Joanne’s Journey to Siena Restaurant

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Siena Restaurant has taken the restaurant business by storm. Now with three locations in East Greenwich, Smithfield and the original in Providence, you don’t have to travel far to enjoy Italian cuisine.

I can’t say I have a favorite location because they are all excellent. I chose to visit the Siena in East Greenwich on a Saturday night and co-owner, Chris Tarro, was there busy chatting with customers and greeting everyone.

The East Greenwich location is on Main Street (located in the former Benny’s plaza). Parking is plentiful and easy as the parking lot is large.

The decor is beautiful and very relaxing. The restaurant is a good size with a good size bar. The bar area is a social night spot where friends and colleagues meet for a cocktail after work and on weekends. I saw plenty of people eating at the bar area too, so don’t be shy about going alone there for a drink and dinner.

We sat in a half booth near the window, which I liked, but my favorite room is the wine room which is most popular. It looks like an elegant glass solarium. I recommend reservations because they are always busy, unless you prefer the bar area which is first come first served.

To start off I ordered a pear martini with Grey Goose vodka garnished with a slice of pear in a chilled martini glass. The secret to a good martini is always a chilled glass in my humble opinion. Also my husband ordered a Beefeater martini straight up with ice on the side. Both were delicious and refreshing! There is a very extensive wine menu with imported wines.  They also have wine nights where specialty wines are premiered with a dinner menu. This is also a popular dining experience.

The menu has quite a few choices of appetizers and entrees. I ordered one of the most popular appetizers there. It’s called “The Firenze Cheese Board”, consisting of Italian Prosciutto di Parma, Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and Castelvetrano olives. There are several different cheese boards you may order or you can simply create your own, which is really a great option. I like the Firenze board because it has the Italian ham – the good one – as my sister, Susan, would say. Being of Italian descent, we all know the different varieties of Italian ham. Parma is one of the best, it’s soft and smooth. Also served with the cheese board are roasted walnuts and toasted Italian crostini bread with fig jam. I could eat just the toasted crostini with fig jam and olives and be happy – but why stop there?

For entrees we ordered the hot spicy roasted chicken with fingerling potatoes and asparagus. If you like your chicken with a kick to it, try this chicken delight, it’s different and delicious! I had the roasted veal chop on the bone with sautéed mushrooms in a delicious demi-glace sauce. This is a restaurant specialty and it is very good! It’s a large portion and cooked to perfection. The sauce really makes this dish flavorful and different. And did I mention that the head chef and other co-owner is Chris’s brother Anthony Tarro who really knows how to cook!

I must say that service is always excellent and the waitstaff here will explain the menu to you with all the variations you may like. The good thing about Siena Restaurant is that if you are looking for something different in Italian cuisine they also offer a wide variety of daily specials too, that are certain to satisfy all. 

I’d be remiss if I did not mention the pasta menu with all my favorites including, bolognese pasta, fettuccini alfredo, and more. Last but not least, you need to try the risotto here. It’s the best I have ever had, light and creamy within Parmesan cheese and it melts in your mouth. 

After all this, how could I fit dessert in? Easily I can when it is chocolate bread pudding with butterscotch pieces, caramel sauce with vanilla bean ice cream. Yes, everyone, that truly topped my meal! But we also had our other favorite too! The specialty dessert Siena is known for is the fried dough served with Nutella sauce and vanilla bean ice cream. How much can anyone eat? Well, we tried our best and enjoyed it all! So if you are looking for an Italian cuisine night, with a wide variety for everyone. Journey to Siena! All three locations are waiting to make your dining experience a dream! Buon Appetito! 

Joanne Giannini
Joanne Giannini is a former State Representative from Providence. A freelance journalist, consultant and writer, she has previously written commentary for The Providence journal, GolocalProv and WPRO radio. Contact her at Pt3270@yahoo.com
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