About Cena

1208 E Kennedy Blvd.
Tampa, FL 33602
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Cena is a modern, fresh and simple Italian food served in a contemporary and stylish setting. Located in the Grand Central building at the heart of the vibrant Channel District of Tampa, Florida – Cena is dining from the roots – great ingredients, traditional dishes, and attentive service. Join us.

Cena – “dinner” or “supper” in Italian.

Dining Style:
Casual Elegant

Cuisines:
Italian

Hours of Operation:
Monday-closed
Tuesday-closed
Wednesday-Saturday 5 -10
Sunday 5-9

Cross Street:
Kennedy and Madison in the Grand Central

Dress Code:
Business Casual

Price Range:
$31 to $50

Payment Options
AMEX, Discover, MasterCard, Visa

Phone Number:
(813) 374-8840

Website:
http://www.cena-channelside.com/

Catering:
For catering inquires please contact Kate Hardy, General Manager, at 813-374-8840 or kate@cena-channelside.com

Parking Details:
There is a parking garage for the building, free for the first two hours and two dollars after that. Parking in the west garage is easiest, parking on the up ramp taking the "stageworks" elevator down.

Executive Chef:
Michael Buttacavoli

Additional:
Bar Dining, Beer, Non-Smoking Restaurant, Patio/Outdoor Dining, Personal wines welcome, Personal wines welcome (corkage fee applies), Takeout, Wine, Wine Bar

Cena Ratings and Reviews

5
4
3
2
1

4.7

Overall Rating

based on recent ratings
food

4.7

service

4.7

ambience

4.3

noise

Moderate

96% would recommend it to a friend

Loved For

Italian
Tampa / Central Florida West
Best Overall
Tampa
Best Food
Tampa
2 More
Best Service
Tampa
Fit for Foodies
Tampa
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fit for foodies (45)
neighborhood gem (32)
special occasion (20)
See All
romantic (20)
hot spot (12)
good for groups (9)
notable wine list (8)
great for outdoor dining (8)
kid-friendly (3)
vibrant bar scene (2)
late-night find (1)
great for lunch (1)
scenic view (1)
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Newest
137 reviews
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food5
ambience4
service5
value4

Lovely dinner last Saturday. Great co ...

vip
Dined on June 19, 2016

Lovely dinner last Saturday. Great composed salads. Fresh and well-dressed calamari fritti. All followed by risottos and agnolotti; the braised wagyu beef cheek with gorgonzola finished risotto is as rich and decadent as any dish in Tampa...calls for a big red wine. Cena offers an updated version of Italian, not unlike that served in Italy's finest modern restaurants today. The kitchen's efforts are supported by a short, but well-chosen list of Italian wines from top small producers at reasonable prices. Save room for the creative desserts; the 21st century version of tiramisu is not to be missed! FWIW, the dining room is attractively modern, but can get very loud.

Tags: fit for foodies, hot spot
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Cena is wonderful! Everything was absolu ...

Dined on June 12, 2016

Cena is wonderful! Everything was absolutely delicious. They have a very nice selection of cheese and charcuterie that allows you to select one, three, or six items to put together based on your own preferences. Serving sizes are perfect so that we were able to have enough room for dessert but left very satisfied. Our server mentioned that the red wine risotto with Kobe beef cheek is the best item on the menu and I am so glad to have tried it. My husband had the pasta with braised short ribs that was also amazing. For dessert we had the hazelnut brioche that was off the charts. Highly recommend it and can't wait to go back to try other menu items!

Tags: fit for foodies
food5
ambience4
service5

Had a delicious dinner. Eggplant appeti ...

Dined on June 11, 2016

Had a delicious dinner. Eggplant appetizer was very good. My husband had the special, squid ink pasta with shrimp and lobster, and it was great. I had the Branzino which was perfectly crusted with garlic, served over escarole, white beans and peppers. Fantastic combination of flavors and textures. We finished with the spumoni, which was good, and the tiramisu, which was fantastic. We'll be back!

food5
ambience4
service5

We were grateful to experience a number ...

