a Cena Ristorante

4.7
1787 reviews
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$31 to $50
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Italian
Top Tags:
  • Neighborhood Gem
  • Good for a Date
  • Authentic
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

Private Dining

a Cena and FESTA welcome you to explore our Private Dining option that is perfect for any occasion. Food can be served as individually plated, family-style or buffet.

View Private Dining Details
What 1787 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
4.6
ambience
4.4
value
Noise · Moderate
97% of people would recommend it to a friend
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5.0Dined 4 days ago

A cena is such a quiet and lovely restaurant. I had the halibut and it was absolutely delicious. My family and I have been coming here for a long time and it’s always a good option.

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5.0Dined 5 days ago

Great , just as my first visit...the service and food where amazing...

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4.0Dined 6 days ago

First timers
Solid good Italian restaurant.
Generous portions.
Octopus great.
Pasta first class
Salads and fish very tasty.
Desserts at the same level.
Wine list reasonable

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5.0Dined on June 15, 2018

Very nice place. Excellent food and service. Specials were amazing. I asked for the halibut with different sides and it was no problem. I’d definitely go back.

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5.0Dined on June 15, 2018

This is our go to neighborhood restaurant but I would drive across town for it anytime. We brought our friends with us and they said it was nicer than any place they’ve been in years. It is so good, so reasonable and so friendly.

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4.0Dined on June 14, 2018

Quite good Italian. Had the arancini, sausage pizza, cavatelli and bucatini. All highly enjoyable. Good service, too.

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5.0Dined on June 13, 2018

Enjoyed a midweek lunch with a friend. A good variety of lunch offerings, including some lighter options. We asked if a rose wine was a available, which on additional checking, our server checked back with us with a great choice. Very enjoyable meal--well presented and tasty.

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5.0Dined on June 13, 2018

As always, the ambiance of the establishment and excellent service made for a lovely evening with friends. A pizza and then small main courses with an Italian wine were exactly what we wanted. A Cena is outstanding in many ways, that's why we keep returning for more.

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5.0Dined on June 13, 2018

Pleasant and responsive service, reasonable noise level, excellent food and presentation.

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4.0Dined on June 11, 2018

The menu items are a bit on the expensive side. Food presentation was top notch!
Extensive wine list although most were out of our comfortable price range!

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5.0Dined on June 10, 2018

Group of friends who hadn’t gotten together for a long time enjoyed a leisurely meal

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5.0Dined on June 8, 2018

We ate at a Cena for a Friday lunch. Loved what we ordered. I had the Garganelli alla Norcia, sausage, pasta in cream sauce. Excellent. We split the Romano salad and thought it was odd that the server did not mention my husband's beautifully cooked halibut was served over a big salad. Probably could have gotten away with just the one salad. I probably would have had a different appetizer. Definitely a leisurely lunch, can't be in a hurry here.

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5.0Dined on June 3, 2018

We were in town for a wedding and we dined at a Cena with family that had come a long way. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed the experience from Service to food to ambiance. It is nice to show off Oregon's finest.

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5.0Dined on June 1, 2018

We have been to A Cena many times and it never disappoints. We both had the halibut, which was superb. Only tiny complaint: we were there early on an uncrowded Thursday evening and yet seated with three other tables for two in a small alcove, which felt overstuffed unnecessarily.

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5.0Dined on May 28, 2018

Delicious appetizers, salads and ravioli! Great wine list! We’ll be back!

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5.0Dined on May 27, 2018

The best Italian I've ever eaten.....yes I would refer people......

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5.0Dined on May 26, 2018

Fabulous food, cocktails and staff! Will return for sure and highly recommend to others.

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5.0Dined on May 25, 2018

This is one of my favorite spots when we venture out into the city!

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5.0Dined on May 24, 2018

Great service and tons of great food selections! We ended up going with two different plates so we could try each others and we were not disappointed on either end - I almost wished we had stayed for dessert, because as we were walking away we noticed another table and it looked delicious! Great wine selection and loved the outside seating on a beautiful evening in Portland.

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5.0Dined on May 24, 2018

Owner always there. Great place. Great service. Great food.

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5.0Dined on May 24, 2018

As always, a Cena Ristorante's food hits it out of the park. The atmosphere is elegantly casual with butcher paper covering the tables. We took our daughter-in-law for her birthday. There were 4 of us so we decided to share 1st, 2nd & 3rd courses to taste all we could. A Cena is so great about bringing all the additional plates and silverware to accomplish this. The food was OUTSTANDING! All dishes have there own distinct flavor. Perfectly balanced.
The only things I was disappointed in were 1) the table had an oil burning light on it which smelled just like oil burning. Very unpleasant for dining. I had to blow it out and move it away. They should get real candles or even (gasp) LED candles. 2) We were there for a birthday, we noted that when making reservations, again when we arrived, and we were assured they would take care of doing something special. When they brought dessert, no mention and no candle at all. We had to wait quite a long time to find someone to bring a candle. Our daughter-in-law was slightly embarrassed that we had to track someone down. When they finally brought it out, no one from the staff helped us to sing, they just walked away. I wasn't expecting everyone to come out, but a waitress or host would have been a nice touch.
For a spectacular dinner out, $$ but well worth every penny.

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5.0Dined on May 22, 2018

My wife and I went here for our second wedding anniversary. Our waiter was very kind and warm, and explained things and made recommendations when asked. The food was heavenly - they had run out of their daily special primi (pasta) dish, but he recommended a house signature primi instead, and it ended up being the hit of the evening. The food was all perfectly prepared and flavored, and the service (from the wait staff and assistants) was attentive without being obtrusive. There was a good wine selection that was thorough without being overwhelming, and dessert - a butterscotch pudding dish that we split - was pure bliss. I don't even like butterscotch that much and I could have eaten it till I popped! It's not cheap to enjoy a full meal here, but it's well worth the visit for a special occasion.

