Upscale restaurants are a rarity in California’s historic Gold Country. So, when I was told “locals” call Sienna the best restaurant in El Dorado Hills, I smiled inwardly. It could be they served the biggest steaks, or the best chili, or really good burgers.
But the name of the place – Sienna – immediately conjured up images of the fabulous city in Italy. I jumped to the conclusion that it might be an Italian restaurant. Wrong again. Sienna refers to the dominant color of the décor, not to the type of food.
Turns out it doesn’t matter if it’s the best in the El Dorado Hills, or not. What counts is that it’s very, very good.
The main dining room is a large, open space laid out so each table has a private look and feel. There are four fireplaces, separate rooms for private dining and a Chef’s Table for 10 in the modern 3,600 square foot kitchen. There’s also a wood fired pizza oven from which come some creative pizza preparations. My Pizza Margarita was perfectly thin crusted, with just enough cheese and sliced fresh tomatoes with a strip of basil. At the height of the local tomato season it was good to see how they showcased the fresh tomato instead of reducing it to a sauce.
The menu includes as many dishes with an Asian influence as there Italian tilted offerings. But the largest number of menu items fall into the category of American food in its broadest sense.
Wild mushroom bruschetta on grilled sour dough bread, with goat cheese, leeks and a balsamic reduction jumped off the appetizer menu. The crab cakes with sweet corn relish were excellent.
There are four pizzas available from the oven and nine salads on offer. The dinner menu features the likes of panko crusted chicken, soy glazed salmon, scallop risotto, ahi tuna, mahi mahi, skirt steak with blue cheese butter, filet mignon, and short ribs. Finally, there is a pepper steak pasta, short rib ravioli, shrimp Bolognese, prime rib French dip, and an American Kobe cheese burger.
After a day spent wandering among the wineries and scenery of California’s Gold Country, Sienna provides a subdued ambience in which to relax and unwind.