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Hot new restaurant alert!

Submitted by on 1, April 9, 2008 – 6:41 amNo Comment

First, there was Pappo. Then came Bagan, and Havana. Now there’s a new fine-dining option on the Island. And guess what: It’s in the West End!

That’s right folks, Acquacotta has finally opened for business on Webster Street, after an interminable two-year wait. But let’s focus on the good stuff: fine Italian food from chef/owner John Couacaud, who has done time at Oakland’s famed Oliveto and Prima Ristorante in Walnut Creek during his more than three decades in the restaurant industry.

The sample menu on Acquacotta’s website includes baccala montecato (salt cod whipped with cream and potatoes), acquacotta (Tuscan vegetable soup), grilled tuna with cannelini beans and spinach and top sirloin grilled and sliced over leeks and potatoes. Bottles of wine are less than $40.

Couacaud stumbled onto Alameda a few years ago, and liked it. There’s “a lot of attractive things about small-town life, 15 minutes from San Francisco,’’ he says.

He tried to open a place in San Luis Obispo, but when that didn’t work out he decided to return to the Bay Area, in part to be closer to his kids. Trying to find a space in San Francisco or Berkeley seemed like too big a project, Couacaud says. “Little did I know,” he jokes.

Acquacotta is in the old Coffee for Thought spot, walkable for West Enders. They’re not taking reservations right now, Couacaud says, though they hope to take reservations for large parties after a few weeks.

The restaurant is at 1544 Webster Street, 523-2220. They’re also online at http://www.acquacotta.net/.

Speaking of restaurants, if you’re looking for an excuse to get out, the West Alameda Business Association is bringing you Wine & Dine next Thursday, April 17. Participating restaurants include Acquacotta, Café Le, East Ocean Seafood Restaurant, the New Zealander, Otaez and the Pasta Pelican. The evening kicks off with a reception from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. with wine from Rosenblum Cellars and appetizers, in the upstairs banquet room at Otaez. Then, dine out at any of the participating restaurants. After dinner, your ticket can get you half off drinks at the Fireside Lounge. Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 on the night of the event, and are available at any of the participating restaurants or by calling 523-5955. More information is available here.

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