Why We Love It: From when chef Fabrizio Aielli and his wife and business partner Ingrid Aielli first splashed on the Naples scene more than a decade ago with Sea Salt, they have proven they can be counted on for creating consistently excellent dining experiences. Dorona, which opened in January 2018, continues that tradition and gives people living outside of Old Naples reason to cheer, as it’s their first venture beyond downtown on Golden Gate Parkway and U.S. 41. It has earned a sterling reputation for upscale yet not wallet-busting choices for lunch, drinks and dinner.
Ideal meal: While the restaurant was launched as a modern Italian steakhouse—and you can certainly get a mean black Angus tomahawk from Nebraska with a bone the length of your femur protruding from it (not to mention an included helping of rosemary roasted potatoes)—the full page of red meat selections on a separate steak menu are just a sliver of the total offerings. Fare inspired by the chef’s Venetian upbringing and fine-dining pedigree is an eclectic mix of charcuterie, sandwiches, salads, pastas, seafood and land-based entrées. A Caesar prepared tableside is the definition of fresh, a breaded pork Milanese is kicked up a notch with a ball of burrata, an heirloom tomato salad and fried artichokes, and it’s hard to go wrong with a sinfully rich veal ravioli in black truffle cream sauce (similar to one popularized at Sea Salt).
Vibe: It’s sleek without being stridently contemporary, and the casually elegant space is filled with medium-tone wood tables and striking Venetian glass chandeliers. A large, fully stocked bar with a communal table running its length sits in the restaurant’s center. Whether there or in a quiet corner, Dorona is perfect for celebrating a colleague’s recent promotion—or toasting anything else deserving of it.