Dined on June 10, 2016

We were grateful to experience a number of superbly executed dishes.we shared every morsel from the duck prosciutto to the Branzino. Delicious! Our server was terrific and was engaging and well versed in the menu. The only negatives were the 2nd wine was corked but was quickly replaced. And toward the end of our dinner the room became VERY loud and conversation was difficult.

food5
ambience3
service5

One of the best restaurants in Tampa. Fo ...

Dined on May 29, 2016

One of the best restaurants in Tampa. Food is great. I had a pasta & mushroom entree, the best. We shared a fried cheese appetizer and love! All the food is perfectly prepared. Great service too! Wish they had bourbon for hubs, but he enjoys a cold beer too:)

food5
ambience5
service5

Cena offers a small, neighborhood vibe a ...

vip
Dined on May 26, 2016

Cena offers a small, neighborhood vibe and friendly service with ambience and a menu that would be competitive anywhere. Best of all words and a place not to be missed.

food5
ambience5
service5
value5

The whole experience was outstanding! Fo ...

Dined on May 18, 2016

The whole experience was outstanding! Food was absolutely delicious!!

Tags: fit for foodies, neighborhood gem
food3
ambience3
service4
value3

Cena, Main meal of the day

Dined on May 18, 2016

Tampa has some great restaurants and we hoped for a knock out meal at Cena. But my group of 5 seemed rather so-so about their dinning experience as we left. After all the hype from various on line reviews and considered to be in Tampa's top 50 restaurants I was not so sure. The food was good and the service was good but certainly not memorable. Parking in the lot next to the restaurant is confusing even for those who live in Tampa.

Tags: great for outdoor dining, scenic view
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

SLICE OF DELIGHT SO NEAR BY

vip
Dined on May 6, 2016

Chef Michael does an amazing job with the simplest of ingredients. I have eaten there more than a handful of times, and have enjoyed a full course along with a great bottle of Italian wine. WOW! You're missing out on this neighborhood gem.

Tags: fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem, hot spot
food5
ambience3
service5
value5

Perfect

Dined on May 6, 2016

A unique restaurant with wonderful choices and spectacular desserts!

Tags: fit for foodies, good for groups, neighborhood gem, hot spot
food4
ambience4
service4
value5

solid food

Dined on May 5, 2016

The food was solid for someone who is a foodie. Choices are of moderate variety. Somewhat on "high cholesterol" side for many dishes which is somewhat of a turn off. Service was solid but could have been better if waitress was not quite over the top with how much everything was "her pleasure"

Tags: kid-friendly, fit for foodies, good for groups, special occasion, great for lunch
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Never disappoints

vip
Dined on April 21, 2016

Cena is one of the top restaurants in Tampa and can hold its own nationally. The food is creative without being overthought and consistently delicious.

Tags: fit for foodies, romantic, neighborhood gem, hot spot, notable wine list
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Splendid!

Dined on April 15, 2016

Food, atmoshpere, service, wine. All wonderful. The gnocchi are like little pillows of heaven in your mouth. Can't wait to go back!

Tags: fit for foodies, romantic, notable wine list
food5
ambience4
service5
value4

I love this place and am becoming a regu ...

Dined on April 10, 2016

I love this place and am becoming a regular. The only thing this gem lacks is a full service bar. A martini to get started would be great!

Tags: fit for foodies, neighborhood gem
food4
ambience4
service4
value4

Italian Memories

Dined on April 10, 2016

The food preparation took us right back to the many enjoyable meals we have had in Italy.

Tags: fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, special occasion
food4
ambience4
service5
value4

Highlights

Dined on April 9, 2016

Outstanding service, specialized and well-curated wine list (start with a glass of Prosecco and finish with the tawny port) and a unique take on modern Italian cuisine make this a memorable dining experience. Chef Buttacavoli has created a top-notch dining spot in Tampa. The short rib bolognese is not to be missed. Next time, we'll probably sit at the bar and try one of the many risottos. (I hear the seafood risotto is outstanding). The bar looked like a fun spot to perch and sip wine later in the evening over charcuterie. (We tried the charcuterie, too. Loved the tartufo with fig and the gorgonzola with honeycomb.) The fresh bread basket with olive oil and balsamic vinegar to start the meal was a nice touch, too.

Tags: fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem, hot spot, vibrant bar scene, notable wine list
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Great meal, great staff, great experience!

