C'era Una Volta

4.4
775 reviews
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$30 and under
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Italian
C'era Una Volta - Italian Restaurant

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

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Delivery or takeout
Dining Style
Casual Elegant
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Cuisines
Italian, Vegetarian / Vegan, Wine Bar
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Hours of operation
Brunch:
Saturday 12:00am - 3:30pm
Sunday 9:00am - 3:30pm

Dinner:
Tuesday- Thursday 4:00pm - 9:00pm
Friday & Saturday 4:00pm - 10:00pm
Sunday 4:00pm - 9:00pm

Happy Hour:
Tuesday- Sunday 3:00pm- 6:00pm
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Phone number
(510) 769-4828
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Payment options
AMEX, Diners Club, Discover, JCB, MasterCard, Visa
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Dress code
Business Casual
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Executive chef
Rutilio Duran
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Private party facilities
In addition to our delivery and off-site catering services, we make our private dining room and mezzanine available for meetings, conferences, and customized full-service catered parties.
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Private party contact
Cheryl Principato: (888) 925-6434
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Catering
C’era Una Volta Italian Restaurant catering is a superb way to enjoy the time-tested culinary traditions of Italy in the comfort of your own home or office. One day advanced notice required for parties larger than 20. Delivery available throughout the entire San Francisco Bay Area. Our chef and catering department here in Alameda can also tailor a menu to fit your specific needs or help you plan ahead for special events, receptions, weddings and conferences. Schedule a consultation or place an order by calling 510.769.4828 anytime during our regular business hours!
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Neighborhood
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Cross street
Alameda Avenue
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Parking details
Free weekend and weekday parking after 5 pm in private lot located directly beside our Alameda Park Avenue entrance on Redwood Square. Ample street parking; some is metered.
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Public transit
C'era Una Volta Italian Restaurant in Alameda, one block from AC Transit Bus lines O, OX, 20, 21, 51A.

BART connections available for each bus line.

Bus 51A from Berkeley
to Alameda via Downtown Oakland.

Bus 20 & 21 from Fruitvale BART Station
to Downtown Alameda in 10 min.

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Entertainment
Live Music most Sundays for Brunch and Dinner. Our Alameda restaurant location hosts semi-annual Flamenco Dance performances , live music most Sundays for brunch and dinner.

Check the C'era Una Volta website calendar for Events and Entertainment. http://www.ceraunavolta.us/
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Special events & promotions
C'era Una Volta holds semi-aanual Flamenco Dance Performance dinners, and also has guest musicians on Sundays in our Alameda restaurant. Visit our website for upcoming entertainment. We also hold an annual festival of Italian food and culture, ZabFest, every May with barbecue and games.
Additional
Banquet, Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Beer, BYO Wine, Cafe, Corkage Fee, Counter Seating, Entertainment, Gluten-free Menu, Happy Hour, Non-Smoking, Outdoor dining, Private Room, Takeout, Weekend Brunch, Wheelchair Access, Wine
What 775 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.4based on recent ratings
4.1
food
4.2
service
4.5
ambience
4.0
value
Noise · Quiet
92% of people would recommend it to a friend
5
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TT
San Francisco
8 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Last min reservation for a birthday dinner with my boyfriend. Service was exceptional. Warm and friendly yet not overbearing. The last time I had a steak as good was in Firenze.

Was getting late and we had to get home, but they took the time to pack a slice of cake with a candle in it. Overall.... a perfect evening.

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W
San Francisco
22 reviews
Dined 7 days ago
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

We came for dinner following our show at Altarena. We were early, but the restaurant was empty. We were seated immediately by a very friendly server. Three of our party ordered the three course special. I ordered the meatballs and spaghetti, which was aptly named, seemingly more meatballs than spaghetti. I reminded the server we had come from the theater and pushed for the discount supposedly offered for theater patrons. Was told it did not apply to the special three course offering. Nevertheless, the meal was perfect, other than one salmon ordered was slightly overdone. The pork rib entree was excellent, as were the salads and fantastic desserts, which included a lemon cake and a lemon and a raspberry creme brulee. Fantastic meal served by a professional server.

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1
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on October 6, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

After my meal, I went to Altarena Playhouse, where the restaurant was called out for its on-going support of the theatre. Thanks for supporting local arts.

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

Drove from San Ramon to Alameda to have dinner at C’era Una Volta. Great atmosphere!
My husband and I both had ravioli and a salad. Everything was delicious!
Server was attentive. Price was reasonable. Will definitely go back again!

