C'era Una Volta

4.0
757 reviews
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$30 and under
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Italian
Top Tags:
  • Good for a Date
  • Good for Birthdays
  • Neighborhood Gem
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.
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Gift Card
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
Reviews from verified diners
757 reviews
4 out of 5 Stars
Outstanding
55%
Very Good
16%
Good
11%
Fair
13%
Poor
5%
4.0
food
3.8
service
4.3
ambience
4.0
value
Noise · Quiet
57% of people would recommend it to a friend
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OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined 6 days ago
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
36 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
2 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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OT
Des Moines
3 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
2 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
9 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
1 review
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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OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on February 14, 2018
Overall 3food 5service 2ambience 5

Food was very good but overpriced due to Valentines Day. Ambiance was excellent and the host person was a delight and gave us very special seating. Wait service was disappointing due to the check being delivered before all courses were served. Would consider going back but not during special occasion events.

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GF
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on February 14, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 3ambience 5

It will be be the choice for Valentines dinner in 2019

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OT
San Francisco
3 reviews
Dined on February 14, 2018
Overall 2food 3service 3ambience 4

We went for Valentines Day. The meal was overpriced at $70 per person. The wine list was restricted. Cera Una Volta has an extensive wine list, however,it was not available on this occasion. The ambience was fine. Music was fine but overpriced for what we got.

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M
San Francisco
10 reviews
Dined on February 14, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

It's always our romantic 'go to' place. We had Valentine's dinner here again this year!

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D
Orange County
1 review
Dined on February 3, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Although our waiter was a true Italian for Rome, he needed more training. He never came back with the bread he freely offered, the Parmesan, black and red pepper that we requested or to ask how our meal was. Checks were brought by someone else. We were a table of 8, family from all over the country, celebrating the life of a loved one passed. Not good enough service.

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OT
San Francisco
9 reviews
Dined on February 3, 2018
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

Wanted a place that would be quiet and comfortable for visiting parents, as well as accommodating to our kids (ie. not too loud, crowded, trendy...). Great food, lovely personal service. We are always happy when we go here.

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m
San Francisco
6 reviews
Dined on January 27, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 5

Be aware when the waitperson asks if you want fuzzy or still water the still water will be $7. We should have asked for just regular/plain water.
If you want more bread that's another $3 added to the bill.

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WD
San Francisco
5 reviews
Dined on January 26, 2018
Overall 3food 4service 3ambience 3

Rudy &!Cheryl (owners) do am excellent job !!

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c
San Francisco
8 reviews
Dined on January 21, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Fantastic choice for brunch

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DD
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on January 20, 2018
Overall 1food 2service 1ambience 3

Went for my husband's Birthday on Saturday night (1/20). Had 7:30 reservations. The restaurant was busy due to Alameda Restaurant Week and there appeared to be large parties of tables upstairs. Once seated, it took quite a bit of time to get served water, later we had to request bread and continually request water refills. The service was sparse due to the restaurant being severely understaffed - only 2 servers and 2 bus people. Service for dinner took over 2 hours; plates were not picked up in a reasonable amount of time even though the bus person repeatedly walked past our table and looked at the empty plates/glasses. One of the bus people appeared to be very new and not well trained; yet they had her preparing desserts too! The Hostess finally cleared our table, boxed the leftovers and was going to come back for our dessert order. Even one of the owners started to wait tables ~ especially after 2 parties of 8 & 6 walked out due to poor service ~ they were ignored, got up and walked out. Our waiter, who was also difficult to understand - never came back and asked us how our meals or cocktails were; but we realized he was super busy having to run upstairs to serve large parties - so we gave him a "pass". It felt as though it was an "opening" night of the restaurant due to all the faux paus of just basic table & food service ~ not a restaurant with 14 years experience!

I ordered a Cosmopolitan and it was so bitterly sour - I had to request sugar in order to "save" the cocktail. The food was good however the Mushroom Risotto was bland and my husband's Salmon was plain and dry. It was perplexing why they would serve a heavy red wine from Sicily to be paired with his Salmon. (We did order off their special "tasting" menu). We finally left at 10pm and aren't sure we would go back.

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OT
San Diego
1 review
Dined on January 20, 2018
Overall 1food 2service 2ambience 3

Ate here for Alameda restaurant week. Have eaten here before and had some very delicious food and was looking forward to having another nice meal. As with all Restaurant Week menus, it was a fixed menu, but this included a wine pairing with 3 out of the 4 courses for $45! Deal! Fortunately the wine was pretty good and the salad was pretty good but the first course risotto was tasteless, dry and undercooked. The main course of pork ribs was underwhelming. I was expecting the meat to fall off the bones but it seems that they oven roasted the ribs and poured a tomato sauce over the top. The meet was actually tough.

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DD
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on January 19, 2018
Overall 2food 4service 1ambience 3

Very disappointing dining experience.

My partner and I had been looking forward to checking this place out for a while. We love dining out and do so frequently.

This restaurant was self-described as “upscale”, so we had relatively high expectations going in... b our experience was otherwise.

The ambiance and food were “alright”; however, the service was downright horrible!

It was not particularly busy, yet it took over 20 minutes before the server checked in with us... and that long again before our (unchopped and subpar) salad arrived.

When we finished our salads, the girl who bussed our table removed the used dressing-covered forks and knifes from our plates... and casually tossed them back down onto the tablecloth, getting it all dirty in the process.

Upscale!? I think not.

Our main course was not brought until an *hour and a half* after we first got there, finally coming just as we were about to give up, close out our check, and go home (fortunately, we did not have after dinner plans or our schedule for the evening would have been shot).

While not bad, the food itself was unremarkable. I could easily have made better at home. We are foodies who live in the area, and have enjoyed much tastier, more interesting, and well-presented food (at lower prices) elsewhere in the Bay Area.

Overall, I rate this as an okay place to eat if you are hungry, in the vicinity, and can’t get a table anywhere else...and don’t mind paying for over-priced, ho-hum food.

We will not be returning to this establishment, nor would we recommend it.

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

This is the best Tuscan restaurant in the Bay Area. Definitely the warmest most generous owners/hosts. Unparalleled, in my experience.

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OT
San Francisco
3 reviews
Dined on December 31, 2017
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Both Cheryl and Rudy are excellent hosts . Very friendly staff too!!

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3
San Francisco
27 reviews
Dined on December 31, 2017
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Sheryl and Rudy always provide amazing food and service! We loved having our New Years
Eve dinner there! The lobster was to die for! This is my favorite place in Alameda!

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OT
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on December 31, 2017
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 5

Had an early dinner on New Year's Eve and it was top notch. The service was excellent along with the food. The live band playing was also very good! We will return soon!

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OT
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on December 27, 2017
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Solid traditional Italian menu. So nice to be in a restaurant where music is not blasting. I could have a normal adult conversation without going hoarse or deaf! Really friendly staff. Will definitely go back!

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MD
San Francisco
22 reviews
Dined on December 26, 2017
Overall 1food 1service 1ambience 1

The restaurant was actually closed and no one bothered to let us know.

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