“ 11 Oxford Road, Manchester, M1 4PB. Tel: 0161 228 2482. „
I visited Don Giovanni's for the first time with a group of friends on Saturday night. If you want to skip the rest of the review, the gist of it is that none of us are likely to ever go back!
The main problem with the experience was the length of time it took. We had a table booked for 8.30 but weren't shown to our table until nearly 9. It was 11pm by the time we all got our main courses so we were getting pretty hungry and irritated, especially those of us that hadn't had starters!
The restaurant had clearly overbooked due to the nearby Labour party conference, as lots of other diners were having the same problems. There were six people in our party but we were crammed onto a table clearly intended for four. Luckily we're all good friends! Other groups looked similarly crowded and there was a definite feeling of being squashed in like sardines.
If the food had been amazing, it would almost have been worth the wait, but sadly it wasn't to be. The food was pretty mediocre and certainly not worth the inflated prices. I had a seafood dish but the quality of the ingredients was really no better than a packet from Tesco. I've had a similar dish from the chain restaurant Zizzi that had much plumper and tastier seafood and much more flavour to the dish, so there was really no benefit in paying extra for the more expensive decor and the waiter's Italian accents! Drinks were too expensive too, the house wine was £17 a bottle and half a pint was nearly £4. It felt like mediocre chain quality food at independent high quality prices. I can't comment on the desserts as by the time we finally had a dessert menu it was getting close to midnight and we felt we'd spent enough time in there!
Credit where its due though, the manager we spoke to in order to complain about our lengthy wait was very apologetic and knocked 25% off the bill which made the cost for such a poor experience a little easier to stomach. Unfortunately not all the staff are so professional as one of the main attractions of the evening was an argument between an unhappy customer and the young chap at the front desk who appeared to have gone to the Italian version of the Basil Fawlty school of customer relations. Every head was turned in their direction, I felt sorry for the customer being shouted at.
So all in all, we won't be in a huge hurry to go back to Don Giovanni's!
have been here twice now and both times have been fantastic and I can not fault the place.
The restaurant is located in the centre of Manchester on Oxford Road. I stayed in the Midland Hotel and the restaurant was only a two-minute walk from the hotel.
Both times I visited the restaurant I did not make reservation and only had to wait five minutes for a table but I went as a couple both times. I would suggest if you go in group of 3 or more then make a reservation just to be safe.
The place is very light and décor is ultra modern, lots of trendy lights, dark wood bar, lots of leather.
What is nice about the restaurant is that the tables are not squashed together, there are plenty of tables but you do not feel you are right next to people on other tables and can hear their conversations. (if they are talking at a normal volume that is!!!)
Service was good. Friendly and efficient, if you needed anything our waitress went straight to get it and you only had to ask once. Once our food order was placed the starter came within 20 minutes.
Typical Italian menu. Pasta, pizza and meat dishes. What I particularly liked about the menu was that there was a wide choice of meat dishes and these were priced reasonable. My steak and mushroom pasta was £10.95 and was gorgeous!
There also is a good wine list with a bottle of house red/ white starting at £10.95.
In total for two people 3 courses and a bottle of wine came to £47. Excellent value for money for a City Centre restaurant.
In the surrounding area there are a number of pubs and bars so if you want to make a night of it in Manchester you can just step out of the restaurant and into a bar!!
If I went to the library more often, I’d probably have found this place ages ago since it’s on the way from where I live to there. Don’t get me wrong, I do read as the ops on books show, but I generally buy rather than borrow when I’m in Manchester. Anyway, Don Giovanni’s is on Oxford St which ends with the library and town hall complex and is the continuation of Oxford Rd. Getting there is easy – busses stop almost outside, and St Peter’s Square Metrolink station is only as few minutes walk. It’s situated next to an easy so see cinema, and has a vivid orange canopy outside. Parking is limited if you want to leave your car for free, but there are several large car parks within a few minutes of the restaurant. I rang up to book the day before we went, and spoke to a charming lady who assured me that they did take reservations for two (some local places only oblige if it’s a large party) and that they could fit us in. Despite the traffic and lack of parking spaces, we arrived dot on our agreed time. The waiter with whom I spoke went to check and came back to inform me I hadn’t reserved but that they could fit us in. Now maybe it’s me, but since they had a table for us, I wouldn’t have though he would have told me they didn’t have our names down – I mean what was gained by him saying that? There had been a menu outside and we’d peeked before we came in, so we had a good idea of what we were after. As well as the normal menu, they also had a fixed one slotted inside which changed frequently. We ordered the food and drinks, and sat back to relax. The atmosphere was leaning more towards “bustling and lively” than “cozy and romantic”, but that was ok. The restaurant was practically full the whole time we were there, but there did seem to be some largish groups in (whose reservations hadn’t been lost….). The ground floor could proba
bly have seated around 40 to 45 customers, and although there were stairs near the door, I’m not sure whether they lead to more tables, toilets or staff only areas. We were sitting near the bar with a good view of the whole place. One side was windows looking out across the small alleyway and the local Odeon cinema, and the front area had a view of Oxford St and the shops and eateries on it. There was also a large mirrored wall which helped to make the place seem larger and airier. The décor was standard Italian really with interesting half-naked men statues, Chianti bottles and classical paintings. The starters arrived quickly and we set in. The menu featured some nice sounding appetizers including garlic olives, breads, tiger prawns and vegetarian and mean dishes - whoever wrote their menu has missed his calling. Their main courses include pizzas, fresh and baked pastas (also available as a starter), steak, chicken, fish and much more. Prices were reasonable for a city centre affair, with starters £1.50 to £6, and main courses up to £15, and the food we ordered was certainly worth it. In Quy’s eyes, Michelangelo’s (see his op – it’s the one place we’ve been that I haven’t written on) now has a rival in the best steak stakes. The only real comment I have is that the garlic bread came with a tomato topping as standard, and this wasn’t mentioned explicitly on the menu (they said “pizza base” but so do lots of places, and most just mean the shape, not the toppings). Puddings on offer included Italian ice cream, gateux and profiteroles which, alas, we didn’t have room for as usual. The service was reasonable all evening – the starters materialized incredibly quickly, but there was then a pretty substantial wait for the main courses. There seemed to be a lot of staff on hand through, and all requests for drinks and bills and the like were met pleasantly and promptly. A 10% servic
e charge is added to your bill but this is shown clearly both on the menu and on the bill itself. They accept almost all credit and debit cards, plus cheques and cash. All in all it was a nice evening out. The food was delicious, the place interesting at very least, and the service more than acceptable. It’s not even all that expensive compared to some of the other places we’ve been, and I have no qualms whatsoever in recommending it should you be in the area.