Just Terrific

By staff March 16, 2009

South Sarasota’s Aqua just served me what could be the best dinner I have had this year!


Yeah, I knew the title would grab you. Trust me, it really could be the best dinner I have had in quite some time. I am talking about Aqua on Blackburn Point Road in Osprey. In the Bellagio building at the marina, which formerly housed an  Italian restaurant, Aqua is well worth the trip no matter what direction you are coming from.

 Aqua in Osprey is a culinary dream!

I am somewhat put off by a server that comes to the table and announces EVERYTHING on the menu is wonderful. I tend to be immediately suspicious- yeah right, the chowder is going to be as good as the appetizer and dessert will seal the deal? Well, he could not have been more correct. Aqua hit a home run- I mean a grand slam. From start to finish, this team delivered, flavor, freshness and classic culinary preparation.



We began with the duck spring rolls, coconut shrimp with fresh pineapple salsa and goat cheese flatbread. The spring rolls; crispy yet light with fresh citrus napa cabbage slaw and plum sake glaze were as wonderful as I have had at famous Asian bistros. We actually tasted the sweetness of the shredded coconut coating the shrimp, and the flatbread was warm and cozy with pesto, sun-dried tomatoes and mushrooms. Was that a hint of truffle oil I detected? Scrumptious!

 I figured when I ordered the Aqua Grille signature seafood chowder I would certainly prove the server overstated, being the New Englander I am, but what can I say other than it has a classic, light, creamy base with fresh white fish and a delicate balance of potatoes and onion. Now for the entrées- crispy roasted half duck with whipped sweet potatoes, port wine and sun-dried Bing cherry glaze, which thankfully was served on the side of the dish as to not make the crispy duck soggy. Again- out of the park with this dish; crisp yet incredibly moist inside. If I had to find one criticism it would be that the whipped sweet potatoes, (a perfect accompaniment) were only lukewarm.

 The crispy duck is sensational.

The second entrée, a special of the evening, was pesto-crusted swordfish with tomato coulis served with risotto drizzled with truffle oil was incredibly moist. Considering just that morning the person in front of me at the farmer’s market had snagged the last piece of swordfish from the fish guy, my craving was fulfilled beyond my wildest dreams.

Desserts are classic and wonderful; we tried crème brulée with fresh blueberries and bananas foster with Aqua’s twist of pecans- yummy and for the server, well he was right—everything is terrific!  


Aqua offers a  three-course sunset special with a glass of wine everyday from 5-6:30 for $19.95 per person; they also serve lunch as well as an a la carte Sunday brunch. The shape of the building is a bit odd and the restrooms are on the second floor while the restaurant is on the third, but there is an elevator and it is at the marina, so the views are very nice. Boaters, take note--the Little Wet Bar below offers $1.00 sliders on Sundays.


576 Blackburn Point Road, Osprey, 918-8041.   

Executive chef Matthew Passalacqua with "mom on duty" Midge McCarthy and her son and owner Michael Fiscina.

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