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Aqua Italian Restaurant and Bar (Clifton)

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1 Review

153 Whiteladies Rd, Bristol BS8 2RF. Tel:Tel: +44 (0)117 973 3314

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      27.08.2009 12:01
      Very helpful
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      5 Comments

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      An Italian restaurant that ticks all the boxes, food, drinks, decor, atmosphere and service 5 stars!

      For this year's birthday it was decided we'd check out somewhere new and after lots of umming and aaahhhing we decided on Aqua. Am I glad we did? Most definately.

      Menu Sample -

      Starters :
      Mushroom, garlic and thyme Brushetta - £4.25
      Homemade soup of the day - £4.95
      Panfried Scallops with braised lentils and crispy panchetta - £7.95
      Main Course :

      Risotto alla milanese con gamberi e zucchine
      King prawn risotto with courgettes, garden peas and saffron - £11.95

      Tagliata di manzo
      Chargrilled sirloin with slow roasted tomatoes, rocket, parmesan shavings and chips - a traditional Tuscan dish - £15.95

      Pesce spada al salmoriglio
      Grilled swordfish with a traditional Sicilian dressing of rosemary, lemon juice, garlic and black pepper £13.75

      Salsiccia e fungi
      Mozzerella, tomato, Italian sausage with porcini mushrooms and parmesan shavings £10.50

      As you walk up to Aqua the first thing you notice is the design of the building, it is in fact a grade 2 listed building, but the restaurant designers have definately put a lot of work into giving it a fantasticly modern twist. The whole front of the restuarant is glass fronted with the name written along the windows. There is a seating area outside where it would be lovely on a sunny day to sit and watch the world go by with a bottle of wine and some good company. As we stepped inside we were great by a very happy and well dressed host, who took our names and showed us to our seats.(In a table right by the window they must have known we were nosey.)
      Looking around the restaurant I noticed the range of people dining was huge, from young couples on romantic dates, a large family celebration that was happening in the upstairs mezzanine area to groups of girls and guys out for a meal and drinks to catch up. All this brought a great atmosphere to the place which was very busy but never once looked out of control.

      Our drinks order was taken, two bottles of wine for the table and a bellini cocktail for me. These all arrived quickly and as somewhat of a cocktail expert, my bellini was gorgeous. It took us a while to decide as there was a wide range of choice on the menu so our waitress did have to return three times before we were finally ready, although this was no problem to her, or if it was she certainly didn't show it.

      After our choice was made, the two starters were delivered to our table within around ten minutes, one mushroom, garlic and thyme bruschetta for mum which looked lovely and apparently tasted delicious. And a garlic and cheese focaccia for me. Just in case anyone heads to Aqua and doesn't have a large appetitie please be aware that although it was ok for me, the focaccia breads are about the size of pizza, even I was shocked, and did have to share a few slices with dad in fear of not being able to eat my main course.

      After the starters were cleared the main meals took around twenty minutes to arrive, which gave us ample time to chat and more importantly to check out our surroundings, and I have to say the decor and design of Aqua is impressive. With walnut floors, the huge glass fronted windows, the lower floor which we were seated on, boasts a gorgeous glass and marble bar, with a wide range of drinks, and above looked down on us was a mezzanine floor, which would be perfect for large parties to gather slightly away from other tables. The toilets are up on the Mezzanine and were clean and tidy.

      It was then the turn of the main courses. Mine being veal in white wine, lemon and sage, along with Sauteed potatoes, which do need to be bought seperately from the main meal as vegetables and potatoes don't come as standard. Dad's was a fish stew that seemed to be bursting with fresh fish, clams, mussles, prawns and some very large Langoustines. And mum who went for the obvious Italian option of Pizza, with Mozeralla, corguette, chicken, panchetta and rosemary.

      From that varied choice of food, there were only good things to be said, the veal was brilliantly cooked, and there were three veal fillets instead of the one I expected, and the white wine sauce was bursting with lemon and sage flavour. I didn't manage to grab a taste of either of the other meals as they were seemingly just as popular as mine, but everything was declared to be delicious.

      Overall Opinion :
      If you are in Bristol and wanting somewhere for a nice evening meal, that is upmarket but not blow your recession budget expensive then Aqua is definately the ultimate choice. With it's gorgeous decor and design, extensive menu and a choice of drinks to make the mouth water, and lets not forget a great view for those nosey people out there and I know I am not the only one.

      The food was fantastic, the atmosphere was energetic, yet relaxed and happy and the staff were fantastic, the only issue for me was the fact that the restuarant add on a 10% service charge, which is something of a bugbear for me where restaurants are concerned. The service was fantastic but would I have given a ten pound tip? Probably not!

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