a Cena Ristorante
a Cena Ristorante

a Cena Ristorante

  • Dining Style: Fine Dining
  • Website: http://www.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 5032063291

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 Food
  • Diners' Choice WinnerItalian
a Cena Ristorante reviews from OpenTable diners
136 reviews since July 29, 2014
Overall Rating4.5
  • Food4.6
    Service4.4
  • Ambiance4.2
    Noise LevelModerate
93% of reviewers would recommend this restaurant to a friend.
neighborhood gem (102)fit for foodies (95)special occasion (78)romantic (58)notable wine list (41)good for groups (26)great for outdoor dining (24)hot spot (10)great for lunch (9)kid-friendly (5)late-night find (4)vibrant bar scene (1)great for brunch (1)Show More
  • Italian soul food!
    ZeldaVIP
    Dined on 11/23/2014
    Our meal was delicious, the setting and ambience were divine and the service was impeccable. This ristorante is truly a neighborhoid gem.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Best in Portland
    JAndJ
    Dined on 11/19/2014
    I come to Portland twice a year and always look forward to dining at A Cena. The food, wine and service are top notch. They had just come out with a new menu which I think is great. Chains never try anything new. Knowing I might find something new makes me want to come in more often.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great neighborhood restaurant
    jdregan
    Dined on 11/15/2014
    A Cena is in our neighborhood and we go there often for special occasions and when we have guests in town. The food is always very good. The wine choices are wonderful. This time we had the calamari and olives as appetizers. We had a special beet salad to share. And we had the lamb bacon pasta, agnolotti, and two scallop specials. after dinner we shared the tiramisu. Fabulous!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Iggy
    Dined on 11/14/2014
    The staff were very attentive. I ordered their recommended dish which was perfection for the foodie I am!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Sorters
    Dined on 11/8/2014
    The food was Ok but the whole service extremely rushed. We felt very hurried to eat and get out. It was our first time at A Cena and probably our last.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Jportia
    Dined on 11/8/2014
    Good authentic Italian food, awesome Limoncellotini!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Fabulous Girls Luncheon
    Lovetoeat
    Dined on 11/8/2014
    We have held two baby showers here and have always been very pleased. The food is excellent, wine is lovely and ambience makes for relaxing and long conversation. Accomodating and attentive service. Highly recommend.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for lunch, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great Service/Yummy Food
    OpenTable Diner Since 2012
    Dined on 11/6/2014
    Had a great dinner, lovely service, server even asked the kitchen for something special for my husband, who had his heart set on a dish he had had before. The accommodated us. Good cocktails, good food and wonderful service. Romantic restaurant.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Neighborhood Gem
    skate210
    Dined on 11/6/2014
    Great friendly restaurant. Owner was there and made sure the night was perfect.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • NicknameVIP
    Dined on 11/4/2014
    Food was OK, waitress tried to bluff her way through the wine selection. Service was OK. Not on our list to return to, there are too many good and great restaurants to go to.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Great food. Better service.
    madrileno
    Dined on 11/1/2014
    I took my fiancee here just after proposing because we were both dying for Italian food after just finishing a whole30 stint. I was a littlE disappointed with the ambiance at first because I was so far away from my fiancee. After we polished off the baked mozzarella appetizer, my lovely lady ushered me over to sit with her on the bench while we waited for our entree. Within a minute or so the manager had pushed another table against ours so we could sit together. We were so glad he did. The agnalotti with lobster is divine and the short rib with gnocchi did not disappoint. But the biggest surprise were the brussel sprouts - to die for. We were so impressed how well we were taken care of by not just our waiter but the entire waitstaff.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, late-night find, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Decent experience
    Kevin
    Dined on 10/30/2014
    The welcoming was rather awkward along with the greeting and seating us. Seemed they were more concerned with themselves than the people coming in the door. From there everything improved. Server was cordial and understood the menu. There were three of us for lunch and each of us enjoyed our food immensely.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for lunch, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Yum!
    lexqueen
    Dined on 10/26/2014
    The food & service are are top notch; thoughtfully composed and not too big menu. We had baked cheese appetizer, beet & grilled romaine salads, agnoloti (marscapone & sweet corn stuffed ravioli with butter poached lobster & sauce) fennel sausage w/pasta, beef tortellini (stuffed w/braised short rib), canneloni & tiramisu. Each was incredible. Wine list is so so. If you're really picky about wine, bring your own & pay corkage fee. Seating is comfortable. There are two fairly small rooms for seating - both very susceptible to high noise levels if you are unfortunate enough to be there when there are loud, thoughtless parties (this has happened 2 of the 3 times we have been there). All in all, the best Italian ristorante I've been to
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Fantastic
    pxbpxbVIP
    Dined on 10/24/2014
    This place gets overlooked a bit simply because it's in Sellwood which, for whatever reason, has not grown a critical mass of excellent restaurants unlike many other east side neighborhoods (get on that Sellwood!). But this is a fantastic little Italian restaurant. The service is consistently warm, welcoming, and highly competent, but never obnoxious or intrusive. Both the specials and the regular menu items are succulent and first rate (love the scallops). The atmosphere is not pretentious and hipster, but warm, intimate and somehow festive at the same time. This restaurant is consistently and deservedly popular but it's still usually possible to get a late stage reservation on Friday or Saturday. Highly recommended!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • What the heck happened?
