C'era Una Volta
This sun-splashed location is a hidden treasure on a quiet tree-lined cobblestone promenade. Our Italian restaurant brings a Taste of Italy to the Island of Alameda with delicious Tuscan, regional Italian dishes and an extensive Italian wine list.
From the day we opened our doors in 2004 we have received numerous awards for our food, ambiance, service, and wine selection. Chef Rudy Duran is one of only a handful of Bay Area chefs recognized by the Academia Italiana della Cucina for his authentic Italian cuisine. C'era Una Volta, voted Best Italian Restaurant in Alameda 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 & 2012
It was good. Not great, but good. Small-ish portions, pasta and dessert especially. The bread and olive oil/Dijon was yummy.
Enjoyed dinner alfresco, protected from the evening breeze by a vine-covered arbor. There was a heater, but we didn’t need it to stay comfortable. Watching the local folks going about their Saturday evening business felt like being in Italy. Our friend said the meal was just like her Italian grandmother’s. Not fancy, but delicious. The three course fixed price dinner for $39 was a bargain. Full portions of your choice of numerous salads, three main courses, and several desserts. We started with a very fresh salumni platter, with prosciutto, chunks of good Reggiano, several salamis, all sliced to order, served with housemade focaccia. The gnocchi with Gorgonzola and walnuts passed my friend’s “Nonna” test with f,ting colors. Not gummy, and the Gorgonzola was not harsh. Three of us ordered the prix fix dinner with a variety of salads, with Porcini risotto and braised on-the-bone pork ribs for a main. Our other companion ordered the eggplant parmigiana and loved it. The ribs were succulent, served with its sauce, plus roasted vegetables and really good roasted potatoes. The risotto was perfectly cooked - a bit of a bite to the rice, and saucy, as it should be when cooked to order. We shared two desserts from the prix fix: housemade tiramisu and affogato made with hazelnut gelato with a splash of Frangelico and a cup of espresso poured over. Heavenly.
Really enjoy this little gem of a dining experience that helps transport me back to Italy. We sat outside on the patio that is so lovely with the lights and brick and is so quiet. The food and service is exceptional. Thank goodness for C'ere Una Volta!
Sweet gem with great food and service
The food was wonderful we had berrata as an appetizer, my guest had the egg plant Parmesan and I had the raviolis. We ended with cream Brulé and the lava cake that was excellent I would do that again. The service was over attentive but very good. We enjoyed it very much and will definitely return.
Rudy & Cheryl always make us feel like family. Rudy’s cooking was outstanding. The ambiance (outside seating) was lovely.
Attentive waiter, but not intrusive. Good food.
We were very disappointed with C'era Una Volta. The taste of the entrees was okay, but the portions were very small for an adult and inadequate. The prices were way too high for what was received. The service was only fair and it took way too long to receive simple items like bread, tea, or coffee. Don't waste your money at this restrauant there are too many other good places to dine at far less cost.
We went to a special brunch and the restaurant was full, some even seating in the patio dining area. Good food, good atmosphere, fun & friendly patrons and staff. It was quite busy and the wait staff had to work extra hard. The owner was very welcoming. Very good overall experience.
Cheryl and Rudy run a fantastic restaurant with a very authentic Italian feel. Go. You will not be disappointed!
Enjoyable local Italian restaurant. Great service. Excellent food.
Very gay table meeting new friends over wine and food!
Takes a long time to get the bill
We apologize for any inconvenience you experienced. It happened that we were short staffed that evening. Please accept our invitation to return and we will aim to improve on your past visit.
Much better experience this time and the food was great. It is nice to have a meal and not be pushed along. The owners are still our favorites!
Food is fabulous. Service is superb. Reminds me of dining with my family in Tuscany! I highly recommend this wonderful restaurant.
The food is always great! Bit the friendliness of Cheryl & Rudi May this restaurant wonderful.
