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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
  • 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 WinnerItalian
  • Diners' Choice WinnerNeighborhood Gem
Diner Reviews
  • "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"
    Dined on 8/15/2014
  • "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."
    Dined on 8/14/2014
  • "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."
    Dined on 8/13/2014
  • "Always love the food here, but Grilled peaches were out of this world. Scallops and lamb were great as usual."
    Dined on 8/12/2014
  • "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."
    Dined on 8/10/2014
  • "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."
    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."
    Dined on 8/9/2014
  • "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!"
    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."
    Dined on 8/6/2014
  • "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!"
    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."
    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."
    Dined on 8/5/2014
  • "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!"
    Dined on 7/30/2014
  • "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."
    Dined on 7/25/2014
  • "We've dined at a Cena before and it's always wonderful. From the food to the waitstaff to the overall friendly atmosphere it's a wonderful experience to be repeated often. We love it and will surely be there again."
    Dined on 7/24/2014
  • "We have a house in Portland and try to go to an new restaurant every time, not a problem in Portland. This time I made a mistake and we went back to A Cena. Well it turned out to be a great mistake as we remembered how much we loved the location, staff, and food."
    Dined on 7/18/2014
  • "The food was fabulous, tons of flavor but light not heavy. Friendly, attentive service without dominating. We will return with friends!"
    Dined on 7/15/2014
  • "We had an antipasto first and then each of the four of us chose from the menu. Our waiter, Doug, suggested that we share. It was a good idea.The agnolotti was superb. My favorite. The only disappointment was the duck which was a bit too rare and cut too thck, making it hard to cut and chew. Service was very attentive. a Cena has a cozy and welcoming feeling. We would go back."
    Dined on 7/13/2014
  • "Everything about this experience was easy and enjoyable. Made reservations online. Called when it looked like traffic was going to hold us up and was assured that wouldn't be a problem. Service was attentive but easy-going. Food was delicious. Location was very convenient to a concert we were attending at Reed College later that evening. We will go back!"
    Dined on 7/10/2014
  • "I hadn't been to a Cena in several years mainly because the location is somewhat out of the way for me. The dinner was excellent and the food was better than I remembered. We had a wonderful grilled vegetable appetizer and I had an excellent scallop risotto for my entree. The service was very attentive although the restaurant was not very crowded on a Thursday night. I would definitely like to return and try some of the other menu options."
    Dined on 7/10/2014
  • "The food was incredible, and it rivaled some of the best food my husband and I had in Italy just weeks earlier. I believe that's in part because A Cena is a true trattoria. We had a wonderful time celebrating a birthday due to the delicious plates, great service, and lively setting. The lobster pasta and lamb gnocci are both to die for. We will definitely be going back!"
    Dined on 7/9/2014
  • "A Cena is a fabulous Italian restaurant with great food and great service Fun for couples on a first or fiftieth date. Great also for folks with kids"
    Dined on 7/9/2014
  • "When aCena has a fresh fish special, I always go for it. I have never been disappointed. However my last trip was not up to their high standards. I ordered a Sea Bass and our waitress "de-boned" it table side. I'm so used to filets that I thought there would be few remaining bones. Wrong assumption. While the Sea Bass was cooked perfectly, the plate presentation lacked the normal goodies such as garlic mashed potatoes or grilled asparagus. Just a few onions came with the $28 meal. Luckily, my Teramasu dessert was awesome as always."
    Dined on 6/30/2014
  • "Had a wonderful dinner from start to finish. Large menu with something delicious for everyone. Wait staff was very friendly and attentive. Will definitely be back and highly recommend!"
    Dined on 6/28/2014
  • "Nice experience, but $24 spagetti and meatballs is a bit over priced."
    Dined on 6/28/2014
  • "This was our first visit and we loved it. Great food and an interesting menu, friendly attentive service and a lively atmosphere. We will be back!"
    Dined on 6/28/2014
  • "A Cena never disappoints. The Mediterranean style Branzino was exceptional, except for the bones. The charred Romano salad is wonderful. Unfortunately, on Saturday night, they were very busy and the guys had the pizza which was not as tasty as usual."
    Dined on 6/28/2014
  • "After several trips to aCena, I can tell you the food is consistantly high quality, served in a great casual, but elegant atmosphere. Great for a romantic dinner or a small celebration. The menu is creative and adventurous, but you don't need a secret decoder ring to figure out what it means. The staff has always been attentive and friendly without being over-bearing."
    Dined on 6/28/2014
  • "a Cena is always a great dining experience for us whether it is a date night, a family meal, or a dinner with friends. The staff is well informed, friendly, and attentive and the food is excellent. My favorite is the veal chop but really, whatever they have decided to put on the menu is going to be full of flavor. We had a friend visiting from Geneva who is a vegetarian and they made special efforts to give her additional tasty options even though they already had some great vegetarian options on the menu. She said it was one of the best meals she has had. Thanks a Cena!"
    Dined on 6/24/2014
  • "This is a neighborhood favorite - great for lunch and dinner. The food is innovative, beautifully presented, and consistently delicious."
    Dined on 6/24/2014
  • "Living in CT between NY and Boston we know good Italian food. This is exceptional food"
    Dined on 6/23/2014
  • "We eat here every time we go to Portland. They're passionate about food."
    Dined on 6/21/2014
  • "Best dish we've ever had - lobster ravioli -- yum."
    Dined on 6/21/2014
  • "Took a co-worker for a retirement lunch and we had a wonderful time. Sat by the window, had attentive service and wonderful food. The trout lunch was the best, along with a nice glass of wine and yummy dessert."
    Dined on 6/19/2014
  • "The food is amazing & the service is top notch. My favorite!"
    Dined on 6/17/2014
  • "Not very memorable. Staff was attentive and plenty of them. Food, risotto not good; fetaccine with clams, not bad. Skipped desert went elsewhere. Could be great mediocre every Friday night fare, not special once a year meal. Maybe off day, but not likely to come back."
    Dined on 6/15/2014
  • "Never fails to deliver on a fantastic Italian dining experience. Had one if the specials this time....osso bucco and it was delicious. Grilled vegetable appitizer was a nice start and the pistachio and salt caramel gelato was the perfect finish. Service us always first rate. Coming here again soon.....another encore!"
    Dined on 6/14/2014
  • "My mother visited from out of state and wanted to take us out to dinner. This was a last minute decision the day before. We searched the restaurants I knew she would like, but finding a place for 5 on Saturday is not easy. I was amazed that A Cena had room, as it is such an excellent restaurant. We shared frito misto and grilled artichokes (for me, a delicious new preparation), then had our entres. I love fish and wholeheartedly recommend the grilled bass. Everyone was happy. Wine (prosecco and an Italian Cab franc) were excellent, as were the affogato and tiramisu. Lots of kids, as we went around 6, but all were well-behaved. It had a warm and friendly atmosphere. We'll be back for sure."
    Dined on 6/14/2014
  • "The food was fantastic- you can sit outside and people watch... there were families there with kids but I feel it would also be a great date spot. Seemed to be a spot many neighborhood people were at. Quality of food was high- manager was there and checked in with our table- seemed genuine interested in knowing we enjoyed our experience. I will go back!"
    Dined on 6/14/2014
  • "From Savory to Rich, comfort food to whimsy...This is an experience I will remember."
    Dined on 6/9/2014