Pescara - Rochester



By Kate Crowley

 I love living smack dab in the middle of the continent. It helps me feel centered spiritually, mentally and physically.  But there is one thing we’re lacking:  In a word - Seafood.  Fresh, sustainably caught seafood is what I crave, but too often I have been disappointed by dining on lackluster lobster; less than tender tuna; or scallops with the texture of rubbery cheese curds.  But my disappointment and sense of deprivation disappeared when I discovered Pescara, the fine dining establishment named for a small Italian fishing village.  Located next to the lobby of the Doubletree Hotel, Pescara opened just two years ago.

Nicci Sylvester, the Special Events coordinator has been at Pescara its beginning and has helped guide their concept of ‘Fresh, forward food’.  Their goal is to have every ingredient in your meal be absolutely the freshest quality with a focus on health and wellness.  But healthy does not eliminate fun and you can find their creativity when you read the menu. Watch for new and interesting take on old standbys; like the lobster macaroni and cheese for instance, or the very popular fish tacos. 

When Nicci learned that owners, Pat Woodring and Scott Foster were going to open a fine dining restaurant with a seafood focus, she knew her younger brother Tony was the right Chef for the job. Along with sous chef Dan Galloway, the kitchen at Pescara turns out dishes carefully and lovingly prepared.  The result takes true skill and a very light touch to prepare fish and other denizens of the sea properly.  

At Pescara the fresh, quality seafood starts with sustainable harvesting which means that your fish is high quality and the habitat is protected for future meals of seafood.  All their fish is hand line caught.  According to Nicci, “We know the captain’s name, we know the boat. We get shellfish tags for our oysters and (tags) for our fish. We know exactly where it comes from.”  Many times the captain will call the Chef to tell him about a recent catch.  With cell phones, the chef is not only able to hear about the condition of the fish, but see it via a photo.   Fish are caught and shipped on the same day, so you can be eating it on the next.

Dishes are served a la carte and there are delicious choices of vegetables (often procured locally and in season) and appetizers. Salads are crisp and presented with a flair for color and topped by perfectly matched house dressings.  And then there are the desserts:  If I might make a suggestion leave a little room for the flourless chocolate torte topped by a seasonally appropriate puree, which might be blood orange, or a raspberry puree. It is close to being pure rich, dark, fudge that melts on the tongue.  Take a few bites and then have it wrapped to go, so you can savor it one bite at time for a day or two. 

Thinking about all the diners who might be wondering how to create equally good entrees with our state’s walleye, bass and trout, I asked Chef Tony for advice. “The secret,” he said,  “is to “make sure the fish is dry,”  Whether it has been frozen and thawed or has just come out of the lake and been filleted, “pat it dry with paper towels, season it on both sides and then either broil it on medium or put it in a nice hot pan.”  A non stick skillet or a cast iron pan are best and not too much oil.  He explained that “wetness and oil react together and create steam which will cause the fish to stick or overcook, and it won’t come out as clean.” 

Every once in a while, if you’re like me, our Midwest diet needs to have an infustion of seafood.  I love our fresh local foods, but still, I get the urge for fresh fish or seafood.  If you feel the same urge head straight to Pescara and you’ll be hooked.   


  1. MY FAVORITE THING!!!!!!!!!! Love Nicci and PESCARA!!! Our favorite restaurant in Rochester!


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