The delightful restaurant, Da Nando al Pallone, owned by the Canestro family since 1973, is located in Vitorchiano, a small town in the heart of Etruria, 7 kilometers from Viterbo center. It is a tranquil setting at the base of the Cimini Mountains, perfect for a leisurely lunch or a cozy dinner. After all, one should take his time here, savoring a cuisine that has won recognition among the best, according to Giorgio Arrigoni, director and publisher of a yearly agenda featuring 365 of the best restaurants in Italy, one for each day of the year.
Upon the death of his father, Nando, Daniele has taken over the family restaurant – a big responsibility has landed on his very young shoulders, but Al Pallone is in very capable hands. The extensive menu offers several tasting menus: one features a variety of fresh seafood, another a sizeable choice of game and meat specialties, and a third shows off the gifts of the woodlands – namely an array of mushroom and truffle dishes. An extensive wine list leaves one pondering which of the many vintages to choice from – not a problem, Daniele is knowledgeable and can recommend the best choices to accompany each course. Everything on the menu is made fresh daily, in house, including the bread and the pasta. The fresh produce is homegrown in their garden and the desserts, made by their own pastry chef, arrive on a cart utterly laden with temptation.
We sampled specialties from the “hunter’s” menu, which included cinghiale (wild boar), duck, goat and deer meat. What will stand out in my memory are the tortelloni mantecati alla crema di cervo e prosciutto d’anatra, the freshest, lightest pasta “packets” made with a creamy, deer meat filling and a delicate sauce with slivers of duck prosciutto. A unique and utterly delectable primo, it was an intricate part of a first-rate meal.