Gino Tiozzo loves seeing and interacting with the customers at Donatello.

By Elisa Santana

Donatello Italian Restaurant offers a second generation family-owned restaurant that takes pride in its Northern Italian roots, its atmosphere and its reputation of taking care of its guests.

Opened in Tampa by Guido Tiozzo and now managed by his son, Gino, Donatello opened in 1984. Donatello’s fine cuisine is derived mostly from Italy and the northern style of cooking, but also features traditional dishes that range as far south as Naples and the Amalfi coast. Such dishes include: Calamari Amalfitama, chilled calamari dressed in a flavorful olive oil, garlic, lemon juice and parsley dressing; Capelli al Pomodoro, traditional tomato and basil sauce over angel hair pasta; and more.

The restaurant, now a four-star authentic Italian fine dining restaurant has hundreds of reviews and is listed as the Best Italian Restaurant in Florida by Trip Advisor. Hollywood celebrities like John Travolta, the late Robin Williams and many more musical and sports greats adorn the entry walls.

“Authenticity, quality, tradition—those are the things that set us apart. Our dedication to service and quality, you won’t find anywhere else,” said Gino. “Some of our artwork comes from actual Venetian painters. Each piece was made for the restaurant. My stepmother hand painted the ceiling tiles with gold leaf herself.”

Tradition is important to the Tiozzo family and more than eight of its staff members have been with the business for 30 years or more.

The atmosphere is romantic, comfortable and welcoming. Attire is business formal and it is the perfect date night, milestone and occasion destination. Monthly special events, theme nights and Opera Tampa nights, bringing talented singers to entertain the guests, are a big hit.

Live music is now available in the piano bar/lounge Wednesday-Saturday with Happy Hour Monday-Friday from 5-7 p.m.

Donatello Italian Restaurant is located at 232 N. Dale Mabry Hwy. For more information on special events, reservations and private room bookings, call 875-6660 or visit www.donatellorestaurant.com.