CENA Italian Trattoria
9200 Taylorsville Rd
Louisville, KY 40299Neighborhood:
Contemporary ItalianPrice: $30 and under
CENA Italian Trattoria
- Dining Style: Casual Dining
- Phone: 502-333-0376x
- Hours of Operation:
- Payment Options: AMEX,Discover,MasterCard,Visa
- Cuisine: Contemporary Italian, Italian
- Executive Chef: Fernando Martinez
- Dress Code: Business Casual
- Accepts Walk-Ins: Yes
- Additional Details: Banquet/Private Rooms, Bar/Lounge, Beer, Chef's Table, Full Bar, Non-Smoking Restaurant, Private Room, Wine
A word from CENA Italian Trattoria
Welcome to CENA Italian Trattoria, formally The Place Downstairs. We look forward to serving you!Continued
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Awards voted by OpenTable diners
- Diners' Choice WinnerFit for Foodies
- Diners' Choice WinnerRomantic
CENA Italian Trattoria - Best Restaurants in Jeffersontown ›
CENA Italian Trattoria reviews from OpenTable diners
103 reviews since June 3, 2014
- Ambiance4.3Noise LevelModerate
fit for foodies (82)special occasion (71)romantic (70)neighborhood gem (23)hot spot (20)good for groups (19)notable wine list (17)late-night find (8)scenic view (2)kid-friendly (2)great for outdoor dining (1)Show More
- Truly ItaliannoshingawayDined on 9/27/2014The courses are more truly Italian than other local spots. The goat cheese fritos are superb for an opener. The two primis we tried were delicious (pappardelle and gnocchi). The pork was ok, but my least favorite course of the meal. The music is loud, especially when Sinatra comes on (almost like the volume gets cranked for him - strange). Our server was friendly and appeared at just the right times. My only real issue was that we made reservations for three people and were squeezed into a table for two. As the various courses came out, we were way too cramped. Overall very good; could be great with some tweaks.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Too NoisyBarbaraDined on 9/27/2014The food was good and different. The server was average. The noise level was extreme. We couldn't have a conversation with our friends. Their was a large party of about 20 people that should have been in their own room. They were so loud that we couldn't hear each other talk. We told our server and he said other people had the same complaint.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- CENAOpenTable Diner Since 2011Dined on 9/27/2014We have been twice and have been impressed both times. It is a great place to take a group, due to the nature of the dishes being served "family style" and thus can be shared. CENA also has one of the best steaks in Louisville.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Anniversary DinnerFoodie7800Dined on 9/27/2014Our recent dinner at Cena was wonderful. We had the goat cheese appetizer, the bone marrow appetizer, spaghetti carbonara and short rib entree. All were excellent. I requested a mixed drink that was not on the menu and they had no problem accomodating me. I would recommend this to couples or families with older children.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- OutstandingOpenTable Diner Since 2011Dined on 9/27/2014Seems impossible to adequately describe the dining experience at Cena. The atmosphere is warm, cozy; beautifully, tastefully decorated. The service is attentive, without being fussy. The food is nothing short of amazing; & created with such finesse. I've now been twice; both times, my dinner party found ourselves ordering a bit of everything & sharing, which is how it is meant to be experienced, I believe. Everything was excellent, but some highlights: Barttoli Campfire Breakfast - difficult to describe, but so, so good! The Arancini - think fried mac & cheese, only elevated to a whole new level. The Formaggio "appetizer" - who knew a cheese & bread tray could be so sublime? The Spaghetti Carbonara - yum! The Porchetta - amazing. Go! Now!Special Features:
- A Great First MealOpenTable Diner Since 2013Dined on 9/27/2014We had an early dinner, as we had 2 small ones with us. The restaurant was nearly empty at 5:30, but by the time we left, shortly after 7, it was packed. quiet early, but the noise level increased along with the crowd. The food was excellent. We had a couple of starters, a couple of pastas and a couple of vegetable sides (one of our diners is vegetarian) and ended with the zepoles, all of which we shared. Overall, it was a very, very good meal, at a reasonable price. We did not have wine, nor cocktails. Our server was Fernando, who recognized us from his time at GaucaMole. he was very attentive, accommodating, and helpful with our special requests.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- OpenTable Diner Since 2014Dined on 9/26/2014Out server (Matt, I think) was amazing. He brought us many tastes of wine. He knew everything there was to know about the menu. We were both stuffed and pleased. Everything on the menu looked delicious. It was hard to make a decision. A+ would recommend.Special Features:
- My new favorite restaurant!DinnerDined on 9/26/2014We found Cena on Open Table. We had never heard of it and probably would have never found it. (You have to enter Muscle and Burgers and take an elevator downstairs to this secret hidden gem!) The food is authentic Italian and every bit as good as the best I've eaten in Italy! I can't wait to dine there again!Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Fabulous Food - but no cell serviceKCCCVIPDined on 9/26/2014Great food from appetizers to dessert. Biggest issue is NO CELL SERVICE the entire dinner. While that might be nice for some folks if you have a sitter and they cannot reach you for 2 hours, you don't enjoy your meal much as you should.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Wonderful choicesmsbeeVIPDined on 9/26/2014We had the prosciutto/melon appetizer, which was delicious. The carbonara was good, but it was a bit on the cold side. Our server was wonderful. Definitely will return to try other menu options. Unfortunately, not a Coke place.I would recommend this to a friend.
