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Acqua Restaurant
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Ranked #3 of 49 Restaurants in Forest Lake
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $20 - $40
Cuisines: Italian, Seafood, Steakhouse
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Restaurant details
Dining options: Breakfast, Late Night, Outdoor Seating, Private Dining, Reservations
Description: Acqua's second restaurant is on the Northern shore of Forest Lake. Our menu is Italian driven and we always strive to source out the highest quality local ingredients. We focus on maintaining a warm, clean and comfortable atmosphere while offering knowledgeable and attentive service that cares.
Reviewed August 22, 2013

We've been to Acqua -White Bear Lake several times and it remains my current favorite Italian spot! Knowing how much we enjoy the WBL location we were looking forward to a visit to this sister venue and when looking for a spot for Sunday brunch in that area it was the first place that came to mind and made reservations for 5 online.
The Forest Lake location of Acqua is on the opposite side of the lake from the DT area reached by a nice leisurely drive by all of the lakeside homes. The building itself is very nice and inviting, rather on the larger side with separate dining (3 including the outside patio mostly lakeside) areas and a really nice bar area, all outfitted in “waterside” casual elegant colors and décor reminiscent of the US east coast. They have valet parking so the parking lot thru access was blocked off although there was no valet attendant; lot was nearly empty so no big deal. When we went inside the Hostess inquired regarding our preference for inside or out on the patio, I went for the patio unfortunately the only spots open were in full sunlight or with a view of the parking lot, so we opted for inside. The hostess said I have a very nice table for you (there was only one other table occupied all the time we were there in the dining area we were in) and she sat the 5 of us at a round table by the fireplace which was nice except it was right next to the kitchen service door which was annoying and continued to be so as we had brunch due to the banter and staff antics just inside the door. I wanted to get up and remind them that there were patrons 10 feet away that can hear every word that they were saying and hear everything that they were doing. The table was quite large and the chairs were very comfortable as we lingered for nearly 2 hours.
Food wise was perhaps the most disappointing part of our experience, (again as compared to the WBL location where the food we have had has been very good to extraordinary!). It was a set Brunch menu served family style except for your choice of an egg dish. First course is scones and muffins which were good but not anything special, a simple starter course. Second course, served family style was vesuvio hash browns (no idea why they are called vesuvio, I looked it up and only found reference to perhaps herbed potatoes) they were served pie style and as far as I could tell they were just hash browns with spinach in them, light on seasoning and slightly overcooked so the crust was too hard instead of delicately crispy they definitely looked excellent but the taste just did not deliver. The italian sausage and applewood smoked bacon was good but nothing special, the pasta dish was very good - nice seasoning and the pesto/lemon/cream sauce was very tasty and pleasing, same with the chopped green salad, it was not just dumped in a bowl but it was prepared nicely and the dressing was excellent. Our server, when I was having trouble deciding between the Poached eggs with spicy pulled pork (this was a very nice dish with just enough, but not too much spice, and an unusual savory hollandaise on top, really enjoyed this preparation) and the spinach and goat cheese frittata suggested I just get both, an excellent compromise I thought so I did, others at the table ordered the tomato frittata with basil and mozzarella, (both frittata were major disappointments, skinny on the ingredients, very overcooked almost rubbery and no seasoning, I did not even eat mine, had to go home and make one for myself the next day to get satisfied) and standard scrambled or sunny side up eggs (prepared and cooked very nicely). Third course was crepes with banana, chocolate, nutella and hazelnut. Very good although I would have preferred smaller slices of banana that were caramelized more thoroughly, I did have seconds though and cleaned my plate.
Price at $16.95 each was reasonable for the menu although higher than I liked for the quality. Being that they are pretty new I would try them again but not for the brunch, that ship sailed, but definitely for the dinner which is what attracted me in the first place, as they get the bugs out I’m sure that they will measure up better to their FL location. Final thoughts, brunch - thumbs down, location and ambiance has real potential, work some bugs out, service a little rough around the edges but enthusiastic, passionate, strives to please - thumbs up, overall I’m willing to wait and see, my suggestion go there experience it for yourself for a nice romantic dinner but skip a brunch outing. Don’t forget to report back and when we go back for dinner I’ll re-visit and update my assessment and review – Buon Appetito

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Thank ROCKSOLIDMN
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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167 - 171 of 180 reviews

Reviewed August 12, 2013 via mobile

I am a huge fan of Acqua, the atmosphere is their other location is very cozy. While their restaurant in Forest Lake provides more elbow room and has more of a yacht club atmosphere.

The service is always top notch, you could tell that the server was still getting to know the menu still and didn't really seem to be able to recommend a wine. Luckily I do have a few favorites on their wine list, so it wasn't an issue.

The food was delicious except for dessert, and it is my fault for not saying something at the time but the bundino tasted off like they used Malibu instead of dark rum. It had a distinct coconut taste and was a little runnier than usual. It was still good, just more tropical;)


Great ambience, food and service so definitely try it out!

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Thank Billigj007
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 9, 2013 via mobile

We are in town from Tampa visiting family in Forest Lake and went Acqua for a birthday party. All of us were pleasantly surprised by the entire experience. From the elegant decor, to the staff, and most importantly to the food. Everything was prepared like a big city fine dining restaurant but in the comfort of a small lakeside town. Great in house made speciality bar drinks and a very diverse dinner menu. When close by its worth the drive, take from a well traveled food snob.

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Thank CandS2009
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 27, 2013

Loved the food (husband thought some of best Walleye he's tasted and I love the bolognase pasta sauce), great atmosphere and view. Wish there was a little more outside seating for those beautiful summer days.

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Thank Kathy S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 26, 2013

We had a great meal at Acqua Forest Lake. There were 7 of us and we each had something different and no one was disappointed. They have a really lovely patio that over looks the lake. The service was attentive without being intrusive, thanks Tabbie. I started with a caprese salad, that was delish and followed up with shrimp and seared,scallops, YUM. We all split two desserts, the creme brule is always a favorite of mine and this was done perfectly. The other dessert was a pistachio semifreddo with chocolate ganache, need I say more? Will I go back??? Absolutely!!

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Thank gophergirl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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