The phrases “fine dining” and “casual” don’t usually pair together. In most cases one cancels out the other; not at Siena Restaurant. Located at 4516 Main St. Snyder NY; Siena Restaurant takes the creature comforts of a rustic cabin in the woods and mixes it with the class and elegance that we’ve come to know in the world of “fine dining.”
Siena is not only a restaurant in Buffalo NY, it happens to be one of my favorite little cities in the mountain region of Tuscany Italy. Having been there a few times, I can attest to the simple, classic cuisine that this part of Tuscany is known for. Siena is a hill town in Tuscany that was first settled by the Etruscans in 900 BC. As was the tradition back then; eventually Romans invaded the hill town and claimed it as their own. Siena derived it’s name from an influential Roman family “Saenii,” which translated from it’s Latin roots, means “to be old.” Siena is in fact a very old city, with gothic architecture rivaling that of iconic scenes from the Harry Potter movies. With old fortresses still intact and wine cellars still underground, both the Etruscans and the Romans left many influences that continue to amaze us and catapult our senses. While the Etruscans left Siena herbs and cattle, the Romans left their influence with spices and wines. Today these influences are still seen in the dishes that Tuscany is known for; from wild game to artichoke soup with chili sauce.
Back to our own little slice of Italy; Siena Restaurant may not tout their origins but they do know how to put together a great meal, and that’s what makes Siena a place to check out.
I started my meal with Prosciutto di Parma ($8.95). This classic Italian appetizer is so simple it almost looks disappointing when you see it. But put away that disappointment because as I’ve said time and time again- “don’t judge a book by it’s cover.” This classic dish consists of salty prosciutto delicately wrapped around farmers market melon. A great gluten friendly app and a healthy way to start off a gorgeous meal.
I then settled my eyes on the Carciofi (artichoke) ($12.95). Carciofi are a main stay in the Tuscany region; wildly popular, especial during summer months. The hearts of the artichoke are served with romano cheese, olive oil, and a light mixture of breadcrumbs. * For those of you who are gluten sensitive, this dish is great without the breadcrumbs; artichoke hearts are heart healthy and very flavorful on their own. With just enough room left over I decided to try the chopped salad ($8.95) with fennel, apples, pistachio nuts and tarragon vinaigrette. This salad normally comes with goat cheese, but they graciously left it out due to my lactose intolerance, and did not disappoint; still maintaining it’s citrus, peppery flavor.
For my main course I paired a great glass of Riesling with Siena’s Atlantic Salmon ($32.00 +/-). This dish comes with a chilies and tangerine reduction sauce, laid over a bed of fennel and green olive salad. The crisp and citrus lime flavor of the Riesling was not only the perfect accoutrement, but it opened up my palate to the amazing tangerine flavor of the reduction sauce.
The dark, rustic, and friendly atmosphere is a great place for first timers; new to traditional Italian comfort foods. And while the prices may suggest finer style dining, the atmosphere and friendly attitude of it’s staff forces you to slouch in your chair- exhale- and say “more please.”
** While the menu is not labeled as such; there are many gluten free options.