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Acqua Al 2 Ristorante

3.9
578 reviews
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$31 to $50
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Italian
Top Tags:
  • Fit for Foodies
  • Special Occasion
  • Romantic

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About

Acqua Al 2 Ristorante is a casual, elegant restaurant that serves traditional Italian classics in cozy settings. Helmed by Chef Ari Gejdenson, the menu features soups, salads, pasta dishes and delicious steaks. Beef enthusiasts will love the Filetto al mirtillo, a hand-carved medium-rare filet mignon paired with sweet blueberry sauce for a delicious balance of flavor.

In addition to its a la carte menu, Acqua Al 2 Ristorante offers the Assaggio di secondi -- a dinner menu option that allows guests to enjoy a chef-selected serving of three of the kitchen's most popular steaks. Acqua Al 2 Ristorante also offers the Assagio di insalata (a sampling of three salads), the Assagio di Dolci (a tasting of four desserts) and the Assagio di primi (a mix of five pastas). This restaurant is open for lunch and dinner Mondays to Sundays.

Dining Style
Casual Elegant
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Cuisines
Italian, Mediterranean, Contemporary Italian
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Hours of operation
Dinner, Sunday – Thursday: 5:00pm - 10:30pm; Friday & Saturday: 5:00pm – 11:00pm
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Phone number
(619) 230-0382
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Payment options
AMEX, Diners Club, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
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Dress code
Business Casual
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Executive chef
Martin Gonzalez
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Neighborhood
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Cross street
J Street and K Street
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Parking details
There’s a public lot across from the restaurant.
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Public transit
San Diego Trolley at Convention Center | One block south
Additional
Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Beer, BYO Wine, Corkage Fee, Counter Seating, Full Bar, Gluten-free Menu, Happy Hour, Late Night, Outdoor dining, Outdoor Smoking Area, Private Room, Takeout, Wheelchair Access, Wine
What 578 People Are SayingWrite a review
Overall ratings and reviews
3.9based on all time ratings
4.0
food
3.9
service
3.8
ambience
3.7
value
Noise · Moderate
79% of people would recommend it to a friend
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5.0Dined on January 30, 2016

Love it. Our favorite restaurant

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5.0Dined on January 29, 2016

Aqua Al 2 on 5th in San Diego's Gaslamp District was one of our favorites for special occasions. We loved their filet mignon with blueberry sauce and their pasta flights - along with a great wine list. We found out they were closing Jan 30th so we dined there one last time the night before. Had a nice chat with the owner/chef who said he would reopen another restaurant sometime in the future, so we will be sure to be on the lookout for it. Sad to see a great neighborhood restaurant close.

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1.0Dined on January 16, 2016

Having eaten here previously, we were looking forward to a nice dinner. The atmosphere and noise level were good, but the food was terribly disappointing. The steaks we ordered were served at room temp, not hot. We sent them back and they came back the same--barely lukewarm. The creme brulee was soupy--not set at all. The service was terribly slow, as well. The manager was very apologetic, as was the server, however it was a huge disappointment. I think we'll skip this restaurant on our next visit to San Diego.

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4.0Dined on January 16, 2016

I came with a group of 6. We tried the pasta appetizer and that was a good way to try different pastas. Some were really good, others were just ok. I got the chefs choice of three entrees. The filets were amazing, the chicken was mediocre in comparison to the beef! Our waiter seemed great at first but lost his flare as the dinner went on. Didn't remember which plate was medium well and median rare...big difference! Then just told us to cut into it, should be fine. Really?!?! Overall it was a good dinner. Nothing super spectacular. We've had better, less expensive Italian.

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5.0Dined on January 7, 2016

The foos was tasty and authentic Italian.Good choices on menu. Excellent service from waiter who was from Brazil. The price for the dessert was a bit much considering the portion size. However, the main entrees were appropriately priced. Parking is hard to find and pricey.

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3.0Dined on December 31, 2015

We picked this restaurant because the reviews about the food were very good. Our experience was "average". The food was very bland. Out Server suggested the fielt with balsamic instead of the blueberry sauce. The balsamic sause was burnt and ruined the steak. We also ordered the tuna...it was so salty it was also tough to eat. The pasat sampler is a great idea but again the pasta was very plain and lacking in taste - I would recommend the gorganzola pasta - I was very good!

We might try it again with the assumption it was an off night.

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5.0Dined on December 30, 2015

Great food and service. Really enjoyed our meal!

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5.0Dined on December 28, 2015

The food was amazing and the service was impeccable. Highly recommend to couples for dinner.

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2.0Dined on December 12, 2015

We tried Aqua al 2 because it was billed as the best Tuscan restaurant in San Diego. We were puzzled once we got there and checked the menu. Where were the typical white beans, spinach, fresh egg noodles, prosciutto, game dishes? Not at Aqua al 2.

