Cena

4.7
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580 Reviews
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$31 to $50
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Italian
Cena is a modern, fresh and simple Italian food served in a contemporary and stylish setting. Located in the Grand Central building at the heart of the vibrant Channel District of Tampa, Florida – Cena is dining from the roots – great ingredients, traditional dishes, and attentive service. Join us.

Cena – “dinner” or “supper” in Italian.
What 580 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
4.8
service
4.5
ambience
4.4
value
Noise · Moderate
93% of people would recommend it to a friend
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m
Tampa
3 reviews
Dined on August 28, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We have Eric as a server frequently, and he is wonderful! Always great food!

Z
1 review
Dined on August 24, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Staff was awesome! It was my girlfriends birthday and they helped me hide a cake and even slipped me a necklace I bought for her at the perfect moment. Food was fantastic and everyone was great. Will definitely be back for the spaghetti squash lasagna! 2 thumbs up!

-Zach

RC
Portland
4 reviews
Dined on August 23, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Chef Was amazing. Started with one special... it was so good I stopped and ordered the 125.00 bone in special which was amazing!

C
1 review
Dined on August 17, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

One of the best italian restaurants! Server was awesome and chef went above and beyond with the food! Will come a thousand times to this place! Thank you chef!!

DD
1 review
Dined on August 17, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Best Italian I’ve had in the Tamp Bay Area! Great food, great service, and a great experience. Chef Michael and his team have put together a wonderful experience.

S
Central Coast
3 reviews
Dined on August 16, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

It was delicious. Great little gem in the neighborhood.

PB
Orlando
2 reviews
Dined on August 15, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

My friends and I had such an enjoyable evening from start to finish at Cena. It started with one of the warmest greetings I have had in a long time from the owner who graciously got us glasses of wine while we waited for our table because the bar was full. Then the evening got even better with an amazing ravioli appetizer and perfectly cooked fish dishes. The food was exceptional and the service was attentive and warm. Cena was a terrific “find” and I am looking forward to going back.

G
Tampa
21 reviews
Dined on August 11, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Sundays a Cena are special. 1/2 price bottles of wine from their very well-selected and reasonably priced list are a treat. Michael, Joe and team are warm and friendly hosts. The chef's modern Italian cuisine informed by his several recent trips to Italy are bold flavored and delicious. The beet salad and octopus/cauliflower appetizer are fantastic and Chef Michael's risottos, one with perfectly cooked shrimp and scallops are sublime.

Great any night, but even greater on a Sunday.

RT
Tampa
3 reviews
Dined on August 10, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great food, service was spot on and overall feel just fantastic.

b
Tampa
21 reviews
Dined on August 10, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Loved this place so much the first time, we invited another couple to meet us for dinner this go round. Brought our own bottle of wine (cork fee) and had a great time. Service is impeccable-food is fantastic. This will be one of our regulars moving forward.

OT
1 review
Dined on August 9, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Great menu that is kept current. Love the unique flavors and freshness!

KS
1 review
Dined on August 7, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 3

Food was great. I was a little disappointed with presentation as the photos online make the presentation look much more high end and creative than it actually is and we had chosen the restaurant specifically for this reason.

JG
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on August 4, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Awesome food! Nice casual - not stuffy. Highly Highly recommend this place !

OT
1 review
Dined on August 3, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Best modern Italian spot in Tampa, quite possibly the universe.

OT
Tampa
7 reviews
Dined on August 3, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Delicious!!

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J
Tampa
3 reviews
Dined on August 3, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The food and atmosphere were great. We went with friends Bert and Sue who were staying around the corner. I recommend the spaghetti and meatballs. Fabulous!!

JF
Washington DC
3 reviews
Dined on July 31, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 3

We really loved our meal at Cena. It was a special occasion (my grandma’s 89th bday!) and the staff bent over backwards to make sure she was comfortable and that we had everything we needed! The food was great with some standouts like the crispy eggplant appetizer and Italian cookies! Although the hard surfaces, make the place very lively, I would recommend a visit for a nice date and great Italian food!

CL
1 review
Dined on July 31, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 3

Amazing service and food. Left the order in the hands of our server who did not dissapoint

C
Tampa
4 reviews
Dined on July 28, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Cena never

MC
Orlando
9 reviews
Dined on July 27, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Birthday dinner.

F
Tampa
5 reviews
Dined on July 26, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We had such a wonderful time at this restaurant. Very friendly service and the food was fabulous. Definitely recommend going back.

c
Charleston
43 reviews
Dined on July 25, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Always good food. Love the eggplant appetizer.

SB
1 review
Dined on July 24, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Always a great experience Staff great
Food excellent every time

WJ
Tampa
4 reviews
Dined on July 20, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 3

Food was very good as was the service. Location is Channel side we spend very little time there and didn’t see much going on. Ambiance was lacking not much going on here either.

