If you’re looking for a restaurant in central Manchester that can truly claim to have watched on as the city transformed from post-industrial decline to 21st Century success, then Don Giovanni is a good shout. First opening its doors in 1984, before a good chunk of the staff here at Manchester’s Finest were even born, let alone knew the secret to a good ragu, this independent Italian restaurant has successfully developed and adapted with the changing times. Impressively, it remains one of the go-to eateries around St Peter’s Square and the Oxford Road corridor’s most northerly end.
Blessed with floor to ceiling windows, the bright but sophisticated interior is almost always buzzing with life, and offers a sleek, elegant environment in which to truly indulge. The menu has been honed over decades to deliver something authentic but also contemporary, and although focused on Italy there are plenty of options best described as ‘Mediterranean’. Home to the Filleti di Branzino — which some say is the best sea bass you’ll find in the city centre — and Raviola Aragosta with lobster sauce, Don Giovanni is definitely a paradise for carnivores and pescatarians alike. Just take a look at the range of steaks, from Tomahawks and Chateaubriand to Milanese veal, if you don’t believe us.
Having said that, vegetarians are not left out. Don Giovanni’s gnocchi with gorgonzola is definitely to die for, as are other meat-free dishes like the risotto al funghi, bruschetta al pomodoro, and spinach and ricotta lasagne. Pizzas are also a great shout here, and the desserts are exceptional. Beyond that, an outstanding wine list is on hand to complement the food, including a range of particularly noteworthy boutique bottles showcasing the best of Italy’s viticulture. Unsurprisingly, then, Don Giovanni has walked away with a slew of hospitality awards during its time, including a Les Routiers prize for continuous provision of a warm welcome and exceptional service.