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CENA Italian Trattoria

263 reviews
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$30 and under
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Contemporary Italian
Top Tags:
  • Fit for Foodies (356)
  • Special Occasion (355)
  • Romantic (328)

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Cena Italian Trattoria is an upscale Italian restaurant in the Jeffersontown area of Central Kentucky. It is sophisticated yet intimate, ideal for meeting up for a quiet conversation and a great meal. Although the restaurant is located entirely in the basement of a building, the interior is designed in such a way that guests feel comfortable and pampered.

The menu at Cena Italian Trattoria is full of gourmet entr�es like the popular short ribs, meatballs and prosciutto wrapped pork tenderloin. Appetizers and small dishes are also popular at Cena Italian Trattoria, with many guests ordering a collection of taster-size dishes in place of a full entr�e. Popular tasters include the goat cheese fritos, carbonara, bistecca and oxtail ravioli.

Dining Style
Casual Dining
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Contemporary Italian, Italian
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Hours of operation
Tuesday 5pm-10pm
Wednesday 5pm-10pm
Thursday 5pm-10pm
Friday 5pm-10pm
Saturday 5pm-10pm
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Phone number
(502) 333-0376
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Payment options
AMEX, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
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Dress code
Business Casual
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Executive chef
Fernando Martinez
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Banquet, Bar/Lounge, Beer, Chef's Table, Fireplace, Full Bar, Non-Smoking, Private Room, Wine
What 263 People Are SayingWrite a review
Overall ratings and reviews
4.5  based on all time ratings
Noise · Moderate
92% of people would recommend it to a friend
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rose1114 (Louisville)
5.0  Dined on November 28, 2015

Food excellent as was service.
Sorry you are moving !!! Yuck

LouisvilleMike (Louisville)
5.0  Dined on November 21, 2015

Amazing 4 course tasting usual. Hopefully some of our favorites dishes pop up in the new place.

Almosttoolate (Louisville)
5.0  Dined on November 10, 2015

Had dinner there with friends, food was fantastic, service was great and we really enjoyed the evening. We chose Cena because my friend had a gift card and we had heard it was going to close soon. We generally eat at Mussels and Burgers. After the experience, we were sad we had waited so long and will definitely visit the new restaurant when it reopens at the new location. My friend is a "foodie" and she raved about the experience!

GLouisville (Miami)
5.0  Dined on November 7, 2015

Cena is one of our favorite restaurants in Louisville. One of several culinary gems owned and operated by Fernando and Christina Martinez, it consistently stays at the top of our list of go-to places for special occasions. The food is always amazing and we quite often opt for the four-course tasting menu. The pistachio and chocolate torte is one of the best desserts on the planet! Great atmosphere, outstanding cuisine, and excellent service!!!

OpenTable Diner (Louisville)
5.0  Dined on November 7, 2015

We are sad to see Cena leave Jtown but will absolutely still visit after the move to Norton Commons!

wildcatpetie (Louisville)
3.0  Dined on November 6, 2015

Our waiter recommended a couple of entrees. I did not enjoy my entrée nor did one of my two girlfriends. We sat for quite a while before he came back to check to see if everything was alright. At the end when he asked me if I wanted to box up my entrée I told him no, that I did not like it at all. He said he wished I had spoken up and he could have brought me something different, however he never checked back with us until the other two gals were almost done eating. Very disappointing. Ambience was great, however I will not return.

FinickyFoodie (Columbus)
5.0  Dined on November 5, 2015

I've said it before and I'll say it again, best restaurant in Louisville. The occasion, unfortunately, for our visit this time was to say "good-bye", after having heard the news that Cena will close on November 28th. Word on the street is that the "concept" will reopen at some point in a different location, but what I've heard sounds like quite a departure from what Cena is now - delicious, worth every dollar spent, and just an overall quality dining experience. So, go and enjoy while you can. A continuation of the concept will NEVER meet or exceed the current Cena experience unless it is, in fact, Cena in some downtown or Highlands or Frankfort Avenue digs. And order things you might not otherwise. I especially recommend the goat cheese appetizer, as well as the smoked egg appetizer and the spare rib ravioli. If you don't have them here, you'll likely never find anything like them anywhere else. Truly a sad day for the Louisville restaurant scene is on the horizon when Cena dims it's lights for the last time. Chef/Owner Fernando Martinez seems to truly know what he's doing in the wonderful world of restaurateurs, given his notable list of wonderful restaurants, but on this decision, I remain a skeptic. Goodbye Cena, I'll miss you.

vipVogy (Naples)
1.0  Dined on November 3, 2015

We sent two appetizers and one entrée back to the kitchen to be heated. The pork entrees were so ordinary and so much was left on the plate, the server should have asked what was wrong them. The owner's other restaurants have been excellent throughout the years but this one was a real disappointment.

OpenTable Diner (Louisville)
5.0  Dined on October 21, 2015

Everything was great about this dining experience. The food was remarkable, the wine was excellent and our table in the wine room was a nice touch for our anniversary dinner.

