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“No better than OK” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Donnini's Ciao Italia

Donnini's Ciao Italia
Pier Market place (at the Marina), Cairns, Queensland 4870, Australia
07 40502020
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Ranked #146 of 383 Restaurants in Cairns
Price range: $0 - $35
Dining options: Breakfast, Late Night, Reservations
Restaurant details
Dining options: Breakfast, Late Night, Reservations
Bingil Bay, Australia
Top Contributor
178 reviews 178 reviews
98 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 45 cities Reviews in 45 cities
139 helpful votes 139 helpful votes
“No better than OK”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed September 20, 2013

The location is great, but it appears that is seen as an excuse for charging top-dollar prices for food that is really only average.
On a pleasant spring evening sitting on the terrace looking over the marina is lovely. Bruschetta was bland and uninteresting, pasta dishes were small and over-priced while the veal looked bland. Side salads were a bit of a mess and tiny, given the thumping cost.
If it's good quality Italian food you're after head to Picollo Cucina...although you'll have to forego the view.

  • Visited September 2013
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 2 of 5 stars Food
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91 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Any
English first
Wairoa, New Zealand
Top Contributor
57 reviews 57 reviews
25 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 30 cities Reviews in 30 cities
125 helpful votes 125 helpful votes
“Disappointing.”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed August 16, 2013

The focaccia gave it away. Tasteless, spongy dough. One (the focaccia bianca) was described by the waiter as 'cheese on toast'. Not far off. Insipid, poor-quality cheese melted on a pale imitation of true focaccia. Followed by a seafood antipasto which was, in essence, a large loosely cut fruit salad with some cooked and chilled seafood piled amongst it. The veal scallopine was pleasant, although the honey-roasted chat potatoes were soggy and more steamed than roasted. If you have ever been to Italy, or really enjoy good Italian food - move right along .....

  • Visited August 2013
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
    • 2 of 5 stars Food
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Senior Contributor
21 reviews 21 reviews
17 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
22 helpful votes 22 helpful votes
“Should be better”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed August 15, 2013 via mobile

DON'T GO. We started with an antipasto plate to share, this was nothing special and did not contain the homemade dip as written on the menu. 5 mins after this arrived to our table the waitress arrived with our mains. She began to move our starter plates from under our noses even though we were still eating and they had food on them. I suggested to her that we were not ready for mains to which she replied that she would take them back and keep them warm. At this stage we had only been in the restaurant for approx. 20 mins. We declined to have our mains kept warm and took them anyway. At this stage we were feeling very rushed, it was a Thursday night and not many diners! One of the mains was a lasagne from the homemade pasta selection, the lasagne was cold in the middle suggesting it had simply been microwaved. The gnocchi with pear and Gorgonzola was ok. We expected much better and for the price it should have been. All up our dinner lasted 50 mins and we were 90 dollars lighter. We dine out regularly in cairns and this seems to be the norm, overpriced food, terrible service and vowing to never return. No wonder tourism is dying a slow death. A restaurant should know, "you can rip someone off once but give them a nice meal and service and they will return"

Visited August 2013
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Bacchus Marsh Australia
Top Contributor
78 reviews 78 reviews
45 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 43 cities Reviews in 43 cities
28 helpful votes 28 helpful votes
“Professional and I suspect consistent”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 7, 2013

Dined at Donnini's Ciao Italia last night. Love setting and ambience, staff professionally attired, attentive service and cadence or intervals of serves was timely.
Started off with Foccaccia Originale only $5.90 tasty combination of herb, garlic and parmigiano over thin base was excellen. If there is a chink the armour of the house it is the wine list.
Only a choice of 2 shirazs, one Pepperjack at $46.90 the other around $70.00. And for PInot Noir you are asking to pay for Palliser Estate, Martinborough Pinot Noir (which is the second label) the princely sum of $49.90 - they could look at some Victorian Pinot's for that amount of money e.g. Scotchmans Hill or Innocent Bystander - but really I am being picky.
Seeing as we were having Italian we had the only Italian red on the list Collepino Merlot/Sangiovese from Tuscany. An earthy little number that had only a couple of months in Oak but complimented our meal perfectly and was only $36.90
Wife had Ravoli with prawn, leek and freshly diced tomato and bisque sauce which was excellent and I had Linguini Marinara - which was too much in the bowl really. I found it lacking in garlic and a bit dry would have liked a few splashes of olive oil. Plenty of seafood though.

We topped out meal off with Chocolate Crème Brulee which was excellent.

I suspect venue is consistent. I don't think you will get any WOW factor here but you will get good old fashioned Italian food with professional service and attention to detail.

Tip - we sat outside and it was fine. If you are offered a table inside ask for one away from the kitchen and servery - there is a lot of vocal interaction (as there should be) between waiting staff and kitchen. ENJOY

  • Visited August 2013
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Osoyoos, Canada
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
3 restaurant reviews
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“Fabulous Table Service.....”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 6, 2013

...not to mention the food was delicious. Dropped in just by chance and had the best Italian dinner. Our waiter was not only very attentive but also very funny! Yes - you should dine here!

Visited August 2013
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