About Ava Gene's
Ava Gene’s is a neighborhood place, located on Division Street in Southeast Portland. Our restaurant serves rustic cuisine, features an extensive Italian wine list and offers cocktails focused on & inspired by the regions of Italy. We look forward to seeing you soon!
Hours of Operation:
SE 34th Avenue
$31 to $50
AMEX, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Beer, Chef's Table, Counter Seating, Farm to Table, Full Bar, Non-Smoking Restaurant, Patio/Outdoor Dining, Personal wines welcome, Personal wines welcome (corkage fee applies), Wine
Ava Gene's Ratings and Reviews
My wife and I celebrated our 2nd anniver ...
My wife and I celebrated our 2nd anniversary with dinner at Ava Gene's. It came highly recommended from a friend of ours who said if you're in Portland, make sure you go.
From the time we entered the restaurant to the moment we left, we received the kind of service you rarely see in restaurants now. Warm welcoming from the hostess, knowledgeable and creative bartender, to our charismatic server Ben, who took time explaining in detail the menu. We followed most of his items he talked about and all the food lived up to his descriptions.
To go to a place, that has high service standards that the food easily matches, in a comfortable inviting atmosphere a rare feat, and Ava Gene's does it well and seamlessly.
We were celebrating a birthday while on ...
We were celebrating a birthday while on vacation in Portland. After much research, I decided on AvaGene's and will say up front that the cuisine was extraordinary. Truly delicious.
However, service was poor to the point of being bizarre. We could not tell who our actual server was - we seemed to be shared by two but I think each thought the other was taking care of us. After waiting probably 15 minutes for a cocktail during the meal, after it finally arrived, we wanted to order dessert but nobody ever returned. Then when we flagged one of the servers to ask for our check, she apologized for the delay with the drink and insisted that we try the panna cotta dessert (acting as though she was bringing it as an offering due to the service issues). When we got the check, we were charged for the dessert. Obviously we wouldn't have said anything at that point but it was unfortunate that an otherwise lovely meal was marred by poor service. Even fantastic food cannot overcome poor service. I would not return.
My husband and I travel and eat out ofte ...
My husband and I travel and eat out often and we consider ourselves obsessive foodies. Our dinner at Ava Gene's easily ranks as one of the Top 10 meals we have ever enjoyed! The farm to table innovative Italian fare is beautifully presented and every bite was sheer heaven. The service is tip top and includes a very knowledgeable sommelier, unusual for such a small restaurant. The location is in a vibrant hip neighborhood. If you go, make reservations early!
The food was delicious and the service w ...
The food was delicious and the service was fabulous. This was our first time at the restaurant and our server was extremely helpful, explaining the many menu options, offering suggestions but not making our decisions for us. We really appreciated her.
This place came highly recommended, but ...
This place came highly recommended, but it was pretty disappointing. The location is great and the decor is nice, but the food was sub-par. We enjoyed the broccoli starter, but the fried zucchini was on the oily side - not to mention there was literally two slices of zucchini and the rest just snap peas and onions. Both pastas were just fine, and the cacio e Pepe was extremely over seasoned and heavy. The server was rushed and ignored our requests for attention several times. I don't know what happened to this place, because it had such a good reputation that we put it on our list for visiting Portland, but we definitely do not recommend it.
we have been several times and this is t ...
we have been several times and this is the first time we were so disappointed - the bean appetizer was on a lump of thick bread - the last time it wasserved on a fine flatbread, taste ok though -- the main course was seemingly trying to be nouvelle cuisine - a large piece of tuna with so few cold veggies, one could count them - and super expensive for what it was -- not impressed - what has happened to this restaurant? it was one of our favorites, not any more. It's become pretentious with the only offer for champagne a sweet cheap tasting spumante.
Ambience was fantastic. Our server was v ...
Ambience was fantastic. Our server was very nice and helpful, but we were overwhelmed with three other people constantly hovering and taking plates and silverware multiple times, to the point of annoyance. It didn't feel very comfortable after that point. Kind of felt like an in & out diner. Also the first and second courses were phenomenal, but I dunno if maybe the description of the entrees were more appetizing than the actual entrees themselves, but the entrees were disappointing. I don't think they were worth 20 dollars, especially when I have anchovy skins in my dish. After all the hype of hearing about this place, I don't think I'll be coming back or recommending it. So sorry.
After trying to get in several times but ...
After trying to get in several times but just not planning ahead far enough, we finally made it to Ava Genes on a busy Saturday night. Our reservation for 7:45 did not get seated until after 8. Seems like they were a bit behind.
The food was uniquely Italian, fun menu.
Loved the burrata with Marionberries and beets, just amazing cast of Flavors. The vegetables/salads were beautifully prepared,simple, bright and just delicious. The chicken saltinbocca was a bit bland. Wouldn't order it again except for the kohlrabi and broccolini served with it which were my favorite of the evening. Can I just get that next time?
A flight of Amaro was a classy and educational way to finish the evening.
Servers were scrambling, food came slow and people were a bit uptight in the server end, but that happens on a busy Saturday night. Professional staff, interesting menu. Yes, I will go back, if I can ever get in again.
We came out very much on the fence about ...
