About a Cena Ristorante
At a Cena, we share a love for simply cooked meals enjoyed with friends and family. We value fresh ingredients, local Portland area farmers, handmade pastas and cured meats, daily prepared breads, consistency, a well-matched wine list, and a seasoned and personable staff. With these elements, we strive to offer our guests a fine-dining experience with the comfort and warmth of an Italian country kitchen. Salute!
Hours of Operation:
SE Lambert St.
$30 and under
AMEX, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
Most of our menu items and other creative items designed between our chef and the client
Ample street parking
Several on 13th Street
Private Party Facilities:
Three adjoining rooms allow for separate or joined private dining for 20 to 70 people
Private Party Contact:
Chris Custer: 5032063291x
Bar Dining, Beer, Farm to Table, Full Bar, Non-Smoking Restaurant, Patio/Outdoor Dining, Personal wines welcome, Personal wines welcome (corkage fee applies), Weekend Brunch, Wheelchair Access, Wine
a Cena Ristorante Ratings and Reviews
Very good and fresh pasta. Can get loud ...
Very good and fresh pasta. Can get loud cause it's packed
I chose this restaurant because it had many positive reviews. I had a high expectation that dinner would have been a special event considering the reviews and prices. My date and I were placed between two families with young children. It felt as if we were in the school cafeteria. The food was good. But not so spectacular that we could justify spending what we did for dinner. It was mediocre service, mediocre ambiance, we left with no desire to return. We hoped we had found a new and interesting place to eat. It just wasn't. If spending $100+ on dinner for two is something you do everyday this is the place for you. The food was good the experience was average.
Love this place
A Cena provided food at Willakenzie winery. The Lamb Ragu, Mushroom Ragu, Pasta and White Bean Salad, Sausage and Lasagna were so delicious we went to the restaurant for dinner the next night for Mother's Day. They did not disappoint.
Server had her mind somewhere else.
Server had her mind somewhere else.
I've been wanting to try a Cena for a w ...
I've been wanting to try a Cena for a while and finally got there. The six of us were celebrating a family birthday. Excellent service, delicious food, great wine. Our favorites were the osso bucco, rigatoni, and lamb chops. Osso bucco was tender and generous. Rigatoni was meaty and full of flavor. Lamb chops were charred just right- so delicious. We had several appetizers and on a whim, ordered the lobster ravioli. One of the best things I've ever tasted. We were ready to lick the plate. We all voted that a return visit soon was in order.
We consider A Cena one of our neighborhood gems and love recommending it to foodies as well. Waiting outside on a lovely evening for a few minutes on the outdoor bench heightened our anticipation perfectly. Our corner table was cozy and accommodating for 4. We started with salads which were fresh and gently dressed. The Special squid ink pasta was exactly as our waiter described, as was their signature dish of Raviolini with lobster. These are delicious pasta entrees as was the halibut entree (always a favorite). In addition, we appreciated our waiter's recommendation of specific wines by the glass, at our request, to go with each of our orders. Sharing a tiramisu and flourless chocolate dessert was perfect ending for a fine birthday celebration.
Special birthday dinner
Great food, as always. Husband had octopus which he loved and I had the delicious grilled romaine salad and the homemade corn/mascarpone ravioli with lobster. Desserts were awesome, too. All a bit on the spendy side, but worth it!!
Very nice for my wife's birthday
Very nice for my wife's birthday
Every bite was delicious!
Full disclosure- we had never heard of this place, but my husband received a gift card from his place of employment for a special acknowledgement. We looked at the reviews and were excited to try it for ourselves. Every course was wonderful. My lemoncellotini was scrumptious, my husband enjoyed his local brew, the bread was great, our appies....as a Brussels sprouts lover I had to order them as a side. OMG. They were delectable. Worth going back just for those! My husband enjoyed the bass, my halibut and risotto were both creamy and eye-rollingly delicious. Thank you to my husband's workplace as we might not have otherwise found this gem.
Great service, food was also great. Good value.
Nice wines, fast service, and reasonable prices. Busy place and making a reservation really helped.
Another guest's favorable impression
We as local residents are repeat customers and find pleasure to have guests leave our home and walk to/from dining at Sellwood's best restaurant, in our humble opinion.
delicious and freindly!
Food was great especially the lobster ravioli-excellent grilled halibut too!
wonderful service and amazing food!
