We just returned from a week on Gili T, and ate 3 times at Danima. The food was amazing, and I lived in Italy for several years. My husband is Italian, from Positano, and his family has run a restaurant since the 60's. He, too always has low expectations for Italian food outside of Italy, and was not expecting the amazing food we had at Danima. What caught our eye was the specials board where we saw cannolicchi, which are like razor clams and something very Italian. So we gave it a shot, and we were so glad to have done so! We had an appetizer with marinated eggplant and then each had the cavatelli (fresh home made pasta) with clams and cannolicchi. We loved the pasta, and have never had such a good plate of pasta anywhere outside of Italy, not even in the North End of Boston. Daniela does a great job cooking outstanding food in a place where it is difficult to find ingredients. We live in Thailand so we know what she must go through. The second time we went we had just dessert, after dinner in the market with friends. We had tiramisu and the chocolate salame, both very good. The third time we ate there, we had the tartare di tonno, or tuna tartare, and pumpkin ravioli for appetizers, and both were out of this world. Again the pasta is home made, and amazing. For dinner we had cavatelli with jumbo shrimp and clams and an order of lobster ravioli. The ravioli had huge chunks of lobster, not just tiny bits and some sauce and the cavatelli were fantastic. Dessert of chocolate salame again along with limoncello offered by our wonderful hosts, Daniela and Pancrazio. They are extremely nice and friendly and make you feel like old friends, and Daniela has a passion for cooking that only the best chefs have. Their staff was entertaining and professional, especially Thony and Robby! Such nice boys they have working for them. There were such nice little touches that make your dining experience special, like how they added some bougainvillea flowers to the ice bucket for the wine. We recommended Danima to another couple who ate there 2 times in the 3 nights they were there.
As for the hotel, we did not stay there, but I must make some comments regarding other people's reviews. Gili T is a tiny island that luckily strives to be eco-minded. Therefore, I applaud their use of a salt water pool and the fact that they didn't change clients' towels daily....who really needs their towels changed daily? As for housekeeping, we noticed that the cleaning staff all over Indonesia are men, perhaps for that reason and the fact that it's still SE Asia, and it's not the Four Seasons, might explain why people had complaints. The fact is that people who complained about the resort and the price for the room saw "better" resorts, but those resorts would cost double if not triple the price of Danima. From what I saw, the resort looked lovely and the pool looked beautiful. Those who complained about the distance from "the action" must enjoy noise and late night parties, because the location is far enough from the center to sleep well, and close enough to walk there in 5-8 minutes, depending on your speed. We stayed much further away at Casa Bonita on the north side of the island and whenever we walked by Danima, it was very, very quiet. There was one night that there was some music coming from a bar quite far from Danima, toward the center, but the music stopped by midnight. Gili T is kind of known as a party island, so if you don't like noise, stay on the west coast or north side, or just deal with it and pop in some ear plugs. In the end the mosques make noise as well, but I didn't see that in anyone's reviews. That was much more annoying to me than some music.
All in all if you want a great Italian meal, go to Danima and enjoy!
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.