a Cena Ristorante

4.7
2029 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

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What 2029 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
94% of people would recommend it to a friend
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OT
Portland
3 reviews
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

A Cena has become a place of choice for our family for important and special occasions. The space, food, service, and ambiance all contribute to a very satisfying experience.

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NK
1 review
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 3

Great food! Only thing is the place a little small, so don’t have much privacy. Not as romantic as we hoped for, but good to make some new friends.

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AR
1 review
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 3

The food is really something. Everything is so phenomenally done and absolutely delicious. My only complaint is the atmosphere and crowding; there was maybe one foot between our table the the tables on either side of ours. No private conversations possible, and waiters were forced to awkwardly squeeze between tables with their aprons and body’s rubbing on both parties tables... not exaggerating

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DH
Orange County
6 reviews
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

Food was good. I would like to see them using more local produce and organic or sustainable flours. We had an enjoyable dinner.

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OT
1 review
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Lovely staff, excellent food. Highly recommend.

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DW
1 review
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 3food 4service 4ambience 3

A good experience all around but they were very busy as it was the night after Valentines and we felt kind of rushed. When I spend that kind of money on a date night I would like to be able to linger over coffee etc and from appetizer to dessert it was about an hour and we received our check and left.

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o
Portland
4 reviews
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 4food 5service 3ambience 4

Food was amazing. I really appreciate that they make house made burrata for their Caprese. Melt in your mouth goodness. Now, on to the main course. The Agnolotti was to die for. Like literally, pillows of heaven. My friend had their spaghetti and she said it was “mmm, mmm good”. Anything that is moan worthy food, is good food. It should be noted that they make all their pasta in house. And it’s GOOD pasta. The decor was fitting. The low lighting perfect. The owner is out and about in his restaurant, serving guests and making sure everyone is enjoying themselves. Now just a few things that kinda turned me off. One, we were sitted right next to the kitchen, like, right next to it. So we had to listen to the servers shouting orders, the kitchen gossip, the servers were hanging out by the bathrooms slash kitchen area as they stared out onto the floor. It was a little disconcerting. The 2 top tables are crowded together which isn’t too terrible, however when the server would come to the table next to us, their rear end would be like, right their in our faces. Not to mention there was a moment that I had to move the candle back to make sure it didn’t catch fire. All in all, the amazing food is worth the five star rating and some of the other factors that I gave less stars for are totally fixable. I would just specifically request tables away from the area of the kitchen.

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KA
1 review
Dined 7 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

A cena is the bomb. Bomb food for bomb people. The polipo is a panty dropper

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JG
Portland
5 reviews
Dined 7 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Wonderful food in a warm environment with lots of ambiance. I had the fennel sausage and ricatoni and it was incredible.

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MT
New York Area
1 review
Dined 7 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Nice to find that A Cena continues to excel in terms of food, wine list, service and ambience. Best Italian restaurant in Portland. And the butterscotch budino is heavenly!

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BK
Portland
5 reviews
Dined 7 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

We visited a Cena for Valentine's Day. It's a very cute restaurant with a small but nice bar area.
The service is what you'd expect from a nice Italian restaurant. The overall meal was AMAZING. We shared the casa salad. I had one of the specials for the day, dungeness crab ravioli. S.O. had the pesto pasta. It was good, although a bit too oily for our tastes.

The dessert of the night was a no-flour chocolate cake with citrus fruit. AWESOME!

The ambiance was good. However, it is not the best place to converse in. Very loud and hard to hear at times even though we are sitting across from each other.

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MA
1 review
Dined on February 14, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Wonderful lunch, charming ambiance, excellent service and over the top amazingly delicious food.

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JB
1 review
Dined on February 14, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

This is the only place that I have been able to find authentic Italian food in Oregon.

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m
Portland
3 reviews
Dined on February 14, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

A good selection of sumptuous food, generous portions, a large wine list, and great cocktails. The staff is friendly and attentive.

