A 3 Michelin Star from Guinness! For over 90 years, it has welcomed its guests in the name of impeccable hospitality and the cult of gastronomic classicism. It’s Dal Pescatore Santini, a record-breaking Italian three-star restaurant!
by Stefania Buscaglia
In Runate, a delightful village with less than fifty inhabitants in Canneto sull’Oglio – a small town between the provinces of Cremona and Mantua – there is a magical place located within a nature reserve. A pearl, in which it’s easy to recognize an elegant country villa surrounded by green gardens from which it’s easy to see the interiors characterized by refined lounges and a warm family atmosphere. A place among the most famous of Italian catering, known worldwide as Dal Pescatore, a restaurant owned by the Santini family, whose origins date back approximately to a century ago. In fact, it was 1926 when the Santini couple chose to open a simple tavern where to cook the products of the land and the fish caught in the nearby Oglio river with a home-based approach. A family tradition handed down from generation to generation which, evolving naturally over time, gives us a special restaurant, universally considered as an exemplary model of catering and family hospitality and which, since 1970 – with the management of the legendary Antonio Santini and his wife Nadia – begins to ring a series of prestigious awards: in 1982 Dal Pescatore restaurant obtained the first Michelin star and in just six years, it conquered the second. In 1996 the Michelin Guide assigned the third macaron and in this way Nadia Santini became the first and only three-starred female chef in Italy. A successful success since the election in 2013 as “Best Female Chef in the World” for the prestigious The World’s 50 Best Restaurants. A record-breaking curriculum that recognizes the Dal Pescatore restaurant as a leader among the ten Michelin Three Star restaurants in Italy, with its 38 years in the guide, including 24 with the recognition of the three stars. A Guinness record that continues with the fourth generation of the Santini family that identifies Giovanni and Aberto as the custodians of a tradition capable of renewing itself, without ever eradicating itself from its own history and territory. For several years, in fact, Antonio and Nadia Santini have coordinated the dining room and kitchen respectively with their children Alberto and Giovanni to whom they are gradually entrusted with increasing responsibility. A responsibility and trust well placed, which confirm how much the “Santini model” represents the winning choice, immune to fads or passing trends, but attentive to the possibility of evolving its own classicism. A classicism that must not be misleading and that has nothing to do with static and immobility. The recipes of the kitchen are in fact continuously renewed and the increasingly primary presence of Giovanni (graduate in Food Science and Technology) alongside his mother Nadia – brings that touch of increasing lightness and freshness to the dishes, truly inimitable. A similar discourse for the Sala, in which Alberto’s vision contributes to a growing search for excellence in the hospitality model and in the structuring of a winery that fears very few comparisons.
The menu, constantly oscillating between tradition and innovation, continually proposes the element of lightness. Absolutely unmissable stuffed pastas, five in paper, prepared express to every need and command: from the historical Agnoli in brodo, to the epic Tortelli di Zucca, whose taste has for decades attracted the most demanding gourmets, from all the world.
The attention to detail is also evident in the latter, prepared with millimeter perfection and presented in a succession of emotions: from the excellent Foie gras with passito sauce, served with passion fruit and peaches, to the buttery and delicious greedy frog legs with herbs purposes (the best in Italy!). Dishes of unspeakable quality that confirm how the success of this special place depends on the Santini family’s ability to interpret their work as the essence of life itself, in which the family rhythms and customs are harmoniously mixed with their profession: this is this the reason why, sitting at the Dal Pescatore table is equivalent to feeling part of a life project: that of Antonio, Nadia, Giovanni and Alberto, the family of restaurants that the world envies us.
Photo credits © Lucio Elio