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“A Hidden Gem”
Review of Siena Bistro

Siena Bistro
Ranked #57 of 2,321 Restaurants in San Jose
Price range: US$30 - US$30
Cuisines: French
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Dining options: Reservations
Dining style: Casual Elegant
Cross street: Minnesota Ave
Reviewed 15 July 2013

While this restaurant has been around for a long time, it is still one of Willow Glen's best kept secrets. The food is great but what makes this restaurant special is the owner and staff. They go out of their way to make you feel comfortable and special. They even brought me a blanket to wrap around me when I mentioned (in passing) that I was a little chilly sitting in the patio area . . . then the owner went out and bought propane and lit the outdoor heater for us. If you go often (like maybe 2-3 times), they remember you and greet you by name. Add the excellent service to the great food and it's a definite winner!

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1  Thank kathy k
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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40 - 44 of 53 reviews

Reviewed 7 May 2013

A friend and I had lunch at the Siena Bistro and had a delicious meal with absolutely attentive waitstaff (since there was a large group on the patio and our waiter made sure our order got into the kitchen before the group ordered).

Our meals were superb and I especially enjoyed the creative nature of the scallop salad which came with tasty scallops, spring greens, red onion, orange segments, toasted hazelnuts with a garlic vinaigrette in a parmesan basket.

Siena Bistro is a favorite and our “go to” location when we want to have wonderful food and service time after time.

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Thank HikingLee
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 April 2013

We have been to Siena Bistro several times now and although I am hooked on their Pasta Arrabiata, I get to go back because me wife consistently finds an excellent special. The Pasta Arrabiata is penne noodles in an "angry" sauce (Arrabiata=Angry) with enough sausage and mushrooms to make it a full meal. It's wonderfully spicy and you can get them to make it as hot as you'd want. My wife had a lamb shank last night that was as near to perfect as it could be. The savory sauce was a perfect compliment to the meat that was so tender as to fall off the bone. The crazy panted (or shorted) owner and his staff meld a lot of fun with just the right amount of respect to make you feel like a well known but honored guest. Siena Bistro will remain on our short list of places to eat regularly.

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1  Thank AndyP53
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 21 January 2013

Pros: Great food. Friendly service. Nice neighborhood vibe.
Cons: Tables are stacked together like seating 6 people in a 4 passenger car.

Suggestion: Try the patio. If you're inside, go with a group of 4 or 6 and sit away from the front door.

Star Ratings:
- Overall: 5
- Food Quality: 5
- Food Quantity: 5
- Dining Room Attractiveness: 4
- Menu: 5
- Service: 5
- Noise: 2 ( much hubbub on a busy evening )
- Price: 4
- Value: 5
- Parking: 5
- Restrooms: 3 ( outside the restaurant )
- Ambiance: 5

It's amazing. Until our visit to Siena, it took years for us to find an Italian restaurant near our home we could call "our own". With all the fans of Italian food in the San Jose area, where are the places which cause you to say "when can we come back"? The last time an Italian restaurant in the neighborhood made us feel that way was Mio Vicino in the spot now represented by Yuki Sushi. It's almost as bad as the lack of an East Coast deli. Why are there many good delis in LA and not in San Jose ( or even SF )? Another story for another day.

- Location: Siena can be a tad hard to find unless you know it's behind Le Boulangerie on Lincoln Avenue. However, that less-than-obvious location can work to your advantage since there are many spaces for cars. And it certainly helped Siena because they built a large outdoor patio up to the edge of the lot.

- Dining Room: Compact is a generous description. Bursting at the seams was our experience on a Saturday evening in January. Rectangular tables are spaced about a foot apart to accommodate as many patrons as possible. It helps to make friends with your neighbors because conversations tend to spill over. I wouldn't try to keep a secret at Siena. Fortunately, the patio's like an escape valve. Even at 7 PM in mid winter, the heat lamps were warm enough to keep at least 25 people eating in comfort. I'd certainly try it during the spring and summer.

One suggestion for Dave the owner: Try to find a slot for a table for 2 away from the entrance. I spotted only 3 such tables.....all between the door and walkway to the kitchen. Lots of commotion in a small space.

- Food: Great. Both my wife and I started with a Caesar salad. Her's was a small for $8 and mine a large for $11. Both had fresh lettuce, crispy croutons crisp, tasty shaved parmesan cheese and top notch home made dressing ( thick rather than watery ). My entree of Baked Eggplant Involtini was much better than the name suggests. It was 2 large patties of grilled eggplant rolled with angel hair pasta, ricotta cheese and marinara sauce baked with smoked mozarella cheese for $20. My wife the Dijon Crusted Salmon Filet baked on a cedar plank with mashed potatoes and vegetables for $27. We tried a bit of each and agreed they both were worthy of throwing a kiss to the kitchen...like they do in the movies.

There was no room for dessert. Besides the salads and entrees, we loaded up on bread. Two kinds are served..one a bit darker than the other...with whipped butter. It was good, but a bit light for our taste.

- Service: Excellent. Stephanie, our young server, was friendly, helpful and understood our initial misgivings about sitting in what seemed like the middle of the street. She maintained a nice pace, juggled her tables with much dexterity and kept smiling. She deserved ( and got ) a 20% tip.

- Management: I don't normally have a category for this, but Dave, the owner, not only walked around to most tables...he served many of the ones on the patio. We spoke for about 5 minutes and it was obvious he cares for his customers. I owned a dessert cafe for 4 years ( seems like ages ago ) and had a taste of the trials, tribulations and fun such a place can offer the staff and patrons.

- Menu: Interesting. Not so large you draw a blank at what to choose but large enough to offer many well chosen options.

- Wine List: Kind of like the food menu. Judicious and perceptive. I noted 5-7 reasonable choices in each of about 6 categories. Not overwhelming...especially for the occasional wine drinker. We had a bottle of La Crema chardonnay for $40. For us, it's an old standby which never disappoints...either at or away from home. Dave said it's the most popular wine on his list.

- Price and Value: Very fair. Our tab of $115, including tax, was on the mark. Quality and quantity were evenly matched with the menu prices.

- Parking: No problem. The best part is direct access to the entrance. Sometimes it pays to be located away from the main street with its congestion and limited parking.

- Restrooms: Both Men's and Women's are outside Siena. A communal arrangement with other businesses in the building? Perhaps not the best situation.

We finally have an Italian restaurant not far from home we can call our own. Let's hope it stays that way!

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1  Thank wisemoney
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 7 January 2013

Great food, great service, cute little bistro with patio seating. Always consistent. Lot's to choose from on the menu. Great wine selection and desserts too!

2  Thank SiliconValleyCA
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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