a Cena Ristorante

4.7
1877 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

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.

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What 1877 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
4.4
value
Noise · Moderate
95% of people would recommend it to a friend
5
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k
Portland
3 reviews
Dined 2 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We went for my birthday and had a lovely seat in front of the window in middle section. The service was excellent had the best server sorry we forgot her name. The food was delicious we ordered the Lobster Ravioli and Rigatoni AWESOME. I should have taken my servers advice and ordered the app. portion the entree size was huge and couldnot even come close to putting a dent in it...super rich but delicious! Will be back thank you for exceptional service!

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AP
Portland
1 review
Dined 2 days ago
Overall 2food 3service 5ambience 3

Great cocktail (Italian Mule), amazing mushroom risotto but felt very rushed to leave after the meal was complete. Granted there were a couple of people waiting but would have liked to have another drink if there had not been so much added pressure.

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T
Portland
10 reviews
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

As usual, A Cena served delivered authentic pasta dishes we come to expect. Staff is knowledgeable about wines to pair with our dishes. In the “best pasta” category of restaurants in Portland.

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E
Portland
10 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

At first we declined dessert. We had just finished a fabulous meal. We all ordered dessert. We all ate every spoonful. A really fun evening and attentive waitress.

And we are the last to leave. a Cena being a first class restaurant leaves the door open and lights on till Lyft arrived. Thank you!

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M
Portland
3 reviews
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The food at a Cena is totally amazing. The presentation of the food is great and the taste is out of this world. The staff is super friendly, helpful and knowledgable aboit the food.

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G
New York Area
8 reviews
Dined on October 9, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 3

Food was very good. Pasta was excellent - good to have appetizer and dinner size portions of pasta. Wait staff was excellent.

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w
Portland
17 reviews
Dined on October 8, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

We went for my wife's birthday. A good variety of selections without going overboard. What I especially appreciated was they were happy to plate the birthday cake I brought and serve it to us. It was really a very nice experience and I would like to go again to try other items on their menu.

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PL
Portland
4 reviews
Dined on October 7, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

A Cena continues to impress with authentic Italian food. Their pasta with fennel sausage is something I always order and have never been disappointed. The chef was also able to accommodate some food allergies which is important to us. I would recommend reservations as the restaurant can be very busy.

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P
Portland
14 reviews
Dined on October 7, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We travel to Italy frequently, are knowledgeable about Italian cooking, & have been to all of the local food critics’ highly reviewed Italian restaurants in Portland. We have found A Cena to be consistently by far the most authentic & delicious, as well as being so welcoming & unpretentious. We’ve brought friends from other “foodie” cities, including Seattle, San Francisco, even NYC, & they were also wowed.

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OT
Portland
11 reviews
Dined on October 7, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Great food and service, except we had to wait 15 minutes for our reservation and it was so tight that the waiters butt was in our face when he served other tables. Yuck.

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c
Portland
2 reviews
Dined on October 5, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Amazing food and service from start to finish. Favorite of the evening was the lobster and corn ravioli.

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

Absolutely fantastic meal!

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AB
Portland
1 review
Dined on October 2, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I chose this restaurant as a recommendation from a friend. It was my husbands birthday and he wanted Italian food. I had the pasta with lobster and it was wonderful. Service was great! They were very attentive.

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CP
1 review
Dined on October 2, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

After visiting Italy I have searched for the best homemade pasta and have found it at Cena! Wonderful menu options and gracious service!!!

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c
Portland
1 review
Dined on October 2, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

First time dining at a Cena. Recommended by a friend. We were celebrating our 30th wedding anniversary.
We were enchanted by the menu. Many selections... the pasta is made on premises. They have some very creative talented individuals in the kitchen. You can tell that they love to create beautiful mouth watering plates of edible art. Everything that we were served was excellent. (this coming from a fellow professional chef). The wait staff were very accommodating.. and yet they served us quietly and unobtrusively. It was pure joy to come to this restaurant.

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KS
Portland
1 review
Dined on September 30, 2018
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

Very good food, excellent service, and a lively vibe. a Cena is an intimate place where staff treats the guests very well, the food is varied and good, and the cocktails are decent. When the restaurant is full it can be a bit noisy but not to the point of preventing reasonable conversation volume. The intimate nature of the restaurant makes for a lively atmosphere and great dining experience. This place is definitely a truly Portland dining experience.

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OT
Portland
1 review
Dined on September 30, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great food, great wine, and great service!

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BW
Portland
5 reviews
Dined on September 28, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Our waitperson was Mark--very attentive. Mark was able to speak knowledgeably about ingredients in various dishes. Arranged for a tasting of wine we were unsure about. Recommended the marvelous dessert I ordered. The owner stopped by--I always find if the owner is on site food and service are excellent, as they were. We have been to a Cena previously and definitely will return.

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JR
1 review
Dined on September 24, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Funny, Open Table has asked for my help in providing a review of my experience. I've checked off what makes sense to me. Now they ask that I provide at least 50 characters in a written review. Unwelcome imposition by them.

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OT
Charlotte
1 review
Dined on September 23, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Very nice experience. Would recommend.

