Siena Coffee satisfies a very particular need: It is a sweet, simple coffee shop with great drinks and tasty food. It's not the kind of place that you would travel miles to visit, but more like a happy discovery made around your corner, along the path of your daily commute. In a world increasingly blighted by that ubiquitous green circle and mermaid logo, Siena is a fine neighborhood coffee shop.
The tiny storefront lies on a stretch of Clark just south of Fullerton where stuff tends toward big chains like Urban Outfitters and Tower Records. There are 29 of those green circle mermaid coffee places in the two-mile radius around Siena Coffee, confirming its status as a neighborhood respite from the land of chains.
Duck in and warm up with the coffee of the day for around $1.50, or choose from its full tea and coffee menu. The friendly server won't bat an eye at a "difficult" order, so there is no shame for those drinkers of no-foam, soy, half-caff or otherwise obscure coffee commands. There is a strong selection of baked goods from area bakeries, including scones from Big Shoulders. The yummy pumpkin bread is baked on site.
Siena offers plenty of healthy fare, readymade and waiting to be eaten. Generous portions of low-fat yogurt with fresh mango and blueberries bring some color to the cooler alongside great lunch chow that runs around $4-$6. Hankering for a sandwich? Choose from chicken, tuna salad, roast beef, turkey or smoked salmon. A bevy of salad options are available, including Greek, Tex Mex and Asian chicken.
Seating is limited, and the few stools facing Clark constitute highly desirable people-watching real estate. Watch out for the afternoon onslaught of Parker students and remember Siena next time you are thirsty in the hood.
Average cost: <$10
Centerstage Reviewer: Roni Shapira