OT
New York Area
1 review
Dined on July 20, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We enjoyed a great meal.

CS
1 review
Dined on July 20, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Eric did an excellent job of describing dishes and the service was very good. We enjoyed all the food in a very nice atmosphere.

OT
1 review
Dined on July 19, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We went when our family was there for vacation and WOW! Great food, great service and just overall a great experience. Highly recommend this place

M
1 review
Dined on July 19, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 5

We went to Cena for my husband’s birthday. The service and wine selection was outstanding. The ravioli was delicious. The food overall was pretty good, and we loved the ambiance. I would recommend this place. We will eat here again.

G
Tampa
22 reviews
Dined on July 14, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

New menu items, which change seasonally, are great. My wife loves Cena's salads - beets or baby kale, I dig Michael's creative appetizers like the octopus or the carpaccio of raw beef. Pastas and risottos are wonderful. And, if you can make it on Sundays, wine bottles are 1/2 price so killer Italian wines are $20-40. Cena's selection is an artful collection of reasonably priced standouts and collectors items, and at 1/2 price try the Safreddi (super super Tuscan)or one of the big Brunellos and be amazed. Thanks Chef Michale and team!

T
Tampa
19 reviews
Dined on July 13, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

We had a lovely evening at Cena. Food was very good; service was excellent.
We will return.

KA
Tampa
7 reviews
Dined on July 13, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

The website gives you good directions for parking and finding the restaurant. It is a smaller venue, but comfortable. The staff is very responsive to the customer needs, and they all seem to work together well. The food is great, portions are small but enough for a good meal. Save room for desert.

It was our first time visiting CENA, Marissa, was an outstanding server.

OT
Jacksonville
5 reviews
Dined on July 11, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

One thing that chefs struggle with is how do they stay true to their culinary heritage while still innovating? How far do they push the envelope, yet not lose the essence of a dish? This can be even more problematic with Italian food as many of the dishes and recipes are sacred! Well, Chef Michael Buttacavoli has found the sweet spot in this conundrum, and I don’t mean with just the delicious gelato! I visited Cena with my wife upon the recommendation of a friend, and the experience was extraordinary. From our host Joe (from Comack), to our server Marissa, all the way to speaking with Michael, who is not only a great chef, but a great guy! Cena has a great vibe, a bit old school, but also a bit industrial. Our meals were amazing, the menu is rotational, and always features in season ingredients; starting with the Antipasti and Insalata. I had the Octopus salad, which was spiced up with some Calabrian hot sauce and fried cauliflower. Now I’m a bit of an authority on octopus, having eaten my way across the Iberian Peninsula, where they hand out awards to the tapas bar that serves the best pulpo. The Cena version of this was fantastic, with some innovative surprises in flavor and texture. My wife had the baby kale Cesar; the chickpea croutons were an awesome touch! And Michael is not afraid to use anchovies to keep it authentic. We had the gnocchi for a pasta course, which was equally inventive as the octopus. The tomato sauce included braised oxtail, again a combination you’ll not find almost anywhere! The gnocchi had a finishing touch of being lightly braised in the skillet, which gave it an even deeper flavor and texture. Absolutely delicious. My secondi was the Parmesan crusted halibut, which was seared to perfection with a fabulous faro and risotto. Again, another twist on a theme, but next level in flavor! This superb meal was finished off with gelato and of course, some house made limoncello!

TF
Atlanta
27 reviews
Dined on July 10, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Michael continues to be a Rock Star!!!!

MW
Los Angeles
1 review
Dined on June 29, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

One of the best dinners I've had in a very long time!

OT
Stuttgart Area
9 reviews
Dined on June 28, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

One of our favorite local Italian restaurants. Chef Michael always comes through with amazing food.

MI
1 review
Dined on June 28, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The food was excellent especially the daily specials.

t
San Francisco
8 reviews
Dined on June 26, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

The food is always delicious at Cena and the staff is very experienced and attentive.

e
New York Area
5 reviews
Dined on June 22, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Chef Michael continues to outdo himself with modern takes on classic Italian cuisine. Hopefully I will continue to be a customer for years to come.

JF
Tampa
1 review
Dined on June 22, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Stellar as always. Cena never disappoints. The veal chop special was outstanding.

MW
1 review
Dined on June 15, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Second trip - but there will be many more. Outstanding gnocchi and branzino again with the best salad (baby kale Caesar) and appetizers (eggplant and the cheese selection) in town. But the chef was on vacation so we were disappointed not to have their fantastic tiramisu available. WRONG! The Italian cookies recommended by our server, paired with the best salted caramel gelato we’d ever had, will now be the future choice. One of our party even got an order of the cookies to go. I keep saying this is the best meal in town - and it is.

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