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  • Ava Gene's

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Ava Gene's
Ava Gene's

Ava Gene's Details

  • Dining Style: Casual Elegant
  • Website: http://avagenes.com/
  • Phone: (971) 229-0571
  • Hours of Operation: Dinner: Nightly: 5:00pm - 11:00pm
  • Payment Options: AMEX, MasterCard, Visa
  • Cuisine: Italian
  • Executive Chef: Joshua McFadden
  • Dress Code: Smart Casual
  • Accepts Walk-Ins: Yes
  • Additional Details: Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Beer, Chef's Table, Counter Seating, Farm to Table, Full Bar, Non-Smoking Restaurant, Personal wines welcome, Personal wines welcome (corkage fee applies), Wine

Getting there

  • Cross Street: SE 34th Avenue
  • Parking: Private Lot
A word from Ava Gene's
Ava Gene’s is a neighborhood place, located on Division Street in Southeast Portland. Our restaurant serves rustic cuisine, features an extensive wine list and offers cocktails focused on & inspired by the regions of Italy. We look forward to seeing you soon!
Foodspotting photos
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Awards voted by OpenTable diners
  • Diners' Choice WinnerItalian
  • Diners' Choice WinnerHot Spot
  • Diners' Choice WinnerMost Booked
Diner Reviews
  • "It was the Merc's review of the Tuscan Cavalry salad that led me here in the first place, so of course we ordered that (amazing!), the ahi tuna, the burrata cheese plate, and one of their "breads." Everything was incredible, service was great, and the ambiance was cozy and lively. I can see why it's so hard to get a reservation here!"
    Dined on 7/21/2014
  • "The environs were clean, fresh and rustic. Busy, but not too loud. Pre-dinner drink; barkeep was a bit slow but the drinks were yummy. We got seated right on time. The waitress was friendly and attentive and very helpful with the menu and the wines. Our table neighbors highly recommended the "celery, almonds, dates, parmigiano-reggiano" appetizer, so we got it - agreed whole-heartedly - fantastic!! He order the linguine with seafood and I had the fettuccine with lamb and pork - both wonderful - full of flavor and satisfying. And the portions were right on - not too much and not too little. We had room for the garlic bread and another glass of wine (they do have some great wines). I'll be going back."
    Dined on 7/21/2014
  • "Loved this restaurant. The food was fresh and fabulous and so different from American "Italian" restaurants. I cannot stress enough how fresh the ingredients were and the service was perfect. We ordered the zucchini with pistachios which was served room temperature, just the way my Italian family serves vegetables. We also had linguini with clams and squid which was cooked to perfection and just below the point of the fish turning rubbery---still juicy, sweet and briny all at the same time. Also had "meatball Monday" cavatelli with meatballs in a pomodoro and unlike other restaurants the use of garlic was subdued in everything to give the ingredients their chance to shine without being overpowered. The spiced olives are DIVINE!"
    Dined on 7/21/2014
  • "It's obvious that a lot of effort has been put into the entire dining experience. The restaurant feels like you walked into a 3 star restaurant in NYC, with comparable prices. The details (and investment) obviously mattered in a way no other restaurant in Portland duplicates yet it retains a comfortable Portland vibe. The marble bars, serving stations and décor are tastefully elegant. The dinnerware is from Heath ceramics giving it a rougher and more relaxed experience. The ingredients are top-notch of what's available in town. The kitchen is currently firing on all cylinders and the steak is easily one of the best in town. Pastas are wonderfully toothy."
    Dined on 7/16/2014
  • "Ava Gene's is always a treat. Their salads are amazing. Not your typical lettuce and tomato fare. Creations in themselves. And the entrees are outstanding. We always get the pasta, and we're thrilled every time."
    Dined on 7/16/2014
  • "PRO Food was fantastic. Service was right on. CON Space was too loud. AC was not working-too hot. Other: too much of menu in italian"
    Dined on 7/15/2014
  • "The food was spectacular, however the ambience was not what I expected. My husband spent our anniversary dinner with a child kicking him at some points (and we have kids so we are not anti-children) and I was literally rubbing elbows with the person next to me, that's how close the tables are. It was very loud, not the romantic anniversary dinner I had hoped for, HOWEVER the food was just as good as they say it is. I recommend going to Ava Genes with friends and ordering lots of plates to share with the table, I recommend skipping Ava Genes for anniversaries or special occasions."