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LV
New England
2 reviews
Dined on February 12, 2019
Overall 4food 3service 4ambience 4

We had an enjoyable night out together with dinner at a Cena. Everything was just okay. Nothing really stood out as outstanding. The food was good but not great. The corn ravioli with lobster was good but maybe too sweet? The bread brought out was cold and underwhelming. The caprese was good. The scallops were very eh-the risotto they were served on was very bland. The service was fine. Everything was fine but I wouldn’t come back because there are so many other great places in Portland to try at this price point.

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CJ
Portland
1 review
Dined on February 10, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Love this place. Always get great service and delicious food.

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MI
1 review
Dined on February 10, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excellent as usual! Always a great place to take friends

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M
Portland
16 reviews
Dined on February 9, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 5

Great experience in a Cena’s new dining area. Everything was perfect but the entree was not as warm as we would have expected.

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OT
Portland
1 review
Dined on February 7, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The marscapone raviolini with lobster was rich & exquisite. Great service and atmosphere as well!

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OT
Dallas
3 reviews
Dined on February 3, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

For the first time, I gave them a demerit for food. My wife had spaghetti with meat balls which was excellent. I had butter poached lobster with ravioli. The lobster was excellent but the mascarpone filling in the ravioli was overpoweringly sweet. My wish would be for a move in a more savory direction perhaps with a different cheese filling mixture. Certainly not enough to prevent me from returning as quickly as possible, though.

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B
1 review
Dined on February 2, 2019
Overall 2food 2service 3ambience 3

We came for lunch on our 39th wedding anniversary, and had noted that on the OpenTable reservation. It was not recognized at all by the restaurant. We each ordered the mini corn raviolis with lobster, mine came out barely warm, except on the bottom, and the lobster was tough and flavorless. The raviolis were kind of under cooked, too. When I asked the server about dessert, he told me the cannoli was made to order. But we must have had a misunderstanding, because the shell was cold and tough. The descriptions are elegant, and I think basically A Cena intends to be excellent, but the execution falls flat. Server was a nice guy, and meant well. Fortunately, after lunch, I ran in to a nearby old standby dessert place, and they saved the day by giving us generous portions of a delicious pastry to go for us to celebrate our anniversary with something delicious! Oh, I need to say this, we were not drinking alcohol, maybe the food here tastes better to people who have had a few glasses of wine.

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K
Wilmington
4 reviews
Dined on January 29, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 3ambience 4

LOVED THE FOOD! Everything was delicious especially the lobster and corn raviolinis, WOW! The risotto with scallops was delicious and when I told the waitress the risotto was just a little underdone, the chef made me some more that was great! We didn't care for the service though. We saw our waitress about 4 times the whole night. She did not bring the drinks or food or even the check. Other people kept coming by. And the waiter who was also in our area was CONSTANTLY checking in on his tables. TBH we were a little jealous of how great the other server seemed to be. But try it out for the food, definitely worth it!

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MJ
Portland
1 review
Dined on January 29, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 3

Fresh pasta, good WI e selection and tasty appetisers, salads. Lu ch bettet priced , dinne on expensive side for pasta entrees.
Lighting too dark...

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OT
Portland
3 reviews
Dined on January 27, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

As always, a Cena was a special dining experience. Great food, good service and a welcoming atmosphere. Simply all-around fun.

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r
Portland
88 reviews
Dined on January 27, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 4

I've been to A Cena a number of times and always had a good experience. This time, not so much. It was very crowded on a Saturday -- not an issue. We got there about 10 minutes early and had to wait for a few minutes for our reservation. Tried to get a drink at the bar while waiting. Three different servers came to the bar, none asked if they could help. Finally someone asked, but before I could answer she started talking to another customer and ignored me. After about 15 minutes, someone finally did take our drink order and within a few minutes we were seated at our table. The table service was fine, and up to standard I expected from A Cena. The food on the other had was in one case dry (risotto) another tasteless (garganelli). The third dinner was fine (spaghetti). I don't know if it was just a bad night or a new cook or what, but I was definitely disappointed . I will return to make sure this was just a one-off -- everyone gets one of those.