- Delicious and Reasonably PricedroseroseVIPDined on 9/24/2014My colleague and I visited CENA on 9/24/14, and we were both pleased with the food. We ordered the crostini (3 for $9) and the meatballs (3 large meatballs in sauce, with bread $9). Both were large portions and we could easily share these appetizers. Then we each ordered a dish from the "pasta" menu. I had the shrimp risotto ($20) which came with prawns. The only disappointment was that one of my prawns was head only - no tail, so no delicious shrimp on that one. The flavor was quite good. My colleague had a pasta dish for $17. Our bill was quite reasonable!Special Features:
- Wonderful from start to finishOpenTable Diner Since 2014Dined on 9/19/2014CENA is wonderful. Wait staff are attentive and knowledgeable. Food is amazing and well thought out. My new favorite spot. Was very upset that "the Place" closed. But this was a suprise. I like CENA better. ENJOY!!!Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- nonameDined on 9/18/2014New restaurant with fantastic food and service in a hard to find location..which tells you it is worth going there when so many come there night after night.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Will be backBostonfoodieDined on 9/13/2014Cena is tucked away beneath Mussels & Burgers & it's a whole different world. The service is impeccable & the food is unlike the average Italian places around town. Cena is an intimate setting that has patrons talking to each other about the food choices. Everyone enjoyed what they had & said they would try what others were eating on a return trip. My recommendation...don't skip dessert!!Special Features:
- Tremendousflounder11Dined on 9/12/2014Cocktails were delicious, appetizers were amazing, our server Tito/Fernado was terrific. We had a taste of the Fired Goat Cheese courtesy of the manager, Ricky, and an order of the Campfire breakfast jar. The Jar was absolutely amazing. We shared a Gnocchi, and four our main course we had the Sea Bass. As one who eats a decent amount of seafood, this Bass was one of the best prepared dishes I have ever had in a restaurant. For dessert, the Cenamisu, their version of Tiramisu. They made it their own, while still giving me what I expected from the flavors.Special Features:
- Excellent! Will come again... Soon!Sgreen77Dined on 9/12/2014Everything about this place was great. We didn't understand the menu at all but "Tito" explain everything perfectly and his recommendations were nothing short of amazing!! My only complains was that there was a large family near us that had crying children, that was a bit annoying but hey, I chalk that up to bad timing. Truly great experience overall!!Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- LoveitalianDined on 9/9/2014Good service. Fresh Italian food, excellent flavor! Moderate price.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- PLEASEDfoodiejeff40601Dined on 9/9/2014The atmosphere is wonderful, I have been looking for something such as this tucked away as if it was secret, the food was incredible, this being my second visit I am still pleased with service and the food, great selection of apps and the primi courses are so good, we finished our meal with the chocolate and pistachio cake with almond ice cream- divine ! If you are looking for something of the beaten path something to impress friends or loved ones, this place does fits the bill, and the value to quality ratio is awesome.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- OutstandingOpenTable Diner Since 2011Dined on 9/6/2014We recently lived for two years in Northern Italy and have been looking for a restaurant that matches the level of the many trattorias we enjoyed there. I think we've finally found the place! We found the food to be very authentic, although the portions have been Americanized. However, our server suggested we share each course, and it was the perfect solution. We started with the arancini (3) -- delicious! Our second course was the porchetta which was moist and tasty, and we had polenta to go with it--creamy and delicious. As a final course we chose 3 cheeses burrata, taleggio, and gorgonzola. It was the perfect ending. With an excellent bottle of Dolcetta D'Alba ($35), our total with tax and tip was about $110. We'll be back!Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- OpenTable Diner Since 2014Dined on 9/6/2014Have been twice, both times were outstanding, atmosphere was conducive for easy conversation , have already recommended to friends.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Quality at an affordable priceEggtuaryDined on 9/6/2014We went with another couple this weekend. Great food at affordable prices. My wife and I split an appetizer and a dessert, got separate entrees, and she had a cocktail. Bill came to $55 before tip. That's good value for a restaurant with this kind of ambience!Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Love the food, hate to leave townBBNYPAKYDined on 9/4/2014Three nights in a row, everything was wonderful, but I had to have the spectacular baby octopus twice. Am leaving town, but will remember these meals. Nothing is overpriced (well, maybe the 32 oz. steak, but who can eat a 32 oz. steak?) and everything is delicious. No boring old-school Italian here, the food has flair, freshness, an edge, a pepper here, honey where you don't expect it, something different, modern, unusual ... and I've eaten at some of the best restaurants in New York for many years. The cheese tray has fabulous cheeses which play off each other, and unadvertised accompaniments, each bursting with flavor. Go. Order anything. Eat. Enjoy. Don't live near this place -- or visit the area -- and miss this restaurant!Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Mamma Mia!kdcoolestDined on 9/4/2014We celebrated my birthday here and we thoroughly enjoyed our meal. The food was well balanced and properly executed. My favorite had to be the Prosciutto and melon salad; the sweetness cut the saltiness of the Prosciutto perfectly and it was so fresh! The Oxtail Raviolis were also very good. They had a very good wine selection and I tried the tangerine beer. Think of it as a grown up's Blue Moon, no need to add orange, it's already in there for you!Special Features:
- WonderfulMartinigirlsDined on 9/4/2014This is the second time I have eaten at Cena, and both times it has been wonderful. The food is absolutely amazing and the service couldn't be better.Special Features:
- Better than great, worth the trip!BBNYPAKYDined on 9/3/2014I loved this place in its former incarnation, The Place Downstairs, and a few of the highlights have been carried over with Italianesque names and themes, but try the new stuff. The chef is amazing, and the food is some of the best prepared and mouth-wateringly wonderful anywhere in the United States. I can't pick favorites because I haven't tried everything yet, and that is going to take a lot of time. But don't ignore the sides. Louisville is a Brussel Sprouts town, and I have had great sprouts with bacon, but here the dish has a hint of smokiness that raises it over the top. There are a few Italian standards, and they are well done, often with a twist. You'd be a fool to stick to these, be adventurous and you won't be sorry!Special Features:
- AmbitiousfuudyDined on 8/30/2014The restaurant is eager to create nouveau Italian but it is going to require better execution and attention to detail.I would recommend this to a friend.
- A must try!!LouisvilleFoodieVIPDined on 8/29/2014We were a party of four and all agreed on a stellar experience from start to finish. Our service was second to none. Attentive yet very friendly and personable as well while being able to make recommendations and demonstrate thorough knowledge of the menu items. The goat cheese and melon prosciutto salad were a great start. Followed with an assortment of italian meats with accompaniments. The pasta carbonara was next, the pasta was so fresh and the egg on top was a great addition. Main entrees for us were the 32 oz t-bone that had a nice char on the outside but cooked perfectly inside. Polenta with mushrooms and the brussel sprouts and cauliflower rounded out the meal. Will visit here again. One recommendation :make reservations.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Loud & HungryeateraterDined on 8/27/2014The acoustics were very reverberate making conversation quite difficult. The wine list had limited options for by-the-glass wines. Portions were small considering the price, especially for the gnocchi. The heat in the rigatoncini was nice but the meat was all on one side of the dish which I didn't realize until I was almost halfway done. Centering the meat under the noodles would have made more balanced bites. Wished the portion to price ratio had been more balanced. Service was very good though. Would be willing to try one more meal but perhaps in a quieter room if possible. Atmosphere was cozy, romantic, and upscale. There is no cell reception in the restaurant, so it's a great date spot if your partner is always on the phone! :)Special Features:
- Fantastic, well-priced Italian!DebinkyDined on 8/26/2014We went to Cena with another couple, and we all walked away thoroughly impressed! Cena’s atmosphere is decidedly relaxed, while serving amazing versions of authentic Italian dishes. The dishes at Cena are served family-style (each serving 2-3). The appetizers ranged in price from $6-$14 and the portions on our two were substantial. Both our burrata heirloom tomato salad and fried goat cheese were wonderful. For entrees, we shared 3 ( 2 would have been plenty). My favorite was our Porchetta ( $29)- a huge piece of pork goodness- all succulent pork and crispy, fatty crust. Wonderful experience! With this level of food & service (and a great price point)- we see ourselves visiting often- both with and without kids.Special Features:
- StrugglingGretaVIPDined on 8/26/2014Liked That Place Downstairs so now that it is CENA, glad it's not a lot different. The prices are more moderate but still on the higher end. My dining companion had to send her food back because it wasn't even warm (mine was warm but not hot). The three cheeses were the best thing of the evening. Wine was haphazard--we ordered off the menu as well as stuff obviously loitering around from the previous restaurant. Ran out of my companion's choice so while waiting for her food to be warmed she had to switch wine. Waiter was very pleasant but would disappear for long stretches. The manager came over to help us understand, but still…the warmed food returned hot and tasty. No microwave involved. Promising but not there yet.Special Features:
