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Review: “A superb meal at Siena, great service, great food.”

best carpaccio austin

Above: Chef Harvey’s Carpaccio is prepared in the classic Venetian style. The pickled red onions in the middle give it a contemporary flair and were a great tart accompaniment to the high-quality beef and aioli.

On Saturday night, I brought my mother, wife, and two daughters — age two and five months — for a “special occasion” dinner at Siena. My mother was in town from La Jolla, California where I grew up and I wanted to treat her to a great Italian meal.

We were seated promptly in the Caminetto (fire place) room, my favorite space in the restaurant. The fire place was lit and our server, Paul, immediately delivered two high chairs as we requested for the girls.

He was so nice and polite and very patient with us: we had a number of requests, like ordering a Tagliatelle alla Bolognese right away for our older daughter, and he was great about juggling our demanding table!

stuffed figs

Above: The stuffed figs, with a cheese filling, are wrapped in prosciutto and then roasted. Then Chef Harvey dresses them with a delicious balsamic reduction sauce. A Siena classic!

The only other time I’ve seen my older daughter dig into pasta like that was when we were traveling in Italy!

She loved it.

And my mother raved about the Carpaccio, which said was as good as the last time she had it in Venice (where it originated at Harry’s Bar).

The stuffed figs (above) were as delicious as ever and they paired spectacularly well with a well-priced bottle of Gavi by La Scolca (white wine from northwestern Italy).

best bolognese austin

Above: Chef Harvey’s Bolognese sauce is widely considered the best in Austin. I couldn’t help but steal a few tagliatelle from our daughter! It’s one of my favorite dishes at Siena.

With our main courses — roast pork loin for me, breaded pork scaloppine fried in extra-virgin olive oil for my mother and wife — we ordered the Marcarini 2009 Barolo Brunate, which, at around $90, was an excellent value.

Our server Paul’s wine service was impeccable and of course, he offered to decant the wine tableside.

All in all, it was the highlight of my mother’s trip to Austin.

The room was warm and cozy, the service was outstanding, and Chef Harvey’s food was delicious as always.

I loved every minute.

—Jeremy Parzen
Siena webmaster

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