The trio of Don Italiano eateries belong to a sprawling nationwide chain specializing in a variety of cheap fare – mainly steaks and shabu-shabu. No prizes for guessing, but not much chance of a Michelin Star coming Don’s way.
A bit better than a family restaurant, the lunchtime deal is simple. Choose from three set courses, each slightly better equipped than the other at cost increments of around ¥500.
I did the cheapest; salad, pasta and all-you-can-eat pizza, complimented with unlimited access to the drinks bar (fruit juices, teas, coffees, etc.) – although beer was the order of the day on this occasion, at extra cost.
My dining partners had the slightly more extravagant course, replete with Caesar salad and desert.
My standard salad was dull. The Caesar was salad better, especially as it was graced with shavings from a huge full Parmesan cheese.
Annoyingly, our pastas were less fortunate, being topped with crappy shake-n’-vac Parmesan instead.
The pastas were beef in tomato sauce and a wafū seafood effort. Both were edible. Both were too salty. Expect full points on Tabelog then.
The tabehōdai pizza system is straightforward. You wait at your table and the staff constantly do the rounds with an ever changing variety of pizza. When you need a rest, you turn a little sign atop your table to “rest” and they pass you by until you return said indicator to “fill me up” (or something like that).
The pizza is poor – naturally – but fun all the same. Lots of tomato-based toppings, embellished with auberigine, avocado, mushrooms, mocha and bacon, to name but a few.
There was even a “desert” pizza involving canned cream and bits of banana… My dining partners’ deluxe course even afforded the opportunity to sample a rude cheese cake. Great fun.