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4.0Dined on May 21, 2018

Food was good but a expensive for what you received. The kitchen workers were talking loud enough to hear their conversation which was disruptive to our table.

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3.0Dined on May 20, 2018

Rushed service, gone down hill, much better in past

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5.0Dined on May 19, 2018

We enjoy going back to a Cena and need to go more often. Our friends went with us for their first time and will be going back soon. Food and wine are expertly prepared and served by experienced staff who have been there for many years. The owner is often present and involved and observant. Great food and friendly service.

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5.0Dined on May 19, 2018

Went to Portland from Seattle for the annual melanoma walk. We & our friends who went with us go to a different Italian restaurant monthly in Seattle so I looked for one on line in Portland & a Cena sounded like a good one & it was excellent. The only complaint I have is the meatballs were way to salty. We will go back again when we’re in Portland.

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5.0Dined on May 19, 2018

Loved the new annex, waitperson very friendly and we were never rushed or pressured. Like the choice of having large portion of entree or smaller one. The Casa salad is outstanding a must for all who love a refreshing, tasty salad.

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5.0Dined on May 19, 2018

Excellent food. Exceptional service. Wonderful atmosphere. Salted caramel gelato.

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5.0Dined on May 18, 2018

We've been going to A Cena with some regularity since it opened.

As in all restaurants, the noise level of A Cena varies depending on what room you're in, how many other diners there are, and of course whether there is the Particularly Loud Table. Most recently we three were in the bar area with several other tables, and it was very quiet and civilized. At other times, you have to order by pointing to items on the menu. (That said, recently, management made a serious effort at acoustic engineering, which has helped a huge bunch.)

The food is reliably good, with a good number of particularly outstanding preparations. And only a few disappointments (I've basically given up on their risotto). The menu changes rather slowly, but most recently there were a bunch of interesting new offerings.

The service from both bar and kitchen is uniformly excellent (and staff turnover is very slow), the bar is well-stocked, and the wine-list is comprehensive. Dining at A Cena is something we always look forward to. (To be honest, though, I've never found their lunchtime offerings, while still quite good, and the ambience pleasant, to be as interesting or successful as the dinner menu.)

Speaking of menus, I've never seen a mistake in the Italian terms on one, which is an unusual accomplishment.

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5.0Dined on May 18, 2018

This is our favorite Portland restaurant. We recently invited out-of-town friends to experience the wonderful food and service a Cena has to offer. One of our guests is handicapped, and the staff went out of their way to accommodate us. Thanks, Loris (our server), for the amazing care and service! Love you guys!

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4.0Dined on May 16, 2018

The power went out all over town, and so we were not able to be served any food. But the hostess was incredibly kind and collected, and the manager/owner came to every table and apologized for the inconvenience. They tried to serve food for as long as they could, but a chef can only cook in the dark for so long. It seemed like a great restaurant set in a wonderfully quiet and scenic part of town. Would love to try out their restaurant when the power is back on!

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5.0Dined on May 15, 2018

Really great service! The parmigiana was the best I’ve ever had, and I sampled everyone else’s pasta which was an amazing house made pasta.
This was a very special occasion, so we didn’t faint when we received the bill, but be prepared to spend a good amount.
Enjoy!

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5.0Dined on May 14, 2018

Thank you for making Mother's Day perfect for us! The entire dinner and attention to detail was exceptional! We were all thrilled. See you soon.

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5.0Dined on May 14, 2018

Another great meal at A Cena we are never disappointed.

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4.0Dined on May 13, 2018

Every time I visit Portland, this restaurant is a must visit on my list. Local, small restaurant with excellent food. Great presentation, variety, and taste. Everything was delicious. The Haddock, the Filet, the pasta, the bread, the salad and the desserts-cannoli's especially authentic and the ice cream with berries tasted like iced cheesecake. And their risotto is the best - even better than Italy. The only reason I didn't give it 5 stars is that the server didn't seem to want us there. He was very efficient but not very engaging.

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5.0Dined on May 13, 2018

Excellent food! Lovely restaurant! I made this reservation for Mother's Day Eve 3 days ahead of time. Luckily was able to get in at 8:00 pm, perfect time for us. As well, it wasn't prix fixe, which is common on holidays but usually too much food for us. Husband, son and I had a table in a private nook, quiet but with view of outside. I had not planned on Italian food, but this turned to be a great choice for Mother's Day. Nice cocktails, super side of meatballs in marinara sauce, the other two loved the octopus (not my thing), incredible house made pasta (which I normally avoid) with rich cream sauce, mushrooms and sausage--plate-licking good. Exquisite lamb special done to perfection with nice sides. Service was very professional indeed. Terrific experience.

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5.0Dined on May 9, 2018

Best restaurant in PDX.

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5.0Dined on May 7, 2018

I had the eggplant parmigiana and my wife had the ravioli. Both were big hits! Food quality is second to none and the ambiance is excellent. This has become our Sellwood Staple fo Italian food.

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5.0Dined on May 6, 2018

Amazing food and service! Our server was Mark and he was fabulous! Great to see the owner working tables and taking care of customers! Have already recommended to several friends! Thanks for an amazing date night experience

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4.0Dined on May 5, 2018

The service was excellent, the food was creative and prepared with high quality ingredients.
The main room we dined in had an active ambiance, which made for difficulty in hearing what those at my table were saying. This is definitely a function of getting older, and we were celebrating a 68th Birthday on a Friday night. Still, this did not dampen our celebration at all and I would recommend a Cena for those looking for a fine dining experience in the Sellwood area.

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