We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“So close to a five star review...”

Donato's Pasta Plus Italian
Certificate of Excellence
Cuisines: Italian
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Romantic, Families with children, Business meetings, Special occasions
Dining options: Lunch, Late Night, Breakfast, Dinner, Reservations
Reviewed March 25, 2013

My girlfriend and I were in the Murdock area and decided to have a "nice meal", which we usually don't get to do, and decided on Donato's based on a friends recommendation. Here's what I thought...


Foods: After a lengthy wait in the bar, we were sat at a table in the corner of what I'm calling their themed "box office" room. We started with the polenta fries. They were a bit dry, and lacking in... something. It's hard to figure out what exactly. They were just... plain. The aioli sauce that came with them was pheonominal, but couldn't quite make up for the dryness and lack of flavor on the fries. I give them a two out of five, sauce a five out of five.

For entrees, she had the lasagna, I had the Tour of Italy (chicken parm, lasagna, and fettuccini alfredo). The tour was amazing, save for a lack of salt on the chicken parm and lasagna. The chicken was breaded perfectly, with just enough sauce to not make it mushy by the end of the meal. I found the size to be a little small, but it's a mixer plate so that was expected. Chicken gets a four of five.

The lasagna had all the texture and flavor of my Aunt's - pasta cooked perfectly, not too much sauce not too little. Meat seasoned nicely. Mind you I don't use the word perfectly often, so when I say Donato's cooks it's pasta to perfection that's saying something. I did find an overall lack of seasoning in general, specifically salt, However; living in Charlotte county you will notice many restaurants not using salt like they should due to the demographic of the residents here (old people, heart attacks, etc). Lasagna gets a four out of five.

The fettuccini was out (whaa...???) and I was offered my choice of other pasta, I went with Ziti. Once again, perfectly cooked, and the alfredo sauce was delicious, smooth, and velvety. I think the ziti alfredo was the highlight of my entree. The fettuccini gets a zero, but the ziti alfredo gets a five out of five! Warmed/fresh baked bread was served with the meal with a side of oil - always a nice touch.


Drinks: We started our evening at Donato's waiting in the bar which meant walking by the most amazingly creepy animatronic subway denizen ever. Seriously get rid of that thing - you're going to give kids nightmares. The bar was crowded and hot, but comfortable, and the staff was amazingly nice for how extremely slammed they were.

Drinks consisted of a starter round of Jim Beam and Coke for me, Malibu Baybreeze for her. Both were generously poured and went down fast in that heat. From there we went to bottled beer. Sam Adam's Boston lager for me, Strongbow cider for her which we stuck to throughout dinner. The beer selection was small but varied enough to keep an import drinker happy. Drinks get a five out of five.


Service: This is where Donato’s really shined for me. We walked into a crowded foyer, and were immediately greeted by two smiling hostesses who asked if we would like a table for two. They pointed us to the bar with one of those buzzy/red-light blinking coasters and told us it would be about twenty-five minutes. The fact that it took fifty (yes - five, zero) minutes didn’t really bother us as the bartender and barback were extremely affable and kept us in good humor. When we finally got to our seat the waitress was friendly and calm, despite the busy dinner service. She was on top of things without being pushy and this is a huge thing for me as I have worked in the service industry for many years. Five out of five on service, I can’t say enough nice things about the staff here.


Atmosphere: I’m torn on this one. The seating was crowded seemingly everywhere. I had a fake window planter jutting into my elbow all night at the table. Tables sat with old glasses, plates, silver, etc for very long periods of time. The animatronic subway sax guy. They all were horrible, and yet the overall ambiance was nice. The interior decorator did an awe-inspiring job. You would not expect to see this level of detail in a restaurant in Port Charlotte. The room we sat in had a fake building scene on the wall with backlit opaque windows, and LED stars in the drop-tile ceiling. The other room had spacious booths and a street scene... We should have called for a reservation and asked for a booth but eating here was a last-minute decision. New York-ian Italian music is quietly pumped throughout the house. I have to go with my gut and say three out of five. It could have been a four, but, you know, nightmare-inducing subway guy.

Overall: Four out of five overall. I would happily eat at Donato’s again. The food was well done, and the staff was top-shelf. If you plan on going I would highly suggest a reservation and a booth, but otherwise any fan of NY, NY or Italian cuisine should find comfort in Donato’s.

Note: If you would care to contact me about anything I said in this review feel free to contact me through trip advisor, or email me at ferrellchristianr@gmail.com

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
2  Thank Chris F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review
Reviews (460)
There are newer reviews for Donato's Pasta Plus Italian
See the most recent reviews
Traveler rating
Traveler type
Time of year
Language

367 - 371 of 460 reviews

Reviewed March 14, 2013

My parents go this restaurant regularly and recommended it. We were not disappointed! Really liked the decor with the star-studded ceiling and trees. Our waitress was very attentive. Service was quite quick. Very reasonably priced entrees too. Portions are very large, but that's ok! We will definitely return when we go back to Florida. A must for everyone visiting Port Charlotte.

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank klcrossman
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 9, 2013

Don't be fooled by the exterior...this place is something special! The ambience inside was excellent. Well decorated, and made you feel like you were eating in a courtyard under the stars. The four of us all had something different, and we all were very pleased with the delicious food we had. The Pasta Fagoli was so very tasty, and all the entrees we ordered were full of wonderful flavors, and very well presented. I had the veal with peppers and onions, and it was perfect! My wife had the chicken risotto and loved it. This was our first visit here, but it won't be the last! Excellent food and our server Heather was very attentive. A great value for the money as well!

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank HappyinVenice
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 26, 2013

Great atmosphere, good prices, friendly helpful staff, all staff even from kitchen come out to serenade occasionally, NYC theme subway maps and all, 6 different entrees among us with all different even if same color

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank juan32250
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 18, 2013

Great food. Had a wonderful dinner with friends. The decor was great, made to look like you are walking thru a outside garden. The wait staff were all working very hard and were all very pleasant. They have a great selection on entrees to pick from. Our table all ordered something different, so we could at least taste other things on the menu. And everything was very good. Everything was served hot. More bread, no problem! If you have not been, give it a try. I am sure you will enjoy it very much. We all said we would go back again.

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank Bob0409
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers who viewed Donato's Pasta Plus Italian also viewed

Port Charlotte, Southwest Gulf Coast
Port Charlotte, Southwest Gulf Coast
 
Port Charlotte, Southwest Gulf Coast
Punta Gorda, Southwest Gulf Coast
 

Been to Donato's Pasta Plus Italian? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing