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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 WinnerBest Overall
  • Diners' Choice WinnerItalian
  • Diners' Choice WinnerNeighborhood Gem
Diner Reviews
  • "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
  • "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
  • "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
  • "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
  • "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
  • "Nice experience, but $24 spagetti and meatballs is a bit over priced."
    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
  • "Best dish we've ever had - lobster ravioli -- yum."
    Dined on 6/21/2014
  • "This is a neighborhood favorite - great for lunch and dinner. The food is innovative, beautifully presented, and consistently delicious."
    Dined on 6/24/2014
  • "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
  • "Living in CT between NY and Boston we know good Italian food. This is exceptional food"
    Dined on 6/23/2014
  • "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
  • "We eat here every time we go to Portland. They're passionate about food."
    Dined on 6/21/2014
  • "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
  • "Our small group ordered a variety of starter plates and main dishes. We left pleasantly full, perfectly liquored, and in anticipation of a return visit! Everything we dined on was perfectly crafted, and the flavors were excellent! If you haven't been here yet..... get in your car right now and go eat at a Cena!"
    Dined on 6/2/2014
  • "Overall, a great experience. 'Would return often! I appreciated the personal attention we received."
    Dined on 6/7/2014
  • "My boyfriend and I ate here on our first night in Portland. Order the agnelloti (lobster and corn pasta). You will not regret it! Everything is fresh, very well done, and made with a lot of attention. There is not one thing on the menu I would not eat. We tried an appetizer (fries), pizza (sausage), pasta, and dessert (tiramisu), and I was blown away by everything. The restaurant is located in a quiet Portland neighborhood--it's not a touristy place at all. It's absolutely lovely! Also, the service was impeccable. The servers were attentive, helpful, and very friendly. I can't wait to go back to Portland just to eat at a Cena!"
    Dined on 6/3/2014
  • "I never write restaurant reviews but feel to do so in regards to a meal I had at A Cena. I searched high and low for a reataurant to celebrate my daughter'a graduation with all of the grandparents in town. Our party of 6 had varying tastes/needs and to a person we were wowed. A Cena provided the perfect ambiance and the meal was absolutely outstanding. I will be back - often!"
    Dined on 6/5/2014
  • "Came for our anniversary and we had a wonderful dinning experience. a Cena has never let us down. The best Italian food, period. Service was outstanding as always."
    Dined on 3/25/2014
  • "This restaurant is a hidden gem! I found it totally by accident when looking for Eleni's (now defunct). This is our new favorite restaurant! The food is delicious, and the service is lovely.! I would highly recommend A Cena."
    Dined on 6/1/2014
  • "Went to a Cena on saturday, May 31st. Had a 7pm reservation and was seated right away at a nice corner table. Waitstaff was just the right amount attentive. Had a very good, and reasonably priced Barbera. Of course I can't remember the name. The special baby artichoke appetizer was not what we thought it would be, but the ENTREEs were FABULOUS--wonderful fresh-made pasta! And the gelato was to die for! Would definitely go again."
    Dined on 5/31/2014
  • "a Cena is a great neighborhood spot with outstanding food, excellent service, and a beautiful setting. We enjoyed each course, and the wine list was very good. We will definitely return, and have already recommended a Cena to friends and family. A wonderful dinner."
    Dined on 5/29/2014
  • "Very good pasta dishes and deserts. Menu is varied which allows a good selection. Consistent the many times we have been here. Service was much inproved over the last time we dined here."
    Dined on 5/28/2014
  • "Outstanding food and service. This is a great local restaurant with professional and friendly staff. The Lobster ravioli and Veal chop were terrific. Excellent wine list with reasonable prices. All in all a great place to dine indoors or out!"
    Dined on 5/24/2014
  • "When the temperatures are in the 70's, on a sunny day, A Cena's wonderful lunches are even better! It is always a great pick for lunch. Same (or similar) great food as they serve at dinner time, but at lower prices and with a less busy atmosphere. Sweet service, too."
    Dined on 5/20/2014
  • "A very romantic little restaurant- the pasta's fresh, the wine's good, and the waiter remember our occasion for being there. A+ all around. Maybe not a 10th anniversary joint, but wonderful for a special occasion, or if you're just craving a taste of Italy. Go here now!"
    Dined on 5/17/2014
  • "We had a reservation, thankfully, as the entire restaurant was bustling inside and out the entire time we were there! Everything was done to perfection - the food was incredible in every way and the service was outstanding. We'll return as soon as possible. Thanks for a memorable Mother's Day dinner!"
    Dined on 5/11/2014
  • "I heard the hype from friends who raved about a Cena. I was hoping to be wowed, instead I came away thinking it fell short of my expectations. There was no bad, really. The service was top notch, attentive wait staff and just the right amount of time between courses. The apps were tasty not outstanding. The highlight of the meal was the Chianti Classico we drank with dinner. That bottle was just excellent. The Primi and Secondi courses were again tasty, just not memorable. (Lamb, ravioli with lobster, and gnocchi). The gelatos were pretty good, but I've had better. All in all, I'd still return for another meal. I'll try some other options on the menu next time."
    Dined on 5/11/2014
  • "Incredible on every level. The lobster ravioli is beyond description, so I won't even try. The deserts are made by angels in a special corner of paradise. "
    Dined on 5/10/2014
  • "Went for a birthday dinner and even before we told them about the special occaision we were getting treated like they knew. The staff is so friendly and skilled, the food is so tasty - it was just a wonderful experience. Do NOT miss the agnolotti."
    Dined on 5/10/2014
  • "My girlfriend and I enjoy going out to eat quite often. While I am 21, she is not yet. First impression of this quaint little restaurant was good. It has a real home-like Italian feel. The second our waiter came over those impressions were crushed. Not only was he rude that we didn't order wine, but he was extremely rude and distasteful when we simply ordered pizza. If you are going to scoff and insult guests who order it, then don't include it on the menu. Plenty of restaurants take pride in their pizza and enjoy guests who order it. Not only was the waiter rude, but the owner of the restaurant made rude comments as well. I wish the food made it worth it, but $17 burnt pizza that tastes worse than Little Caeser's gets no praise from me."
    Dined on 5/10/2014
  • "From the moment we arrived we were treated with sincerity, warmth, and humor. The waiter enjoyed answering all of our questions, and the food was amazing! "
    Dined on 5/5/2014
  • "The service was excellent - very attentive and pleasant. The food was ok. I ordered the scallops over artichoke risotto. The risotto tasted like plain risotto; I could not taste or see the artichoke. The scallops were not thoroughly cooked and the dish was VERY salty. Salty foods at restaurants means they are trying to boost the flavor with salt instead of ingredients. I generally don't use salt at all so perhaps my salt tolerance is lower than others. My husband ordered pizza, sausage, arugual and chills. The center crust was soggy and he cheese slid off, though the flavor was ok. There was less than 1oz of sausage on the pizza, not what he expected. I had some the next day and thought it was good."
    Dined on 5/3/2014
  • "I just love this place. Great vibe, great food! The pasta is fresh. Do not miss the frito misto. You really can't go wrong here. I have recommended this restaurant to several friends and they all love it too. "
    Dined on 5/3/2014
  • "A Cena is our favorite restaurant in the SE quadrant of Portland. The staff is welcoming and thoughtful, the food ranges between very good and outstanding, and the restaurant is pleasing to the eye. We go for dinner fairly often, but it is a great find for lunch! Same food and service, but much quieter."
    Dined on 5/1/2014