    Livetoeat
    Dined on 10/21/2014
    Have raved about A Cena in the past and have enjoyed introducing it as a favorite to many friends. This experience was way under par. Servers took plates and glasses away before we were finished as if they needed them for other diners. The food was all around mediocre: salad had some compost in it and had no apple which was indicated on the menu. The bread, which is typically outstanding was blah; frito misto way too salty... I could go on and on. It was not a good experience and they did not seem to care. Perhaps it was because it was a Tuesday evening? They surely had their B team in, or maybe even C or D. Not sure I will go back. I will try to remember all of the fantastic experiences I had here previously.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • reliable quality
    Classof2014
    Dined on 10/21/2014
    we love to go to A Cena for special occasions. the food is always outstanding, and as they have come to know who we are, we always get a warm reception.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Amazing neighborhood spot!
    mishaw
    Dined on 10/19/2014
    We love going to A Cena anytime we want a delicious, nicer meal in the neighborhood. It never fails to disappoint. Amazing food, service, specials, you name it. Always a treat to dine at A Cena!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • foodie
    Dined on 10/19/2014
    we were greatly disappointed....the food was not what we had expected...the appetizer was good ...the next course was okay...the next course was underdone eggplant..if not for the bus boy the service would have been less than attentive. I resent that in that type of restaurant the tablecloth had a paper cover on it. After having told the front that it was our guest's birthday and being told that they would take care of it......nothing...not even a wish for a happy birthday. We brought this to the notice of the hostess and was given a flippant "sorry" as she walked away.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • A must try in Portland
    KAD13
    Dined on 10/18/2014
    We make it a point to visit this quaint spot every time we visit From Seattle. Excellent Italian food, inventive preparations and truly exceptional service. The staff go out of their way to make you feel welcome. The only challenge you will have is deciding what to order.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Very Disappointing This Time
    bellastellaVIP
    Dined on 10/18/2014
    Neither the food nor the service came close to the very positive experiences that we've had at a Cena in the past.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
  • Great Food - Disappointing Service
    OpenTable Diner Since 2012
    Dined on 10/18/2014
    Acena is one of our go to restaurants. The food is delicious, the atmosphere is lively but the last two times I have been really underwhelmed by the service. Upon being seated at 7:00pm, our server briskly asked us if we wanted to something to drink and quickly told us the specials. Upon serving the two beers, without serving the two cocktails, she asked if we were ready to order. This was my first red flag that our server was not there to elevate the experience but merely trying to turn the table. 20 minutes into being being seated we ordered three appetizers and more cocktails. The server appeared put off that we were not going to order our main courses at the same time. Super disappointing evening!
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Foodie
    Dined on 10/11/2014
    Always good. Like it a lot! An energetic and fun place.
    Special Features:
    hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
  • Delightful
    Mary
    Dined on 10/7/2014
    With a menu that varies according to season and the whim of the chef, a Cena is an unpretentious restaurant that knows what it means to eat well.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Awesome Sellwood Italian gem
    OpenTable Diner Since 2007
    Dined on 10/4/2014
    Limited menu done well. Great service, wanted for nothing. Main dining room can be noisy, get a side room. The lobster ravioli is exceptional.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Food was good; service disappointed
    love2eatanddrink
    Dined on 9/30/2014
    The atmosphere is cute but the noise level was so bad, my family of three spent most of the meal saying "what?" We were celebrating a birthday, which should have been obvious because 1) we noted it in our reservation and 2) we opened gifts and cards at the table. But, the waitress was oblivious. She interrupted our gift opening and tried to take our order, which made things feel rushed. We ordered dessert, which came sans candle, and no acknowledgement in any way that we were celebrating. I felt the food was overpriced, particularly the $24 spaghetti and meatballs. If the service was at the same level, it might have felt worth it and special, but I felt disappointed overall.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Wonderful experience
    muibui
    Dined on 9/30/2014
    Several friends were coming from out of town and on a whim I chose A Cena, just hoping for the best. Well, it turned out to be wonderful. The restaurant is very cute and well decorated. The ambiance was delightful. Service was great. But the food was by far the most spectacular of all. There was 6 of us and we decided to try almost half the menu. We all loved Agnolotti...yummy. We will be back for sure.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great food and service
    Gary
    Dined on 9/28/2014
    We wanted to try A Cena for over a year and just never made it, our LOSS, this is the best dinner that i can remember since my wedding night 15 years ago. My wife must have said "that was really good" about 5 times on the ride home. They make all of their pasta fresh everyday and you can tell. Everything from the bread that they serve before dinner to the dinner its self is just fantastic. I enjoyed it so much that i felt taking the time to write this was something that I could do, I never do reviews.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Terrific ambience
