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“Wow, Far Exceeded our Expectations!”
Review of Cafe de Marco

Cafe de Marco
Ranked #24 of 122 Restaurants in Marco Island
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $15 - $37
Cuisines: Seafood
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Local cuisine, Special occasions, Romantic, Business meetings
Dining options: Dinner, Late Night, Reservations
Description: Tucked away in the northern most point of Old Marco is Cafe de Marco. An intimate bistro/cafe serving the most diverse selection of fresh seafood & other continental specialties since 1983. A favorite amongst locals & seasonal return visitors to Marco Island. Reservations are greatly appreciated. Olde Florida atmosphere in the historic district of Olde Marco. Perfect for an outstanding meal, business, or special occasion. Vast wine selection and beer available. Twilight specials and children's menu available. Owned and operated by same owner & family since starting out in 1983. Our building enjoys a rich piece of Marco history. The Cafe's building was the original quarters for the chamber maids employed by the historic Old Marco Inn just a few yards away. Many years ago the Inn functioned as a "bed & breakfast", and the maids would simply walk to work from our building. This explains the answer to a frequently asked question..."Was this an old house at one time?" Today, step inside to what has been transformed into an islander's tradition for over 30 years. We look forward to serving you soon! ~Sandy Franchino, Owner
Reviewed July 18, 2013

My wife and I had dinner here during a recent vacation stay on Marco Island. I have the Tripadvisor app on my phone, and we picked this place based on the overwhelming number of Excellent reviews. We pulled up to the front of the restaurant and were frankly a little concerned; it just doesn't look like much from the outside. But oh, how looks can deceive...

We were seated immediately (without having made reservations) and were greeted by Marty, our server. It was clear from the get-go that Marty had been doing this for a while, as he was well versed on the evening specials and on the regular menu. We heard him serve other tables, too, and he never gave a canned speech, mixing up his descriptions of the food and wine very well. Some servers these days just spit it out rapid fire, doing their best to relate everything from a memorized card or something. Not Marty.

My wife ordered the scallops and prawns in saffron sauce, and I ordered the specialty of the house, the jumbo prawns. First out were the salads, with fresh and flavorful greens and other accompaniments. But the killer dressings we ordered, both house-made, were the crowning touch. The Italian reminded me of dressing my Mom used to make. It was bold, spicy, and actually had some flavor to it. Simply superb, and surprisingly hard to find these days, even in Italian restaurants, for some reason.

Even with Marty's detailed descriptions of the entrees, we were simply not prepared for the overall presentation and quality of the food that he brought to the table. Wonderful does not cover it. The jumbo prawns were butterflied and broiled, and each weighed 1/4 pound. Four of those, plus rice pilaf and side veges, (and salad, and rolls) made for a very satisfying meal. My wife's scallops and prawns were equally good. She raved over the saffron sauce.

How we found room for dessert, I'll never know. But find it we did, for a nice shared piece of warm chocolate molten lava cake and two good coffees. I can't remember the last time prior to this that we ordered dessert in a nice sit-down restaurant, so this is saying something.

We paid the check, and on the way out, I stopped at the hostess stand and commented to the owner (I think) that the meal was way better than we ever expected. Marty was also standing there, so I gave him some love too. Well deserved all the way around.

So were there any downsides? Actually, no. None at all. The check was certainly more than we're used to paying at home, but it's Marco Island after all, and I didn't mind a bit paying more for food and service that I felt was superior. That's why I'm rating Value as Excellent. If you can't afford to stay and eat on Marco Island, don't come.

A terrific meal prepared and served by people who know what they're doing, and an engaged, on-site owner. On a weeknight, no less.

Priceless...

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2  Thank KSUBaker
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
jwfra345, Manager at Cafe de Marco, responded to this reviewResponded July 29, 2013

Thank you so much for taking the time to post a review of the Café de Marco. We are delighted that you joined us at the Café for dinner and had a wonderful experience! First off, it is very nice to know that your service here at the Café was excellent with Marty. Two of our main goals are to ensure our service is always very attentive and that our entrees are tasty and enjoyable. Thank you for your positive comments about our Scallop and Jumbo Prawn dishes, as well as your comments about our dressings. All of our dressings are made in-house so that they compliment our salads with exciting and fresh new flavors. We are also glad to know that you were able to make room for and enjoy our Lava Cake. It does not disappoint! We very much appreciate your positive feedback and look forward to seeing you again in the near future.

Once again many thanks,

Café de Marco Management Team

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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450 - 454 of 757 reviews

Reviewed July 17, 2013

It has been over 15 years since we had been on Marco Island. One of the planned MUST stops for dinner was the Café de Marco which we did last night. Ahhhh-h.

Since my last visit, more seating has been added ... which is wonderful since even in off season, reservations are needed.

We were met with warm greetings from the entrance to this culinary paradise to our leaving. The service by Scott and others was flawless. Knowledgeable about the evening chief creations as well as the well established menu, Scott and the others there were a charming adjunct to the time spent.

Yes, some of the menu prices are slightly higher than at other establishments, but the taste, quality and quantity of the food makes the dining a bargain.

All in all, the Café de Marco is a must for to add to anyone’s Marco Island experience. It is one of the treasures of Marco Island and will be a fond part of our memories of this vacation in paradise.

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Thank Robert B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 14, 2013

Came based on a recommendation and we were not disappointed! My wife had the fresh Mahi Mahi and said it may have been teh BEST fish she ever had.

Thank bob10kat
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
jwfra345, Manager at Cafe de Marco, responded to this reviewResponded July 15, 2013

Bob,

Thank you so much for taking the time to post a review. We are so happy you weren's dissapointed with the recommendation you recieved about coming to Café de Marco. Our Mahi Mahi as well as all of our fish comes to us fresh daily. We are delighted that you and your wife enjoyed everything about the restaurant and we look forward to your return.

Again many thanks,

Café de Marco Management Team

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 8, 2013

We have been coming to Marco Island on vacation since 1997 and this by far is the best seafood on Marco Island. The staff is excellent from arrival to departure. Do not be fooled by the outside of the building, the interior and ambience is very nice. The deserts are as good as the meals. I would recommend calling ahead for reservations. I have lived in Florida since 1993 and lived in Hawaii prior to that, I know good seafood and have been to many upscale seafood establishments and this is by far the best I have ever had.

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Thank tim r
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 8, 2013

Went to Cafe De Marco over 4th of July weekend without a reservation. Sandy went out of her way to get us a table right away in spite of being very busy. Service was prompt and polite and food was delicious as usual. Sandy always makes her rounds to be sure everyone is being well taken care of and happy with their food and service. This is one of Marco Island's finest restaurants. Great value.

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Thank Brent G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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