Dined on April 9, 2016

Met friends for dinner before an event at Amalie Arena. We arrived a bit early, but were easily accommodated. Excellent wine list with tastes for everyone, and a broad and diverse menu. Our server was super fun and knowledgeable. We had the amazing octopus salad....truly delightful, light, and well prepared. I had the oxtail ragout gnocci, and found the dumplings to be perfect...light, fluffy, with a perfect sear from the pan tossing with the meaty ragout. I make many of my own pastas at home, and this is one of the few restaurants that I can't outdo. Seriously...a great meal, very reasonable price, and great memories.

Tags: kid-friendly, fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Chef Michael is the bomb

vip
Dined on March 27, 2016

I have had a chance to eat here a few times and also attend Chef Michael's cooking class at the Epicurean. He has an incredible talent with flavors, texture, combinations, quality and presentation. This is one of our favorite spots in Tampa. From the gnocchi to the branzino to the mussels and the desserts, truly excellent place.

Tags: fit for foodies, neighborhood gem
food5
ambience5
service5

My friends and I go out together to a di ...

vip
Dined on March 20, 2016

My friends and I go out together to a different restaurant every month. Cena has been one of our best experiences. The server was enthusiastic and knowledgeable. The menu was well thought out, and the food beautifully presented and flavorful. Since we all work in bakeries, we were especially pleased with the desserts, pleasing to the eye and the palate. We highly recommend this restaurant to other diners and food enthusiasts.

food5
ambience4
service5
value5

Food was fantastic. Very well presented, fresh.

Dined on March 20, 2016

Went for our anniversary. The restaurant manager and servers were friendly and attentive. We really enjoyed our meal, right down to dessert and coffee. We will go again soon we hope. Highly recommended.

Tags: fit for foodies, neighborhood gem
food4
ambience3
service4

Mushroom risotto was outstanding. Bib & ...

vip
Dined on March 19, 2016

Mushroom risotto was outstanding. Bib & beet salad also delish.

food5
ambience4
service5
value4

TERRIFIC

vip
Dined on March 12, 2016

ME WIFE AND I HAVE BEEN TO CENA PREVIOUSLY , HOWEVER, MY BROTHER/WIFE IS IN TOWN FROM NYC SO WE THOUGHT THEY WOULD ENJOY GOING OUT TO CENA. AND THEY DID! WE ALL ENOYED OUR MEALS/WINE VERY MUCH AND WE HAD A VERY ENJOYABLE EVENING THERE.

Tags: fit for foodies, special occasion, neighborhood gem
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

This restaurant never disappoints

Dined on March 12, 2016

Cena is a go to restaurant where we know we will always have great food, and enjoy a nice atmosphere. This was our first time sitting outside, and we loved it!

Tags: fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem
food3
ambience3
service3

Food and service have been inconsistent ...

vip
Dined on March 6, 2016

Food and service have been inconsistent the three times that we have gone. Sometimes great, sometimes eh. Desserts are amazing. Nice wine selection.

food5
ambience5
service5
value4

delicious! we will be back! great pres ...

Dined on February 27, 2016

delicious! we will be back! great presentation and GREAT service (eric).

Tags: fit for foodies, romantic
food5
ambience4
service5
value4

First time at Cena

Dined on February 27, 2016

Cena was fantastic, from the appetizers, to the shared risotto. We had a party of three, and each once of us was thoroughly impressed. The lemon dessert at the end was amazing as well. All of that though, I will say the service was even better. Some of the best service we have experienced in quite some time. All of the staff check on you, re-fill water, etc. Very attentive and excellent overall experience.

Tags: fit for foodies
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Excellent! Very happy with the food and experience

Dined on February 26, 2016

Delicious and the server was very polite and knowledgeable. I don't think that I'm easily impressed with restaurants but I definitely am with this one and I'll be going back for more!

Tags: fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
food4
ambience3
service4

Bolognese was good, very nice service. E ...

Dined on February 26, 2016

Bolognese was good, very nice service. Eggplant and salad was very good also. Nice place. I would go back.

food4
ambience3
service4
value3

Channel side food at Cena

Dined on February 24, 2016

We thought Cena had a varied foodie menu. The corn ravioli with carbonara sauce was very good! The large seafood risotto was outstanding! Best of all was the dessert menu- the lemon sponge cake with vanilla gelato was wonderful. Excellent parking in the garage close by.

