a Cena Ristorante

4.7
1942 reviews
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$31 to $50
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Italian
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!
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Private dining
Dining Style
Fine Dining
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Cuisines
Italian
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Hours of operation
Dinner:
Sunday-Thursday 5-9pm
Friday-Saturday 5-10pm

Lunch:
Tuesday-Saturday 11:30am-2:30pm
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Phone number
(503) 206-3291
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Payment options
AMEX, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
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Dress code
Smart Casual
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Executive chef
Gabriel Gabreski
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Catering
Most of our menu items and other creative items designed between our chef and the client
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Neighborhood
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Cross street
SE Lambert St.
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Parking details
Ample street parking
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Public transit
Several on 13th Street
Additional
Bar Dining, Beer, BYO Wine, Corkage Fee, Full Bar, Non-Smoking, Outdoor dining, Weekend Brunch, Wheelchair Access, Wine
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What 1942 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.7based on recent ratings
4.7
food
4.7
service
4.5
ambience
4.3
value
Noise · Moderate
95% of people would recommend it to a friend
5
4
3
2
1
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DG
Dallas
5 reviews
Dined 2 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Best meal in a long time. Service was great and menu is outstanding

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K
1 review
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Delicious food, beautifully presented. Fast attentive service. Great wine. We'll definitely be back and will recommend the restaurant to friends and family. Thanks a Cena ristorante for an unforgettable wedding anniversary.

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MM
Washington DC
9 reviews
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 3food 2service 4ambience 4

Disappointed at our last visit. It seems the menu never changes and the special ravioli stuffed with ricotta cheese was tough and tasteless. Overall , it was an expensive evening and, sadly, not worth it.

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HE
1 review
Dined on December 1, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 2ambience 5

The food was an absolute treat - the agnolotti and all of the starters were lovely! Everything our group ate was perfectly cooked and delish. Our service however was...meh...Our server gave us our menus, about 20 minutes after being seated the owner walked by our table and asked if we had any questions, we asked him which starters he would suggest and he gave us a list of three wonderful choices that everyone at our table enjoyed. Another 20 minutes or so went by and our server came back to our table and said, “oh I had forgot to tell you our specials”... she then left again to give us more time to think about it...another 15 minutes go by and finally she comes to take our order. Luckily, the company was wonderful and once our order was placed the food came out quickly. I will definitely eat here again but the service needs buttoned up a bit in the annexed room off the main dining room. Thanks for the lovely meal, a Cena is a gem!

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m
Portland
2 reviews
Dined on November 29, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

Great food, great wine list, good beer selection, warm and friendly service. Portions are generous, but some selections are available in smaller sizes. Menu is suitable for multiple courses, or choose just a few to suit your appetite. Do leave room for dessert.

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KH
Portland
4 reviews
Dined on November 27, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We had a great time here as usual! Mark is our new favorite server here!

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S
Seattle
8 reviews
Dined on November 25, 2018
Overall 4food 3service 5ambience 4

Sent pasta dish back as it came barely hot. It came back slightly warmer than the first time.

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j
Portland
3 reviews
Dined on November 24, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I have seen a Cena on several lists of best Italian restaurants in Portland. My multiple visits here have provided definite confirmation that it indeed deserves the reputation. At this visit our meal included a bright and delicious Caprese with fresh burrata and a wonderfully tender and flavorful grilled octopus. Mains included the garganelli with perfectly al dente house made penne and deliciously savory fennel sausage, a daily special gnocci, and eggplant parmesean (describe by both our server and the restaurant owner, Eugene, as their favorite dish). All were exquisitely fresh and wonderfully tasty. The wine list is extensive, but based on past good experiences we ordered from the by the glass selections which were, as expected, excellent. Desserts included a properly made afogatto and an incredibly creamy and flavorful budino which, while simple, shouldn't in my opinion be missed. All in all this restaurant is well worth making the drive to Sellwood.

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AP
Portland
10 reviews
Dined on November 22, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We love A Cena, it makes us feel like we are back in Italy!

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SH
Portland
2 reviews
Dined on November 20, 2018
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

Really like their food and the wine list is excellent. I appreciate having some decent non-dairy choices (except desserts).

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MO
1 review
Dined on November 18, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Absolutely phenomenal food. Everything was delicious. Too expensive to go often, but you won't be disappointed.

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S
Portland
5 reviews
Dined on November 18, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 4

I had the lamb lasagna special, and it was probably the best lasagna I have ever had. Delicious does not say enough. I also had the butterscotch pudding for dessert and this was a real standout too. Very light in texture but rich in flavor.

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f
Portland
13 reviews
Dined on November 18, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

The food is amazing, the staff are gracious and the owner is present friendly and kind!

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c
Seattle
44 reviews
Dined on November 18, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

This is one of my favorite restaurants in all of Portland! The food is creative, inventive and always delicious! The staff are attentive and friendly. Their homemade bread sticks are to die for!

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AK
Portland
3 reviews
Dined on November 17, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

After 3 years we returned. We don’t live in the area and when we visit PDX, we like trying all of the food options we can. We have pretty well behaved 3 year old and we decided to give it a try. Amazing dinner, great service and we were made to feel really welcomed as we arrived a half an hour early to our reservation. The owner brought over a couple of cookies as we paid our bill. We will definitely make an effort to come back. Definitely a five star experience, just like the first time.

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s
Portland
18 reviews
Dined on November 13, 2018
Overall 3food 4service 4ambience 5

Has always been my go to for great Itialian. Must have been an off day as there was no Pizza on the lunch menu and 2 of the primi dishes were unavailable even though it was a noon reservation.
In ordering wine the waiter could have been more accomodating, but he brought a different selection without charging for opening the 1st bottle.
Normally a Cena is amazing.

