When Don Giovanni had to down the shutters at its Juhu address of eight years, suburbanites felt a threat to their Sunday ritual of a comforting Italian meal at what was widely credited to be the city’s best standalone Italian restaurant.
“I wasn’t done with Mumbai just yet,” said the restaurant’s Italian chief Giovanni Fredrico and so they opened at Atria Mall, Worli. Despite the sealink rendering the journey to Worli less arduous, Fredrico kept up his search for a space in Juhu, one that’s paid off.
A week ago the restaurant reopened, not far from its original destination, in a space far more fetching than its modest first. Regulars will be heartened to know that the menu is the same, except that it’s abridged from the original to make choices simpler.
Start your meal with their butter-doused focacia, follow it up with the cream of veg soup. Waiting between courses is inevitable, as Fredrico impresses “we don’t pre-cook anything”. Moving on to pizzas, which are prepared here in wood fire ovens. Opt for a Margherita — it’s crisp, light and perfect before your pasta, prepared from scratch, makes an appearance.
The pastas here are stuff of legend. We recommend pesto served with vegetables and trenette or the crespela, a pancake stuffed with mushrooms (for veg) or minced chicken, herbs and ricotta (for non-veg) dunked in a handsome serving of a tomato cheese sauce. The risottos are merely passable.
For meat lovers, the Pollo Ai Ferri, a Don Giovanni signature dish is tried, tested and totally spot on. Grilled chicken breast seasoned with pepper and lemon served with French fries or mashed potatoes lends perspective to a good Italian meal. A serving of Liu Tears (a signature dessert of cream and praline) and cup of Lavazza are good ways to end a fine meal.
A meal for three will set you back by Rs 2,000 and the service isn’t as compelling as the food. But for fans, the Italian’s return to the burbs is cheer enough.