Siena Tavern’s brunch used to be my little secret. While it often took months to get a prime time dinner reservation, I used to stroll in on the weekends around 11:30 a.m. and have no problem scoring a table, sans reservation. My secret seems to be out of the bag now, however, as during my last brunch visit I was happy that we had a reservation because the place was packed! Yet, still, a brunch visit to Siena Tavern is a wise choice. Not only is it easier to get in, but the brunch menu has almost the exact same delicious offerings as the dinner iteration, with the addition of some fantastic sweet and savory breakfast offerings.
Located in the vibrant River North neighborhood of Chicago, Siena Tavern is the brainchild of the Dine Amic Group (Public House, Bull & Bear), and Executive Chef Fabio Viviani of Top Chef fame. Siena Tavern was inspired by a trip to Tuscany and Siena, Italy, and a restaurant called La Taverna, which featured an open kitchen and pizza bar. Siena Tavern serves reinvented American classics with and Italian spin. The restaurant features a crudo bar, a pizza bar, and a large cocktail bar, all surrounded by both booth and table seating.
Siena Tavern has one of my favorite omelets in the city. The artichoke omelet also features charred cherry tomatoes, baby spinach, and fontina cheese. The sticky potatoes with grated parmesan and chopped parsley served on the side are so addicting, I had to order an entire side dish of them during my last visit. The bacon omelet is also a good choice for meat lovers.
I also discovered one of my favorite new brunch items during my last visit – the breakfast skillet with root vegetables, spinach, charred cherry tomato, Sicilian oregano, burrata, and a baked egg. Cooked and served in a cast iron skillet, this savory dish was incredible. I used my sticky potatoes to scoop up the remaining tomato sauce.
The winner for hearty appetites is the egg sandwich. Over easy eggs are served on toasted garlic brioche with pancetta cured bacon, sliced tomato, baby arugula, and a side of sticky potatoes.
The smoked salmon board was also well received, and was served with the traditional accoutrements of tomato, red onion, capers, cucumber, and chive cream cheese. However, instead of the usual bagel, greasy crispy puffs of dough were offered, which was the only miss of the meal.
Other great brunch options include the Siena Chopped salad, with romaine, iceberg, artichoke hearts, avocado, cherry tomato, green bean, egg, radicchio, red onion, salami, pepperoncini, cannellini beans, gorgonzola, and a sweet mustard vinaigrette, as well as any of the pizzas, with the truffle mushroom being my favorite, with roasted wild mushrooms, garlic cream, mozzarella, and white truffle oil.
Pasta lovers will also be satisfied during brunch. Siena Tavern is known for its baked lasagna, which is based upon Fabio’s grandmother’s recipe, as well as the gnocchi, but my favorite is the Squid Ink Linguine, with grilled lobster tail, spicy lobster cream sauce, and shaved green onion.
Overall, you cannot go wrong with Siena Tavern, no matter what you are in the mood for – breakfast, lunch or dinner, any day of the week. Siena Tavern is open for lunch Monday through Friday, dinner seven days a week, and brunch on Saturday and Sunday. Reservations are accepted and encouraged.
51 West Kinzie, Chicago, Illinois