- Local GemFoodsnobDined on 8/23/2014My husband and I used to frequent the previous restaurant, The Place Downstairs several times while it was open. We loved the chefs and the cuisine so we were anxious to try the Italian themed CENA restaurant. The service was okay, but the food and drink were amazing! Kudos to the entire staff, for another homerun restaurant!Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Very niceloudinerDined on 8/23/2014My wife and I (with rather different tastes) both really enjoyed our meal and the service. Some of the things we ordered: Goat Cheese Frito - tasty and well balanced. Crostini - Eggplant Caponata, Tuna Conserva/Farm Egg/Caper Aioli, Tomato/Pesto/Mozzarella - The tuna was my favorite and the eggplant caponata was very good. Gnocchi - Fennel Sausage/ Ricotta/San Marzano Tomatoes/Oven Roasted Fennel - Gnocchi properly fluffy. I wouldn't change a thing about the dish. Papperdelle - Duck Sugo/Tomatoes/Chianti - Very tasty duck and the dish was kept simple which worked well. For dessert, we had zapones, which were acceptable, but paled in comparison to the chocolate tart and almond gelato.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Not a good First ExperienceDisgustedDined on 8/23/2014Had a horrible experience. My husband did not want to go, but he went because I wanted to go. MISTAKE. Of course, his foods (Pasta), came out 100% cold. Mine was perfect. (of Course). Our table was walbly, could not cut the bread without table shaking. Finally waiter fixed with a napkin. then we got ready to leave, I picked up my purse off the floor, totally wet. Our Shoes were also drenched. Apparently we were sitting by the door where the kitchen was, and water had came out of kitchen, all over the floor where our table was. Ruined my Vera Bradley Cloth purse. . My husband will not go back. I will see the place was absolutely beautiful, and service was impeccable.Special Features:
- Amazing spaceChixDined on 8/19/2014Cena is a beautiful space, the food is amazing, the service by Fernando was very attentive. The heirloom tomato selections in the seasonal salad were fresh and the cheese was soft and delicious. The gnocchi with fennel sausage was perfectly fluffy - I only wish the serving was a little bigger. The only inconvenience is the lack of cell service in the restaurant. I will definitely go again.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Excellent food. Real Italian !OpenTable Diner Since 2013VIPDined on 8/15/2014Wine selection is very good with affordable price. The menu is well organized with ample variety.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Great except for the loud musicFreshDined on 8/15/2014We enjoyed every dish that we tried at Cena, and the waiter was well trained to explain the menu in detail. Wine was reasonable enough given the quality. The only problem is that this was a special occasion--an anniversary-- and the music was so loud that it was often hard to speak at the table. Loud music lessened our enjoyment of a otherwise excellent meal. We complained to the waiter and the manager about the music but they said they could do nothing.Special Features:
- ZedOpenTable Diner Since 2014Dined on 7/19/2014Average at best in all categories. 1st and second menu choices were not available, wine requested not available and substituted. Lastly, it always irks me when the staff comes by and interrupts any conversation. A short pause until a break in discussions in appropriate. Interjection indicates the staff time is more important than the dining experience. We should expect more when paying higher end prices.
- UniqueFoodFanDined on 7/18/2014Uniquely different ambience, the food presentation was very well done and the balance of flavors was meticulous and fresh. Just became one of my favorite restaurant.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Yet another great findropoVIPDined on 7/12/2014This is dining experience lived up to all the buzz around the restaurant from friends and critics. Service was great. Drinks were very slow arriving but the waiter kept updating us as not to neglect. Very much appreciated. When they arrived, worth the wait! Appetizers- sliders, crab blt and campfire breakfast shared for a group were the best set of appetizers I have had in years. Really, the meal could have just ended there. Entrees were good. Disappointed that they ran out of scallops at 730pm, cod was good but a bit on the salty side. Pork entree was well-received. The ambiance is amazing, very trendy and chic. We can't wait to return.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Pleasantly surprisedchocolateDined on 7/12/2014The menu is a bit different, but they do an outstanding job with blending flavors into delicious. We were a party of 6 and between us had 5 different entrees. Everyone was pleased with their selection. Great find for a special occassionSpecial Features: