Acqua Al 2 – Downtown San Diego, Gaslamp


I was 27 the first time I had the privilege of visiting Florence, Italy.  What a wonder place full of rich Renaissance history, beautiful works of art, and a love for life!  It’s no wonder that restaurateur, Martin Gonzales, fell in love with Florence.  In fact, he took the additional step to move there and immerse himself in their culture.  After successfully completing culinary school there and working under Master Chef Innocenti, he took the initiative to bring Acqua Al 2’s first sister restaurant stateside. Luckily for us, he decided to land in San Diego first!



The decor is charming and inviting.  Signed dinner plates line the walls from notable patrons who have dined here.


A full bar of great Italian wine and cocktails.


We started with some lentils and fresh bread.  Soon to follow would be a sampling of five different pastas that are featured on their menu.


Fusilli corta with a Gorgonzola bechamel sauce.  It was rich with a nice layer of sharpness from the Gorgonzola.




And red pepper flakes for us to add on our own.IMG_3515

Conchiglie with a butternut squash and rosemary sauce.  I’ll be honest, this one surprised me in a good way (I’m not a huge fan of squash).  The sauce was light, but full in flavor.  The tomatoes and squash really complimented each other well and I ended up eating my whole portion.


Next we had the Farfelle Radicio with parmesan. Decent, but not my favorite compared to the others.


The rigatoni manzana had a smooth red sauce infused with eggplant.


Finally this fusilli pasta was prepared with tomatoes, red and yellow peppers, and some pepperoni.  I rather enjoyed this one too despite my dislike for peppers usually.


We we able to try a few of their signature meat dishes also which was nice.


This was the balsamic filet which was cooked perfectly medium-rare.  As far as the balsamic, it was a nice change of pace from a typical filet presentation, but it was so dark in color I found it a bit odd.  It could have used a touch of salt before adding the balsamic.


The Chicken Bearnaise with dijon was fantastic.  If you enjoy a strong peppercorn taste with cream, you’ll love this.  Hearty and delicious, this was my favorite protein on the plate.


This was a NY steak prepared on top of some bread and a salad.  It was okay, but lacked a punch of flavor like the other options found on the plate.


Well, we couldn’t leave without dessert, so how about a sampler!  I was excited.


This is their cheesecake with a berry compote on top.  Nothing too earth shattering, but good overall.


Panna cotta with strawberry was refreshing and lightly sweet.


The chocolate flourless cake was sinfully rich and indulgent.  Who can say no to chocolate?


Tiramisu looked light, fluffy, and devine, but WAIT.  After my very first bite…  AGGHHHHH.   My sodium sensors instantly went into hyperdrive!  This was beyond salty and I literally could not keep it in my mouth.  So, after excusing myself to the restroom, I came back to assess what had happened.  Luckily for Darren, he hadn’t shoved a whole spoon in his mouth too.  So, I had to tell our waiter what happened.  As it turns out (and they were thoroughly apologetic) the salt was mixed up with the sugar!


I’ve never had a creme brulee as an after dessert palate cleanser before, but I was glad to finally land some additional sugar on my tongue to offset the salt still lingering.

Anyhow, aside from the Tiramisu we’ll NEVER forget, Acqua Al 2 proved to be a charming and tasty restaurant in the heart of San Diego’s Gaslamp District.

Acqua Al 2
322 5th Ave
San Diego, CA 92101 


Acqua Al 2 on Urbanspoon

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About Michael

I couldn't be luckier to call San Diego my home the past couple decades. America's "Finest City" is bursting with delicious eats in nearly every corner. Whether you want savory or sweet, fancy or rustic, you can have it all! I have the awesome job of uncovering some of these gems, and sharing them with you. When I'm not chowing down, I also write about $$$ at Thanks for stopping by!

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