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JH
Portland
4 reviews
Dined on November 13, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We had a work group visiting from Germany. 12 people total. Absolutely fabulous... As Always!!

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RA
1 review
Dined on November 12, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Food was fantastic; our server was wonderful and accommodating and not too loud - like another server who was working that evening....

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OT
Portland
2 reviews
Dined on November 11, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

It was beautifully executed, from the atmosphere to the food- every detail was perfect, with a cozy atmosphere, and down to earth staff.

One of the best meals of my life.

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G
Portland
9 reviews
Dined on November 11, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We just love A Cena and are never disappointed! Wonderful food--appetizers, entrees, AND desserts. Not to mention the beverages! Cocktails and wines alike. This may be cliche to say, but we've never had something 'bad' at A Cena. Great service, too. Can get a little squished because they're so busy, but it's so worth it!

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SH
Portland
3 reviews
Dined on November 11, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

What a find! The restaurant was amazing from the moment we walked in until we left...cosy and quaint ambiance, wait staff was attentive, friendly, and knowledgeable, and the appetizers and entrees were simply delicious. The menu is a bit pricy but well worth it. I highly recommend!

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C
Portland
8 reviews
Dined on November 11, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Always a good experience. One of our favorite places.

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OT
Portland
1 review
Dined on November 10, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 3

We sat in the extra space, therefore didn’t have the restaurant ambiance. It was quieter and we were able to carry conversation with friends. Food was great as always

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AS
1 review
Dined on November 10, 2018
Overall 4food 3service 4ambience 5

Loved the fried artichoke appetizer! I was so excited for the entrees: wild mushroom risotto and Maine lobster tortellini. However, rice was way undercooked in the risotto. I was wanting to send it back (first time I’ve ever thought about doing this in a restaurant), but no one came by the table for a while. The next time any staff member came by our table after dropping off the food was to tell us he was grabbing us to go boxes. Lobster tortellini was okay, the pasta was good, but the filling was overwhelming corn-flavored. This is not necessarily wrong, I just didn’t expect it and didn’t particularly like it. Overall, for the money that I was spending, I didn’t feel like it was worth it.

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OT
Cincinnati
2 reviews
Dined on November 9, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

Really nice

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BM
Portland
1 review
Dined on November 8, 2018
Overall 3food 5service 2ambience 2

Second time to a Cena to celebrate a couple of birthdays for my wife's parents. We had such a great experience the first time, we couldn't wait to take them to a new favorite of ours. Made a reservation and indicated the birthday celebration with the OpenTable reservation. We were seated at a very poor table right in front of the door with a draft coming in every time somebody came or left. We asked to move but there was zero accommodation or even an apology. Ordered a $130 bottle of wine from our indifferent waitress who was extremely uninterested in our dining experience. Entrees were great as they were our first time....service was unfriendly (not even smile) and if not for the owner who is actively engaged with the clientele, we probably wouldn't be back. We dine out frequently and there are plenty of options.

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OT
Portland
21 reviews
Dined on November 7, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

Wonderful Italian food.i actually think their food has improved. Definitely would return.

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DR
Portland
7 reviews
Dined on November 5, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

The food here is amazing! The pasta is homemade and the food seems to be from recipes handed down from generation to generation. My only concern was the tables near the bar were very drafty. That would not keep me away.

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DF
Adelaide / SA
5 reviews
Dined on November 4, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

Amazingly delicious food! Great feel to this cozy little place.

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e
Portland
7 reviews
Dined on November 3, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 5

Limited lunch menu but overall a good dining experience

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M
San Francisco
23 reviews
Dined on November 3, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Wonderful! Our new favorite place in Portland when visiting our daughter. Love the warm, casual atmosphere and the service is excellent. Food is absolutely fantastic. As much as we like to discover new places to eat, we will probably visit at least once every time we’re in town!

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RD
Boise
15 reviews
Dined on November 3, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excellent food and excellent service.

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BA
1 review
Dined on October 31, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Been going for years, we really enjoy the chef's selections throughout the year.
The Lobster Agnolotti is a MUST!

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f
Portland
15 reviews
Dined on October 31, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

Excellent meal and wines as always. Gabe is a great host. So glad this authentic restaurant is still going strong after all these years!

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c
1 review
Dined on October 28, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Best, best, best...food was amazing,staff was wonderful. Reccomend to everyone.

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NF
New Mexico
1 review
Dined on October 28, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 5

Had a good meal. Nice ambiance and very good service

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JD
Portland
3 reviews
Dined on October 28, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We dined here last Saturday for out 51st weddiing anniversary. Nothing short of outstanding. The roasted baby artichokes we're a great long time favorite. The Romano salad offers an excellent chunky bacon dressing. My wife and I both had the beautifully (and huge) prepared bone-in veal chop that rivals the best East Coast fare. An incredible offering of Italian wines, super desserts, and attentive but non-intrusive service make A cena the ideal romantic foodie experience!...

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DH
Portland
6 reviews
Dined on October 28, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

I will say that the cuisine was good but my lamb special was nearly $50 by itself. We ate there Saturday evening and I don’t blame them, but my stomach was severely upset for the next two days. Maybe Lobster Bisque with Lamb as the entre was too rich for my stomach!

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SG
1 review
Dined on October 27, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

A Cena never disappoints—the drinks, the food, and the friendly service. We feel fortunate to have such a high caliber, not stuffy restaurant in our neighborhood.

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TG
New York Area
4 reviews
Dined on October 27, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

Good meal, good vibe and comfortable. We enjoyed an authentic meal and will return.

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