Dinner Al Fresco at Acquaviva Delle Fonti

Wednesday was a beautiful day and the evening turned out to be still warm and comfortable. I managed to get out of work at a decent time and both of us just weren't in the mood for spending time in the kitchen. So we decided - as we often do - to get a bottle of wine from the cellar and to walk into Westfield for Dinner.

We had original set our target at Xocolatz, part of "restaurant row" in Elm Street. We had been there before many times, food is typically quite good, prices are reasonable and it is usually easy to get a table even outside. Unfortunately, seemingly for a private party they were closed this evening.
So we roamed around in Westfield and as many other people had the same idea, at most restaurants the outside tables were all taken. We finally ended up at Acquaviva Delle Fonti on Elm Street. They do have a nice patio for outside seating which is also BYOB. (Interestingly enough they sell wine if you sit inside). And somehow it was easy to get a table, actually a very nice table.
We have been to Acquaviva before and typically enjoyed it but we were never truly excited, the Wow effected that we had at some other places (in Westfield) for some reason never materialized there. Tonight was not different and it isn't really easy to pinpoint the reason, it just never turns out "perfect".
The service is very friendly, attentive and even proactive. So no issues here. The food is usually well made, refined (but not necessarily innovative) with a rich taste and high quality ingredients. I had the "Black Angus". I ordered it medium and it came beyond "medium well" and even a bit burned. (Still not a bad steak and I enjoyed it, but just not perfect). The salad "Garden Fresh Romaine" that we shared was the same. Interesting, even innovative and potentially promising from what you could make out of it. But what we got was good but it was missing the last dot on the "I" that would have made it really good. Overall Aquaviva is a good place for dinner, if they just would have a bit more of what I would call "perfectionism" for their operations and true passion for their food, they have a good chance of becoming a real outstanding restaurant. I'm sure we will come back once in a while to check their progress.

An interesting side note on music. At the entrance to the outside dining area, they had life music. It was just one artist with a keyboard. The music he played was very mainstream elevator type background music. And the artist wasn't bad all. Nevertheless, the songs that he played were just background music, basic, at times cheesy and sometimes slightly pathetic. My point is: What is the value of having that type of music life? The artist is not really engaging with the audience, there is no applause or any type of feedback. It doesn't distract you and you don't notice it. There is virtually no difference from playing the same music from a recording. (I just feel bad for the artist. I'm sure he gets paid, but it must be frustrating to just play background music and have no interaction with the audience). And I don't even know if the restaurant gets anything out of this engagement. I would question if they had any additional quest because of the life music. On the contrary, had we not gotten a table far a way from the music were it wasn't that loud, we probably would have moved on.

After the life artist left around 8:30 PM they set up loud speakers around the patio and what they played was now almost too progressive for a more traditional Italian restaurant: Real down-tempo lounge type music.

Regardless, we had a nice evening, enjoyed the outdoors, the warm wind and the smell of spring and a bottle of good red wine that we brought ourselves. When we walked home, we felt good about living in this town and having the option of enjoying a nice evening like this (almost any time the weather allows).

Signing Off - The Westfield Blogger

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