First Look: Dorona
The modern Italian steakhouse from Fabrizio and Ingrid Aielli is upscale-casual at its finest—and has more to offer besides epic slabs of beef.
The power couple behind Sea Salt and Barbatella—chef Fabrizio and his wife, Ingrid Aielli—have broadened their reach with Dorona, a modern steakhouse that bears their signature Italian stamp on U.S. 41 near Golden Gate Parkway.
Both the name, for a rare white-wine grape grown in Venice, and the colorful crystal chandeliers hanging over the 20-foot-long communal table by the bar are nods to Fabrizio’s hometown. The menu has something for everyone, from fried olives, arancini and Caesar salads prepared tableside to a fried-egg-topped burger and branzino with cherry tomato confit. The centerpiece, however—the beef—is 100 percent domestic (an ambitious endeavor, with cuts coming from small farms in Florida, North Carolina and Nebraska) but given the Italian treatment, served with grilled lemon halves with rosemary-roasted potatoes. (But that shouldn’t deter anyone from ordering the ultra-decadent truffle-burrata mashed potatoes, the first of which this town has seen.)
The Aiellis want it to be an “everyday” kind of place. In fact, if the space seems to have an almost cozy, lived-in quality, it is in part by design and also because it had only just been renovated two years ago as Midtown Kitchen + Bar. The layout remained, with an especially large bar and two distinct dining areas (one with banquettes and the other with stand-alone tables). Small décor tweaks, like hanging planters and gold-leaf murals, were added to reflect the couple’s personality.
The bar and communal table (left) and a dining area with banquettes
“Bites” on the lunch menu include saffron arancini ($6.95, left) and wagyu-stuffed fried green olives ($8.50, right)
Steaks can be split in the kitchen, like this half of a 22-ounce porterhouse ($52, left). All come with rosemary roasted potatoes, but don’t shy away from sides such as these (right): creamed spinach with Parmesan ($7), maple-bourbon Brussels sprouts ($7), and mashed potatoes whipped with burrata and minced truffle ($9, dinner only).
To plan a visit:
2110 Tamiami Trail N., Naples
Open daily for lunch and dinner