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, BYO Wine, Corkage Fee, Non-Smoking, Outdoor dining, Takeout, Wine

Cena Ratings and Reviews

5
4
3
2
1

4.6

Overall Rating

based on recent ratings
food

4.7

service

4.8

ambience

4.3

value

4.4

noise

Moderate

98% would recommend it to a friend

Loved For

Best Service
Tampa / Central Florida West
Best Value
Tampa / Central Florida West
Italian
Tampa / Central Florida West
6 More
Best Overall
Tampa
Best Food
Tampa
Best Service
Tampa
Best Value
Tampa
Fit for Foodies
Tampa
Neighborhood Gem
Tampa
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Notable Wine List (4)
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160 reviews
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Food was delicious. Staff very polite. ...

 
 (Tampa)
·Dined 5 days ago

Food was delicious. Staff very polite. Portions way too SMALL.

Tags: Casual, Late-night Find
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food4
ambience3
service3
value3

This is a very noisy establishment. The ...

vip
 (Salt Lake City)
·Dined on September 18, 2016

This is a very noisy establishment. The food is good, service is adequate. Will still recommend to others, just not for intimate dinners or when you need to do business discussion

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food4
ambience3
service3
value4

Just the tip ... Just for second. The a ...

 
 (Tampa)
·Dined on September 14, 2016

Just the tip ... Just for second.

The ambiance and aesthetic of appetizers led us to believe we were going to have a spectacular meal, however after the first bite we realized it was all just a tease. Although the menu sounded Delicious, the dishes all lacked flavor and especially lacked salt. The kale ceaser was all cheese and the beans with the branzino and escarole were so under - cooked they weren't edible.

This place has potential but needs a more experience chef

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food3
ambience5
service4

Second time back and we loved it. First ...

 
 (Tampa)
·Dined on September 4, 2016

Second time back and we loved it. First date night after having a baby so it needed to be special. It was perfect in every way!

Tags: Romantic, Outstanding Value, Bar Seating, Good for Anniversaries, Neighborhood Gem, Modern Decor
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Great dinner, server/foodie Clint was gr ...

vip
 (Philadelphia)
·Dined on August 28, 2016

Great dinner, server/foodie Clint was great, loved everything he recommended!

Tags: Tasting Menu, Good Vegetarian Options, Local Ingredients, Seasonal, Fit for Foodies
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food5
ambience4
service5
value5

Excellent restaurant with outstanding fo ...

 
 (Western NC)
·Dined on August 28, 2016

Excellent restaurant with outstanding food but it is VERY noisy

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food5
ambience4
service5

Great place good food, excellent service ...

 
 (New England)
·Dined on August 20, 2016

Great place good food, excellent service, very quaint. will definitely be our neighborhood place.

Tags: Cozy, Tasting Menu, Neighborhood Gem, Modern Decor, Hot Spot, Good for Groups, Local Ingredients, Fit for Foodies, Fun, Good for Anniversaries, Business Meals, Great for Lunch, Great for Outdoor Dining, Creative Cuisine, Good for Birthdays
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food4
ambience4
service5
value5

We have dined a Cena on many birthday oc ...

 
 (Tampa)
·Dined on August 20, 2016

We have dined a Cena on many birthday occasions and have yet to be disappointed.

Tags: Creative Cuisine, Handcrafted Cocktails, Special Occasion
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Great menu, food, and service. Everythi ...

 
 (Tampa)
·Dined on August 20, 2016

Great menu, food, and service. Everything was prepared well and was flavorful. I highly recommend this restaurant.

Tags: Quiet Conversation, Modern Decor, Creative Cuisine, Good for a Date, Fit for Foodies, Authentic, Special Occasion
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food5
ambience5
service5
value4

We had a very pleasant experience at Cen ...

 
 (Tampa)
·Dined on August 20, 2016

We had a very pleasant experience at Cena. EVERYTHING we had was delicious! We had their appetizer of the pan fried pecorino cheese with figs as well as a special app of a pasta with brocolli and truffle. So delicious!!!

Tags: Romantic, Fit for Foodies
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

The food and service were spectacular.

 
 (Tampa)
·Dined on August 13, 2016

The food and service were spectacular.

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food5
ambience5
service5

We enjoyed our entire evening. A little ...

 
 (Tampa)
·Dined on August 10, 2016

We enjoyed our entire evening. A little expensive, but well worth it.

Tags: Scenic View, Special Occasion, Fit for Foodies
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

We have been here a few times, always gr ...

 
 (Tampa)
·Dined on August 7, 2016

We have been here a few times, always great. Food, especially the Branzino, is always prepared with flavors and style. The special risotto of the day is prepared perfectly, creamy and flavorful. The limited wine list is put together to pair well with the entrée. Will continue to keep coming back.

Tags: Special Occasion, Neighborhood Gem, Good for Groups, Fit for Foodies
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Cena had amazing service and the food wa ...

vip
 (Charleston)
·Dined on August 6, 2016

Cena had amazing service and the food was wonderful! We are foodies and we loved it. I'm not sure if I would go back though primarily for the location. The view out the window was a chain link fence around an over grown empty lot that people let their dogs run through. The parking was impossible to find and after we found a parking garage, it was not something I would have felt comfortable using after dark on my own. If they added valet parking, I would consider returning but that wouldn't change the view. Again, the food was awesome and our waiter was very attentive!

Tags: Romantic, Fit for Foodies
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food5
ambience3
service5
value5

Fantastic food, all around great dining ...

 
 (New York Area)
·Dined on July 29, 2016

Fantastic food, all around great dining experience. Try this place!