Spectacular meal. What we had: We each got a glass of house wine--3 of us with the red blend and Mom with the Cab. It was a special Mother's Day menu, with the dishes served family style, which fit us very well. We got a smoked-salmon appetizer to start that was lovely, then a gnocchi with a gorgonzola cream sauce. Then we got a mozzarella ravioli with a smoked salmon sauce, and finally an eggplant parmigiana with caponata (eggplant/veg stew) on the side, with garlic-sauteed spinach.
A wonderful meal, and just the right amount of food. Mom got super tired, so we skipped dessert, although the lemon cake sounded just delectable. Service was excellent.
Made reservations for Mother’s Day. Good food and I liked there special Menu that they had specifically for Mother’s Day.
Went for Mother's day and the it wasn't really busy. They seemed to be understaffed for the day. Service was very slow and had to ask multiple times for coffee that had been ordered. Took over an hour to get our food and when it came 2 dishes were way over cooked and my egg dish was cold. I informed them that my dish was cold and they took it back and just put in the microwave instead of redoing the dish. They did finally redo the dish but brought me a different version then what I had ordered. It was better but still wasn't right. In their defense they did comp 1/2 of our meal and were apologetic.
They need to do something about the service… It took forever to get our drinks and our meal
I came for Mother’s Day Brunch with my family. The special brunch menu was good and they were able to accommodate my vegan sister’s dietary requests. They did mix-up one of our orders but quickly fixed. All in all it was a good brunch spot and we will be back.
PIANO MUSIC TOO LOUD, NOT DINNER MUSIC. WE HAD TROUBLE HEARING ACROSS OUR TABLE WHICH HAD WINDOW BEHIND ME . PESTO RAVIOLI DRENCH IN PESTO MAYBE 5 TIMES WHAT WAS NEEDED. MAKING DISH HEAVY & SOMEWHAT BITTER. SERVER DID NOT ASK IF WE WANTED TO ORDER WINE? WE HAD OUR ENTRIES BEFORE I WAS ABLE TO ORDER. WINE I ASKED FOR ON MENU WAS NOT AVAILABLE SO WE ENDED UP WITH A CALIF CHARDONNAY, VERY GOOD. SALMON MY GUEST ORDERED WAS PERFECT & ALL VEGIES & EXCELLENT MASHED POTATOES CAME WITH IT. THER WERE 4 OF US AT 6:30 ON SAT 4TH
We dined early on a Thursday evening before a play and were the only party (6) there, so the noise level was just the conversation from our own table. Another couple came in before we left, but we were surprised at the low dinner attendance. Food was very good: eggplant parmesan (2), gnocchi, lasagne & mushroom risotto. My risotto was very tasty, with lots of mushrooms, however I've had creamier risotto.
We'd go again.
Try to go on a night when the Warriors are playing and "The Avengers: Endgame" opens. Even though there were only a few reservations available, the restaurant was mostly empty! One of the specials, pork sausage stuffed pork tenderloin, was outstanding.
We enjoyed Rudy's explanations of the Italian wine regions and the wine/food he had selected. After dessert was served, he joined us at the table which was also lovely. We would have preferred the fourth course to be meat or chicken instead of a another pasta course and would gladly have paid a little more for this. A few small suggestions regarding ambiance: remove extra place settings from the table and space the remaining settings out evenly. There were eight of us, but the table was set for ten. This left one couple rather isolated at the end of the table. Also, there were beautiful candles on the table but they never got lit. Overall, a very nice experience. We'll be back!
This restaurant was the worst food we've ever had, the 3 of us all had lasagna I'm pretty sure Chef Boyardee would have been infinitely better, the portions were all different, I had 2 skinny slabs, the other guest had this weird rectangular blob, and bechamel sauce, meat sauce noodles moosh, grotesque. I think the chef needs to go back to culinary school for a very long time.
WE really enjoyed the Easter Brunch. The food choices were very interesting, and different. All was very good. Service was very good as well.
