Foodie Discoveries » Dinner at Pier Pettinaio

Estimated reading time: 8 minutes

4.5 stars

For our third day during our Seven Days in Siena, we dined at Ristorante Pier Pettinaio. Steps away from the Piazza del Campo, Ristorante Pier Pettinaio is located in a small alley of the same name just off one of the main shopping streets.

A small terrasse with a half dozen tables sits outside, adding to the ambiance and charm. Due to the unseasonably warm weather for the last week of September, the terrace was packed so we sat at a table inside. 

We were immediately charmed by ancient brickwork and vaulted ceilings in the main dining room. The walls are covered with photo of famous personalities and Palio winners from years gone by. Everything contributed to an ambiance that is truly and authentically Italian.

Our first visit to Pier Pettinaio

We found the restaurant totally by chance as we strolled along the streets and alleys of the historic center of Siena. We hadn’t made any plans for dinner which as I’ve noted previously, can be a very bad idea in weekends. In this case, we lucked out.

Perhaps it was because of the fact that the restaurant is located in a narrow alley just off the beaten path with less natural foot traffic. Anyway, we were able to get a table without having to wait – we were already off to a good start!

For those who may be curious about the name, Pier Pettinaio was a Franciscan mystic known for his honesty and piety. He was also a comb-seller in Siena and lived until his death in 1289. Pier Pettinaio is recognized for his spiritual devotion and his role as a merchant in Siena. So, not the name of the owner.

A few a few images from Pier Pettinaio

Primi – 

For primi, Danielle ordered the Raviolo aperto con burrata pomodirini datterterini e pesto. Essentially deconstructed “Open” ravioli made of sheets of homemade pasta filled with burrata, cherry tomatos and pesto.

I chose the tagliatelle al sugo di anotra al profumo d’arancia: homemade tagliatelle served with duck ragù. Both were nicely presented and absolutely delicious.

Secondi – 

We were both seduced by the Guanciotta di vitello su sedano rapa e spinacci croccanti: braised veal cheeks with celeriac puree and spinache. It literally melted in your mouth. Amazing dish.

Dolce –

After such a sumptuous meal we were literally too full for desert. A shame because the selection looked delicious.

See the full menu here :

Our second visit to Pier Pettinaio

Inspired by our sumptuous meal, and intrigued by the huge selection of Fiorentina steak being cured in the display case, we decided to reserve a table for our last dinner in Siena. Our host assured us that Pier Pettinaio served the best Bistecca alla Fiorentina in all of Tuscany no less. We decided to put that claim to the test.

For those who are unfamiliar, Bistecca Fiorentina is a renowned Italian steak dish, specifically a Porterhouse steak, known as Bistecca alla Fiorentina. This dish is a staple of Tuscan cuisine, traditionally made from young steer or heifer meat.

Historical origins of Bistecca alla Fiorentina

According to sources, the origin of Bistecca alla Fiorentina dates back to Florence in 1565, during a celebration for the wedding of Paolo Orsino and Isabella, daughter of the Duke of Florence. At this event, a whole ox was roasted in Piazza San Lorenzo and distributed to the people. English knights present at the celebration started shouting “beef-steak!” at the sight of the steaks, leading Florentines to adopt the name “bistecca” for this grilled cut of meat.

The dish is traditionally made from the loin of a young steer, and si typically a T-bone steak or Porterhouse with both fillet and sirloin sides, and is typically 3-4 cm high and 1.5-2 kg in weight. The perfect Bistecca alla Fiorentina is well grilled on the outside and rare inside, cooked on a barbecue grill without dressing for about 5 minutes on each side.

Choosing your Bistecca at Pier Pettiano

The first step is to choose the thickness. Bistecca is served at minimum of two fingers thick. So a portion size depends on the size of the chef’s hands. After taking our order, the waiter made his way to the kitchen to discuss our choices with the chef. Part of the magic of the experience is hearing the chef chop off your portion of meat, which was accomplished with three deft and resounding blows. Remarkable!

Presentation of the Bistecca

The next step is for the waiter to present the steak at the table to ensure our satisfaction with the cut. Ours turned out to be a full three fingers (2.5 inches) and 1.5 kg in weight. Too much meat for two, but the thickness added to the spectacle!

Grilling the Bistecca

The steak is typically grilled on the bone until rare and seasoned with local spices. It is often made from Chianina beef, an ancient Tuscan breed famous for its flavorful meat. The restaurant’s semi-open kitchen allows guests to get a peek at the action happening on their large grill.

Serving the Bistecca

The Bistecca is served on a hot stone, carved in thick slices. The bone is also included in the presentation for those uninhibited enough to eat the remaining meat directly off the bone. I was tempted, but did not. The meal was served with beans (fagioli al fiasco) and roasted potatoes and a basket of delicious tuscan bread.

Wine selection at Pier Pettiano

Pier Pettiano has an extensive and impressive wine list. We of course opted for a lovely Brunello: Brunello di Montalcino Belpoggio 2017 (91 points Falstaff), an excellent vintage and a beautiful bottle and label. This Brunello was a wonderful Sangiovese with rich and lively empyreumatic wine with a notes of eucalyptus, leather and dark ripe fruit.

Opens with aromas of eucalyptus oil, wild herb and saddle leather. On the linear, no-fuss palate, dusty, drying tannins accompany black cherry and licorice while bright acidity keeps it light on its feet. Drink 2022–2026.
Kerin O’Keefe” – 89/100Wine Enthusiast

Again, No Dolci

Needless to say that we were so stuffed from all of the excellent steaks that there was no room for even a small biscotti.

The Perfect End to a Perfect Week

Stuffed, but fully content, we wrapped up our last evening in Siena. What a fitting way to end a perfect stay in such a wonderful city. The Sienese are truly blessed. As we walked back to our apartment to finish packing, we made a vow to return to this wonderful destination soon.

Where to find Restaurant Pier Pettiano in the Siena Centro

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