    Dined on 7/15/2014
  • "Great ambiance, it was quite the scene. Having lived in Portland for many years it was a trip to see such a rich & oh so slightly pretensions crowd lording it over division street. Attractive women with giant handbags hanging off their elbows in summer dresses that cost five times what our very expensive dinner was about to cost were in abundance. So, very nice food with flavors that were quite different. The waitress was certainly very impressed with her own menu & let is know it. Flavorful and slightly different but is it worth all the hype ? While it was good, I'm Not sure I'd buy into it being one of the wonders of the Portland food scene. That being said, definitely worth a visit. Cafe mingo is better for half the price."
    Dined on 7/13/2014
  • "Worth the wait for this reservation. Our waitress was amazing and knows how to really describe the amazing food and drinks you have to offer. We will be back!"
    Dined on 7/13/2014
  • "The food. The service. The uncomfortable seating and cramped tables. Not worth the $70 for 2 appetizers, 2 salads, a side, and a dessert. So many other places to eat in Portland. You're not missing out, don't let the month out reservation fool you. (They did have good burrata... But that was the extent of our enjoyment)"
    Dined on 7/11/2014
  • "Trio of salads was a highlight even to my husband who isn't a fan of salads. All the vegetables were cut, steamed and dressed to perfection. We practically drank the dressing on the bottom. The gnocci was the special and it was like tasting tiny perfect dough pillows from the gods..they melted in my mouth and I wished I had ordered more. We ordered the lamb leg and shoulder which was seasoned with a delightfully spicy and exotic seasoning and of course, served perfectly with tart Cherries and crisp green beans. Each ingredient was of exceptional quality. Our waitress was passionate about the food and poetically described our options and was giddy at our selections. We will definitely go back."
    Dined on 7/10/2014
  • "After trying futilely to get a reservation with short lead times, we finally took the next available time four days later and it was worth the wait. Clever and tasty mixes from the bar, wonderful appetizers especially Tre Scelte and a local cheese Sleeping Beauty, and mains that require more then three carnivores. We all enjoyed the sampler of salads and even our vegan was delighted with her gnocchi. The rest of us enjoyed the lamb and cavatelli pastas and then ordered another gnocchi because we were not getting a share from the vegan diner. The wine selection by the server was superb, yet not too pricey, and the desserts, from cannolo (as in one cannoli) to the summer smash, a delight. We will go again."
    Dined on 7/10/2014
  • "outrageously expensive. Very tough lamb. Snobbish wait staff."
    Dined on 7/9/2014
  • "The salad with italian Fish Sauce was genius! Very refreshing and surprising."
    Dined on 7/8/2014
  • "Ava Gene's menu can take a little deciphering (luckily they include a glossary), but it's creative - and so satisfying to read. To date, I've never been able to just order one of the entrees, because so many of the appetizers, breads, cheese, salumi, vegetables, pasta plates and other side dishes are calling my name. I always end up ordering multiple small plates. My favorite option by far is to order the Tre Scelete dai Giardini - choosing three vegetable dishes from the "Gardens" portion of the menu; this place is doing truly beautiful things with vegetables. It's an easy place to bring omnivores and vegetarians and gluten-avoiders, though a little tougher (but not impossible) for the vegan set. Plus, there's cannoli."
    Dined on 7/7/2014
  • "The food is incredible, the service impeccable, the atmosphere energetic. The prices however are ridiculous for the portions of food you receive. $32 for a 4-ounce piece of salmon? That makes me feel like you took me out back and shoved a stick up my backside and then expected me to say "thanks". Really? $32 for a small piece of fish that they could not even cook correctly? Thanks for the experience but if I want to get f*#ked I will go somewhere else. By the way the "expeditor" (Chef?) was outside smoking with friends most of the shift while we were there so the food was probably not up to the quality one would expect."