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S
Vancouver
7 reviews
Dined on January 27, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 3

The wine list doesn't have any choices under $60 with most bottles being $75/up. Maybe when the owners read this they will offer some less expensive choices.
We tried the Octopus, its was great, not chewy and cooked properly. I had the sea scallops, day boat caught? Not sure that's true as all the scallop boats I know on the east coast make 3-5 day trips. The scallops were cooked to perfection.
The place is noisy and as much as we booked reservation 4 days ahead of our visit we were seated in the bar area behind the maitre d's podium. I felt like we in the runway with serving going back and forth to the kitchen and the room was loud. I would suggest booking later or early in the evening when its less busy and quieter. Overall we enjoyed the food and service was terrific.

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P
1 review
Dined on January 27, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

One of the best Italian restaurants we have had the pleasure of visiting. Authentic Italian dishes served by engaging and friendly staff. Atmosphere is casual, cozy & fun -the way Italian dinners should be. We ordered selections from appetizers, pasta and main courses. The restaurant willingly served these family style for an experience that perfect.

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HG
Portland
1 review
Dined on January 27, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

What a wonderful spot for a date night. We had an intimate table in the corner, attentive waitstaff, amazingly delectable food and a fabulous bottle of wine. Will definitely be back.

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JS
1 review
Dined on January 26, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Always have a nice time there. The picture is there agnolotti..Their signature dish, essentially ravioli with mascarpone creamed corn in it with pieces of lobster on top poached in butter with butter sauce. I like to go during lunch because you can get the lunch size portion it's not as expensive.

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L
Portland
11 reviews
Dined on January 25, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 2

The skin on the octopus wasn't peeled off properly and was unpleasantly 'gummy and chewy'

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L
1 review
Dined on January 23, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 5

The corn and lobster ravioli was amazing, as was their seasonal salad. We did family style and shared three dishes between the three of us. I didn’t give it 5 stars because the wine by the glass list was lacking for an Italian restaurant, and they were out of two of the ones I tried ordering. Otherwise, fabulous food! Just make sure you are not under a time restraint when you go.

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P
San Francisco
7 reviews
Dined on January 23, 2019
Overall 4food 3service 5ambience 4

The server service was excellent. The “busboy” who removed our empty plates could have done a better job interacting.

The menu read very well, however the food product was less than excellent. I guess I was expecting more. For example the main item order was hot, but the garnish (potato’s or polenta) it was served on top of was room temperature as if the plates were set up too far ahead of the main meal being ready.

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B
Portland
2 reviews
Dined on January 22, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Good food in a non pretentious environment. The staff were friendly and informative and interacted well with the kids 5 & 10. Loved that there were gluten free pasta options. And the affogato with the dark choc sorbet... I’m still dreaming about it.

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BN
1 review
Dined on January 21, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excellently prepaired. Very well trained and experienced chefs, great service and good atmosphere. Seems a little spendy but everything is these days. Im just getting old. I can remember when gas was a dollar a gallon. We had a wonderful time. You should definitely check them out.

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OT
Portland
1 review
Dined on January 21, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

We went for a birthday and had a great experience. Delicious food and friendly staff.

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OT
Dallas
4 reviews
Dined on January 21, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I'm working my way through the menu. There are still a number of dishes for my wife and I to try. Simply put, I love this restaurant and look forward to trying everything.

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OT
1 review
Dined on January 20, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 5

I always enjoy this place. Small neighborhood sort of establishment. Good food and well presented. I recommend it!

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OT
Portland
1 review
Dined on January 20, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Yummy! Excellent service, nice atmosphere.

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OT
Portland
15 reviews
Dined on January 20, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Always awesome food and service.

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K
Hawaii
3 reviews
Dined on January 20, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We met our friends to celebrate their anniversary and the service,romantic atmosphere and dinner were beyond wonderful—this has become my favorite restaurant!!

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