The setting is exquisite reminding me of small restaurants in Florence Italy. Service was very personal, attentive and for preparations according to our dietary needs (lactose intolerant) was assisted by a visit from a chef owner. Focaccia like bread (excellent!) and mustard- olive oil dip started meal. The house salad was ample and delicious, others liked their Caesar w. Anchovies and minestrone. The in-house made tagliatelle was excellent with meat ragu as was substituted pesto sauce; eggplant parmigiana was very good as were side spinach and variety of vegetables. Only glitch was computer was down and bill was hand added, needed addition corrections and Visa machine didn’t work. Great atmosphere and we’ll be back.
My wife and I love C'era Una Volta, its the perfect place to enjoy a well prepared meal in a comfortable environment.
we have dined at C'era Una Volta many times, without a doubt the food & presentation exceeded prior diners, the staff is very attentive and helpful, the evening special dinner was exceptional, by that I mean it compares to some of the fabulous meals I have enjoyed in Tuscany region of Italy.
For a very special night with "killer" authentic Italian food, you can't beat C"era Una Volta.
A lovely menu and very accommodating with substitutions. Great wine list.
It is like being on a side street in Roma savoring old family recipes.
Food was bad and portion sizes were very small (which in this case may have been a good thing considering the food's quality). The house wine tasted like it had gone by. They advertised a happy hour on their website but would not honor it, stating that the info on the website was out of date. Prices were high, and made even worse by the tiny portion sizes. I will say that the service was decent and we didn't have to wait long for our food. Overall it was a terrible dining experience, total waste of $100. Definitely would not return or recommend to anyone else.
We love your restaurant, however in coming for special dinners on Thanksgiving and Valentine’s Day, it seems to overwhelm the type of device you desire to provide.
Valentines a little rushed service.
We have been going to C’era Una Volta for several years now, both for relaxing after work or weekend treats and for holidays and other special occasions. We have been repeat customers because of their normally high level of service and excellent delicious and healthy meals. However this past Valentine’s Day dinner was an extremely poor rendition of the normally stellar experience. It started with the hostess at the front door brushing us off when we arrived early for our reserved seating time (the normal hostess, Cheryl, was on premise, but was not at the door when we arrived). This was slightly made up for with Prosecco being poured promptly upon being seated. Next when we had ordered from the set menu, our server neglected to bring the crostini until after the insalata had been served and the Manhattan order did not arrive until it had been asked for repeatedly and we were almost done with the insalatas. Next my partner had finished his insalata, but I was still only 2/3 of the way through my dish when the entrees arrived and were placed on the table. I had ordered the filet mignon and that proceeded to cool on the plate while I finished my insalata. The filet mignon was nearly cold by the time I got to eat it as I also had to wait for our server to reappear so I could request a steak knife for cutting - this was doubly necessary because of a strip of tendon running through one of the cuts. My partner ordered the smoked salmon raviolis which he said were delicious. We had ordered drinks with dessert - the wrong desserts were initially brought, and then our drinks did not arrive until after we had finished eating the desserts. For what was supposed to be a relaxing romantic evening, it left us disappointed and irate. They should not have had such poorly trained staff/lack of service given the number of tables occupied. If they were short staffed, they should have acknowledge up front and at least made sure that drinks were served promptly.
C'era Una Volta is a diner's paradise. From the time you walk in the door until you leave, you are treated to warm hospitality, impeccable service, a creative menu, and artfully prepared food by Master Chef, Rudy. Valentine's Day, as usual, we were given excellent advice on a wine to enhance the dishes we ordered.
Our history with C'era Una Volta goes back eleven years and it remains our favorite restaurant.
Excellent white tablecloth quality food served in a lovely atmosphere with gracious and thoughtful service. I've traveled extensively in Italy, and have been a restaurateur and winemaker in California. This is an authentic Italian dining experience at a most reasonable price, unmatched in my experience in the Bay Area. Free corkage on Wednesdays is an added enticement for wine lovers. Kudos to Chef Rudy and the staff for a wonderful evening.
The service was wonderful. The food was good however one dish had slightly under cooked pasta. This time for some reason the music from the speakers was a little loud. However I did not ask them to turn it down.