We came in for lunch to celebrate our wedding anniversary. The atmosphere was perfectly Romantic, and the service was top notch! We ordered the special, soup and salad. Everything was amazing! The home made tiramisu was over the top! thanks for making our anniversary very special!
Great experience! Service, food and ambiance were great. Everyone in our party enjoyed their meal. The octopus salad was to die for. Two of us had the Fruitti de Mare and it was delectable. A lot of food for a reasonable price. Our next visit, we will order a small plate portion. We eat out often and we give his place a high 5.
A must try...
Excellent food, atmosphere, and service. Looking forward to going back.
BEST ITALIAN IN PORTLAND
Consistently good home cooked Italian food. Menu changes regularly, straight forward Italian without a lot of fuss. Good value and lively atmosphere.
Great food! Knowledgable and friendly s ...
Great food! Knowledgable and friendly staff. A must try for any Italian food lovers.
Best Italian in Portland
Downtown, I like Mama Mia's. If I'm in a hurry and don't know exactly where I'll be, Pastini has locations all over the place (and good food). But if you really want to go gourmet for a special occasion or take it up a notch for date night, A Cena Ristorante is the place. Excellent.
Unfortunately the caprese was served wit ...
Unfortunately the caprese was served with burnt bread. The mozzarella and tomatoes were delicious. Sunday gravy was delicious but Luke warm. Owner took both off the bill though.
Another outstanding meal at A Cena.
Congratulations to Chris and Gabe for their talent, creativity, and hard work.
Second try and still excellent!
Our second experience at a Cena and we were satisfied that our first superb experience was not a one time thing. It was consistently good with the same excellent service. We'll be back!
Northern Italy in Southeast Portland
A small, intimate European restaurant, decor like the home it was, which is how I like my restaurants. This is how real, fresh, true Northern Italian food should be. We are not talking about red lathered pasta, no. We are talking the delight that Italians take in fresh ingredients, eating by the season, and giving each delicious thing that the earth gives us loving culinary attention. My friends had meat dishes, generously portioned, richly sauced, that produced long "mmmms." I had grilled halibut on a perfectly balanced rich yet fresh mascarpone-lemon risotto punctuated by a few strong black olives, complemented by a nice Trebbiano. Their wine list has just enough interesting choices but not so many as to be overwhelming. Desserts were complimentary to honor the birthday guest. Nice touch. If you have not tasted their famous butterscotch pudding -- "Budino" -- it is a destination dessert. What I love about A Cena is that the food can stand up to intense Foodie scrutiny, but it does not demand all your attention. A Cena gets that the best restaurant experience is great food that enhances a great time. So lucky to have this neighborhood gem nearby.
I thought I'd try something I'd never had before and ordered the octopus salad. The presentation was beautiful, and the octopus had a smokey flavor and the perfect texture. I was slightly concerned the texture was going to be rubbery and chewy, but it was tender and very nice. I would definitely recommend this restaurant to my friends and family.
OUR FAVORITE RESTAURANT
We have been here several times now. We live in Corvallis. When we go to Portland, it is our first choice. My particular favorite, is their award winning Gnocchi. Which is what I ordered this time. My husband had the special of the day, Braciole with risotto. His dish was, "excellent!" (It takes a lot to get an "excellent", out of my husband.) I have had their gnocchi, so many times. Only once, was it, ever, anything less than the "best ever" and I have had a lot of fine gnocchi. Will always be back and recommend this lovely spot. Wonderful!
Yummy lobster ravioli
Yummy lobster ravioli
AS always, another satisfied patron
Out-of-town guests were so impressed with their first dining experience, they couldn't wait for a return visit...they were persuaded to wait one day and have dinner again on the second night to 'better appreciate' the fine service, delicious food deftly prepared, and warm ambience. Luckily for us, we LIVE four blocks away...unluckily for them, they're returning to their home tomorrow...no opportunity for a third visit until next time.
We keep coming back time and time again ...
We keep coming back time and time again because the food is excellent, the staff is friendly (they actually remember us) and the ambience is warm and vibrant. They also change their menu with the seasons ,so yes they keep some of the tried and true favorites, but they are also exposing us to Italian food from different regions of Italy. The owner Chris is there most nights checking on each table and along with his professional staff making sure their guests are getting everything they need.
Real Italian food in Sellwood
The food at a Cena is authentic Italian and the service is quite good. The wine list is extensive, but on the expensive side. In Italy a restaurant like this would have a reasonably priced house wine that you could buy in a carafe. We would dine at a Cena more often if this was an option.
