TravelNoise: Acqua Santa, New York
As a couple of South Brooklyn girls, my roommate and I decide to trek up to Williamsburg the only way we know how: the L train to the Bedford stop. We don’t have to mosey more than a block further before finding an eatery worth a second look—as if the grand, wide-open sidewalk entrance to Acqua Santa requires eyes peeled (it doesn’t).
Dazzled by greenery from across the street, we make a beeline toward the garden-esque venue inside. The roof is comprised of sparsely spaced wooden beams; streaks of sun seep through thick layers of grape vinery lying overtop. The hot afternoon light illuminates the bright foliage that adorns the faux terracotta walls and pillars. Miniature lanterns and fairy bulbs trace every wall edge and ceiling beam of the spacious, yet staggeringly hot space.
The over-the-top vegetation is the real deal and so is our waiter, a casual Sicilian man wearing a Henley and armed with a large fan, which he rolls over and situates facing us in our tiny white and aqua parlour chairs. It’s not palm leaves, but it certainly does the trick.
It’s only now that we notice the Norwegian psychedelic disco music. We’re not sure anymore whether we’re in Brooklyn, Tuscany, or a 70s discothèque; however, it’s 2pm on an Indian summer Thursday, there are 3 other patrons present and we decide we’re very into it.
Our waiter brings us a basket of 1.5” thick, yeasty, burnt and somewhat dry breadsticks, which we drizzle with olive oil. The loaf is sliced into 5 strips, lightly coated with marinara sauce, light pepper flakes, basil and Parmesan. I’d bet every twinkle light in there that the appetizer was baked the night prior at best.
Having skimmed the one-sheeter of signature ($14) and classic ($12) cocktails, my roommate and I commit to a Blackberry Sour and Manhattan; however, there is no bartender on staff! A bona-fide bartender herself, my date offers to mix her own poison. Request: passively denied. We skip drinks.
Moving forward, the meal earns its salt. There is a lunch special, which lasts until 6pm. Lucky us! All brick-oven pizzas are $10, discounted from $14-16. The fat turquoise oven lives behind the bar, next to an expansive wall of wines.
My roommate puts it to work ordering the Ballerina Pizze e Calzoni, which is topped in the centre with a small chopped salad of fresh arugula, onions, and red and yellow grape tomatoes. Sweetly wet and flavourful, the greens are a refreshing pair to the generous helping of salty, creamy melted mozzarella balls. The crust is rolled flawlessly thin and unburnt, the result being a 16” pizza plenty large enough for us both.
But with bellies of birds and eyes of elephants, my separate order is Pizza con Salsiccie. A fiend for spicy chorizo, I am disappointed the thick slices of sausage don’t pack more punch; however, the crust is absolute perfection and so are the large doses of 2” strips of red onion. Nothing short of fresh on this pie!
Now that we’re satiated, we individually retreat to the ATM in the back, as Acqua Santa is Amex or cash only. My gal pal and I agree we would love to go back during peak hours at night to try more of the 10 brick oven pies and sample the drinks.
Address: 556 Driggs Avenue, Brooklyn, New York, 11211 United States
Telephone Number: (718) 384-9695