For one of my last meals during my recent trip to Vancouver, I decided to try out Siena Restaurant, which recently opened the South Granville neighbourhood and is the sister restaurant to Cru. Since they are a “walk-in” restaurant and do not take reservations, we decided to go at around 5:45 on a Saturday in hopes to secure a table without having to wait. There were six of us in total, including my foodie friend Grayelf and her family. They squeezed us in at a four-top with additional chairs on both ends even though when I had first arrived there were quite a few empty tables. I get that they are trying to seat as many patrons as possible since it was a Saturday night but it wasn’t the most comfortable seating arrangement for us. It ended up being quite squishy for us. We didn’t have much elbow room and all our dishes and glasses barely fit on the table.
The menu at Siena is concise with a Mediterranean theme. There is a good selection of starters, pasta as well as a few main dishes. Since there were six of us, we actually got to try a good portion of the menu. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to sample or take pictures of everything that we had ordered. Also, the lighting was really dim which made it really difficult for me to get good pictures.
We started off with an order of the Bruschetta ($11 for all 3 flavours; or $4 each) to share. We got one of each flavour – the Mushroom & Mascarpone; the White Bean Puree & Fig Balsamic; and the Artichoke, Olive, Sundried Tomato with Ricotta Salata. They tasted fine but I thought they were a bit pricey for what we actually got and they weren’t all that special. Out of the three, my favourite was the Mushroom & Mascarpone. I’m glad I tried it but I probably wouldn’t order it again.
One of my dining companions ordered the Grilled Squid ($10). The squid was stuffed with spicy chorizo and served with a roasted red pepper purée. I had a small taste of it and was quite impressed. The grilled squid was really tender and I enjoyed the spicy chorizo stuffing. I would probably order this on my next visit.
Grayelf wanted to try the Burrata ($12), which was drizzled with extra virgin olive oil and served with a large slice of focaccia and a rocket salad. The Burrata was creamy, delicate, and delicious. I enjoyed it immensely.
We also shared an order of the Polenta Fries ($5) that were served with a basil almond aioli. These fries were a bit hit amongst all my dining companions. The fries were crispy on the outside and creamy on the inside. Even though I’m normally not a fan of polenta, I loved these fries and would definitely order them again my next visit.
The Arancine ($6 for three), on the other hand, were not exactly a hit. The Aracine special changes daily at Siena. On this visit, the Arancine were flavoured with beet, rosemary, and orange. They were served with the same basil almond aioli as the one for the polenta fries. I found the Arancine balls to be a bit mushy on the inside and the flavours were not that well-balanced. Because of the beets, I actually found them to be a bit on the sweet side. I’ve definitely had more memorable arancine before.
For her main, Grayelf tried the Free-range Organic Chicken Breast ($21), which was brick-roasted with rosemary, lemon, garlic & capers and served with ricotta gnudi. I was impressed that the chicken was really tender and flavourful. The ricotta gnudi were toothsome and actually kind of reminded me of gnocchi except they don’t contain potato. This dish was well-executed all around.
My friend C ordered the Mushroom Tagliatelle ($16) that was tossed with parmesan, shallots, and charred leeks in madeira cream sauce. The sauce was silky and rich. The tagliatelle pasta was light and perfectly al dente.
For my main, I had the Braised Lamb Ravioli ($18) with truffled pecorino and a mint & orange gremolata. The ravioli were light and delicious. I was actually quite surprised at how mild the braised lamb tasted. Overall, it was a well-balanced dish that was solidly prepared.
My friend C and I also shared a side of Sautéed Kale ($5). The kale was sautéed with fried garlic, chile, lemon, and olive oil. It was delicious. Both my friend C and I enjoyed the kale a lot. I was actually surprised at how flavourful and well-executed it was. I liked that the kale was tender yet toothsome.
Overall, I really enjoyed our meal at Siena. Their wine list, like their food, was very affordable. Most of the dishes were executed with great care and were delicious. Considering the price point, they certainly exceeded my expectations. They are a great place to go for a casual meal. I certainly will be back for their polenta fries and pastas.
1485 West 12th Avenue