Don Giovanni, Mumbai
After the “Oh my god! Is it shutting down totally?” scare, Don Giovanni has opened at the Atria Mall, Worli. In a city with fine Italian restaurants such as Vetro, Celini and Trattoria, Don Giovanni, with its no-fuss, no-frills, just damn good homestyle cooking, remains a popular Italian eatery. But high rents in Juhu have driven the once stand-alone eatery to a mall in south Mumbai (as of now, the restaurant has got a three-month extension).
When things are good, you don’t want them to change. So, it was a relief to see that everything on the menu—the food, the prices and the font, looked the same. But, the taste test remained. The Beef Carpaccio was good, but the delicately flavoured Involtini, boneless chicken stuffed with cheese, herbs and cooked in butter and garlic, was the star. The thin crust ham and cheese pizza tasted just as good, but you can’t leave Don Giovanni without the pasta course. The ravioli with spinach, egg and cottage cheese in the vegetarian section is one dish even serious meat eaters will love. My dinner companion, the biggest fan of the restaurant I know, says all the dishes taste as good as they did at the Juhu outlet. Psst: Even here, “Only well-behaved children are allowed” (if you’ve eaten at the Juhu restaurant, you are familiar with this candid sign at the entrance).
Don Giovanni, Mumbai
The décor has changed and the space is smaller. Also, I’m biased against mall eateries—the environment just doesn’t lend itself well to a serious restaurant.
Appetizers are priced between Rs150 and Rs400. The pastas start at Rs300 and go up to Rs500 for non-vegetarian ones. The meat and fish courses go up to Rs650.
I usually think it’s wise to ask for recommendations when I visit a restaurant for the first time. At Azzurro, DLF Phase I, my colleague and I followed this rule of thumb, but we surprisingly had more misses than hits. The restaurant, which has a branch in Saket, is famous for its pizzas, but our waiter made no mention of them. As a result, we blundered our way through the menu, choosing bland vegetarian dishes for the main course, though we were given the impression that the pasta we were ordering was non-vegetarian.
The starter, Artichoke and Gorgonzola, served on a bed of lettuce, tasted tangy and refreshing, even though the artichokes used were of the canned variety. The hummus with lamb and caramelized onion and pita was a great starter and whetted our appetite for the main course. The portion sizes of the starters are small and meant for one person, so be sure to order your own entrée.
When we got to the main dishes, though, we were sharply disappointed. The Verdure Pepperoni (Mediterranean vegetables with caraway, yogurt, garlic and parsley rice) was ordinary. The pieces of broccoli were chopped way too large. The gnocchi with tomato sauce was, well, gnocchi with tomato sauce. We figured we chose the two least interesting main courses on the menu, but it wasn’t our fault—they were recommended. The saving grace was blueberry semi-freddo and fresh tiramisu.
The eatery, thankfully, is not located in a mall. The branch still has to get it liquor licence. It’s light lunch fare, but don’t expect a mind-blowing Mediterranean meal.
Starters are priced between Rs185 and Rs375. The pizzas start at Rs250, pastas at Rs385 and the main courses at Rs350.