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  • a Cena Ristorante

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a Cena Ristorante
a Cena Ristorante

a Cena Ristorante Details

  • Dining Style: Fine Dining
  • Website: http://www.acenapdx.com
  • Email: chris@acenapdx.com
  • Phone: (503) 206-3291
  • Hours of Operation: Dinner: Sunday - Thursday: 5:00pm - 9:00pm Friday & Saturday: 5:00pm - 10:00pm Lunch: Tuesday-Friday 11:30am-2:30pm Brunch: Saturday and Sunday 10:00am-2:00pm
  • Payment Options: AMEX, MasterCard, Visa
  • Cuisine: Italian
  • Executive Chef: Gabriel Gabreski
  • Dress Code: Smart Casual
  • Accepts Walk-Ins: Yes
  • Additional Details: Bar Dining, Beer, Farm to Table, Full Bar, Non-Smoking Restaurant, Patio/Outdoor Dining, Personal wines welcome (corkage fee applies), Weekend Brunch, Wheelchair Access, Wine
  • Catering: Most of our menu items and other creative items designed between our chef and the client
  • Private Party Facilities: Three rooms allow for separate or joined private dining for 20 to 70 people
  • Private Party Contact: Chris Custer (503) 206-3291

Getting there

  • Cross Street: SE Lambert St.
  • Public Transit: Several on 13th Street
  • Parking: Street Parking
  • Parking Details: Ample street parking
A word from a Cena Ristorante
At a Cena, we share a love for simply cooked meals enjoyed with friends and family. We value fresh ingredients, local Portland area farmers, handmade pastas and cured meats, daily prepared breads, consistency, a well-matched wine list, and a seasoned and personable staff. With these elements, we strive to offer our guests a fine-dining experience with the comfort and warmth of an Italian country kitchen. Salute!Continued
Foodspotting photos
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Awards voted by OpenTable diners
  • Diners' Choice WinnerBest Overall
  • Diners' Choice WinnerBest Ambiance
  • Diners' Choice WinnerBest Food
Diner Reviews
  • "The food was fantastic but the atmosphere does get loud. Everything from the appetizers to the entrees were FANTASTIC. I highly recommend for special occasions and family get togethers. The service was excellent, the waiter was knowledgable and the sous chef came out to say hello. "
    Dined on 4/19/2014
  • "Food, Service and Ambiance are wonderful at a Cena. We go all the time and it is our favorite restaurant on a consistent basis. The owner is in the restaurant many nights and has great personal attention."
    Dined on 4/19/2014
  • "...This was our first venture to A Cena. We sponsored a group for dinner and all the appetizers and main courses were delicious. Very friendly, efficient service, including an exceptional wine recommendation."
    Dined on 4/15/2014
  • "You will not be disappointed, fresh pasta, great specials. One of my favorite restaurants."
    Dined on 3/10/2014
  • "I love a Cena! The food is off the charts, the staff is so friendly you just want to hug them all and the vibe is mellow yet invigorating. I highly recommend this restaurant. It's a great date night - either with your love or with a close friend or a perfect place for a celebratory dinner party. Now, if I could just convince the chef to add a flourless chocolate torte and some GF bread to the menu it would all be perfect...BTW - they have divine gluten-free pasta and gelatos. It's a must-visit!"
    Dined on 4/7/2014
  • "If the food was great, you could overlook how poorly the restaurant manages scheduling tables, but it isn't. The food is average Italian. One pasta dish we ordered was overcooked, one was under, and neither were anything exciting. I admit, my pallet may have been jaded due to the wait. We waited 45 minutes past our reservation time before we got a table and we were not the only tables waiting. At one point, five tables were more than 30 minutes past their seating time. I always suggest trying a place for yourself but I recommend making an early reservation so they're not SO far behind. It's really unacceptably poor planning."
    Dined on 4/4/2014
  • "Very attentive staff and excellent food. This is a little gem."
    Dined on 4/4/2014
  • "Was in town looking for a great italian spor, wound up here and had amazibg food and service! Thanks!"
    Dined on 4/1/2014
  • "We have dined at a Cena several times over the past few years and it never disappoints! From ambiance, to service, and especially the food, everything is well orchestrated and fabulous! Chef Gabe is an extremely talented chef!"
    Dined on 3/30/2014
  • "The service is outstanding - the kitchen is always willing to whip up something delicious and vegan for me. It's especially nice that s Cena is open for Saturday lunch - a lot of upscale place are closed. I will go back again. And again."
    Dined on 3/28/2014
  • "Great food, a bit expensive, but worth it! The corn/marscapone and lobster ravioli was delicious. So was the grilled romaine salad, beet salad, and salted caramel gelato!!!! All homemade, too. Friendly, attentive wait staff."
    Dined on 3/27/2014
  • "A This redtaurant is very predictable and quite good. The prices are reasonable."