We came out very much on the fence about Ava Gene's, after coming in with very high expectations. First off, great service--knowledgeable and willing to recommend things, plus just calm and efficient and detail-oriented. I love places where multiple people visit the table, and this was one. We met a bartender, several different people delivered dishes, etc., yet our main server always appeared at just the right time. The mocktails and the tequila cocktail were refreshing. Cheese and salami were excellent--nice breadsticks, big cracker, and yummy jam alongside--but it's hard to mess up in the antipasti department. The salads sounded good, but the presentation lacked and the dressings weren't interesting. In particular, the broccoli salad that was to have the anchovy-based dressing tasted mostly like yogurt and the broccoli was not lush. We dutifully finished our veggies, but nobody was fighting over it. As for mains: The ragu was too salty. Spaghetti cacio e pepe was fine. The fish was standard fish and chips fare--nice, but nothing special. Something's amiss in the kitchen, methinks. The actual food didn't match the promise of the menu and atmosphere. With so many choices in Portland I might not be motivated to give it another shot, although I can see it being the best restaurant in a much smaller market.
I'm not sure what all the fuss is about. ...
I'm not sure what all the fuss is about. I really wanted to love Ava Gene's but my husband and I left the restaurant disappointed. On a positive note, the staff is professional and hard working. Unfortunately, the restaurant while being a lovely space, is quite loud, which makes it difficult to converse with your dining mate. The service, while being attentive, was a bit slow at times. However, this is forgivable as the servers did what they could to create a pleasant dining experience. Some of the cocktails are overpriced. My husband ordered a $10 Manhattan served in a teeny tiny glass. Very underwhelming. On the other hand, my Mandarino cocktail was substantial and very tasty. With dinner we had a glass of "Suberli" red wine and a Vino Frizzante Spumanti, both excellent. We began our meal with the Little Gem salad which was nicely presented but it lacked flavor. The garlic bread was so-so. It would have been better if it had been more crisp. You'd be better off ordering one of the Pane selections from what I've read from other people's reviews. The highlight was the Fritti with veggies and lemon mayo. It was delicious. Originally we were going to order two pasta selections but decided to go with just one as we were getting full. We selected the evening special, Sugo. I'm not certain why this seemed to be the favorite dish of a few of the staff, as well as the person sitting next to us. It was salty and lackluster. I wish we had ordered the linguine with clams instead. For dessert we ordered the cannoli. Perhaps the way Ava Gene's serves it is traditional, but it's strange. I'm used to cannoli being light with a flaky shell. This was dense and pasty and the orange rind in the filling made it somewhat bitter. All in all, the food wasn't horrible, but it wasn't particularly memorable either. Maybe we didn't order the right thing, but then, for a restaurant of this caliber, shouldn't everything on the menu be excellent?
Ava Gene's is very popular, and after my ...
Ava Gene's is very popular, and after my second visit, I'm still not sure what all the hype is about. The food is good, but not great. The menu includes many unusual ingredients, but to the extent that you need to ask about almost every item to understand it. The vegetables are definitely the highlights, so if you go be sure to select at least 2 things from the Giardini list. The two-top tables are very close together and the noise level requires shouting at times, so I wouldn't recommend this for a special occasion date. Sometimes at popular places I try to eat early to get better service, but here they seem to have a lot of early reservations so the kitchen gets slammed. We were there for 45 minutes and on our second round of drinks before our bread plate even arrived.
The service was outstanding and the vibe ...
The service was outstanding and the vibe was very friendly. Didn't feel rushed at all. The food was outstanding! Loved the feel of the place. We were in Portland for the week on vacation and I would definitely make it a point to visit Ava Gene's whenever we are in the city.
Great wait staff, by knowledgeable. Food ...
Great wait staff, by knowledgeable. Food was excellent, proper sized portions, and the prices are reasonable. The wine list was intimidating to a novice like myslef, but again the wait staff will set you straight. Pretty low key, romantic ambiance. It's not the largest place so they cram the tables together, so if you don't get a booth it won't be the most intimate experience. That said my wife and I were at one of the tables and even though we were in between two other groups it didn't bother us.
I don't remember the names of every dish we had, but again everything was great. We ordered linguini and clams, a non-meat sauce pasta dish, their cooked greens, a cold green salad, this puff pastry dish that came with cured meat, and a couple glasses of wine. I also have to reiterate the reasonable price for such a nice, popular place...I was pleasantly surprised when I got our bill.
Great date spot in the Southeast. We'll be back.
We go to Ava Gene's every time we visit ...
We go to Ava Gene's every time we visit Portland. It is one of our all time favorite restaurants, and we have never been disappointed. The ambience is intimate and charming, the service attentive but not intrusive, the food beautifully presented and innovative. Whether we go for a casual dinner with a friend, a romantic evening for two, or a celebratory dinner with a group, we relish every moment. And the cocktails are divine!
Went for Fiancées birthday with friends. ...
Went for Fiancées birthday with friends. Had the family style, turned into 3.5 hr event! Seemed like we had a little bit of everything on the menu and it was all great. Nice Italian wine selection to match the food. Hard to get reservations, plan ahead, way ahead!
I have been here before on a weeknight a ...
I have been here before on a weeknight and that was a much better experience. The food was great, but the service was lacking. We had a reservation which was honored on time at a decent table. We didn't have a main server - we have about 5 different people introduce themselves. We were at the table over 40 minutes before we had anything to eat or drink other than water. It took over 30 minutes to get cocktails after ordering them. I hope the tips are pooled!
Food was underwhelming
We've been to Ava Gene's before and loved it. Everything but the stuffed pasta tasted imbalanced, especially the cucumber and eggplant salads. The vinegar was overwhelming. We want to eat food at a place like his that we generally could not replicate. We are not great cooks by any means, but we certainly could have made everything we tried that night. Disappointing.
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