It’s hard not to love Italian food. With its comforting carbs, hearty sauces, variety of regional specialties and—of course—wine, I completely understand why Italian cuisine is beloved. With that said, I’ve had my fair share of dishes hailing from the Mediterranean peninsula that unfortunately missed the mark for some reason or another.
At Casa L’Acqua I can happily say that wasn’t the case. Each dish was expertly prepared and even, in some cases, surpassed expectations. The quaint cottage that has been home to several restaurants seems to have found its missing puzzle piece. Casa L’Acqua relocated from its previous Atlantic Avenue location (currently Avalon Steak & Seafood) about two years ago, and it hasn’t looked back. The main dining room, with its vibey bar and wine cellar, is cozy, and so is its fully enclosed patio in the back.
Expect white tablecloths, tuxedoed staff and attentive service. Yes, prices are also high, but totally worth it. Plus, the portions are sizable, so you should definitely come hungry. The wine list is Italian-focused but does offer a variety of bottles from around the world.
The evening’s appetizer specials—the impressive langoustines ($39)—were presented to us before the entrée specials were announced. Grilled with garlic, they nearly melted in my mouth. You can order two or four, and they’re served butterflied open (easily shareable) with a side of risotto. We also ordered the Classica Burrata Italiana ($14.95), and while it was a cheese sphere as expected, I had hoped it would be creamier.
It was difficult to choose main dishes, as there were several specials that sounded appetizing, as did most (if not all) of the ones listed on the regular menu. We tried the lobster ravioli special ($34.95), trenette al pesto ($20.95) and fettuccine Bolognese ($23.95). Sometimes when I order ravioli, they seem emaciated or lack enough sauce, but not here. The house-made ravioli were impressively stuffed with lobster and topped with a hearty portion of alla vodka sauce with chopped shrimp. I smelled the basil before the pesto hit the table. It’s one of those comforting smells that instantly made my mouth water. While it’s a simple dish, it was perfectly prepared. The Bolognese called to us, so we ordered a half portion just to try. Again, it came just as we’d expect—warming our souls with its ground meat, classic vegetables and rustic flavor. We also tried the snapper Livornese ($39.95), and if you like that traditional preparation with garlic, anchovies, capers and black olives, it will not disappoint. For a final treat, we shared the homemade Ricotta Cheesecake ($14.75)—a perfect balance of sweet and moist and a great way to end the memorable meal.
IF YOU GO
9 S.E. Seventh Ave., Delray Beach; 561/563-7492
PARKING: Valet, street parking, parking lots nearby
HOURS: Sun.-Thurs., 4 – 9:30 p.m.; Fri.-Sat., 4 – 10:30 p.m.
PRICES: $13.95- $59.95