    Dined on 3/25/2014
  • "Extraordinary quality and variety. First visit Late August 2013. On 6 occasions since, we've been happy with every aspect. They are high end without the snobbery. Staff is extremely attentive without being intrusive. I like some "volume" on my plate. I hate restaurants that scale down the quantities, to either make us grateful for our seats or to save money. Both reasons are still - stealing. A cena serves worthy portions. The only place my wife willingly goes!"
    Dined on 3/24/2014
  • "We really like this place. Food is always good, with a good variety of creative dishes. Service is top-notch. Owners and staff are always friendly. Very hospitable to those who bring wine from their own cellars, especially when they are interesting ones."
    Dined on 3/21/2014
  • "A Cena is my favorite restaurant. The food, the staff, the ambience. It doesn't get any better."
    Dined on 3/22/2014
  • "03/22/14 was my 3rd time. I had the lamb chops, tried my wife's venison. Also had a faro grain tagliatelle and the grilled romaine salad. All of it was fantastic. Oh and the little bread sticks are like CRACK. The staff is great. This place rocks."
    Dined on 3/22/2014
  • "The food was wonderful. All had different entrees, scallops, halibut, short ribs, and venison. Shared a couple of pear salads , risotto and gnocchi for the table. Wine completed the meal and our waitress was very attentive. We were the "cousin" group! Next time we are in Portland will go again."
    Dined on 3/22/2014
  • "My friend and I had a terrific lunch; we shared a bowl of roasted Brussels sprouts with pancetta; a plate of lobster ravioli and a platter of pork cutlet with potatoes; I had a gelato and and an espresso to top it off. A nice Chianti to drink with lunch. Great, attentive servers, too."
    Dined on 3/22/2014
  • "Intimate, romantic ambiance, great food, nice service. Definitely going back!"
    Dined on 3/21/2014
  • "OK, so while I haven't quite worked my way through the entire menu, everything I've tasted thus far---homemade pastas, apps (the ones you eat, silly!), meat and seafood--has been exceptional. Might be the best "finer Italian dining in the city, and we have lots of good choices. The staff is upbeat and knowledgable, there's energy in the air and dining patrons feed off all this contributing to a moderately high noise level. I understand steps are underway to help improve that, but don't wait to give a Cena a try. You wont regreat it!"
    Dined on 3/16/2014
  • "I have been to a Cena 3-4 times. Not only has the food been remarkable EVERY time I have dined there, I find myself daydreaming about some of the food for weeks after a visit. The owner/host goes out of his way to ensure a quality experience. The service is always spot on. The wine list is notable, but not over the top. Whether a romantic dinner for two or a fun group of six, a Cena is at the top my list of Portland dining options."
    Dined on 1/22/2014
  • "We picked this restaurant due to location halfway between to meet another couple for dinner. We were pleasantly surprised. Amazing, friendly service & delicious food. I had fettuccini with shrimp in a delicate white wine sauce. I would definitely order it again. Their tiramisu is as good as I have tasted. Gina, our server, was competent and delightful & certainly added to a lovely evening out. It is a storefront in a turn of the century craftsman bungalow neighborhood. Street parking was easy to find. My only complaint would be the noise level made it hard to hear dinner conversation."
    Dined on 3/15/2014
  • "Noise level was ridiculously loud. The staff wanted to put my family at a table right next to a group of 8-12 who were standing in and around diners and being extremely noisy. Not what I expected for a romantic family birthday. Food was great, waiter was great. They really need to figure out something to do with the entryway and wait area. Even with reservations it took them almost 45 min. to seat us away from the cacophony."
    Dined on 3/14/2014
  • "a Cena is a neighborhood favorite. For lunch we had a mushroom onion pizza and a grilled ahi salad. Both were delicious. Pizza crust crisp you a bit chewy with just the right amount of topping so as not to make it soggy. Tuna grilled to rare medium was perfect. Service is very attentive and friendly. Very good selection of wines by the glass."
    Dined on 3/12/2014
  • "Having a meal at a Cena is almost as good as being in Italy. The food and service is outstanding in very pleasant surroundings."
    Dined on 3/10/2014
  • "My husband and I found this wonderful restaurant on a walk one evening and decided to stop and eat. It was summer and the outdoor seating in the summer is very nice. The service if very good and personable and the food is top notch. Not to mention the superb Limoncello they make. Their Limoncello is far better than anything bottled and sold. You will love it if you try it."
    Dined on 3/1/2014
  • "We enjoyed ourselves and the food was outstanding."
    Dined on 3/9/2014