    Dined on 7/7/2014
  • "From drinks to food they do it well. Perfect, well balanced Martini. Knowledgable staff provided great assistance pairing a wine to my dinner. Favorite item: sautéed greens-outstanding."
    Dined on 7/7/2014
  • "Lovely food in a vibrant and warm setting. Would recommend."
    Dined on 7/6/2014
  • "We were given a gift certificate and were hoping it would be a good meal. We realized it is super popular right now and we tend to stay away from the trendy flavor of the month restaurants. We were pleasantly surprised. Every dish starting with the salad and ending with dessert was perfect! The flavor, the freshness, and the presentation. The salad of fresh peas, mint, squid and hazelnuts was fantastic. We had fettuccine carbonara: the pasta was the best I've ever had! The steak was prepared exactly to the right doneness and the side of cauliflower was excellent. all accompanied with a glass of red wine that our waitress chose. Deep flavor. dessert was malted cherry gelato & cookies and panna cotta, very creamy. I loved this meal!"
    Dined on 7/6/2014
  • "Unfortunately, we were disappointed ...the pasta was not al dente..it was hard...I am italian and cook a great deal...the sauce and flavor of the food was good but the pasta was not cooked appropriately.We made reservations because your restaurant had a review that you were the best in Pdx. And I wanted to take my mother in law for a special birthday dinner. My husband and my mother in law did not finish but I asked for boxes to go because it's not polite to not finish your meal. I gave you the fair rating Sincerely, Rose C Secrest-Sarver"
    Dined on 7/5/2014
  • "The food was so incredibly flavorful and the menu is set up to provide the opportunity to try a variety of dishes. We had a cheese plate, charcuterie plate, three small salads, spiced olives, and a pasta entree that was delicious. Ava Gene's sets itself apart from other restaurants with the exquisite mixture of complementary flavors in all their menu items. Exceptional service and a warm and friendly atmosphere are always present while enjoying a meal at Ava Gene's."
    Dined on 7/3/2014
  • "Food was great! The service was OK it took a long time to get our drink orders to us and get the meal started but once they did the food was great! Waitress wasn't overly helpful. They couldn't expand our reservation from 4 to 5 to accommodate a late joining guest."
    Dined on 7/2/2014
  • "Fantastic meal on our only night in Portland. Great food and extremely knowledgeable staff. Very cool Italian wine list with all kinds of goodies"
    Dined on 7/1/2014
  • "We had an amazing time! Food and wine were great!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!."
    Dined on 6/30/2014
  • "We had heard great things about this restaurant and mostly it lived up to its reputation. The service and atmosphere were top notch. The salads and cheese dishes we ordered were truly delectable. Our only slight disappointment was the meat/fish course. The salmon with zucchini I ordered was good, but nothing really special. The same was true of my husband's lamb shoulder. In retrospect we wish we had ordered one of the pasta dishes. All in all, however, it was a most enjoyable dining experience."
    Dined on 6/30/2014
  • "We had to wait months to get a Saturday reservation but it was worth it. Incredible food in every course. Service at a perfect pace. Book ahead for your special night and it will be well worth the wait."
    Dined on 6/28/2014
  • "Compared to so many other wonderful restaurants to choose from in Portland Ava Gene's was really disappointing. The food was good but paying $35 for a tiny sliver of salmon with barely any vegetables and a sprinkling of garden flowers was too much. Waitress seemed distracted and never took the trouble to explain the overly complicated menu. Maybe we just ordered wrong but I'll pass next time."
    Dined on 6/28/2014
  • "The food tasted great but the portions were very small for the price that you pay. We got the salmon for $35 and there were six bites of it at the most. The ambiance in the restaurant was very pleasant. I also liked the idea of the bar they had in front of the kitchen for walk-ins."
    Dined on 6/28/2014
  • "Small portions, overpriced, noisy and really not worth it. Not sure why it’s recognized as one of Portland’s best restaurants there are many others that are better!"
    Dined on 6/26/2014
  • "Four of us had a wonderful meal at Ava Gene's! We were greeted immediately and taken to our table by the window. The food was outstanding and we loved the dressings on the unique ingredients in the salads. The salmon was done to perfection and we will go back soon!!"