OK, there's still a lot of good Italian food that's not specifically Tuscan. But we found the menu selections rather ordinary. Lots of steak dishes, a couple of veal dishes, 2 or 3 chicken dishes that were on the plain side. No lamb, pork, salamis, or the game dishes that are often found on Tuscan menus. I asked if any of the pasta was "fatta in casa" (homemade), but was told-- a trifle snootily-- that no, the pasta came from Italy. You mean, like the dried stuff you can easily pick up in many stores yourself? To me, there's nothing like fresh pasta, and any restaurant worth returning to should have at least a couple of fresh pastas on the menu.

My husband's buffalo mozzarella and tomato appetizer was OK. I started with a salad that was overdressed with a thick dressing (not the simple oil and vinegar most Italians use) that swamped the greens. In retrospect, I should have returned the salad, but what can I say?-- I was hungry and didn't want to wait to re-order. (Service was also on the slow side.)

Since we were not interested in the steak selection, we ordered 2 pastas. Once was rather bland, the other not bad, but nothing to rave about. We didn't bother looking at the dessert menu.

Afterwards, I admit I was puzzled by this "Tuscan" restaurant and its popularity-- enough that I checked the website of the original restaurant in Florence. I was surprised to see that the menu was very similar to the one in San Diego. I concluded that the Aqua al 2 group are called Tuscan simply because the original happens to be located in Florence. But no Florentine would call it Tuscan!

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5.0Dined on December 11, 2015

We celebrated a birthday with dinner at Acqua Al 2 on Dec. 11 and the food was phenomenal. All 3 people in our party had the tasting menu and not one of us was disappointed. The waiter did an amazing job of describing each of the pastas and the meats to us and none of us could decide on a favorite item. The dessert sampler was the icing on the cake is one of the most amazing dining experiences we've ever had. Thank you Acqua Al 2 for a meal to remember!!!

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4.0Dined on November 24, 2015

We found Acqua Al 2 in Florence, Italy and wanted to experience the restaurant in the Gaslamp Quarters. We enjoyed our meal in San Diego but still just not the flare of Italy! Italy's restaurant was much more quaint and tucked into a back neighborhood. So glad we went in San Diego and someday hope to visit our eastern restaurant in Washington DC! Service was good and our waitress was a delight. Can't remember her name but she lived in Reading, PA which is very close to us in Lancaster, PA. Had some lemoncello with prosecco!!! I could pretend I was back in Italy....... We didn't get to visit any restaurants in Little Italy so we can't make a comparison. Definitely worth trying.

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4.0Dined on November 21, 2015

OK for a quick dinner. Food was good, but nothing special. It is a very convenient location for me because I live half a block away.

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5.0Dined on October 31, 2015

Aqua al 2 is one of our favorite restaurants, and a regular stop on our downtown excursions. The food is excellent Italian - start with the Eggplant Parmigiana, baked to perfection. Then either steak, chicken, or pasta - you can't go wrong. I prefer the Rigatoni Melanzane, while my wife loves the Pollo al Porto. But there are so many other choices to please all tastes. Ask for an outdoor table and enjoy the people-watching along 5th Avenue.

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3.0Dined on October 31, 2015

Sampled many pastas and nothing was exceptionally good. Disappointed that noodles were not homemade. The steaks however are quite good. My husband did the sample menu and all three meat samplings were good.

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3.0Dined on October 24, 2015

eggplant parmigiana, delicious

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3.0Dined on October 24, 2015

Steak sent back but delicious upon return.

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4.0Dined on October 18, 2015

Food was good, service was so-so.

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2.0Dined on October 16, 2015

Used to be one of our go to places, I think it has changed hands...crowd is gone...we were the only ones there. We miss"Martine". Our last visit.

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5.0Dined on October 3, 2015

We had a great time! Party of 11 and everything was great! Could not have asked for better.
Thank you we will eat here again next time in San Diego!

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5.0Dined on October 3, 2015

The food at this restaurant was outstanding, one of the best restaurants we have ever been to. The service was great. There wasn't one bad thing that happened the night we were there. We cannot wait to go back and bring friends with us.

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5.0Dined on September 25, 2015

Othe service and food were amazing!

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5.0Dined on September 20, 2015

Ambiance, wine selection, food--all superb! You wont find better, more authentic fine Italian cuisine anywhere outside Italy. I cant wait to come back!

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5.0Dined on September 20, 2015

We booked online for my husbands 60th Birthday dinner. We were warmly greeted and they remembered all our food issues i.e. no garlic or onions. We pick the chefs special and it was all amazing food and drinks. they even had a lovely dessert with 60th birthday written on the plate. It was a class act. I have traveled many times to Italy and always loved the food and ambiance. Our dinner was like being transported back to those lovely times. At the end we were surprised to see the food and drink was reasonable priced.

Thank you so much for making our evening so special.

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4.0Dined on September 5, 2015

Vallet parking right in front is always a plus. The overall experience with the staff was worth the trip to the gas lamp on a busy event weekend for San Diego. Our server was fantastic! He had obviously spent plenty of time learning his craft and was an asset to the restaurant. He knew the language, the menu and his customers well enough to make GREAT suggestions even under direct questioning by knowledgeable cliental on both food and wine. That being said, everything was surpassed by the food! We will return, and recommend to friends.

