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Acena - 19 Reviews - 7742 Se 13th Ave, Portland, OR - Italian Restaurants Reviews - Phone (503) 206-3291


7742 Se 13th Ave
Portland, OR 97202
(503) 206-3291
Incorrect info? Correct your listing


Acena - Portland, OR
Acena - Portland, OR


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The food was absolutely amazing....AMAZING. Everything melted in my mouth and tickled the tastebuds. The calamari was unbelievable. The wine was reasonably priced and when we f...


A friend and I went their recently for dinner with high hopes. Unfortunately, we found the menu to be overpriced and oddly unfriendly to vegetarian diners. That last part being od...

Nice place, great location, decent 2/20/2012

Nice place, great location, decent ambience.\r The service was courteous. .. BUT I'm wondering why for 6:30 PM reservations on a Sunday night in a restaurant only half full, the risotto special was already out as was one of only half a dozen dessert options.\r Because the risotto special was out, I had to replace my order. I changed to braised short ribs on polenta. This came out at the same time as my partner's lobster raviolini ... which was cold. They had obviously held her order to accomodate my replacement order. But cold is cold. Shame, because it was lovely, quite a bit better than my order. The portion size of the polenta, which was indeed tasty, was absurd: best described as a polenta smear. The arancini was oddly bland, but at least it was hot.\r Overall I'd say it was ok. I'd give it another shot, though it's likely not a place I'd take clients or colleagues. Just seemed like an off night for them. more

Another overpriced and overrated Portland restaurant 2/6/2011

A friend and I went their recently for dinner with high hopes. Unfortunately, we found the menu to be overpriced and oddly unfriendly to vegetarian diners. That last part being odd, for a restaurant in SE Portland, where you might expect to see more vegetarian options on the menu that what a Cena offers. I, the vegetarian, opted for a simple plate of penne with marinara sauce, which believe it or not had to be a ""special order"". This was a substitute of a menu item, penne with lobster. Basically, they took the lobster out of the dish, but then still charged me the full price of $17.00. No lobster, but I still was charged full price for what amounted to pasta with tomato sauce. I couldn't help but notice also that my friend's portion of potato gnocchi with rabbit was about 1/3 larger than mine, and we were still charged the same price for each of our entrees. It was good, but certainly not great food, and the portions sizes were wan, I suppose so that we would know we were eating an ""important"" meal. I prefer to actually get my money's worth, thank you, and not be cheated because I happen to not eat meat. I'll spend my dining dollar elsewhere in future. more

Best meal of my life! 12/22/2010

The food was absolutely amazing....AMAZING. Everything melted in my mouth and tickled the tastebuds. The calamari was unbelievable. The wine was reasonably priced and when we finished our bottle the waiter opened a new one and topped off our glasses free of charge. When I ordered a glass of after-dinner port, they brought a plate full of dark chocolates to pair with it(on the house). We were the last to leave. We thought the waiter was coming to kick us out but instead he offered to play us any song over the stereo at our request. What an amazing evening...I LOVE THIS PLACE! more

very good italian 1/5/2010

very nice and unexpected. the menu offers traditional italian dishes and more creative ones, and everything - finally - make sense, it could come from a restaurant in italy. Pros: creative menu that make sense more

Our Favorite ""Splurge"" Restaurant 10/20/2009

My husband & I always look forward to our meals at a Cena (which I found via the Rewards Network dining program). The food is very fresh & authentically Italian and the space is decorated nicely & gets a lot of daylight (large windows). We come hungry so we can try as many courses as possible - prosciutto-wrapped grilled peaches all the way to sea salt caramel gelato - pure heaven. The bill isn't small, but it's oh-so worth it. Pros: Phenomenal Italian food & vin santo, bright corner space more

sloppy service 9/30/2009

waiter spilled food all over husband's shirt. Other staff, including who we think was the owner, saw the mishap and did nothing to help cleanup. my husband and i helped instead. waiters make errors- that's not the problem, it was the recovery, or lack thereof, that was disappointing. no offer to pay for dry cleaning, or anything. just a glib ""sorry."" We can look over a lot service wise, if the food is good. unfortunately, my fish was overcooked and tough, and my husbands pasta was soggy and tastelss. Pros: location Cons: food quality, poor service more