Tags: great for brunch, fit for foodies, special occasion, great for lunch, neighborhood gem
food5
ambience4
service4
value4

Cena Rocks

vip
Dined on February 20, 2016

Cena is a winner. Loved the food, wine selections and service. Definitely worth a visit if you enjoy high end Italian food at fair prices.

Tags: fit for foodies
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Excellent food. Excellent service.

Dined on February 20, 2016

Wonderful evening. Friendly and knowledgable server. Food was amazing.

Tags: fit for foodies, good for groups, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem
food4
ambience4
service5
value5

Off the beat and path gem

Dined on February 19, 2016

We were looking for something that wasn't in Ybor city. The location is a little off the beat and path for tourists as we were. But were were glad to walk the 1.3 miles from riverwalk and it was very safe. We walked in a bit before our reservation at 550pm or so and the place was empty so gulp... we wondered but the hostess assured us a friday night would fill in around us immediately and it did. The menu and the winelist was a little out of my depth, I'm a simple guy and our waitress and other servers were happy to hold our hands through the menu and honestly the house red wine @ $5 per glass was a great way to not worry about how high the final bill would be. We had the eggplant and fried green tomato apps which were both great. The tomato marmalaide on the eggplant was truly delicious and a different experience for both of us. I had the seafood risotto and she had the mushroom pasta and both of us were as happy as could be with our choices. Its got a little urban industrial look inside and I am happy to report they probably could fit 2 or 3 more tables in the main area but haven't. We didn't do dessert but I'm pretty sure it would have been great too.

Tags: romantic, special occasion, notable wine list
food5
ambience4
service5
value5

TERRIFIC

vip
Dined on February 19, 2016

It was our wedding anniversary and Chef Micheal specially prepared stuffed artichokes for us. Those and the meal were terrific. Our JENNIFER was extremely good and helpful. JD

Tags: fit for foodies, neighborhood gem
food3
ambience3
service5
value2

it was okay. It was written up as the ...

Dined on February 13, 2016

it was okay. It was written up as the #2 Italian restaurant in the Tampa Bay area. I was disappointed - it is not #2. As I said, it was okay. The service was great.

food5
ambience3
service5
value4

A Valentine's Date to Remember

Dined on February 13, 2016

The outstanding food and service made up for the lack in atmosphire. Our server was quite knowledgeable and made great suggestions. She was very descriptive which was extremely helpful. Although I typically go for chocolate - I'd recommend the lemon dessert (sorry but I forgot the exact name) / trust me that you will not be disappointed!!

Tags: fit for foodies
food5
ambience5
service5

Eric was excellent

vip
Dined on February 12, 2016

Eric was excellent

food5
ambience5
service5

Great restaurant for an elegant evening ...

Dined on February 11, 2016

Great restaurant for an elegant evening out. Service , food and wine were spectacular.

food5
ambience3
service5
value4

The food and the service were excellent!

Dined on February 6, 2016

The service was top notch and the food was delicious. The Kobe beef cheek risotto was amazing and the Burratta salad was fantastic. We had a four top and one entree wasn't right. They fixed it right away and the chef agreed it wasn't up to par. I will definitely go back and recommend it to all my friends.

Tags: fit for foodies, good for groups, special occasion, hot spot, vibrant bar scene
food5
ambience5
service5
value4

Happy to have La Cena within walking distance!

Dined on February 6, 2016

We are quite happy that La Cena is chef owned and a local restaurant rather than a chain. The dishes are inspired and the ambience modern and trendy. It truly has become a neighborhood gem, just glad that we have this restaurant in our neighborhood!

Tags: fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem
food5
ambience4
service4
value4

Cena - great experience.

Dined on January 30, 2016

Went to Cena with my wife for a night out without the kids. Great food and service. The mussels are outstanding and much different then any other mussels I have had. Would have given the restaurant 5 stars except they only have a beer and wine list and no liquor. The wine list is great with several different options and price points. If you want great Italian food this is the place for you.

Tags: fit for foodies, special occasion

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