Runate, 17, Canneto sull'Oglio, Mantova, 46013
Tel: +39 376 723 001
Dal Pescatore is a 3-Michelin star Italian restaurant located literally in the middle of nowhere. It's a minimum of an hour's drive from any big city (we drove from Verona and it took nearly 90 minutes) and is in a small hamlet which apparently has a total population of over 30 people. Our GPS got us to the hamlet fine, but then we could not initially find the restaurant, though as we drove past a row of houses we could see into a window which had a group of very seriously dressed chefs in a modern kitchen. Thinking that it must be the restaurant, we looked out for the entrance, and eventually managed to locate the closed gate at the side of the row of houses.
Promptly at 8pm, we were ushered into the very tasteful and elegant dining room, which had a lit open fireplace. The tables here were big and widely-spaced, and we were seated next to the glass sliding doors on the other side of which is the courtyard and outdoor dining area during warmer evenings. The restaurant has two resident dogs (a german shepherd and a golden retriever) who were allowed to run freely in the courtyard.
My wife had the Sardinia blue lobster in champagne jelly, royal baeri caviar and marinated eel. She thought that this was very good.
My wife had the sea bass stewed with seasonal vegetables, chili pepper and extra virgin olive oil. The sea bass was not bad, but she did not like the polenta or the pickled seasonal vegetables. Given that 'dal pescatore' means 'the fisherman' in Italian, we expected more from the chef in respect of the fish dishes.
My wife had the wild hare with chestnut mash, which was also very good, but again, the sauce was too much. These two dishes lacked subtlety.
We came to this restaurant with very high hopes and have been looking forward to this meal for over a year. However, though the food was good and the dining room ambience quite special, there was nothing in the menu which was particularly memorable. The kind of service we got that night could have been understandable (if less than perfect service is understandable in a 3-star restaurant; the french would have cried bloody murder) if we were in a big city and this was a high-society place (granted, they did have a helipad next to the restaurant which gave a hint of the kind of guests they get sometimes), however, this was a barn house in the middle of nowhere and they should really have given a bit more credit to guests who bothered to drive all the way out to look for it. On their website and on several other reviews we read about this, much has been made about how this is a family restaurant etc. but that wasn't the experience we had during this visit.
Final Thoughts: The food was very refined yet some of the dishes lacked flair. We suspected that Chef Nadia Santini (who has such a stellar reputation) was not in the kitchen that night, as overall the food didn't meet our expectations (which were sky-high after reading countless reviews raving about this restaurant). Nonetheless, it was a very nice dining room, spacious and warm. Service that night was appalling, we felt. The waiters were condescending and stiff and made us feel watched all night, and not in a good way. At the end of the dinner, Antonio Santini came out to say hi to us but it felt orchestrated. For a restaurant which prided itself on being a family-run restaurant, we did not feel any genuineness in their hospitality that night.