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Pescatori (Restaurant)

Picture of Pescatori in Mayfair, London

11 Dover Street, Mayfair, London, W1S 4LH
Cuisine: Seafood
Tel: 020 7493 2652 | Email to Pescatori | Transport: Green Park | Write review

Pescatori Review

Best for: Mayfair chic, fresh seafood, calm ambience

Great: Fresh flavours, changing menu, dessert selection

Fishermen in the UK wear bottle green gaters and battle with the North Sea, their grizzly beards flecked with fish guts. Fishermen - in Italian, pescatori - in Italy wear rolled up white chinos and skirt the Mediterranean for tasty bites, their olive skin flecked with sea water. The difference is in the name: ‘fishermen’ sounds dull and stinky; ‘Pescatori’ sounds, well, Italian. Restauranteurs who give their establishments an Italian name, that isn't Bella Italia or Prezzo, instantly create an aura of the sunny Mediterranean, which few Brits can resist when done so well, as at Pescatori in Mayfair.

This central London restaurant is the first of two Pescatori restaurants in London - the other is in Charlotte Street, Fitzrovia - and while on the one hand the translated name is pretty uninspired, in Italian it highlights the gastronomic differences between British and Italian seafood. In the UK, any utterance of 'fish...' is usually the precursor to 'and chips'. In Italy, it means sumptuous delights from the ocean.

Aiming to give diners as fresh tasting seafood as possible, without requesting them to head for the nearest beach, Pescatori's buyer scours Billingsgate fish market every morning, and the restaurant's crab and seabass comes straight from a family farm in Cornwall. The menu changes to reflect what is available and/or in season, and market fresh oysters are always available. Prices are chalked onto a blackboard and when we went it cost £9.95 for four. The couple next to us ordered some as a starter and they came served on a bowl of ice with wedges of lemon. For me, I can't get over the fact that they taste like sea water mixed with an unnecessary slimy texture, akin to that which resides inside a sailor's mouth. Besides which, the aphrodisiac element would be lost on my friend and I.

Oysters out of the equation, we got down to ordering. Manager Giampiero Corlucci served us and, on hearing our desired starters and main course, suggested we rethink our wine choice. Admittedly, our process of selection had been pretty neanderthal: I fancied white wine and my friend wanted red, so we thought we’d meet in the middle with a rosé.

Giampiero recommended a Falanghina wine. This is from the Campania region outside of Rome and is alleged to have been the wine of choice of the ancient Romans. It was quite dry and brought out the flavours of my scallop risotto starter beautifully, as well as my Monkfish main and friend's spaghetti vongole; while it tempered the strong taste of my friends' starter: smoked mackerel. At least, that's what the sommelier told us. But seriously, the flavours were fantastic. Admittedly, my friend's mackerel, served with pink blobs of beetroot sauce, was a little on the salty side, but my risotto was packed chocca with scallops, very different to the rudimentary few that other restaurants are tempted to serve up (it also came in a clam shell, which my girly sensibilities liked), and the Monkfish was incredibly tasty.

There's always a fear, at least on my part (I'm willing to accept that many people don't feel anything nearly as strong on subjects as insignificant as sweet eats), that desserts served up in the likes of Pescatori will be a bit of a Kournikova affair. That's to say, while the former tennis star made millions from endorsements and certainly looked the part, she was never grand slam standard. Puds so often are little more than a lot of cream, melted chocolate and a Cosco slice of cake. Not only was the menu at Pescatori long but there were some gooduns too. The chocolate terrine is, according to our waiter, "made for women". Unfortunately, with 69% cocoa, it's not made for women who have already eaten two courses: very rich. The Semifreddo Tirimasu - a seasonal variation on normal tirimasu using ice cream - had an outside texture that was more like mousse, creamier than ice ceam and all the better for it, while the centre was pure gelato heaven.

On the basis of the food and the service, I would definitely recommend Mayfair's Pescatori. However, it's Dover Street location means the atmosphere is a little dry. Wealthy chic Europeans and older overweight rich men who no longer work in The City were dotted about the restaurant and there was a feeling that any raucous party would have been asked to move on to the rather less classy Dover Street wine bar. It's decor is plain too: heavy white tablecloths, wooden panelling, and a huge mirror to reflect the calm atmosphere. But let's not forget what places like this are all about: posing it up in Mayfair, yes, for some, but, more importantly, delicious, fresh seafood. I am truly this fisherman's friend.
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Additional Information

  • Cuisine Type: Seafood
  • Dress Code: Not Specified
  • Group: Pescatori

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"Love the place, the food and the coffee, but most important is the staff and their happy smiling faces every time I go in. Would recommend this to anyone in the area, or if not - get in your car, drive..." Which venue is this?

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"I have been there a few times over the years. The girls are great, there are usually about 5-6 there at any one time. All are attractive and usually there are at least one or two busty ones (my preference,..." Which venue is this?

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