious dishes.
Donetto is located in Stockyards Atlanta at 976 Brady Ave., Atlanta, GA 30318. The hours are Monday through Thursday, 5 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.; Friday & Saturday, 5 p.m. to 11 p.m.; Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. For more information contact (404) 445-6867 or donettoatlanta.com.
Find more amazing places to dine in and around Atlanta in our “Food & Dining” section!