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Simple Italian in Silicon Valley

Donato Enoteca stays true to its old-world roots.

Redwood City
Picture Il Fornaio with a few artisan touches, and you get an image of this earnest, outsize restaurant, where chef Donato Scotti applies an old-world stamp to a setting that could pass for a suburban chain. Scotti’s sprawling menu is strongest at its simplest, as evidenced by wild-boar bruschetta, the sweet meat spiked with chianti vinegar, and by uncomplicated pizzas like a blistered margherita and another topped with pesto and salami—an intensely flavored but unpretentious pair. Those fond of restraint may question what’s been done to the diver scallops, drowned as they are in lemon-caper butter, with asparagus and starchy fregola pearls, just as they may wonder what asparagus is doing on a dish in midwinter at a restaurant that makes proud claims to seasonality. But downtown Redwood City may not be the proper place to mull over such matters. Here, against a bland commercial district, in a dining room paneled with old wine cabinets that calls to mind the Via Veneto by way of Vegas, a hardworking chef is making agnolotti by hand. That’s as Italian as the neighborhood gets. 1041 Middlefield Rd. (Bet. Main St. and Jefferson Ave.), 650-701-1000 $$ RW **