Whether it's the pillow soft gnocchi or the attentive (without being annoying) service, you really are in for a treat.
Food not so good
I was looking forward to swordfish but I think that the taste of fish has gone down quite a bit. I don't think it is the restaurant's fault. They prepared it quite well. The salad dressing was a bit tart for my tastes. It had good ambience and the service was a bit slow.
We love this restaurant. One of our favorite's on the west coast! The most excellent food and service.
Nice little neighborhood Italian
Had a great meal and good service. My date and I shared the grilled romaine salad (excellent), a special mushroom pizza and an entree sized pasta dish (something gnocchi-like with a great meat sauce). That proved to be way too much food, but everything was tasty. Waiter recommended a Italian red that he priced on discount b/c they were moving in some newer wines. Service was attentive. Only complaint was that the table was a bit too small, and it was kind of loud (i.e., too close to our noisy, somewhat obnoxious neighbors).
Our second visit with old friends. The rave description we told our friends about in advance was delivered at the meal. There was a large table with a child next to us which raised the noise level, but the ambiance and food more than made up for that.
Outstanding food and superb personal ser ...
Outstanding food and superb personal service.
Superb dining experience. Great meal.
This was one of the best meals I've had in the last several years. They're menu is small and changes everyday but they are also very flexible with variations on their themes. I'm gluten intolerant and they served me absolutely the best gluten-free pasta I've ever had. Recommend this restaurant wholeheartedly. Not inexpensive but so good that it's a great value.
Charming spot with amazing food
My husband and I are huge fans of A Cena and try to go there every few months for a night out. The food is beyond reproach, service is amazing and the cocktails and wine selections are delicious. If you are a first-timer, the lobster agniolotti is a must! Sweet corn and mascarpone nestled in freshly made pasta, served with beautifully cooked lobster and a smooth butter sauce. I have dreams about this dish! We invited some friends with us on our last outing, and while we all enjoyed the meal immensely, it was so loud in the dining area that we practically had to shout to be heard across the table. I've never experienced that before, so maybe it was just a fluke. But if you are there with your one-and-only, it is a lovely excuse to snuggle up and chat. It just didn't lend to great conversation with our friends.
a Cena Ristorante is one of my favorite places in Portland. It sits quietly in the Sellwood neighborhood. It's understated, unpretentious and always exceeds my expectations. Of all the great restaurants in PDX, this is where I usually take out of town guests. The food is absolutely delicious - and well priced. You can order half orders of their homemade pasta entrees for $14-16 and still walk away with leftovers. Their complementary bread basket has amazing focaccia and cheese twists with the best olive oil. The warm marinated olives are to die for. The staff is so professional, knowledgeable and gracious, and the setting is cozy and romantic. I adore this place and can't wait to go back for a special occasion.
Great pasta, bland sauce for $27
Service was attentive, fast and professional despite high occupancy (full restaurant). Ordered a salad with goat cheese which was average. Pasta al forno: The homemade pasta was al dente, tasted freshly made; it was perfect. The veal tomato sauce however was runny and the veal was ground so it was hard to appreciate it: For $27 I expected to have veal medallions or chunks in the sauce. Cheese "blob" was placed on top of the dish prior to baking: Evenly distributing the cheese throughout the dish would have perhaps helped improve the body and texture of the thin tomato sauce. The other dish ordered was the Margherita pizza which had a great textured crust but lacked the usual tomato slices. Coffee served at the end was served lukewarm. Tiramisu came as a large serving, definitely enough for two to share. The tiramisu tasted freshly made, was creamy and it had just right amount of sweetness. The presentation of the Tiramisu was average, just plain cocoa powder on top. My table for two was about 8" or less from adjacent tables. Make sure to request a more private table (corner?) if purpose of the dinner is a romantic date, or even business. Noise level was quite high, making it hard to hear my companion from across the table. But I could follow the conversation of the people sitting next to me.
My boyfriend and I visit a Cena at least twice a year for special occasions. We reserved a table for Valentine's day and was absolutely pleased. The food was awesome as usual! The service is great! LOVE- highly recommended!
I had always wanted to try a Cena after walking by it so many times. The staff was welcoming, friendly, and delightfully sincere in their service. Many of the other patrons seemed like regulars, and there was a nice familial atmosphere. The food was delicious, of course.
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