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, BYO Wine, Corkage Fee, Farm to Table, Full Bar, Non-Smoking, Outdoor dining, Weekend Brunch, Wheelchair Access, Wine
a Cena Ristorante Ratings and Reviews
Marvelous time. Took my wife for her bir ...
Marvelous time. Took my wife for her birthday with a bunch of friends. The food was outstanding, the place was vibrant, a little loud, and the service was awesome.
Though not inexpensive I was very happy that they had gluten-free pasta options. And I was told, that they make the pasta in house. Love it ! I will be back !!
The attention received by all of the tea ...
The attention received by all of the team was fabulous, very welcoming. The food was out of this world. Really a special place. A little spends but well worth it. This is a city for foodies and this is my new top place. Reservations a must
Over the years, a Cena has gone from ups ...
Over the years, a Cena has gone from upscale dining to casual neighborhood bistro. Food is still good. Get one of pasta or risotto dishes; it's what they do best. LOUD when they seat large parties, especially those with kids.
It was our first time eating at this est ...
It was our first time eating at this establishment, it was a great choice. The food was delicious. My wife and I were celebrating and this was a great spot to do so. The staff was very nice and did I mention that the food was delicious? Really enjoyed our visit.
This place hit all my buttons -- casual, ...
This place hit all my buttons -- casual, cozy atmosphere, attentive but non-intrusive service, and great food. This is not a gourmet place by any means, but standard Italian fare done really well. I am looking forward to making this one of my go-to places for a casual dinner.
We had a reservation for 6 people at 7:1 ...
We had a reservation for 6 people at 7:15. We were seated around 7:45. There was another party at our table that stayed much longer than they expected. That's OK. However, while we waited, my wife asked for a drink and they did nothing. Finally I had to get pushy and ask for drinks and the guy behind the bar seemed very annoyed that we disturbed him.
As to the meal, I wish they had more traditional pasta offerings but on whole the food was very good.
The experience at the beginning kind of soured the rest of the evening unfortunately.
The food was delicious! We started with ...
The food was delicious! We started with the frito misto and the seafood was cooked to perfection. From the panini of the day on homemade ciabatta to the fresh in house pasta and desserts. Everything was exquisite!!
My wife and I have been going to this re ...
My wife and I have been going to this restaurant for several years and it never fails to impress. On this night we were celebrating our wedding anniversary and we knew we would get a fabulous meal and great service.
I started with the grilled romaine salad (which I nearly always get). The smokiness of the grilled romaine along with the gorgonzola cheese and crispy pancetta creates just an incredible taste. It is best described as savory (weird description for a salad, right?) and delicious.
For my entree, I had the special, a pork sugo over housemade pasta and it was really good. Tender chunks of braised pork and rounds of pork sausage in a light red sauce. I hope to see it as a special again. My wife enjoyed the Garganelli alla Norcia, with the housemade fennel sausage in a spicy cream sauce. We have enjoyed this dish many times here and it is consistantly a winner.
For dessert, we shared the special of the evening, a butterscotch pudding. My wife is usually not a big fan of butterscotch, but our server highly recommended it and it fell into my master plan that I wouldn't have to share as much of it. The plan backfired, big time! That dessert was so light and creamy that it really should have been called a mousse. Or better yet ,Crack, because it was so addictive that neither one of us could get enough.
One other thIng I appreciate about a Cena is their reasonable corkage fee. We often travel to Napa Valley and Walla Walla on wine tasting trips and have brought home many great bottles of wine that we have in our cellar. We enjoy pairing these great wines with a great meal, so we often bring a special bottle with us when we go out to dinner. The owner of another nice Italian restuarant in the neighborhood allows patrons to bring in wine (and charges a higher corkage fee, which we don't mind paying) but then seems offended that we don't order off his wine menu. We no longer go there very often anymore because of that.
I am so disappointed. I have been going ...
I am so disappointed. I have been going to a cena for 13 years and have never been disappointed, food was always excellent. This time, however, the food was mediocre, at best.The octopus was stringy, tough, overcooked and the "char" was just burned. The fried artichokes, always a favorite, was oily and cold. The rest of the meal went downhill from there. Maybe the chef was off his game, or not even there. I will go back because this is the only time I have not had a superb meal. It was very crowded with lots of loud large groups at tables which may have just overwhelmed the staff.
This restaurant is in our top 10 restaur ...
