Donatella Arpaia

Restaurateur, Chef, Author, TV Personality

New York

Donatella Arpaia ditched legal briefs for Italian recipes and hasn’t left the kitchen since then. Arpaia opened her first restaurant, Bellini, in 1998 and went on to open a string of successful eateries, including Mia Dona, Anthos and Kefi in New York City as well as EOS and bistro e in Miami. She opened her namesake restaurant, Donatella, and her first bar, Dbar, in 2010. Aside from the various food ventures, you may recognize her as a recurring guest judge on the Food Network’s Iron Chef America and The Next Iron Chef. She also debuted her first cookbook, Donatella Cooks: Simple Food Made Glamorous, in 2010.

  • On October 29, 2012
    Donatella Arpaia answered the question: Donatella Arpaia

    What does Donatella Arpaia wear when she travels?

    I try to find pieces where I still feel a bit glamorous — because I hate the way people dress on planes now — but are still comfortable. I do love cashmere because I don’t get too hot, but it keeps me warm. I usually wear my cashmere pieces and a great pair of my skinny jeans. I have a pair of Fendi boots with a platform. I still like to look pretty. I feel better when I travel looking nice. I have this thing about that. People used to travel looking great. I don’t know what’s happened. But you still want to be comfortable. Find those pieces that travel well and that always look nice. Sometimes I just wear great little dresses.
  • On October 29, 2012
    Donatella Arpaia answered the question: Donatella Arpaia

    What does Donatella Arpaia always travel with?

    I always carry a light cashmere wrap — kind of like a pashmina. It’s very important to me because I’m always cold. A lot of these hotels, you’re always cold. And it’s perfect on the plane. I love to do that. But you know, as you travel more and more, you become a master of editing and narrowing things down to the essentials. I’m at a point where I refuse to — unless I’m staying somewhere for more than a week — check my bag. I just don’t do it.
     
    I always decide to buy [a book] at the airport instead of lugging things with me. In today’s society with the iPads and the books, everything has become much more efficient. I used to lug everything — I used to bring all these books and then end up being weighted down. My whole thing is that whatever I don’t bring, I can buy. But usually, when I’m at the airport, I decide to buy the latest book or magazine that I want to read.
  • On October 29, 2012
    Donatella Arpaia answered the question: Donatella Arpaia

    What is Donatella Arpaia’s favorite restaurant?

    There’s a restaurant in Rome called La Rosetta. It’s been there for like 45 years. It’s known for its seafood. I had the best bucatini with sea urchin in my life. They were really the first ones to do raw fish — crudo — and it’s just amazing.
  • On October 29, 2012
    Donatella Arpaia answered the question: Donatella Arpaia

    What are Donatella Arpaia’s favorite hotels?

    I love Four Seasons anywhere. It’s one of my favorites. And we conceived my son in the Hilton Nui in Bora Bora. It’s like those pictures where you have your own private hut on the water, and it was just magical. It was extremely romantic. You’re in nature and you feel like you’re on your own private island with the bluest water I’ve ever seen in my life, and yet you had all the service and luxury that you wanted. That’s what I loved about it.
  • On October 29, 2012
    Donatella Arpaia answered the question: Donatella Arpaia

    What does Donatella Arpaia love about Naples?

    I spent all my summers growing up in Naples, and I just think it’s a magical city. I don’t think people go there enough. They stop there and they feel like it’s a crime-filled city; but it’s really petty crime. As long as you’re smart about it, you can really eat some of the best food and see some of the best sights. In the city of Naples, there’s a whole street that’s dedicated to the crèche at Christmastime and people make Nativity scenes. They’re really artisans, and I collect these porcelain sculptures from this particular area every time I go there.
  • On October 29, 2012
    Donatella Arpaia answered the question: Donatella Arpaia

    What is Donatella Arpaia’s favorite hotel in Ravello?

    My favorite hotel in Ravello is Palazzo Sasso. It has a fantastic restaurant there. It’s like a castle from the fourth century or something. It’s just spectacular. Their attention to service and the way they treat you is just magical.
  • On October 29, 2012
    Donatella Arpaia answered the question: Donatella Arpaia

    What are Donatella Arpaia's favorite places to visit?

    Italy. It is just because it’s where I’m from, so I’m always there. One of my favorite cities — and I always feel like I have to defend it — is Naples. People come to the airport in Naples and then they head to Capri, but they don’t realize how stunning Naples is. There’s so much beauty, art and culture. You just have to know a few people and places to go. I wish it was more tourist-friendly because once you get into it, it’s spectacular. There’s the main street — Spaccanapoli — that divides Naples’ historic center. It’s teeming with museums, churches, shops and history. I usually stay [in Naples] then I drive to Ravello, which is on the Amalfi Coast. I used to go to Positano and Capri, but they are so filled with tourists now. Ravello is the same scene, the same view, but it’s much more private.