Due to my journalism training, I tend to stay away from grandiose statements such as the best place I’ve ever been, because unlike blog posts, it is very difficult to numerically list such abstract things in life, especially when you’ve been around the block a few times and you’re getting up there in age. When people ask me where I would like to live or who my favorite writer is, I’m often left sitting there speechless like some sort of imbecile. However, when someone asks me what the best meal I ever had was, I already know my answer before the question is out of their mouth.
If there is a Heaven, the rest of us will spend eternity enjoying the cooking of those with dark hair, loud voices, and beautiful accents – the Italians. When I studied abroad in Florence, Italy last fall, I could easily declare the dinner I ate each and every night the best meal I ever had. Because hell, let’s be serious, when you’re a beautiful Italian man dishing out red wines, limoncello, tiramasu, fresh bread, and every kind of pasta I have ever seen, it’s hard to not be overcome with dinner emotion. However, I didn’t know what I was talking about until I visited Acqua al 2 located on a narrow side street, Via della Vigna Vecchia, in the heart of Florence near the Duomo.
Study abroad students and Italian visitors in general are known for saying “Oh, you just have to go to this restaurant, best food I ever had, except hold on, can’t quite remember what it’s called….” but the blueberry steak at this place makes it a difficult restaurant to forget.
My roommate Andrea and I visited Acqua al 2 on several occasions, however now looking back, I wish we had gone a lot more often. We started out sharing a dry house red wine with our freshly baked unsalted bread before moving onto the pumpkin pasta, one of the chef’s daily new creations. This pasta was coated with what appeared to be a red-orange vodka sauce, but instead, had been enveloped in this fall flavored pumpkin topping. The pasta sampler is another great option, giving you the chance to try basically whatever the chef feels like making, which is good enough for me.
Then, we moved onto the main course – the blueberry steak, a small lump of steak about the size of one’s fist that in size, does not measure up to the typical Florentine t-bone steak, however this tender and girthy piece of meat is also soaked in a thick blueberry sauce who’s deep taste and texture are only emboldened by the steak’s flavor. A steak sampler is also offered, which contains the blueberry steak, the balsamic steak, and a classic steak, however blueberry is really the way to go due to its oddness.
And then, finally, we would always cap the whole thing off with the dessert sampler, which contained a cookies and marshmallow cake, homemade tiramasu, a vanilla and raspberry cheesecake, and, of course, cannolis.
Great. Now I’m hungry and all I have to eat is damn Elio’s pizza.
Acqua al 2 also has another location located at 212 7th St SE, Washington, DC. You can call at (202) 525-4375 for more information.