    2PM2
    Dined on 9/27/2014
    from the owner to the servers, this place strikes just the right chord between casual,and formal. Terrific food, beer, pizza, everything!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, hot spot, neighborhood gem, romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Perfect Date
    BigEd
    Dined on 9/23/2014
    I recently had dinner here, and reserved prior on Opentable. Staff was awesome, they called me on my special requests, and not only that made sure we had a table where we could sit an talk with little interruptions. This didn't effect the service, they made sure that are needs were meet. The food was out of this world, we started with a caprese salad which was not overpowering at all, but a perfect taste. Both my date and I were blown away with the food, and even the portion size. The Rabbit dish I had was cooked perfectly, and had just the right amount of spice. They did have a great Italian wine selection, however I brought my own bottle for the meal.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • eandb
    Dined on 9/23/2014
    Outstanding Italian food in a relaxed and comfortable setting. Great service. Our new favorite in Portland.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Excellent as always
    OpenTable Diner Since 2006VIP
    Dined on 9/20/2014
    Another excellent dinner at a Cena. Tagliatelle and pappardelle were both outstanding. Love this place!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Another fine meal
    nycXerGreekDinerboy
    Dined on 9/20/2014
    We had a party of 6 with an infant, the restaurant set us in a perfect spot for the group (near the bar). The hostess and staff were exceptionally friendly and attentive. The meal, as expected was excellent! As usual I tried my best to sample as many things as I could (we folks in mediterranean families share dishes often). To that end, the appetizers were delectable (tried the octopus, Roman artichokes, and friitto misto), the fresh pastas- delicious (braised rabbit pappardelle, garganelli alla norcia & spaghetti), my entree (lamb chops)- superb! To top it off, at the request of our group- they put together a cookie plate for us as a dessert to dessert, delivered by the Chef. Thanks again from a NYC transplant.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • OCHottie
    Dined on 9/19/2014
    Always courteous and friendly staff. Never disappointed on the food and to how delicious it is. Wine choice available, drinks were a specialty and delightful suggestion upon server recommendation. A smaller, more intimate restaurant to be suggested to friends and family. Look forward to many return visits.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, notable wine list, romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • A Charming Neighborhood Spot
    NB61
    Dined on 9/17/2014
    First the pros: Very good, personable service. Many service people; everyone seems to pitch in. Brought our wine quickly; owner very friendly and personable. Very good salad; large enough to share. The cons: While the menu looked intriguing--"tagliatelle with brussels sprouts"--sounded great, but the brussels sprouts were not cooked it was like biting into marbles. Also the fresh pasta, while tasty, clumped together and did not really stand up to the brussels sprouts etc. We also had the papparadelli with rabbit. My husband was somewhat put off by a large piece of rabbit skin in the sauce and he thought there was not much flavor. In general our impression of the food was that there were some good ideas but execution needed more attention.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, kid-friendly, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • a Cena delivers, again
    PinotJim
    Dined on 9/15/2014
    Some new pasta dishes that were outstanding. The corn-marscapone ravolii with lobster was outstanding, just right on the portion control. Each of us had a different dish and each reported "outstanding". The wait staff was engaging without being intrusive.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Good food
    abbykake
    Dined on 9/13/2014
    Had a wonderful dinner. Food was good. Service was excellent. Loved my lamb chops.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Mildly Disappointed
    bellastellaVIP
    Dined on 9/11/2014
    We took visiting company to dinner at a Cena this weekend night based on consistently excellent food. While the lamb chop special was truly outstanding and our guest was impressed with the spaghetti and meatballs, the rabbit pappardelle was nothing like what we've enjoyed in Tuscany. The noodles themselves were delicious but overwhelmed the watery, under-seasoned broth that accompanied the rabbit. It was reminiscent of chicken noodle soup. I've always wanted to try a Cena's version but won't be ordering it again.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Consistently Amazing!
    KenTom
    Dined on 9/6/2014
    We have been going to A Cena since it opened, and we always have a great time and a delicious meal. Chris, the owner makes you feel like you are coming to his home for a great Italian meal. One of our favorite places in town.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great Find!
    barrelracerfoodie
    Dined on 8/29/2014
    What a delightful find, a true gem! The owner was more than gracious, the food was outstanding, the neighborhood this restaurant is located in is very charming. This will be a restaurant we will revisit when we are in Portland again. Amazing experience!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Great Dinner --Amazing Service!
    foodielovesItaly
    Dined on 8/28/2014
    We love a Cena for dinner and for special lunch while hitting the antique stores in Sellwood. Call ahead and make sure they are open though. The menu is very authentic Italian - not your Olive Garden that is for sure!! The service is awesome. They take great care of you for sure.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.