A perfect meal! 6/4/2009

My husband and I have been to A Cena many times, and we have always enjoyed our experience. But, tonight's dinner surpassed all meals I have eaten any where in Portland in quite a while.\r \r The owner, Chirs, helped us select our dishes, and his direction was superb. I started with the Carciofi, the fried artichokes. They were amazing. I wanted something simple, yet delicious...and, boy, that is what I got! What a treat. Crispy on the outside, moist and delicious on the inside. Lightly salted with sea salt and a spritz of fresh lemon juice.\r \r My husband wanted a salad, so we shared one. We had the Romano, a grilled romaine salad. Also superb. I am surprised at how wonderful that toasty taste is with lettuce! Go figure! Then to have A Cena's own crispy, yet juicy pancetta, atop this treat! \r \r My husband ordered his usual, a Bolognese pasta, and he was thoroughly pleased. It's usually a favorite of mine too, but I have to write about my entre!\r \r I ordered something new for me. It was the Agnolotti, a recommendation from the owner.!!!! It was an amazing taste of perfection. Sweet corn and mascarpone filling in a delicious pasta, topped with a butter poached lobster claw with a few mache leaves dropped on top was absolutely beautiful to look at and even better to savor, one bite at a time. The flavors were clean and fresh, while surprisingly rich and elegant. It was like eating a dream.\r \r For dessert, we asked for a suggestion, since we had already won the trifecta. We had the caramel and sea salt gelato...another winner. Wow! It was a dinner that will be hard to match.\r \r We really couldn't have asked for a nicer evening of taste sensations, pleasant people and a nice environment. We are already talking about when we will return and who we will bring to experience an exceptional of the best we have had in Portland. Pros: Great guidance from the owner, Chirs more

Exceptional Italian cooking 5/8/2009

We've eaten at a cena several times. It has always been quite good, but I'm now convinced that the cuisine is getting even better. On our last visit, we shared a bowl of asparagus soup with shaved truffles that was among the best soups I've tried. Our appetizers were fried artichokes (delicious and rare in Portland) and grilled asparagus with fried egg; both superb. We got two smaller plates as ""entrees"": an appetizer portion of garganelli (hand-made penne) with the best ragu I've ever had and a roast quail stuffed with wild mushrooms. I have no idea why this restaurant doesn't have a long line waiting to get in, every night. It's even reasonably priced. Pros: Everything is good; ragu is exceptional more

finally found some great gnocci 4/5/2009

Since having some great gnocci out of the country last year, I have been searching for a similar taste in portland. I found it at this sellwood restaurant. The place was quiet on a Sunday evening, and the service was very good. Bread was extremely tasty, and the entrees were excellent. I had a lamb dish and my wife had the gnocci and they were both excellent.\r \r As previous reviews have mentioned the prices were a bit on the high end and the portions are not huge. But the food was high quality and the taste was excellent so I will be back. Pros: excellent entrees, tasty bread Cons: moderate portion size, relatively high prices more

Wonderful Service and food 2/7/2009

We went for a celebration. We arrived right after work on Thursday night with plenty of seats available. Our waiter was friendly and helpful. The food was excellent. We started with Calamari which was tender, but about average for a nice restaurant. We each ordered a salad. My pomegranate salad was excellent. My partner ordered a romaine salad which had a funny taste. Our waiter noticed right away she didn?t care of it and let the kitchen know. Next came pasta. Wow is all I can say. The one dish had noodles (don?t know the name) which was made with lemon zest in the noodle. It had a wonderful lemony sauce with clams. She ordered the smaller size (many pasta dishes come with the choice of a starter size or regular meal size). I had the Agnolotti which is sweet corn and mascarpone filled pasta with butter poached lobster. Wow was it fantastic!! A nice portion but might have been a bit small for a man. However, that would leave room for more fantastic food. Our waiter brought us dessert as he saw the cards on the table. It was on the house! We also had a lemonchello (not sure the spelling) which we were told they make themselves. It was alsovery good. When we received our bill we notice they did not charge us for the salad, dessert and the one lemonchello (we had only ordered one. Our waiter said the second was on him for our celebration). We definitely will be going back and bringing friends and family?starting next week. Pros: service, food, pasta Cons: Romain salad this time at least more

Fresh! Fresh! Fresh! 2/2/2009

We've eaten at A Cena twice in the past month. Both times we had salads and pasta. All of the salads and pastas we've tried have been superb--fresh, tasty and infused with complex flavors. I'd highly recommend A Cena's pasta dishes. Since we haven't eaten their entrees, we can't speak to those preparations. A great neighborhood spot with sophistication and a good wine list. more

Romantic dining experience 11/28/2008

I've eaten here twice now and both times had fabulous, attentive service, great wine, great meal, and an overall fabulous dining experience. A great wine selection and inventive chef. A welcome high end, inventive, romantic dining locale for the neighborhood, and a place I will return.\r \r Pros: easy parking, no wait more

Great Food - Small Portions 11/23/2008

I had dinner at A Cena with a party of 4 on a Friday evening with 8PM reservations. Service was OK considering that the place was still pretty full. The wait staff was knowlegable and the food was really GREAT. \r \r I do not mind paying top dollar for a great dining experience and A Cena came off well with its wonderful food. But, the protions were so small that the the whole experience turned out to be kind of a ripoff.\r \r So, If you enjoy ""tasting"" great food, are spending someone else's money and don't mind making popcorn when you get home, A Cena is the place for you. Pros: Great Tasting Food Cons: Small Portions more

Horrific Service, Burnt Pizza. Go elsewhere! 9/12/2008

I went with a date to this restaraunt on a Friday evening... We waited at the entrance with no one greeting us, and it took them a very long time to accommodate us at a corner table request. We were left standing at the entrance for about 10 minutes, and even overheard the servers at the bar laughing ""oh I don't know if he's (the presumed owner or manager) even going to come back to seat those people!"" After being seated, it took a good 20 minutes for anyone to come over. We almost got up and left. Finally, a rude female server with a snotty attitude took our order and was rather unaccommodating with our requests on the menu. It took forever to get some tiny straw sized breadsticks, and forever to get our tiny sized portion dinners. The pasta was mediocre, and the 'gourmet margherita' pizza was very burnt on both the bottom and the entire crust. We mentioned this to a server upon finishing our meal (sans crusts) and she replied ""that's actually the way it's prepared here"". So if you like horrendous service, long wait times, tiny portions, higher prices, and very burnt pizza, give this place a try. Pros: Nice ambience, candlelit, reasonable menu Cons: Terrible service, Took forever, Burnt food. more

Hidden Culinary Gem 6/24/2008

The food here is simply fabulous and inventive. As is customary for my fiancee and I when visiting a new establishment, we ordered the specials and one of the house wines (a Chianti in this case). The word ""wow"" doesn't do the meal justice. We found ourselves amazed with every bite - the flavor and care that had gone into our dishes was remarkable. Even the homemade foccacia bread starter exceeded expectations. Sauces were gourmet quality - not greasy or overly salty. Ingredients were clearly picked with chef discretion. My Beef Cheeks entree was amazing - the meat pot-roast like, but with flavor that can only be described as complex and deep. My fiancee enjoyed her Pork special (which was a stretch, as she's not a Pork fan normally). The artful use of the pork skin as a wrap was a fabulous touch. The service was top notch and eager to please. Even the manager (and I suspect owner) was friendly and thanked us for coming in. We will be back. This is a great spot for a date or for those nights when you want to try something along the lines of Italian food with a new twist. Pros: Food, Service, Reasonable Price more

Flavors and Service!! Yes! 6/13/2008

Recommend A Cena for a special time. Have been several times and enjoyed the luscious flavors and sauces. It's a bit spendy, not a rush thru experience, but a delight if you want something a little better for a special occassion, or any occassion for that matter! In these days when ""more is better"" reigns, I'm all for not stuffing my face with a ton of food and feeling sick. I love the smaller portions, but wide variety and several courses of wonderful flavors. It makes for a great time to delight in food and friends. more

Love the liver 5/29/2008

I have been to a Cena now a half dozen times. I've gone in groups and alone with my husband; each time the food has been excellent. The wine list is great, featuring fun and interesting offerings. The service strikes a nice balance of informed but informal - the way a neighborhood restaurant should be. Menu items that should not be missed include: the salumi and chicken liver appetizers (honestly the best liver I've ever eaten outside of the U.S.); the rabbit pappardelle is rich and wonderful; the whole sea bass; and the bread pudding is unreal. more

Awesome Braised Shortribs 5/3/2008

We love this place and go often. After Assaggio went down hill it is great to have something tasty again in this space. The food is playfull, consistent, and prepared perfectly. The staff is knowledgable and friendly. My wife and I eat all over the city and its nice to have tasty food nearby. The wine selection is great. I imagine this place will be here a long time as more people like us discover it who enjoy great food and service. more

HIgh end Italian neighborhood joint 5/1/2008

This neighborhood place is too pretentious for its own good, and with the high prices, very small portions, and rather limited and odd menu, it is not likely to last very long. \r \r I had the warm beet salad which consisted of six slices of varied colors of beets, with a teaspoon of cheese on the side, for $12.00 - tasty but nothing special, and definitely not worth the price.\r \r For an entre we had the special which was ravioli stuffed with ricotta, mint and fava beans and supposedly some parmesan cheese. The sauce was drizzeled on top and consiisted of a total mayber a tablespoon of sauce....and if there was any parmesan cheese there you would have had to search for it. The raviolis were smallish and you got six of them for $17.00. Again, not a bargain and not all that intersesting of a dish.\r \r The best part was the crustry bread and the herb infused olive oil that came with the meal which was good and plentiful. \r \r The service was fair, but they rushed us a bit in the end trying to take away my entre when I still had one of those six precious raviolis left on my plate!\r \r With the abundance of better, less expensive and more varied menu Italian places in Portland there is truly no need to ever go back to A Cena for any reason. more
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Additional information

  • Hours:

    Sat: 5pm-10pm, 10am-2pm, Sun: 5pm-9pm, 10am-2pm, Tue-Thu: 5pm-9pm, 11:30am-2:30pm, Fri: 5pm-10pm, 11:30am-2:30pm, Mon: 5pm-9pm
  • Neighborhoods:

    Southeast Uplift Neighborhood Program, Sellwood - Moreland Improvement League