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AK
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on September 29, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 4

Made a last-min reservation, on a night when they have a rehearsal dinner upstairs (or so it seemed).
Service was slightly uneven, but nothing tragic.
Was worried that it would take a long time to get served, as my kid was melting down, but the wait staff made sure my daughter's order got in first, and that she received her food when it was ready (like we asked) instead of holding it until the rest of the main courses were served.

Food was tasty and balanced. Nice veggies with the main dishes.

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s
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on September 23, 2018
Overall 4food 3service 2ambience 4

Nice menu and wines. My daughter loved the colored pencils and paper cover - being able to draw on the whole table. Lovely, upbeat piano playing that everyone enjoyed.

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w
San Francisco
8 reviews
Dined on September 22, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I loved the ambiance of the restaurant. Very intimate and the food was excellent.

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F
San Francisco
5 reviews
Dined on September 16, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Always great food. The restaurant is very friendly and makes you feel at home.

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OT
Chicago
1 review
Dined on September 9, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 3ambience 5

Good food. Little slow service. Atmosphere awesome. Definitely recommend.

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CL
San Francisco
8 reviews
Dined on September 6, 2018
Overall 3food 4service 1ambience 4

The food was excellent with substantial proportions. The wait staff was friendly and informed but the service was glacial, especially waiting to pay long after we finished the meal.

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JS
San Francisco
13 reviews
Dined on September 2, 2018
Overall 4food 3service 4ambience 4

Nice atmosphere. Good food. Only been there once, so I cannot comment on much.

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MN
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on August 23, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Brought my cousin from Pisa, Italy. Family group of 8 enjoyed the food and Gabrielle the server and Chef Rudy as well. Cousin Guido had a good time chatting to Chef Rudy. He also enjoyed being with his American relatives and we all enjoyed the fun time, the great food, and the wine. We have been to C'era Una Volta for two or three special occasions and we enjoyed those times as well. We will continue to come to this restaurant in the future.

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OT
San Francisco
5 reviews
Dined on August 19, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Our meals were wonderful, and servers were fun and excellent. The wine that was suggested went with everything. Truly wonderful dinning experience!

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M
San Francisco
13 reviews
Dined on August 11, 2018
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 4

The service was attentive and the wait staff all seemed to work well as a team. The food was good, but not spectacular.

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EL
1 review
Dined on August 4, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Good food good wine good service reasonable prices what more do you want?

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CG
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on July 27, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

A gem of place located in alleyway off of Park Street, Alameda next to the Post Office. Rudy (chef/ owner) and Cheryl (owner) are so hospitable! The atmosphere is like being transported to Italy. The food is great and the wine list is very good. Will return as soon as possible.

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CL
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on July 21, 2018
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

Charming decor. Warm and friendly service. Food was good, but limited menu in that there were no fish entrees.

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OT
San Francisco
3 reviews
Dined on July 19, 2018
Overall 3food 2service 5ambience 5

Don’t get the pizza. Gnocchi was yummy.

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OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on July 15, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

Went for my wifes birthday food was the best small portions but great flavor alnost a shame not too order two plates..

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OT
1 review
Dined on July 2, 2018
Overall 2food 4service 1ambience 3

This place is usually quite good food still good not sure what’s up with the service. We have enjoyed going here for many years hope this is a momentary problem.

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E
San Francisco
46 reviews
Dined on June 30, 2018
Overall 2food 2service 2ambience 3

Service was good and the portions were generous. Wish the steak was a bit rarer which is the way it was orders but it was tasty, just not our liking.

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OT
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on June 25, 2018
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

We walked passed by it a million times and we were so happy to finally try it! Food is delicious, the service was amazing and it felt like we were at someones home for a lovely Italian meal.

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OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on June 11, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

C’era una volta is awesome, real authentic Italian at its best.

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AT
Austin
3 reviews
Dined on June 2, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Northern Italian family food. When the table next to you is full of 8 people all speaking Italian who are not from New Jersey, you know you found the right spot... The pasta is fresh, the ingredients are fresh and the flavors and seasonings are spot on. May as well be in Italy. Don't believe me...let your tastebuds do the talking...

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S
Central Coast
1 review
Dined on June 2, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Very, very good. Everyone did a wonderful job a making the evening special.

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BM
Des Moines
4 reviews
Dined on June 1, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

One of my favorite restaurants anywhere. I try to stop in when I visit Alameda.

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HF
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on May 14, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

We had a lovely relaxed evening here. The owners take good care of their guests and go out of their way to make them feel comfortable and welcome. The dining pace is leisurely and it’s quiet enough to be able to enjoy a good conversation throughout the meal. Great cup of espresso with desert too.

