a Cena Ristorante
a Cena Ristorante

a Cena Ristorante

  • Dining Style: Fine Dining
  • Website: http://www.acenapdx.com/
  • Phone: 5032063291
  • 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 WinnerNeigborhood Gem
a Cena Ristorante reviews from OpenTable diners
135 reviews since June 21, 2014
Overall Rating4.6
  • Food4.7
    Service4.5
  • Ambiance4.3
    Noise LevelModerate
98% of reviewers would recommend this restaurant to a friend.
neighborhood gem (108)fit for foodies (95)special occasion (80)romantic (58)notable wine list (44)great for outdoor dining (34)good for groups (27)hot spot (15)great for lunch (13)kid-friendly (11)great for brunch (3)late-night find (3)vibrant bar scene (2)Show More
  • 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 2014
    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 2014
    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
    bellastella
    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.
  • Great place nearby.
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 8/27/2014
    The service by Julia was excellent, she knew the menu and her suggestions were very helpful. The food was simple, but very well prepared and delicious.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Delicious, authentic Italian
    Southernfoodie
    Dined on 8/23/2014
    I love this restaurant, but my husband REALLY loves this restaurant. He is Italian and just moved here to Portland from Northern Italy a few years ago. It is always a challenge to find Italian restaurants that meet his approval, and honestly we usually just cook at home when we want it. But we have been to A Cena a few times now, and my husband has been very impressed. They have wonderful housemade foccacia, and the Lobster Agnolotti is his favorite thing. The service is also very welcoming, generous, and prompt.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • I found A Cena on line through
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 8/22/2014
    Yelp so I wasn't really too sure what was going to await us when we arrived. We were both very impressed with all aspects of this restaurant and wouldn't have a problem recommending it to friends and family.
    Special Features:
    kid-friendly, fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion, late-night find
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Best Italian in Portland
    Wineanddineya
    Dined on 8/22/2014
    This place definitely takes pride in their quality of food and service. Wine list is not extensive, but all very good. Food is great value (dinner for two with appetizers and 2 glasses of wine each plus dessert for $110) Best thing about this place...portions are incredible. I couldnt believe the amount of Duck I had on my plate, and it was cooked to perfection. Presentaion was awesome. We left completely satisfied and yes, I've eaten many times in Italy. Been to several other Fine Italian cuisine restaurants, and none adds up to what A Cena provides. Only negative...it can be loud in there.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • absolute favorite restaurant!
    Julie
    Dined on 8/22/2014
    a Cena consistently pleases. The food is exceptionally delicious and the staff is warm, welcoming and professional. It is my very favorite restaurant in Portland and I'm so lucky to be within walking distance! It's happily becoming a Friday night occasion.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, romantic, great for lunch, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Great find in a cool neighborhood.
    jbird
    Dined on 8/15/2014
    Yummy food in all categories!! Fun outside seating. Owner and staff were fantastic! Great wine. Short cab ride back to downtown! You will love, nice, relaxing fun evenjng
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, special occasion, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great dining experience
    JJWB
    Dined on 8/14/2014
    The house Chianti is as good a anything on the wine list. The agnolotti is to die for. This was our second visit and we will be back.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Glad we re-discovered a Cena!
    revalani
    Dined on 8/13/2014
    We went here a few times in the year or two after it first opened, liked it, but for some reason -- even tho it's close to home -- never got in the habit. Despite the fact that we go past it several times a week, it just fell off our radar. We didn't feel like cooking the other night and, I don't know why, a Cena came to mind. We went and had a very positive experience. The service was friendly and highly competent, the wine advice was sound, and the food -- especially my lobster and corn agnolotti, omg -- was awesome. For some reason a Cena doesn't attract critical attention like every new place up on Division. It's a bit pricey, definitely a special occasion place for us, but it's on our radar now.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 8/12/2014
    Always love the food here, but Grilled peaches were out of this world. Scallops and lamb were great as usual.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great food, service but noisy
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 8/10/2014
    This is a great neighborhood restaurant with excellent food, friendly service and a good wine list. We really like it a lot. The only downside is the tables are close together so when it's full, it's noisy. This doesn't prevent us from going there however.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • A Cena - Amazing
    MimiK
    Dined on 8/9/2014
    I am lucky to have this authentic slow food dazzler in my neighborhood. A Cena is a perfect European small restaurant made for conversation over marvelous fresh, locally sourced dishes prepared in the Northern Italian tradition. The Slow Food movement originated in Italy, and A Cena is exactly what the movement is all about: taking the time to delight in the food. Their serving portions are the perfect amount of generous. Every time I have taken friends, they have been amazed at this local gem. I always go in the autumn for my birthday, when I splurge on their amazing duck and the speechlessly divine "Budino," which translates as "butterscotch pudding" but that's like calling risotto "rice." What you want dinner with friends to be.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, romantic, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great food, but not a go to if hot!
