The West Loop is on fire! Well, not literally, but it seems that a great new restaurant is opening up nearly every week, from Japanese to small plates, to Italian. When I was searching for good birthday-appropriate brunch and lunch options, my search led to many options in the West Loop, where we landed on the relatively-new Bar Siena (832 W. Randolph, Chicago, IL), a venture from Top Chef’s Fabio Viviani.
The Bar Siena space is gorgeous, and expansive with dark wood floors, exposed brick and a tree right in the middle of the restaurant, covered in twinkle lights. Though there are bars and TVs throughout (it is positioned sometimes as a sports bar) I wouldn’t really call it that, and there are plenty of places for cozy, relaxed dining. The extensive menu covers both Italian cuisine (fish crudo dishes, homemade pizza and pasta) and Italian-inflected American favorites (sandwiches, salads and burgers). Along with the extensive food and drink menu, we appreciated that you could go more “brunchy” with hearty eggs benedict (with or without lobster) dishes and French toast, or get something more lunch/dinner focused. Well, maybe that just appeals to me because I am not a fan of brunch foods (shhh!). True to the brunch ethos you can get a mimosa or a cappuccino, but we are also excited to report they have a small menus of innovative fresh-squeezed juice blends ($8). We tried the “Rose” juice with watermelon, lime and chia seeds along with a cappuccino while we perused the menu. For our mains, we split between the brunch and lunch menus, though many of the items seemed temping. We narrowly decided against the pizza – in particular the Prosciutto Fig with honey ($19) – maybe next time!
We ordered the short rib hash ($15) and the lobster eggs benedict ($18) from the brunch side of things, and the burrata wedge salad ($16), and the Maine Lobster agnolotti ($22) with burrata (notice a trend?) form the lunch side. Everything was excellent, and completely decadent, perfect for a birthday get-together. The agnolotti pasta was freshly made, and the cream sauce was set off nicely by a a slight chili pepper kick. The breakfast hash was super hearty and comforting, and the shortribs were fall-apart tender. The portion on the eggs benedict was quite generous, and slathered in spicy hollandaise sauce with large chunks of lobster -we can’t think of a tastier brunch dish.
We had a great finish to our meal with the bomboloni ($3 apiece), Italian fried, filled doughnuts including a special candle-topped birthday bomboloni for the birthday girl. You can choose from a variety of piped-in fillings including mixed berry, PB&J salted caramel and seasonal flavors. If you are in the mood for just the bomboloni, you can pick up fried snacks, gelato and coffee at “Bombo Bar” window on the side of the building to-go (if only spring weather would arrive). Bar Siena is the perfect place for brunch as well as lunch or dinner – there is delicious food for pretty much any mood, and no fuss. Plus doughnuts, and what could be better than that!?