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“I can only assume I was there on an off night.” 3 of 5 bubbles
Review of A Cena Ristorante y Enoteca

A Cena Ristorante y Enoteca
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Ranked #112 of 4,238 Restaurants in Portland
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $30 - $30
Cuisines: Italian
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Romantic, Special occasions
Dining options: Dinner, Lunch, Full Bar, Reservations, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Waitstaff, Wheelchair Accessible
Dining style: Fine Dining
Neighborhood: Sellwood - Moreland Improvement League
Cross street: SE Lambert St.
Transit: Several on 13th Street
Description: A Cena is Italian for come to supper. This is exactly what we are inviting you to do at A Cena Ristorante located right here in Portland. When you come to A Cena, you will instantly be transported to a small villa in Italy. We are committed to providing our guests with an experience that will not be quickly forgotten. At a Cena, we share a love for simply cooked meals enjoyed with friends and family. All of our dishes are made with fresh ingredients from local Portland area farmers. We also hand make all of our pastas and cured meats, and daily prepared breads. A Cena offers a robust, well-matched wine list for every meal along with a seasoned and personable staff. All of these elements combined allows us to offer our guests at a Cena a fine-dining experience with the comfort and warmth of an Italian country kitchen.
Left Coast
Level Contributor
214 reviews
143 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 183 helpful votes
“I can only assume I was there on an off night.”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 2, 2012

This is a chic upscale little bistro that is nice and fun. There were some pieces that were amazing, like the fennel and apple salad. And the dried tomatoes and cured chard off the antipasto plate which they make in house were divine. But there were a few items that fell flat, namely the entrées. A rabbit pasta special was quite bland and the Stracoto Piemontese (short ribs / pot roast) was dry and lacking in flavor. Based on my perception, it would appear the chef who designed the menu was off the night I was there (a Tuesday) and the sous-chef was still a little green. The recipes and ideas behind the items served were great and had a lot of potential, but the execution appeared to have been done by someone that was following instruction and lacked an understanding of what was to be done. Like hearing a tone deaf person sing a song, I could understand what was intended and even appreciate the artistry, but the delivery was flat. I even wondered if the person preparing the entrees was a vegan. To be clear, there was nothing that was BAD, it was all fine, but the entrees were on par with a mid to high end chain (Stanfords / Macaroni Grill) and not what I would have expected from their billing. If I go back it would be on a Friday or Saturday, and hopefully my experience was due to an off night with an off kitchen. But again – the antipasti and salads were delightful and showed some real talent.

  • Visited January 2012
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
Thank inog
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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173 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    115
    45
    8
    4
    1
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
West Linn, Oregon
Level Contributor
19 reviews
14 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Fantastic food and phenomenal service!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 28, 2012

Wanted to try something new, so we decided to check this place out. Incredibly impressed from the moment we walked through the door. Great location, wonderful ambience. The service was fast, friendly and very comfortable. We had the salssicia-pepperoni pizza and the Garganelli (pork bolognese) pasta. LOVED it. I had the limcellotini, and then we both had a glass of the Nebbliolo, which was phenomenal with our food. Again, the service was beyond belief, and we made it a point to tell the owner (manager?) how impressed we were. When we got home, we called some friends to tell them how much we couldn't wait to take them there, so we're hoping to go back very soon!

  • Visited January 2012
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
Thank Kristin H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Portland, Oregon
Level Contributor
79 reviews
39 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
“Gluten free pasta and wonderful atmosphere”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 15, 2012

We've been to A Cena a handful of times and found the food to be flavorful, service to be very attentive and the gluten free options above average. You really won't go wrong if you chose to dine here and if you're visiting the city it's in a charming neighborhood that you'll likely want to wander around in before dinner.

  • Visited November 2011
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
Thank Chris W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
portland,
1 review
“a Cena is on top of our list - highly recommended”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 9, 2012

We just had our anniversary dinner at a Cena. It was beyond our expectations- not only for the food but for the service and graciousness of the staff. We came in a 8:55 on a Sunday night due to travel delays. They seated us without any question. We were the only customers and they made us feel so special. Our meal was excellent (I ordered the romano salad and the clams they were divine). Everything was perfect. I will recommend this restaurants to all I know and we will going back soon.

  • Visited January 2012
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
Thank JennS_142
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lake Oswego, Oregon
Level Contributor
260 reviews
232 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 57 helpful votes
“Christmas eve dinner-excellent”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 6, 2012

We paid a second visit to A Cena in November and had such a great experience we went ahead and made Christmas eve reservations. I can say enough good things about A Cena. I've become somewhat of an Italian food snob over the years and Portland has some great options. A Cena so far has been the best. The Saltimboca was so good, my picky 12 year old even loved it and ordered on our next visit. The wine list is also good. I found an Italian Rosso from a tiny vineyard I actually visited when in Italy. I highly recommend A Cena for a great Italian meal.

  • Visited December 2011
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
Thank Stew M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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