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5.0Dined on August 5, 2015

Our server was very attentive and gave great recommendations. The food was delicious. My favorite was the eggplant appetizer. We will go again next time we're in SD.

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5.0Dined on July 31, 2015

I've had friends visit the original restaurant in Italy and they raved about the place. The staff was excellent, friendly and well informed on their menu. They let my friends make a plate and hang our names on the wall- something usually reserved for celebrities. We had a wonderful time, and next time I'm in SD, I will make it a priority to visit! Ciao!

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3.0Dined on July 25, 2015

After a great deal of hype about their restaurant in Florence, our dinners turned out to be below average for good Italiano food in San Diego. The restaurant's "Signature Dish" sample of five pastas and sauces were tasty, but poorly presented, or shall I say thrown, onto small platters with little attention to hype in the menu and from our waiter. The best part of dinner was the wine and dessert, a light, tasty chocolate cake.

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5.0Dined on July 23, 2015

We are from out of town so normally only eat here once a year. It was outstanding and Allison our server was very good. The signature Apertivo of the 5 pasta sampler is an excellent way to start the meal. We love the filet with blueberry sauce, then to finish off the meal with the sampler dessert. Can't go wrong with any of these choices!

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4.0Dined on June 27, 2015

We had been here once before a few years ago and came back to enjoy it again. It was my wife's birthday and we wanted a special place to celebrate, just the two of us. This place is in the Gas Lamp District which has great nightlife and lots of choices for food and drink. It is good for a couple, but they have nice tables to suit up three couples. They have great traditional italian pasta dishes and a sampler of five seperately prepared and served tasting dishes was perfect. We shared them. From there we shifted gears and shared a beautifully preparred 32 oz porterhouse steak. The wine list has some nice value wines and top end selections too. A dessert sampler ended a great evening.

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4.0Dined on June 8, 2015

Always a pleasure dining at this fine Italian Restaurant. Located in the heart of the Gaslamp District, the fare is always great and the service gets better all the time. Try the Antipasta plate for an appetizer and you won't be disappointed. Be sure to share or you won't have room for your main entree.

We'll be back again the next time we visit San Diego. The only other locations of the restaurant are in Washington DC and Firenze, Italy.

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4.0Dined on June 7, 2015

Loved the authenticity of the entire place and of course their amazing filets.

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5.0Dined on May 30, 2015

GREAT restaurant. The portion sizes are decent; not typical LARGE sizes like many american restaurants. Every choice on the menu is excellent, and the Prix-fixe menu is probably your best deal - gives you a nice variety. Ambiance is stellar; right in the heart of gaslamp district. good experience with OpenTable, too! This restaurant is located in Florence, Italy (where I've been), and now even Washington, D.C.!

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1.0Dined on May 24, 2015

Food was bad quality (steaks and chicken), took forever, was totally overlooked and eventually came out cold. Service was awful. Asked for the wine list multiple times and never got it. There are so many good restaurant s around here - don't waste your time and money here.

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5.0Dined on April 23, 2015

We have dined at both the Firenze and San Diego locations. Authentic Florentine food if in the states and a staple near the Santa Croce in Firenze.

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5.0Dined on April 18, 2015

Food was great, we did the sampling. Steve the server new his stuff, from the wine list to the food. We were a party of 4 and had a spiffy time. Will go again.

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3.0Dined on April 10, 2015

Pros: Many vegetarian pasta options. Casual attire is acceptable. Valet parking for the same price as parking in the local garage.

Cons: It was loud in the area we were seated and the server was very slow. The appetizers were good but the main courses were OK.

A good option for someone visiting the Gaslamp but not the same quality as their sister restaurant in Washington, DC

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5.0Dined on April 6, 2015

The house salad with fruiti do mate was perfect meal!

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3.0Dined on March 27, 2015

This place was recommended to us from another couple that touted it as the best Italian place to eat in California. I guess we had high expectations, because in our opinion it was a B food experience.

The waiter was great, the food good but not delicious. Price was moderate and cocktails very small. If a friend asked me if I would go back, I would probably say no. There are so many other choices nearby in Little Italy - San Diego.

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4.0Dined on March 21, 2015

Mahi mahi with a kale pesto was excellent. Beer-on-tap offerings should be expanded - too Budweiser distribution oriented. Waitress was very pleasant. Atmosphere slightly cramped but a nice southern Gaslamp spot.

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3.0Dined on January 25, 2015

I love the Aqcua al 2 in Washington DC but found the food at The SD location was just ok. The blueberry filet was not as flavorful and just kind of bland. I also love the Gorgonzola gnocchi on the menu, but unfortunately the pasta at this location was tough and not as melt in your mouth. The sauce also had a pink tint, different from the beloved dish in other locations. Overall I had a good meal but would not return to this location.

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