OpenTable Diner (Louisville)
3.0  Dined on October 17, 2015

I came back after a wonderful first experience, specifically because I wanted the same dish. I ordered, and 20 minutes later was informed that they were out of what I wanted. It was rather disappointing. I ordered something different and it was alright but nothing spectacular. Service was great and the appetizer was awesome. However, I probably won't be back for a while because of high prices and frankly this past time the price wasn't worth the experience.

DIane (Louisville)
3.0  Dined on October 17, 2015

I felt claustrophobic in Cena due to no windows and low ceiling. It seems our waiter was trying to upsell the menu to us. We had to ask twice for the cooler for our wine after he said he would bring it to the table.

sjcpa (Louisville)
4.0  Dined on October 17, 2015

My wife and I, along with another couple, experienced our first time at Cena. It was terrific. My wife and I are vegetarians, and our waiter was very helpful in that respect. In addition to the dinner that he recommended, he suggested a salad that was out of this world.
There were 3 problems that I would like to mention.
1) It was noisy.
2) One of the meals was not hot when served, and after the waiter took the meal back for reheating, it still was not hot.
3) The salad that we ordered was a special (not on the menu), and it was outstanding. However, since the waiter did not tell us the price when he suggested it, we were shocked to find out when we got the bill, that it was $14. Way more than the other salads. It was not really the cost, but the fact that we did not know it before we ordered it.
We also appreciate the convenience of making a reservation thru Opentable. A nice option.
Thanx for an enjoyable experience.

Jason (Cleveland)
3.0  Dined on October 17, 2015

I don't mind waiting for good food. But our 4-course fixed price meal took 3 hours. We waited about an hour in between course 2 and 3. Our server (who was excellent) kept apologizing and did give us a glass of wine on the house while we waited. We wanted to see a movie at 9:30 (with 6:45 reservations) and didn't make it out of there until almost 10. Just 2 of us. While the food was excellent, no food is worth waiting 3 hours for 4 courses. Their kitchen needs to figure out a quicker approach.

Superb (Louisville)
5.0  Dined on October 16, 2015

Went there for our anniversary (mentioned it in the notes when I made the reservation). We were seated in this very private area just for the two of us. The chef's 4 course tasting was fantastic ($45) and the service was beyond all expectations. Highly recommend!

JaredC (Louisville)
5.0  Dined on October 15, 2015

My wife and I have been here multiple times and the food is killer. The mussels and gnocchi are my personal favorites. It's a classy Italian restaurant without the exorbitant prices you would expect. Would recommend Cena to anyone

OpenTable Diner (San Francisco)
5.0  Dined on October 15, 2015

Brought a friend for her bday last nite. Told Amanda when I confirmed res. We were seated in that special little alcove. Monty was our server. He was just wonderful and every single thing he did made our night more special. Brought delicious ice cold champagne as we were seated. Took sweet photos of us. Knew the menu so well. Made wonderland recommendations. His pace/timing was perfect. Dinner was incredible but I always get the same thing bc I love it so much- the carbonara and prosciutto salad. She loved her
Gnocchi. Then came a special bday dessert that was just flipping off the charts. OMG. This was probably my 6th or 7th visit. Each time outstanding. I RAVE about you all to everyone.
You choose ur servers well. They are ur best ambassadors. Monty knocked it out of the park for us. Thank you! Can't wait til next visit!

Foodie (Louisville)
5.0  Dined on October 10, 2015

Every single bite was a little party for my taste buds. I highly recommend the goat cheese Frito for an appetizer, the butternut squash ravioli or anything with their red sauce for an entree (make sure to sop that up with their mouthwatering bread). I had the chocolate pistachio dessert with the whiskey-chai seasonal cocktail. Just phenomenal! Our server Clayton was both professional and friendly and I left there grinning from ear to ear from the amazing dining experience my husband and I shared.

OpenTable Diner (Las Vegas)
4.0  Dined on October 10, 2015

Food was wonderful. I was a little surprised with the service. At this type of restaurant you expect good service. We waited at least 15 minutes and 3 table visits for a straw. Was told the drink would be taken care of due to having to wait and ask 3 times. That was offered by the waiter, not a request or expectation of ours. When we got the bill, not only was the drink still on the bill, we were over charged for 2 glasses of wine. Overcharged a total of $16.00. Not the end of the world, but something you shouldn't have to worry about at this level of restaurant.

Polly (Louisville)
1.0  Dined on October 10, 2015

Our first time there and won't go back. Our waitress was so kind in the beginning and informative about the food. Then, didn't see her much after that. I asked for more bread and finished my entre' by the time I got it. Asked for butter and got it after I finished my bread. No refills on drinks. The food was so so but may have been better if hot. My friend's steak was not cooked to order and the other's was lasagna and too many noodles and not enough sauce so it was doughy. Dessert was Tiri Mishu and not like any I have eaten before. Eatable discribes the dessert. All and all not a good experience and pricey for what we got.

Chigger (Louisville)
4.0  Dined on October 9, 2015

The two meat dishes were wonderful. Two pasta dishes had great sauce but "homemade" pasta was very under cooked in one and the other very grainy. Oops. Staff comped us for dessert and coffee, which was thoughtful but didn't make up for two bad dinners.