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OT
Portland
1 review
Dined on September 18, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Always a good choice!

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MI
Chicago
3 reviews
Dined on September 17, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Really great food, solid wine selection, service is good. Definitely will be back.

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OT
1 review
Dined on September 16, 2018
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 4

Service was pretty good. The bar staff not overly friendly while waiting. Pasta dish was bland, gooey texture and not very inspiring. Portion size was moderate. Almost $40 for a very so-so bolognese. Scallop dish was cooked perfectly though. Pickled vegetables were just that, with accompaniment. Overall decent meal. Over priced for what it was though. Will try again.

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r
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on September 16, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 2ambience 4

This was my second visit and, like the first, the food was phenomenal. The atmosphere is cozy and attractive. The servers are enthusiastic and knowledgable.

However, this time, the food arrived cold. When it was sent back it returned less cold but inadequately warmed. The bussers and runners were rushed and sloppy, graceless to the point of being rude—total dump-and-dash.

I'll go back but, when I do, I'll be hoping for more elegant service experience, one that rises to the level of the cuisine and the price.

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KB
Portland
1 review
Dined on September 16, 2018
Overall 3food 2service 3ambience 3

Food was flavorful but only luke warm by the time it got to us. It was disappointing since it was our 1st time.

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EC
Portland
7 reviews
Dined on September 11, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Fantastic food. Great atmosphere. They allow corkage at $15 per bottle currently. Their wine list is actually very good and full of reasonable selections.

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OT
1 review
Dined on September 11, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 3

Food was delicious. Mix-up on the wine order, though, that was not corrected properly. Can't blame the server because it was unusually busy for a Monday (and it was a little loud so he may not have heard me correctly). Look forward to another visit. Sorry we were late for our 6:30 reservation.

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BS
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on September 11, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 3

Absolutely enjoyed the great food, great service from all the attentive staff and would definitely recommended if you are a foodie who enjoys homemade pasta and great Italian dishes. Will definitely go back. Thanks for a great experience! Burke

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AH
Austin
1 review
Dined on September 8, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 4

Went there to celebrate a few birthdays and for good Italian food. The food exceeded my expectations. Wonderful food and great portions.

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CS
1 review
Dined on September 7, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

Overall an excellent food experience! Food was delicious, service was good. A memorable evening

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GF
Seattle
12 reviews
Dined on September 7, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Very tasty dinners on a week night on short notice. This was our first visit here, and it was a pleasant surprise.

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SC
Portland
1 review
Dined on September 4, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 5

Amazing food. Service was good but food took a long time to arrive for our large party.

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MS
Washington DC
24 reviews
Dined on September 3, 2018
Overall 1food 1service 1ambience 3

Our table was not ready so we were directed to the bar where no one served us. The hostess was behind the bar but had her back to us the whole time. We finally got served.

The Polipo (Octopus) is normally grilled. It tasted like it was baked in the oven. When we asked the server he said “it was this chef’s interpretation”

The spaghetti and meatballs arrived lukewarm and the pasta was overcooked and stuck together. We returned it.

We asked for garlic bread and was told they were out. We asked if they had bread, garlic, and butter. The waiter said he would check to see if they could make it. We never saw it.

We were offered dessert but at that point decided to just leave.

We would like to say it was an off (holiday weekend) night because we have had great food there in the past.

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OT
Portland
1 review
Dined on September 3, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Thank you all for making Mom’s birthday celebration extra special. Food and service outstanding as always. We love A Cena!!!

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OG
Chicago
1 review
Dined on September 3, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Super cozy restaurant with very good and creative dishes. The pasta is excellent! The wine selection is very good, friendly staff, and fantastic service.

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AK
1 review
Dined on September 1, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

A Cena is my favorite restaurant in a city full of good food and I am a Portland foodie who has lived here for 12 years. I am never disappointed. I love that people know me here now. It is my ‘go to’ place to take out of town guests and I go every year for my birthday. Thank you A Cena!

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CB
1 review
Dined on September 1, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

Very much impress with the food. It was hot, great , tasted EXCELLENT, you could see and taste the quality ingredients and the food arrived very quickly The Service was great. Look this is not your Mom and Pop Italian restaurant, this is the full deal. If you want more that "it was good" if you want more than, "it was OK" then come here you will not regret it . Bottom-line, I was stationed in Italy, Milan, Verona, Florence and Naples and this food rivals any from these cities, it is that good

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BO
Seattle
4 reviews
Dined on September 1, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

We started with their house made bread and baby fried artichokes... delightful. The agnolotti with lobster is fantastic and rich, the gnocchi with lamb bolognese is wonderful and the rigatoni is delicious. You can't go wrong with this neighborhood gem.

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OT
New York Area
5 reviews
Dined on September 1, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great romantic dinner with homemade food and personable service. Chris and his staff spoiled us and brought my wife back to her youth with her nonnas & grandmas making homemade pastas together

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BG
1 review
Dined on August 31, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Fantastic meal! Had the most delicious pasta I’ve ever tasted! And the butterscotch pudding dessert was incredible! Would go back again in a heartbeat!

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