Italian seafood restaurant Acquario nets fine kettle of fish for Keller
A new fine-dining seafood restaurant with an Italian twist has debuted in Keller: Called Acquario Italian Seafood, it opened on October 20 at 8849 Davis Blvd. #100, with a menu of seafood, house-made pasta, and steak.
The restaurant is from partners Nino Rata and Executive Chef Fredi Plaku, a pair of 30-year veteran restaurateurs who recently returned to Texas after operating La Botte Ristorante, an Italian restaurant in Westchester, New York.
Plaku, real name Ferdinando, is a native of Italy whose first restaurant was in Venice called Aquarium, which provided the inspiration for Acquario's name (it means "aquarium").
In a statement, Rata calls the return to Texas "a dream come true."
"There’s nothing quite like this in the area, and I’m so glad to be back," Rata says. "If you can make it there, you can make it anywhere, and I think Keller is perfect for this: the environment, the friendliness of the people, the neighborhoods... It’s a dream come true."
Their menu is dominated by pastas, many featuring seafood such as rigatoni with shrimp and fava beans, spinach pappardelle with shrimp, taglioni with clams and garlic, and squid ink linguini with crab.
Vegetarian pastas sound extra-tempting, including mushroom ravioli, bucatini with fig & gorgonzola, and rigatoni with fried eggplant.
Seafood entrees includes amberjack with risotto and a seafood soup, and there is also beef in the form of short ribs, and two steaks - New York strip and ribeye - plus chicken parmigiana and pork chop Milanese.
Starters include crab cake, calamari, the classic beef carpaccio, and four crudo seafood dishes, plus salads such as Caesar and arugula salad with red & golden beets.
"We prep everything from scratch, we pay attention to every detail, and we balance being modern with preserving the rich culture of Italian food,” Plaku says.
The restaurant is in a soft opening, meaning the menu may change and adjust. They’re currently open Sunday-Thursday 4-9:30 pm and Friday-Saturday 4-10 pm.
They've given nice updates to the space, which was previously occupied by Cafe Sicilia, with a marine-blue banquette along the wall, hardwood flooring, wood-patterned tabletops, cozy padded chairs, and a small bar with water-patterned panels.
Goals include catering, private dining, and Italian cooking classes. A grand opening is set for November 1.