ONLINE EXCLUSIVE: Redwood City Revs Up with Chef Donato Scotti

When the weather turns gray and rainy, and the infamous San Francisco fog settles on the city, one can’t help but wish for some sun and a sojourn out of town.

Luckily, San Francisco is mere minutes away from the beautiful clear skies and temperate climates of the Peninsula. Redwood City is one of the jewels in this crown of communities, known for its warm weather and burgeoning food scene. For Chef Donato Scotti, it is the perfect environment to recreate the culinary atmosphere of his childhood in Bergamo, Italy.

With a lengthy resume that lists Executive Chef stints at the Michelin-starred Ristorante Del l’Angelo in Italy, the legendary Valentino in Los Angeles, and Bay Area favorites Il Fornaio and La Strada, Chef Scotti recently opened his eponymous restaurant Donato Enoteca in the middle of town. Featuring honest, contemporary Italian cuisine, comfortable elegance, and a killer wine list, Donato Enoteca is gaining its fair share of local buzz.

Chef Scotti took some time away from the kitchen to talk Redwood City and red wine with Haute Living:

Haute Living: What makes Redwood City stand out against a powerhouse foodie town like San Francisco?

Donato Scotti: The people! Redwood City is centrally located on the Peninsula, drawing foodie diners not only from within the city but from San Jose to San Francisco and all communities along the Peninsula.

HL: You have guests in town, and it’s time to play tour-guide. What are the best places to visit, eat, and drink along the peninsula?

DS: Start the morning at Half Moon Bay watching the fisherman return with their catch of local seafood., then a trip to Skyline Blvd. with a stop at the Filoli Estate. Hit Saratoga and Los Gatos for lunch and make my way back up through Palo Alto and Mountain View finishing off with a lovely meal on the terrace at Donato Enoteca.

HL: As a restaurant known for its wine list, would you recommend Napa or Sonoma as the best place to experience California wine country?

DS: Our list is fairly unconventional, [and is] largely Italian representing small artisan producers as well as select wines from local California producers. Our wine director Eric Lecours looks for lesser-known varietals and producers to bring something new and special to the table. Napa and Sonoma are wonderful places to visit and taste top quality California wine. However, our favorite place is right here in our back yard, [with] world class wines such as Ridge Winery right here in the Santa Cruz Mountains.

HL: For people planning a feast at home with wine pairings, what is a simple quick Italian dish they can prepare? What wine would you suggest?

DS: Spaghetti aglio e olio is quick classic dish known all over Italy for its simplicity and fresh ingredients: a preparation of spaghetti, olive oil, and garlic. It pairs well with a wide variety of wines from a Soave Classico to great Barolo.

HL: Where would you suggest people shop for the freshest ingredients on the Peninsula?

DS: AG Ferrari, Segona Market, and any number of great farmers markets found in all the small towns of the Peninsula.

HL: Where do you go to relax?

DS: My vegetable garden, foraging for mushrooms in the hills, or biking and hiking with my kids. But there is nothing better than enjoying food and wine at the table with family and friends!