    Bcuzimhappy
    Dined on 8/9/2014
    The food is always amazing! But they didn't have a/c and I was sweating! The thermostat said 81 degrees. Also, we ordered another appetizer and they forgot to bring it. :( a cena is still one of my favorite restaurants in Portland.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • One of Portland's BEST!
    joyfuleating
    Dined on 8/8/2014
    My husband and I had an outstanding dinner at La Cena Friday night. We agreed that it is better than any of Portland's standards (like Higgins) or the new places (like The Woodsman, etc.) sprouting throughout town. The service is terrific unlike some of the new places where it feels like the server thinks they are doing you a big favor just bringing you a menu….We need to come here more often!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • great food
    KenAidian
    Dined on 8/6/2014
    After visiting Italy last year, it was nice to find a place which embodied the culture of serving fresh, authentic and great-tasting food without spending a fortune. We had the lamb cavelletti (sp?), margherita pizza, and afogato - all excellent. Even the bread sticks and focaccia were great. Would definitely go back, if only I lived here!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • The service was fantastic
    Cdub
    Dined on 8/6/2014
    The staff worked as a team and our service could not have been more attentive. Food was delivered quickly and was delicious.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, great for outdoor dining
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • A little piece of Italy
    out4tasty
    Dined on 8/5/2014
    A Cena is a wonderful all around experience. With unique and tasty options for each course it can be hard to pick. Luckily the offer half portions of their pastas so you can try multiple or so you have space left over for one of their entrees. The corn and lobster pasta is our favorite. The nutella cake with hazelnuts and gelato was also amazing alongside their homemade lemoncello! All of this with great service!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Standard Italian
    CalgaryFoodie
    Dined on 8/5/2014
    Good quality food, generous portions, but in a hot corner where it was too dark to read the menu and with service that was somewhat indifferent. The owner (my guess) came by at one point and he was extremely friendly and helpful, but our server seemed bored or tired or something.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Love2eat
    Dined on 8/5/2014
    All of the wait staff was very friendly and attentive. Portions were just right, and we were able to share several dishes. I always order bolognese and it was as good as any I've had. The duck breast was superb served with grilled peaches over a warm spinach salad. Priced for special occasion but will definitely go again and have been recommending it to others.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Service was excellent!!
    Travelbum
    Dined on 7/30/2014
    A Cena is a great restaurant for wonderful Italian food. We had the lamb chops and they were excellent and paired well with the wine recommendation from the waiter. Service was excellent and friendly. Will definitely return for another dinner out!
    Special Features:
    special occasion, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Our favorite restaurant
    Marybeth
    Dined on 7/27/2014
    We eat at A Cena about once a month. The owner is almost always there I have noticed. He greets you and checks on everything constantly. The wait staff is always very friendly and knowledgeable. The lobster agnolotti is my favorite though recently had the lasagna which was great, and the lamb pasta is fantastic. Wonderful place.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Best Italian Aside from Italy
    Lynnettee
    Dined on 7/25/2014
    Every single time I'm in Portland, I make it a point to either stop here for dinner or lunch. It's one of my favorite restaurants in the Portland area and my favorite Italian restaurant of all time. Seriously. They even have traditional Pizzelles on the dessert menu! I referred some friends a while back and they actually will drive from Bend, Oregon just for dinner. That says it all.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for lunch, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.