  • "We celebrated 2 birthdays. Waiter was very attentive. Excellent menu choices. Appreciated having the option of a smaller portion for the pasta dishes. Everything we ate was delicious. Good desert selections. Prices very reasonable. Will go back soon."
    Dined on 3/8/2014
  • "The price was not worth the quality of the meal. The lobster ravioli was way too sweet. And the canoli didn't taste like it had any sugar in the filling at all. It was almost as if they accidentally switched the fillings between the two dishes. If my husband and I are going to throw down $100 or more for a dinner, we expect higher quality food."
    Dined on 3/7/2014
  • "This is such a special place. It's not hipster and flashy, it's more lovely and warm, and a steady beacon of consistent excellence on the Portland dining scene. You are well taken care of by a tremendous wait staff under the watchful eye and direct tending most nights of the owner himself. The entrees are sumptuous, delicate and satisfying. I had a scallop dish on Friday and the warm romaine salad with blue cheese. Both were top tier. We also had a wonderful velvetty Italian wine that our waiter recommended that was a bargain at, I think, about $35, amazing. The atmosphere is intimate and warm but at the same time upbeat. The food, like the service, is confidently excellent but not pretentious of overwrought. I could go on...."
    Dined on 3/7/2014
  • "Once again A Cena proves to be a wonderful find. Fine kitchen, fine service ,fine ambience."
    Dined on 3/6/2014
  • "Dining at a Cena was a great experience! The food was excellent. The service was impeccable and perfectly timed. And the owner was gracious and engaging throughout the evening. I would heartily recommend a Cena!"
    Dined on 3/1/2014
  • "Found this restaurant looking for a local Italian restaurant. We have visited many Italian restaurants here in Portland, Phoenix, Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area. We were very impressed with A Cena and will definitely return. The homemade pasta was excellent. It rivaled a small authentic Italian restaurant in Santa Monica without the Los Angeles prices. The bruschetta special was delicious. The filet topping was tender, mouthwatering. The Romano grilled romaine was warm and delicious. My husband had the special pasta, paparedelle with rabbit sulu and I chose the homemade penne with fennel sausage and mushrooms. Both were delightful. For dessert we had the salted caramel gelato and cannoli. Great service!"
    Dined on 3/1/2014
  • "My husband and I were looking for a new date night spot that wasn't trendy and overpriced. This place was perfect, however we were seated in the bar area which made it not romantic and service was poor. Food was great the small pasta portions felt like appetizer or small lunch size. So I highly recommend ordering one or two apitizers before ordering the small pasta. Overall good experience and would recommend this to anyone wanting to try great pasta."
    Dined on 2/28/2014
  • "My favorite Portland restaurant. The staff make you feel as special and the food is outstanding!"
    Dined on 2/25/2014
  • "From out of town and decided to make reservations for my friends and I. Aside from waiting a little bit to be seated(seems to very popular) we had an amazing meal and service was nothing short of excellent. Bartender remembered our names and drinks and wait staff were extremely helpful and professional. The ambiance was perfect: low lit with big windows and warm colored walls gave it an authentic Italian feel. I highly recommend the braciole for meat lovers. I would definitely come back and would recommend this gem to my friends and family when in Portland. Kudos to Cena!!!"
    Dined on 2/21/2014
  • "That lobster ravioli dish was outstanding. Other homemade pasta was just delicious, fresh... great texture. The ox stew polenta appetizer was nicely done, great flavor. Desserts??? Tiamisu was really good. Would definitely go back."
    Dined on 2/22/2014
  • "Some forgetfulness on the part of the server? kitchen? a dish we ordered never came and it had to be called to their attention. Also, sea salt caramel gelato was not great -- tasted like vanilla ice cream, but to their credit they didn't charge for it after we commented. Venison and mushroom risotto were fabulous and other than the above, the wait staff were super friendly and attentive. Nice night!"
    Dined on 2/21/2014
  • "We love this little restaurant in Sellwood. The lobster agnolotti is unreal. The service is always so wonderful with such friendly staff. The owner is always there checking that everything goes smoothly. We also love the fromaggio appetizer, fantastic."
    Dined on 2/21/2014
  • "We had a very nice evening at a cena. I ordered the scallops and risotto and my husband ordered the venison. Both were exceptional. We dined with friends, which was lovely, but the noise level made it difficult to enjoy the conversation. If i visit again, I will do so on a week night. Perhaps it will be less noisy, The noise aside, the restaurant was lovely. Again, the food was exceptional."
    Dined on 2/21/2014