This restaurant is in our top 10 restaurants of Portland, and we've eaten here many times for client dinners, graduations, birthdays - it never disappoints. This time we met another couple, to meet the new boyfriend of our friend. Our only complaint is that it is a very loud place, so when you're trying to get to know someone, it can be hard to hear what they are saying from across the table. If you need a quieter environment, see if you can request a table in one of the alcoves for a little more privacy. There is also seating outside, which is a little quieter if you don't mind being on the sidewalk, but bring a wrap or jacket.
But if you can handle the noise, the food is worth it! The selections from this meal was great, as always, with a special call out to the caprese salad. The barrata is amazingly creamy, and coupled with the beautiful tomatoes, basil, oil and grilled ciabatta - it could have been my entire meal! But I found room for the scallops, which they cooked well done to my request. I like the fact that they offer half-size portions of many dishes, in case you aren't super hungry. And they brought me more bread for my caprese, which I appreciated.
My favorite restaurant in Sellwood. We ...
My favorite restaurant in Sellwood. We frequent A Cena because we know we will always receive excellent service and outstanding food in an atmosphere of casual elegance. They have also catered several parties for us, which were fabulous.
Always love A Cena for special occasions ...
Always love A Cena for special occasions and for taking out-of-town guests. I always order my fave- agnolotti with lobster chunks, but vary the appetizers and salads. My husband usually orders the special. Neither of us has ever been disappointed. ( We still miss the lobster bisque though.) This past Saturday when we were there, they were VERY crowded. Although service was a bit slower than usual, the meal, as always, was outstanding.
Fantastic cuisine! My husband and I hav ...
Fantastic cuisine! My husband and I have made a pact that any time we go in a date to a restaurant, we'll never go to the same one twice in Portland. We may have to find some loopholes. So fantastic and the limoncello... WOW
Our first date was at a Cena and we've c ...
Our first date was at a Cena and we've come back on our anniversary every year...as well as many other times. We love a Cena. Best Italian restaurant in Portland. The tier one food, service and warm feeling are always present.
A Cena continues to be one of our very f ...
A Cena continues to be one of our very favorite restaurants! The appetizers and small plates make wonderful light meals, and their entrees are great if you want a full-on dinner. Yummy wines and desserts, too. Attentive and informative service, friendly and warm atmosphere.
We were delighted to hear of delicious d ...
We were delighted to hear of delicious daily specials, which we sampled with relish, then had a nice variety of options for the 5 of us, including a nice selection of wines. I liked that several dishes could come in half sizes for shared tasting. Everything was delicious!
This was our second visit. Enjoyed the ...
This was our second visit. Enjoyed the food and the service was attentive but not intrusive. This is a busy place. So, it can get noisy. If you're looking for a quiet place to converse, I would not recommend a Cena.
We ate outside this time - a first for u ...
We ate outside this time - a first for us. I was worried that the traffic, etc. would detract from the experience but we were seated on the side street and there was no problem. It was quieter outside. Food, wine, and wonderful service were as outstanding as ever.
Chose this restaurant for a date night. ...
Chose this restaurant for a date night. The food tasted fresh and I can say for sure that it was some of the best Italian that I have had in Portland so far. All of the staff were very kind and attentive. The manager/owner? even went so far as to offer to take a photo for my girlfriend and I. I would definitely recommend a cena. LGBTQ friendly!!
I have had many very good meals at A Cen ...
I have had many very good meals at A Cena but this was not one of them. The kitchen must have had a off night as most of the dishes were just plain disappointing. We started with the Fritto Misto which was quite tasty but the grilled romaine salad was really overdressed, the Bucatini was undercooked, had no spice and was just plain bland, the Salsiccia pizza crust was completely under cooked and the $46 steak while cooked perfectly was tough. Our group had a great time and the waitress had some great wine recommendations so I will chalk it up to the kitchen having a bad night.
while some of the food was good, it was ...
while some of the food was good, it was inconsistent and EVERYTHING was cold (even though I specifically asked the server to make sure dinner was hot after the pasta appetizer came out cold). Desserts were fabulous.
a Cena was a great place for my wife and ...
a Cena was a great place for my wife and I to have a birthday dinner! The service was great and the staff did a fantastic job.
My only knocks would be that I had a question about my reservation that I entered in opentable, but didn't receive a response until the day of the actual reservation. It wasn't hugely pressing, but I was hoping someone would've followed-up a bit sooner.
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