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food5
ambience4
service5

Very impressive menu full of great flavo ...

 
 (Tampa)
·Dined on July 25, 2016

Very impressive menu full of great flavors! Don't miss dessert!!!

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Romantic, Special Occasion, Neighborhood Gem
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food5
ambience5
service5
value4

Relaxing dining experience with superb s ...

 
 (San Francisco)
·Dined on July 22, 2016

Relaxing dining experience with superb service and food. Enjoy a Prosecco while you try and narrow your choices for dinner. You will want 1 of everything! High quality ingredients. We especially enjoyed the Burrata Salad, Braised Oxtail Gnocchi, and the Risotto ( extremely creamy and delicious). DO NOT MISS the Tiramisu, even if you don't normally like tiramisu you will LOVE this. Our server Kim was outstanding in every way. Chef Michael's passion shines thru everything about this restaurant. Can't wait to go back!

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Hot Spot, Neighborhood Gem, Romantic, Special Occasion
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food5
ambience4
service5
value4

The food was excellent and the service g ...

 
 (Washington DC)
·Dined on July 9, 2016

The food was excellent and the service good. We had multiple courses and all were delicious! Very small restaurant, so would definitely advise reservations. Would also advise against bringing kids which made it perfect for a night out with friends.

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Neighborhood Gem, Special Occasion
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food5
ambience4
service4
value4

The food and service were outstanding. ...

 
 (Tampa)
·Dined on July 9, 2016

The food and service were outstanding. We have been here several times and are never disappointed. Although the menu is not extensive, there is something for all tastes, and each dish is excellent. The dining room is a little noisy, and at sunset a little warm, but those are minor complaints. The good quality is exceptional.

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Good for Groups, Neighborhood Gem, Romantic, Special Occasion
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food5
ambience4
service5
value5

I am Italian, born and raised in Sicily ...

 
 (Tampa)
·Dined on July 8, 2016

I am Italian, born and raised in Sicily where I grew up enjoing simple and testy food from my mamma's kitchen. I, myself, am an avid cook, therefore picky about food. Since I have been living in FL I have tried several "Italian Restaurants" and I had been disappointed.

Cena, on the other hand, is the first Italian Restaurant I have enjoyed dining at and that made me feel like being back home.

Complimenti.

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Hot Spot, Late-night Find, Neighborhood Gem, Notable Wine List, Romantic, Special Occasion
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Cena was a little hard to find (they cou ...

 
 (Minneapolis)
·Dined on June 26, 2016

Cena was a little hard to find (they could definitely work on their signage), but worth the effort. All of the food was beautifully prepared - the chef clearly understands flavor, not just presentation. The branzino with lemon and garlic was lovely, and they have a nice wine list. What a surprise to find a restaurant like this in Tampa.

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Good for Groups, Neighborhood Gem
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food5
ambience4
service5
value5

This is an amazing restaurant and I wish ...

vip
 (Tampa)
·Dined on June 24, 2016

This is an amazing restaurant and I wish that it was better known but I feel that the fact that it isn't also added for the nice quiet ambience that mean this evening so wonderful. They have an incredible wine selection and the food is delicious.

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food5
ambience5
service5

Lovely dinner last Saturday. Great co ...

vip
 (Tampa)
·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
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food5
ambience4
service5
value4

Cena is wonderful! Everything was absolu ...

 
 (Tampa)
·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
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Had a delicious dinner. Eggplant appeti ...

 
 (Tampa)
·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!

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food5
ambience4
service5

We were grateful to experience a number ...

 
 (Tampa)
·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.

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food5
ambience4
service5

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

vip
 (Tampa)
·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:)

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food5
ambience3
service5

Cena offers a small, neighborhood vibe a ...

vip
 (Tampa)
·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.

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food5
ambience5
service5

The whole experience was outstanding! Fo ...

 
 (Orlando)
·Dined on May 18, 2016

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

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Neighborhood Gem
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Cena, Main meal of the day

 
 (Tampa)
·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
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food3
ambience3
service4
value3

SLICE OF DELIGHT SO NEAR BY

vip
 (Tampa)
·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, Hot Spot, Neighborhood Gem, Romantic, Special Occasion
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Perfect

vip
 (Naples)
·Dined on May 6, 2016

A unique restaurant with wonderful choices and spectacular desserts!

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Good for Groups, Hot Spot, Neighborhood Gem
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food5
ambience3
service5
value5

solid food

 
 (Des Moines)
·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: Fit for Foodies, Good for Groups, Great for Lunch, Kid-friendly, Special Occasion
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food4
ambience4
service4
value5

My fish was over cooked and overpriced. ...

 
 (New York Area)
·Dined on April 30, 2016

My fish was over cooked and overpriced. Very nice wine selections. The highlight of the meal were the deserts.

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food3
ambience4
service4

Never disappoints

vip
 (Tampa)
·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, Hot Spot, Neighborhood Gem, Notable Wine List, Romantic
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Splendid!

 
 (Raleigh)
·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, Notable Wine List, Romantic
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

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

 
 (New York Area)
·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
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food5
ambience4
service5
value4

Italian Memories

 
 (Tampa)
·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
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food4
ambience4
service4
value4

Highlights

 
 (Orlando)
·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, Hot Spot, Neighborhood Gem, Notable Wine List, Romantic, Special Occasion, Vibrant Bar Scene
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food4
ambience4
service5
value4

Great meal, great staff, great experience!

 
 (New England)
·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: Fit for Foodies, Great for Outdoor Dining, Kid-friendly, Neighborhood Gem, Romantic, Special Occasion
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

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