Restaurant Review: Acquaviva

By Dane Feldman
Photo by Dane Feldman.

Acquaviva is an Italian restaurant located in Westfield, NJ just slightly off of the main road downtown, which is optimal for dining al fresco. The restaurant does also offer indoor seating, but I’ve only dined outside there thus far.

I enjoy dining al fresco at Acquaviva for a number of reasons. The most important, of course, is that the food is fantastic, but we’ll get to that.

The patio is pushed back a bit so that, even if you are seated at the tables closest to the street, you aren’t too close that you feel exposed or distracted. That’s a definite plus for me because I like to feel a little tucked away when I’m eating in public. Even though Acquaviva has a liquor license, you can bring your own if you dine outside.

So, some of the party can order from their drinks menu while the rest can drink whatever they brought with them. Sometimes makes for an easier decision when choosing a restaurant because some folks like cocktails while others like to bring their own bottle of wine. The pear martini isn’t too shabby either with fresh pureed pear, but not overbearingly sweet. I haven’t tried their other drinks yet.

As for the food, I’ve yet to have something at Acquaviva that I didn’t love. What’s more is that they change their menu often enough that I don’t feel bored, but not so often that I can’t have the same thing more than once. Last summer, my favorite entree was halibut over lemon risotto with roasted potatoes and mixed greens. It was a delicious dish, not too overpowering, and certainly not too heavy.

I’ve also had their corn and cheese ravioli, lobster ravioli, shrimp in a dijon mustard and cognac sauce, fried calamari with roasted garlic aioli and a spicy pomodoro sauce, tuna tartar over udon noodles in a miso soy sauce, and penne arrabiatta with sweet shrimp. The flavors seem to always complement each other well and the portion sizes are perfect for me. I also find that the presentation is great– simple and gorgeous.

Though for all that I love about Acquavia, I haven’t always had wonderful service but for the most part they do a pretty good job being attentive and they often recommend their favorite dishes, a trait I enjoy in waiters and waitresses.

Overall, Acquaviva hits the nail on the head for me. It’s a great place to go in the summer months for a decent price and a wonderful meal.

Where are some of your favorite places to dine outside?