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For 2
Date
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Time
7:00 PM
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C'era Una Volta

3.9
740 reviews
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$30 and under
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Italian
Top Tags:
  • Good for Groups
  • Neighborhood Gem
  • Quiet Conversation
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

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

Specials

Mother's Day Menus & Specials

Specialty Brunch 9 am - 11:30 am. $25; children 10 & under $8. Noon - 7:30 dinner options include 3 course Prezzo Fisso (fixed price) $45. A La Carte menu with 4 courses; entree prices ranging $18.50 - $30.00. Many traditional Italian, Vegetarian and Vegan options available to delight one and all!

Sunday, May 13, 2018

What 740 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
3.9based on recent ratings
4.1
food
3.9
service
4.4
ambience
3.9
value
Noise · Moderate
81% of people would recommend it to a friend
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5.0Dined on April 12, 2018

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

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5.0Dined on April 6, 2018

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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5.0Dined on March 18, 2018

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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1.0Dined on March 10, 2018

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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5.0Dined on February 19, 2018

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

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3.0Dined on February 14, 2018

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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5.0Dined on February 14, 2018

It will be be the choice for Valentines dinner in 2019

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2.0Dined on February 14, 2018

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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5.0Dined on February 14, 2018

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

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4.0Dined on February 3, 2018

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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5.0Dined on February 3, 2018

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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4.0Dined on January 27, 2018

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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3.0Dined on January 26, 2018

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

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5.0Dined on January 21, 2018

Fantastic choice for brunch

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1.0Dined on January 20, 2018

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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1.0Dined on January 20, 2018

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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2.0Dined on January 19, 2018

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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5.0Dined on January 4, 2018

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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5.0Dined on December 31, 2017

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

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5.0Dined on December 31, 2017

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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4.0Dined on December 31, 2017

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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5.0Dined on December 27, 2017

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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1.0Dined on December 26, 2017

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

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2.0Dined on December 15, 2017

Went there for an office Christmas party, and we had high expectations. They restaurant was gorgeous. Two of my guests ordered the Sea Bass special - both filets contained MANY bones - at least one per bite. When I spoke to the server regarding the issue, she informed me that there is absolutely no way to take all of the bones out of the meat, and the quantity of bones was to be expected. She actually told me to swallow the bones, because that's what she does... Realy!?! We paid $30 a plate for food we could not eat. Two other guests ordered steak that was overcooked and hard to chew. Shrimp was also overcooked and rubbery. Terrible experience overall, and everyone in the office agreed they won't go back.

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4.0Dined on December 8, 2017

Excellent service, extensive wine list, and very good traditional pasta dishes. Despite a reservation, we weren't able to be seated for 45 minutes because the couple occupying our intended table wouldn't leave and the restaurant was packed on a Friday evening. The servers were so apologetic and kind about it. They obviously didn't want to be rude to the couple who had overstayed their welcome, and yet they felt badly that we were left waiting in the vestibule for so long. They comped us our first glasses of wine and an appetizer.

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5.0Dined on November 24, 2017

Well worth going off the beaten path the entrance is in an alley but the food quality is spectacular so was the service

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4.0Dined on November 11, 2017

The staff was very friendly and efficient. The food quite delicious. We have been to this restaurant many times and will continue to dine here. I highly reccomend C'erea Una Volta.

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5.0Dined on October 29, 2017

Ambiance and food were excellent. Service was good, but it took a long time to get entrees. definitely one of our favorites in Alameda!

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4.0Dined on October 26, 2017

Delicious, fresh & delightful

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5.0Dined on October 10, 2017

A small wonder. The food is great and the owner makes sure you leave satisfied.

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5.0Dined on October 6, 2017

This is always our "go to" for birthday celebrations and
other special events...even go when there isn't a special date.
Owners and waiters are on site and very friendly. Service excellent too!

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2.0Dined on September 29, 2017

I discovered this quiet Italian restaurant last year based on reviews and had a fabulous meal then. Returned again to meet a friend for dinner last week and the quality of the food had declined. I so wanted to introduce my friend to a hidden, off-the-main-path gem, but alas, not this night. The food was very slow in arriving, and it was unevenly seasoned. The $70 rib eye for two was inconsistent in texture - some pieces too tough to chew, others tender and flavorful.

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5.0Dined on September 23, 2017

My wife and I had the dinner for two. It was delicious, and boy was there a lot of food. I had some to take home for lunch the next day. We had a nice bottle of wine ($56) from Italy. We love this place.

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5.0Dined on September 22, 2017

Staff was very friendly, welcoming, and attentive throughout out our meal.
The food itself was also very good, we were a table of five, and each of us ordered something different, all were well prepared, and nicely plated. Will definitely return to this restaurant

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5.0Dined on September 7, 2017

We had the Seafood Grill for two.It was fabulous. The Burata was perfect. The vegetables on the platter were wonderful. Definitely would order that again.

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5.0Dined on September 2, 2017

Had the tasting menu. Eight small plates, including dessert. Served for two. Excellent food. Also support local charities.

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1.0Dined on September 2, 2017

We went for a nice anniversary dinner all the way from the valley. We had gone to San Luis Obispo a couple of months ago and went to a restaurant out there. The owner recommended this place and let's just say this place is not good. It's not worth your money. Food was basic, the drinks were below average. Not a place I am willing to go too or even close to thinking about going too again.

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3.0Dined on August 27, 2017

The service and ambience were perfect. We loved the outdoor seating and family personal touch. The proprietor even came out to say hello. The egg pasta dish was wonderful. However, we found the salads to be very small with wilted lettuce. And the salad dressing and main dish of pork chops were both too salty. We really wanted to like this place because the owner is so kind. We may come back to support a neighborhood restaurant but will ask for reduced salt next time.

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5.0Dined on August 26, 2017

Very happy and could not be more pleased. Our waiter had just moved from Italy so it was wonderful to hear him speak and add his authenticity to the experience.

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3.0Dined on August 26, 2017

Came here with a small group for a birthday. 4 people in the party loved their food. 2 did not. The filet mignon was super fatty and stringy, bad quality especially for the price. Shrimp risotto also soggy and tasteless. The tiramisu I am 99% sure was frozen and reheated because it was super watery/soggy and really cold in the middle. Service is incredibly slow. Like 50 minutes for dinner and 35 minutes to bring desert. We were there just over 3 hours. Head waitress was just chatting with another table for 10 minutes when we were trying to catch her attention for refills. Despite being very loud, we loved the ambiance but food and service were not up to par.

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