    Dined on 6/26/2014
  • "Yes, Martha Stewart was there 2 weeks before. Yes, in 2013, this restaurant was voted #1 in Portland and #5 in the nation. NO, we were not ready for the creativity of the dishes and how flavorful everything was. The entire menu was emblematic for seasonal Portland. It made a local proud and make the visitors eager to return. The service was informative and unrushed. It was just right, and each one of our party of three had a different favorite. Highlights included the burrata with homemade bread, wood fired salmon, and grilled romanesco. Most restaurants can be conservative when it comes to vegetables, but this was possibly the best selection of accessible and delicious veggies. Small parking lot, so arrive early to avoid street parking."
    Dined on 6/26/2014
  • "Had a nice rabbit ragu with orchietti that was not as chunky like I've had before. Interesting dish of fava beans with mint mixed into a pesto. Nice meal along with great company."
    Dined on 6/25/2014
  • "The food is packed with intense flavors but the menus were not easy to read. The after dinner drinks were numerous but no one at the table could decipher what any of them were. We called our waiter over and described what we wanted. He quickly supplied us with what we were looking for, but the experience was slightly pretentious. One other suggestion. The portions were unusually large. One friend ordered the three salads for an entree and it was enough to serve the whole table. Another order a stew that was enough to feed two people. The wait staff should inform customers of the size of portions. Nonetheless I would highly recommend the restaurant."
    Dined on 6/25/2014
  • "It's unfortunate that I will not return due to the horrible service that we received and on a Wednesday night! Our server served drinks and appetizers to a table that was seated after us. It took 20 minutes for our server to take our order. It wasn't very busy either! Food was good, but high priced for the portion size."
    Dined on 6/25/2014
  • "Our wait person's service was not worthy of the restaurant. The lamb was tough. Nice space for a meal and we had fun."
    Dined on 6/25/2014
  • "Ava Gene's was picked by Portland Magazine as the "Best Restaurant in Portland" and that's a huge title to live up to. Whatever they did well to get that title has been obviously compromised by success. Greeting was impersonal, seating pro forma. The music was deafening. No, we did not want the first table next to the maitre'd stand even though the place was empty. Our service was a fabulous and personal UNTIL it got busy. The food, much of which came from elsewhere, was good but uneven; salty. A radiatore with rabbit ragu should have been gutsy and flavorful, not bland. Once it came time for after-dinner coffee and dessert service things got really ragged. No check, no after-dinner drink, no napkins. They need to regroup."
    Dined on 6/25/2014
  • "They have hooked we me with delicious proscuitto, amazing salads, and when their squid ink pasta makes its appearance. Last meal the pacing of food was quite off but the nice staff comped drinks...always appreciated."
    Dined on 6/23/2014
  • "The pane selections are wonderful, as are the salads. Very unexpected but deliciouse combinations of food. And the meatballs were absolutely out of this world. I would love to try their desert selections but so far have never had room!"
    Dined on 6/23/2014
  • "First, Ava Gene's off-street parking is a big plus in that neighborhood. While waiting for the server, we were surprised to hear Led Zeppelin playing, rather loudly, and throughout our dinner the loud 70s rock seemed incongruent with the ambiance we anticipated. That was a miss. Our server was very nice and explained several dishes to us, as this was our first visit. Despite the $25 corkage fee, which seemed excessive, we elected to bring our own bottle. We each ordered an appetizer. My wife's was very good, mine was decent but I would not get it again. We split a salad and it was delicious. We each got pasta dishes and they were good, but not remarkable. All in all I'd say we enjoyed our visit and we'll likely come back, but not soon."
    Dined on 6/21/2014
  • "We had just returned from Parma the bread basket of Italy and stopped here on the recommendation of my brother. The emphasis is southeast Italy. The apperitvo was great. We had the olives, affettati piccoli and selection of pane. Delicious and lovely presentation. The salmon was cooked to perfection. The greens were tough though and needed to be blanched and pressed before sauteeing."
    Dined on 6/21/2014