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R
1 review
Dined on May 13, 2018
Overall 1food 1service 1ambience 4

Terrible experience. I used to love this place and would frequent it often. I especially liked their truffle specials. After three bad experiences in a row, I quit dining here. It's been a couple of years, so I thought I would give them another chance for mothers day. I requested a nice table for my family. They did exactly what they did the last time I visited; placed me in the ignore section, upstairs at the very back table. My back was against the wall and my stomach right at the table. Waited and waited for service. After 30 minutes had to ask for bread. The bread was finally delivered, but without Balsamic or Olive oil. Had to ask for that as well. My two boys ordered lobster ravioli. I tried it, and it was not so great. Nice presentation though. Would have been nice to have a couple of chunks of lobster. I ordered the veal shanks. They were tough and dried out. Just tasted like bad pot roast. The final insult was the check. $200.00 for such a disappointing meal was hard to get past. If that weren't enough, we were charged for the bread. Very disappointing experience for such a nice restaurant.

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OT
San Francisco
8 reviews
Dined on May 13, 2018
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

Mother’s Day lunch. I loved the place itself. And the flatware gorgeous. Kids loved drawing on the paper at the table. It would have helped if I spoke Italian, as waiter didn’t seem to speak much English. On three choices of salads for starters. Entree Food was good, didn’t take my breath away but it was good. Desserts yummy.

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OT
Orange County
3 reviews
Dined on May 13, 2018
Overall 3food 2service 3ambience 5

We sat on the patio. The food was fine, not great. The service was okay. They took 40 minutes to bring a drink and the drink had no alcohol and was not made correctly. The portion sizes are on the small side for being Italian food and for the price. Ambiance outside was excellent.

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MM
1 review
Dined on May 13, 2018
Overall 3food 4service 1ambience 3

Not impressed with each time we eat here, the service is bad, by the staff messing up orders. Ordered 4 fish entrees and mine came out 15 mins late after our table received theirs as I was eating my salad which is what the waitress said. My experience is you're supposed to bring out at the same time. Management did not say anything and did not bring us water as we waited.

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GL
1 review
Dined on May 13, 2018
Overall 2food 2service 2ambience 3

Not worth the price for subpar food. The only good thing was the live music.

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DS
1 review
Dined on May 6, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great service. Delicious food! Every meal we've had here has been exceptional. Hidden in a little alley off Park Street, but worth finding.

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D
San Francisco
13 reviews
Dined on April 30, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 3ambience 2

Very nice but it seemed they were short-staffed. I had to flag down someone several times for bread, bread reminder, and more wine.

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WC
1 review
Dined on April 25, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

It was excellent. And Diane was a great waitress that night.

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EP
1 review
Dined on April 12, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The best food, delicious. The service is wonderful. Quiet environment.

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M
San Francisco
10 reviews
Dined on April 6, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

This is always our 'go to' for a special occasion. It never disappoints, an the staff is very attentive. Rudy and Cheryl add extra hospitality, and Rudy's food is awesome!

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HF
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on March 18, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Delicious and different appetizer, perfectly cooked salmon entree, great service, soft acoustic guitar music all made for a relaxing and very enjoyable meal.

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DD
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on March 10, 2018
Overall 1food 1service 1ambience 3

We have eaten here numerous times and have enjoyed our experience every time.
Unfortunately this time our experience was horrible.
And several other customers around us left the restaurant.
We walked in with reservations for 4. They sat us quickly. After waiting for 10 mins we finally got menus and asked for bread and water. He came back with water and never checked on us again. Finally, after about 25 minuets I got up to ask for the bread, he brought it, and we had to basically grab his attention again to order appetizers, dinner, and a bottle of wine. We had now been there about 45-50 mins and before we ordered. The appetizers came to our table at about an hour after us being there. At that point our server asked when we would like our dinner order to be put through to be cooked. We were speechless and must of thought we misunderstood, since we ordered dinner when we ordered our appitizers. The entire dinner took 2.5 hours, and dinner was $190.
I spoke to a manager explaining that we were disappointed with the service. I expressed that I worked in customer service and everyone was experiencing the same inconvenience and it would have been nice to have known it would take this long. I was disappointed to see that they had not offered something complimentary, either the appetizers or the bottle of wine for the frustration we had expressed.
It was the worst, most disappointing service we had every experienced here.

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S
San Francisco
13 reviews
Dined on February 19, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We totally enjoyed our evening! The food was great and the service excellent. A wonderful find.

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