Monday, October 31, 2011

Acqua Al 2 Transports You To Italy Without The Flight

 Initial Thoughts:
  • Design and Decor: Welcoming atmosphere with wooden tables and chairs.  Exposed brick walls.  Casual Setting.
  • Food:  Tuscan Cuisine, including the Filet Mignon with a blueberry sauce.  You've got to try it. 
  • Drinks: Good Italian Wine.
  • Would I go back?  Yes! 
Compared to my hometown of St. Louis, DC has been lacking in great Italian restaurants that don't feel pretentious.  We have "The Hill" in St. Louis filled with amazing Italian eateries.  Acqua Al 2 is filling the gap here in DC and is now my new favorite Italian spot in town.  The atmosphere is inviting.  The food is delicious.  The prices are right.  Acqua al 2 has been successful for over 30 years in Florence, Italy and now we are lucky enough to get a taste of the menu in Eastern Market.

Chef Ari Gejdenson was recruited to play soccer in Florence and while in Italy, fell in love with the food industry.  

His childhood friend from Capitol Hill, Ralph Lee, moved to Florence shortly thereafter, where they opened up Florence's first American diner next door to the original Acqua Al 2. Both Lee and Gejdenson became extremely close with Acqua Al 2's owners and convinced them to team up to open the restaurant here in DC.  The menu is the same as the original restaurant, and brings to the city the same true Italian dining experience as one would experience on the Piazza della Signoria.
To start, I'd recommend the Burrata.  I'm obsessed with this creamy cheese and could eat it everyday if given the option.  

Both pastas we tried were wonderful.  You can't go wrong with the Cavetelli col Gamberi or the Linguine alla Garfagnina.  

If you like fish, the Branzino con Verdure Saltate is a perfect selection. 

You can't leave Acqua al 2 without tasting the Filetto al Mirtillo - their signature hand carved filet mignon topped with a blueberry sauce.  That said, all of the beef was exceptional.  I loved the Bistecca alla Fiorentina, the Filetto all' Aceto Balsamico, as well as the Controfiletto al Pepe Verde, a hand-carved New York steak sautéed and topped with a green peppercorn, brandy, Dijon mustard and cream sauce..  All of the meat was so juicy and tender.  

The desserts are just as good as the rest of the menu.  Assaggio di Dolci offers guests a taste of four sweet housemade desserts. We tried the Cheesecake, Torta al Cioccolato, Tiramisu,  and Panna Cottta.  The panna cotta was my favorite, but all of the other desserts were worth ordering as well. 

Head in soon to give Acqua Al 2 a try!

Acqua Al 2 is an authentic Italian restaurant located in the heart of the historic Eastern Market in Washington, DC. Opened in XX 2010, native Washingtonians and childhood friends Ralph Lee and Ari Gejdenson brought the internationally-loved Florentine concept to Washington, DC along with its renowned menu of creative Tuscan cuisine and warm, welcoming sense of hospitality. Acqua Al 2 is located at 212 7th Street, SE in Washington, DC 20003. For additional information, please visit or call 202.525.4375.    

Photos by Lauren DeSantis
Acqua Al 2 on Urbanspoon

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