I just went back to D’Acqua this past wkd (8/9/08), and I had even a better experience! We sat in the courtyard this time to enjoy the beautiful summer evening. It's a lovely outdoor space with the fountains right nearby. The four of us all ordered 2 half portion pastas, so we could try a variety. All were fabulous, and I think this restaurant has the best house-made pasta in DC. Every noodle was incredibly fresh w/ a fabulous bite. Service was also very friendly and attentive. Francesco Ricchi was on site that night, so he gave us full portion pastas for free even though we ordered half portions. We were beyond stuffed!!! I can't figure out why this restaurant hasn't garnered much popularity. I suppose because it's not as trendy as the newcomers on the scene. Regardless, the food is solid!
D’Acqua is another restaurant of the now very restaurant saturated Penn Quarter. But, it’s a delightful addition. Opened by Francesco Ricchi (of I Ricchi and Cesco Trattoria) and Chef Enzo Febbraro, the restaurant’s focus is on fresh seafood. I was intrigued to try it because I love Italian, and secondly, I love seafood.

The aquatic theme of the restaurant can easily be seen in the décor. It’s definitely a pretty restaurant. However, it does have the Washington DC “stuffy” feel, and attracts an “older” crowd. It was a little too quiet and just not “happening” enough for me.

Ambiance aside, the food and service were both excellent. D’Acqua has a seafood market that allows you to personally select seafood from a selection on ice. You can choose to have the fish salt crusted, roasted, or grilled. There is also a very extensive menu that will please both seafood and meat diners (if you’re vegetarian, go elsewhere). The selection of house-made pastas is really nice. A plus is that they allow you to order their pastas in half portions. Great for me, b/c I’m often stuck between two different pastas. Here, I can try both!

There’s some nice Italian wines on the list. I believe we got a Sangiovese, and were very pleased. The night started off with a basket of bread. We all loved the foccacia, which was topped w/ sweet and salty roasted tomatoes. I could have eaten these all night with the wine. I always say, if I had to live on something, it would be bread and wine, and maybe some cheese too :) Anyways, here’s what was ordered between the four of us:


- Roasted portobello, caramelized onion and goat cheese in puff pastry- Ok, I wouldn’t consider this “Italian”, but it was absolutely delish. It was a plate of 2 large puff pastry rolls filled with all that goodness. It was also surrounded by a super thick, aged balsamic. This was the perfect dish, and I could have eaten it as my dinner.
- Parma Prosciutto and mozzarella on a crostini- This was an enormous crostini with tons of melt in your mouth prosciutto and cheese. There was also a flavorful sauce surrounding it.
- Shrimp & Crab stuffed Tortellini w/ scallops, saffron, and caviar- I loved everything in the dish except the caviar actually. I just don’t think it was necessary and rather overwhelmed the dish. The saffron flavor was nice.


- Gnocchi in Neopolitan Meat Ragu- The gnocchi itself was just ok. I’ve had much better elsewhere. But, the meat ragu was excellent. It saved the dish.
- Scialateilli w/ Italian sausage, smoked mozzarella, and basil- Excellent combo and the pasta was cooked to perfectly al dente. It was very fresh. I could have used more spice in the sausage, but I still enjoyed the dish.
- Storzzapreti w/ seafood ragout- Again, the pasta was cooked perfectly. And the lobster sauce was very good. It was very rich though, so I’m glad we only ordered a half portion.
- Monkfish wrapped in pancetta w/ herbs and shitake mushrooms - The fish was so soft and tender and the crispiness/saltiness of the pancetta surrounding it was a great compliment. I normally see monkfish wrapped in bacon, but i liked the pancetta. The mushrooms were also perfectly seared to a nice caramelization and bit.
- Fresh market fish encrusted in salt- I can’t remember if this was a Grouper or Snapper, but whatever it was, it was outstanding. One of the best “salt encrusted” versions I’ve ever tasted. It was very simple w/ a light, citrusy sauce and capers. It did not need anything else. They actually removed the salt dome and filet the fish right in front of you.

I actually can’t recall if we got dessert, but it’s usually not something I forgoe. I’m guessing that we ordered it, but it wasn’t very memorable.

Our waiter was very friendly and attentive. Actually, he made my night when he agreed that the best pizza in DC is none other than 2 Amys!! He’s from Naples, so he knows what he’s talking about :)

Dishes are on the pricier side, but I think it’s worth it for what you get.

801 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC

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