Al Dente Ristorante, Washington, DC
Born in the Piedmont region of Italy, Roberto Donna arrived in Washington, DC at the age of 19 with almost a lifetime of cooking school education from his native Torino and throughout Europe. In 1984, he opened Galileo and gained a strong following in the DC Metropolitan area. The addition of his Laboratorio and Osteria has made Chef Donna’s restaurant a destination for those seeking the best in Italian cuisine. Now Roberto is Executive Chef at Al Dente restaurant, where he launched a similar concept to his Laboratorio with Roberto’s 8, sparking critical raves and nostalgic sighs from long-time customers, including a three-star review from the Washington Post’s Tom Siestema in 2013. Most recently, he launched Al Dente’s sister restaurant, Alba Osteria, where guests can look forward to a casual setting to savor cuisine from Piemonte with a focus on the town of Alba.
Wine Spectator has called Galileo one of the “10 Best Italian Restaurants in America,” and has continuously honored Chef Donna with its Grand Award of Excellence for Galileo’s comprehensive wine selection since 1997. Among the many accolades bestowed upon Chef Donna one of the most notable came in 1996 when Galileo was named one of the twenty finest Italian restaurants in the world by the President of Italy, as well as winning the James Beard Award for “Best Chef/Mid-Atlantic Region” followed by his induction into “The Fine Dining Hall of Fame”, the Nation’s Restaurant News. In 1997 he published his first cookbook, Cooking in Piedmont. 2001 awarded Donna the “Immigrant Achievement Award” from The American Immigration Law Foundation.
Roberto is an active supporter of the DC Central Kitchen, the American Institute of Wine & Food, Share Our Strength and The James Beard Foundation, and numerous other charitable organizations. His civic-minded activities are an important part of his life and are his way of giving back to the community that has helped him succeed in achieving his dreams.