The best restaurant in Prato moves to a Tennis Club

Jun 30 2024, 18:11
Mirko Giannoni and Sara Sanesi, who have led Pepe Nero for years, have left their premises on Via Zanini for a new location at the Tennis Club Etruria, near the station. Here’s the new Pepenero - Cucina6Zero

They had wanted to do this for some time, especially since the birth of their first child (now 3 years old, while the second is just over 12 months). Finally, last February, around Valentine’s Day, Mirko Giannoni and Sara Sanesi from Pepenero on Via Zanini, the best place in the city and one of the most interesting in the area, permanently moved to the Tennis Club Etruria, in a completely different context from the previous one. And it was exactly what they wanted.

Pepenero at the Tennis Club

"I've returned to my roots, to my cuisine, which features traditional dishes with a daily changing menu based on what the market offers, alongside more creative, contemporary dishes," says Giannoni. "The last year has been very difficult. The illness and then the death of my father (Marino Giannoni, the historic patron with whom Mirko opened the restaurant 22 years ago) completely consumed me throughout 2023. The arrival of Alberto Sparacino (who is about to open his own place in Piazza Mercatale) in the kitchen three years ago was a strategic choice to manage the change of location, which had been planned for some time."

Sara Sanesi

Increased capacity, outdoor space, lower prices: what’s new

With more seating (they aim to keep it around 50 even though the room could hold about 90), a clientele of long-time regulars, many foreigners due to the nearby station, tennis club members, and professionals opting for the business lunch formula, but most importantly, a significant change for Mirko, a large outdoor space. "We wanted to move because the old location was no longer suitable for our needs with the children. Now they can stay with us comfortably, the spaces and the more 'friendly' context allow for it."

What’s on the menu at the New Pepenero - Cucina6Zero

For several months, since officially taking over the premises on Via Alfredo Guarducci, Mirko has been commuting between the two restaurants. In the new one, while still operating the other, he set up a simpler, tradition-oriented line during the transition period under the Cucina6Zero banner. "I couldn't leave it unused. Now the concepts have merged, and I've returned to doing what I used to with the double name Pepenero - Cucina6Zero. Moreover, at lower prices." In addition to the lunch offering from Monday to Sunday, which also considers the needs of those coming from training or a match, there are two tasting menus, at 45 and 65 euros (previously 80 euros), with five and seven courses, freely chosen from the à la carte menu.

For the research front, there are dishes like "our pigeon ravioli, its jus, and truffle," roasted sea bass with tapenade, seasonal vegetables, and potato cream with Vernaccia sauce and basil oil, Mediterranean-style scallop carpaccio, and the inevitable beef tartare "as taught by Marino Giannoni." At lunchtime, there's chickpea cream with prawns, pappardelle with venison ragù, Livorno-style cod, and even pizza in pala. Sara Sanesi, an experienced sommelier, continues to manage and serve a personal wine cellar suited to Mirko’s cuisine. And what about the premises on Via Zanini? "I own it, but I've handed it over to a group of young people. They will probably turn it into a typical Tuscan eatery, with lots of meat. It's expected to open in September."

Pepenero Cucina6Zero - Tennis Club Etruria - via Alfredo Guarducci, 1 - 339 3400460 - -  

cross linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram