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Party Size
For 2
Date
Today
Time
7:00 PM
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Booked 6 times today

Cena

4.7
326 reviews
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$31 to $50
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Italian
Top Tags:
  • Good for a Date
  • Neighborhood Gem
  • Fit for Foodies
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
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Cuisines
Italian
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Hours of operation
Monday-closed
Tuesday-closed
Wednesday-Saturday 5 -10
Sunday 5-9
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Phone number
(813) 374-8840
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Payment options
AMEX, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
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Dress code
Business Casual
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Executive chef
Michael Buttacavoli
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Catering
For catering inquires please contact Kate Hardy, General Manager, at 813-374-8840 or kate@cena-channelside.com
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Neighborhood
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Cross street
Kennedy and Madison in the Grand Central
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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.
Additional
Bar Dining, Beer, BYO Wine, Corkage Fee, Non-Smoking, Outdoor dining, Takeout, Wine
What 326 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.7based on recent ratings
4.8
food
4.6
service
4.4
ambience
4.5
value
Noise · Moderate
95% of people would recommend it to a friend
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3.0Dined on April 15, 2018

It was my wife’s birthday and the first thing the server tried to convince us of was that mint was not an important ingredient in Mojitos ? Next choice of drinks, no Captains Spiced Rum. But the food was nicely displayed and flavors were good .
The paint cans and mention of being out of things due to a renovation the next week was in poor taste! It seems you were more interested in next weeks activities than the present evenings guests.

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5.0Dined on April 13, 2018

Chef was kind enough to make me a special meal off menu due to my diet.

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5.0Dined on April 8, 2018

The food is creative and delicious. Excellent wine list. Eric our waiter was excellent. Very helpful with food recommendations and wine pairings. We will definitely go back again.

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4.0Dined on April 7, 2018

Always greeted warmly and served with attention. Creative Italian dishes with authentic flavors.

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3.0Dined on April 4, 2018

Although the food was excellent, the experience was one of the worst I’ve had. The waitress was rude and abrupt. We had out of town guests who arrived late. She came to the table within minutes and asked for our orders after they were barely able to be seated. We sent her away and when she came back she got frustrated when they took time to choose. As I attempted to explain a choice to them because it was so loud in the restaurant, she asked my husband to order for me. Finally she said that she had our appetizers so she was leaving. She brought the appetizers and told us we had to share them. She didn’t ask if we were intending to share. The main course took about 40 minutes to arrive. Somewhere in all of that the temperature in the restaurant began to rise. It hit about 85 degrees. No apologies. No solutions. No visits from management. Not sure I’ll go back.

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5.0Dined on April 1, 2018

One of our favorite - if not our absolute favorite restaurant in Tampa. The ambiance, food and service are stellar. The specials are always intriguing - but our standard favorites are so good we often stick with what we love. Great cocktails and wine list. Servers are all great but Eric is our favorite !!!

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4.0Dined on March 29, 2018

Food was very good but not as good as in the past. House salad was drenched in balsamic, tiramisu was pretty but lacked flavor. The cocktails and squash lasagna were excellent. They seemed in a rush for us to leave. Good but not their best effort.

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5.0Dined on March 25, 2018

We just celebrated our anniversary here and were dining for the first time. The food and service were wonderful. We will be back.

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5.0Dined on March 23, 2018

Great little place close to the port. Fabulous food and good wine

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5.0Dined on March 21, 2018

We've been travelling to and around Florida for over twenty years, eating at many nice places along the way. This last trip we went to Cena and I have to say we both agreed that it's the finest food we've found. Outstanding salads, great rissotto and pasta and unbelievable desserts! Very reasonably priced too. Nice people too. We went twice and will be back whenever we're in town!

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5.0Dined on March 18, 2018

Lovely restaurant; delicious food. The desserts are amazing and beautiful; art. I’ve tried about 10 of their dishes, and I love all of them so much. Great service and the bartender is bomb; he makes delicious cocktails.

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5.0Dined on March 17, 2018

One of our favorites!

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4.0Dined on March 10, 2018

Great for a quiet date night.

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5.0Dined on March 8, 2018

As most always the case, our dining experience at Cena was most outstanding. We started with a Kale Caesar Salad delightfully topped with interestingly tasty chick pea flour croutons. The Branzino and Poached Halibut entrees were uncommonly superb. Dessert was exceptional as well...a beautifully constructed Crostini, made of strawberries, almond cake and basil foam. Steering us and seeing to our every need throughout our dining experience was our waiter Eric. He was a pleasure and a true Cena asset.

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5.0Dined on March 4, 2018

Great food and times. The manager a former New Yorker was inviting and open. The food was delightful and cozy. A new take on Italian food dine well.

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5.0Dined on March 3, 2018

I can't believe we've waited so long to go here. The food and service was fantastic! I think the best Italian food in Tampa. Delicious home-made pastas. The desserts were so impressive - they would rival any fine dining desserts in NYC.

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5.0Dined on March 3, 2018

Best $5 house wine ever--- Primitivo-- and best eggplant appetizer, too. Creative place, not strictly Italian,. definitely not predictable.

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5.0Dined on March 2, 2018

Fantastic as usual And always run into friends there Highly recommend this gem!

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5.0Dined on March 1, 2018

We thoroughly enjoyed our experience. We sat outside in the courtyard and the weather was quite pleasant that evening. The Service was awesome, the food and wine was amazing. For appetizers we had the eggplant dish and the burrata salad. Both were so tasty! Our entrees included the the spaghetti squash lasagna and the Italian sausage risotto. Both were so delicious! And to end we had the unique and delectable tiramisu. We will definitely be back soon and let others know about this place!

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5.0Dined on February 25, 2018

Excellent!

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5.0Dined on February 25, 2018

Outstanding! Food was executed to perfection.

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5.0Dined on February 24, 2018

I gave it 5 stars overall since the food was so good it outweighed any other negatives.
* LEAVE ROOM for dessert. They are all amazing. A ton of work goes into them. Really outstanding.
* My Monkfish Osso Buco was incredible. One of the best entrees I've had.
* The mushroom risotto is a must-have. Get a big portion and share with everyone at the table.
* Waitress was super-nice.
* I had a fantastic barrel-aged Boulevardier cocktail.
* Only serious negative was the host greeted us while talking on his phone and didn't look any of us in the eye. He also was talking to our waitress as she tried to take our order. He did numerous things that were becoming of a restaurant at this level. Oh, he was moving a table and asking guests to move so he could get through. This place is so close to being at the top of the restaurant world in Tampa; that sort of thing isn't acceptable.
* A fairly Minor item, but one of those things that the very best restaurants wouldn't do: Three entrees at our table of 4 were brought out at the same time. The fourth came maybe 2 minutes later.
All that being said, we'll absolutely go back. This was our second visit, and it was even better than I remembered. It deserves its ranking from the TBT as the 8th best restaurants in the area.

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5.0Dined on February 23, 2018

We love coming to Cena! This is our fourth visit and we will keep coming back. The food is always delicious. The entire staff made us feel at home and like we were the most important table in the place! The risotto (ALL of them) was the best I ever had.

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5.0Dined on February 22, 2018

Very enjoyable evening. Small interior seating with bar. Al fresco dining available. Servers were friendly, helpful, knowledgeable. Wine offerings entirely Italian with some very nice choices available. Our food was excellent—prepared well, nicely presented, and delicious. Salads had fresh ingredients with a creative touch. The branzino was excellent. Will return.

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5.0Dined on February 22, 2018

Cena was everything I hoped for and more. Mushroom risotto was cooked perfectly. The branzino was “to die for” and the spaghetti squash lasagna was delicious. Lemon macaron for dessert was so worth the extra calories. Tommy and Eric were very attentive and Paul was spot on with the wine recommendations. Can’t wait to go back.

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5.0Dined on February 18, 2018

We have been to Cena several times now and every time we enjoy the staff and food, a wonderful place to eat and enjoy yourself.

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5.0Dined on February 17, 2018

Fantastic food and service was very good!

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5.0Dined on February 17, 2018

Went for a late Valentine's Day dinner with my wife. We were greeted promptly at the door by someone who I assumed was the manager. He quickly brought us to our table, filled our water glasses, and got us settled before our server came over. Our server had a great understanding the entire food and wine menu and even offered a taste of two wines we were on the fence about to make sure we made a satisfactory selection. He was also helpful when it came down to choosing between the several tasty sounding entrees we had picked out. The food came out promptly and was a delicious as we expected. Portion sizes were just right as were were able to share a small appetizer, an entree each, and split one of the amazing desserts without being overfull. Pricing was very reasonable for the quality of food provided and the service was top notch. We plan on coming back very soon.

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4.0Dined on February 16, 2018

We love the food here. It's beautifully prepared and presented. The menu has awesome selections including several risotto dishes and charcuterie. It's a five star experience except for the noise level. My husband moved next to me instead of sitting opposite so we could converse. We will definitely return but not when its a packed house.

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5.0Dined on February 15, 2018

Lovely restaurant with great service. We had a bottle of Brunello wine that was fantastic. Our meal was gnocchi and truffle pasta. Both were awesome!

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5.0Dined on February 15, 2018

We arrived early for a 5 PM dinner. They saw us and another couple waiting outside and politely asked us in. The service was excellent. Our waitress was very cordial and welcoming. She was knowledgeable in the menu and commented on our questions. The meal was excellent. I had the mussels which were cooked perfectly and the branzino which was excellent. My wife had the beef bolognese which she thoroughly enjoyed. I would highly recommend Cena.

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5.0Dined on February 10, 2018

Great as always! Great food great service!

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5.0Dined on February 9, 2018

From Billy Joel at the door to Nate the Great as our server this place was great! The food was spectacular, so different than what you would expect. Presentations were well thought out. The desserts were out of this world. It was an hour drive but I can promise it won’t be our last visit! Thanks for a great night Cena!

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5.0Dined on February 8, 2018

Me and my boyfriend had a great evening. The food was amazing. The best part was desert!

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4.0Dined on February 3, 2018

The wild cat martini is very good. The baby kale salad was the best salad I've ever had. The croutons must be made in-house because the bread was so soft a tasted neared. Very interesting, but delicious. We got the Truffle pasta and squash pasta, delicious. I really would waste money on the dessert. We ordered the lemon cream macron and strawberry cream pie; Too fancy, too tiny and too pricey. Dessert menu is not worth the money. I will definitely be back for that baby kale salad

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5.0Dined on February 2, 2018

Chef Michael and the team at Cena always kill it. The winter menu is full of great new gems and old favorites. I am really happy about the new full liquor serving up some great craft cocktails. It is no wonder why they were picked as one of the best restaurants in the Tampa Bay area by the Tampa Bay Times food critic.

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5.0Dined on January 28, 2018

As always, Cena never disappoints. The food is unbelievable and the service stellar. Can't wait to return.

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5.0Dined on January 26, 2018

We always always have a great meal at Cena. Management, service, food and ambience are always perfection!

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5.0Dined on January 26, 2018

My wife and I went to Cena to celebrate our anniversary. We arrived early and received the VIP treatment the entire evening. Our server Nate was great, offering suggestions on the menu and wines to pair with our selections. For an appetizer we chose the Crispy Eggplant. The serving size was good enough for two to share. For our entrees I had the oxtail gnocchi which was delicious and my wife had the Spaghetti Squash Lasagna. As recommended by many of the previous reviews we saved some room for desert and ordered the Ostrich Egg Shaped Tiramisu. Not only was it creatively presented, but it was by far the best tiramisu we had eaten in a long time. At the end of the evening we were invited to return walked to the door by the owner of the restaurant. Nice touch. Overall the prices were reasonable and appropriate for the quality of food and the excellent service level.

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5.0Dined on January 18, 2018

Lovely place - small, friendly...great service and wonderful food! The wine list had grreat by the glass choices for reasonable prices - we would definitely go back!!

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