Great service in a casual neighborhood Portland restaurant is practically unheard of, but a Cena (literally, 'to dinner' in Italian) offered it in spades at our last dinner there. There is an actual busboy, so our water glasses were always filled and dirty dishes cleared promptly and without fuss. We had two servers that teamed up to help us make informed decisions and let us know the status of our meals whenever there was a lull. Good, understated lighting in a comfortably cozy (but not stuffy) room with good acoustics so we could converse easily at a normal level. Above average wine list; I had a great Montepulciano this particular evening. Also above average rustic Italian fare; not just your traditional red sauce spaghetti, but inventive flavorful dishes with fresh ingredients. I had a drool-worthy hand-cut Pappardelle and a side plate of Faro with kale and pears, both excellent. My date had the margherita pizza, which boasted a hearty tomato sauce that wasn't overly sweet, as at most pizza parlors. It's a touch more than casual, but definitely not formal; a nice middle ground for a good meal. All in all, a delightful place to dine. We will be back.
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