We feel like restaurateur and former Top Chef contestant Fabio Viviani is spying on us. From TV. From the street. From inside of a building with binoculars. We half expect him to pop out and say BOO! at any second just to f*ck with us. He might not know who we are, but the feeling is real.
Part of that feeling might be because of the rapid rate him and his DineAmic group partners have started to crank out restaurants in Chicago, Bar Siena included. Bar Siena is their casual yet hip and trendy Italian restaurant in the West Loop. It's a lively place focused on small plates, which makes it a great place to come in small or large groups when you want to go somewhere fun. While Bar Siena serves solid food, a trip here is really more about the atmosphere as a whole. It's Perfect For a variety of things like Girls Night Out, Action at the Bar, or even a First/Early in the Game Date when you need some background noise to get comfortable and break the ice.
If you're familiar with the groups more formal Siena Tavern in River North, think of Bar Siena as it's younger, cooler, and not as fancy little cousin. You can post up on the first floor which is highlighted by a large square bar, or head upstairs to a table in the more expansive dining area, which is ideal if you have a bigger group.
The food has a heavy emphasis on pizza and pasta, and a mix of the two should be the focus of your meal. Pizza is so important to the Bar Siena crew that they have a custom-made pizza oven from Italy nicknamed Bella, which is kind of the restaurant equivalent of 16 year olds naming their cars. We're into Bella though, because the pizzas she's firing out will serve you right.
Keep an eye out for Fabio in case he’s ever around. Maybe he’s watching you too.
A scotch egg that comes over a bed of truffle mascarpone polenta with prosciutto sausage and a piquillo pepper relish. It’s fine. Sounds better on paper than it actually is, and considering the other options we probably wouldn’t order this again.
Fried stuff, namely shrimp and calamari. It’s a heavy batter, but also really good. If you’re in the mood for some fried fish then this is a great appetizer route.
A good hunk of burrata, cherry tomatoes, coppa, and pickled red onion over a lettuce bed. Solid burrata. Order at will.
Escarole, walnuts, pecorino cheese, and dates for a bit of sweetness. Another good salad to start.
Burrata stuffed agnolotti noodles with lobster and tomato. We like it, although it's not quite the deep love affair we envisioned.
This lasagna will weigh you down. Layered pasta with short ribs, taleggio, roasted garlic, and bechamel. It’s good but also really rich, so definitely something you want to split.
Generous amounts of coppa, smoked mozzarella, pecorino cheese, and oregano. This is our favorite red sauce pizza with meat.
Pepperoni pizza. Standard, but good. We would opt for the spicy coppa over the pepperoni if the choice is one or the other.
A great white pizza that’s different and interesting. Spiced pistachio, tallegio cheese, prosciutto, figs, and a drizzle of honey. The salty and sweet combo from the prosciutto and fig and honey is where it’s at. We are really into this pizza.