Aquamarine waves sparkle as they glide through beautiful, white beach. Palm palms swing in the air, cooling both bikers and beachgoers. Marco Island is a lesser-known South Florida hideaway with magnificent vistas and something for everyone.
Marco, the biggest of the Ten Thousand Islands, is situated on Florida’s southern Gulf Coast between Naples and Everglades National Park. The island is a vacationer’s paradise, with six miles of vast beaches and nearly 100 miles of waterways. There’s no lack of activities to do, including amazing shelling on the beach, kayaking in the canals, and sailing to adjacent deserted islands. Not to mention the cuisine; there is something for everyone’s taste at Marco Island eateries.
This six-mile-long island is densely packed with eateries, having over 50 in all. Most cafes are informal, embracing the laid-back island lifestyle, as a reference to their beachy surroundings, yet the Marco Island fine dining scene gives even the most cosmopolitan of cities a run for their money.
Whether you want to dine on the run, by the ocean, or dressed up, here are the nine places to eat on Marco Island that no tourist should miss.
Not in the mood to dine out tonight? Click here to have Grubhub deliver right to your door from the greatest restaurants in town.
When visiting Marco Island, don’t miss out on the following activities that will let you immerse yourself in the city (get them while they’re hot!):
- Marco Island: 2-Hour Dolphin, Birding, and Shelling Tour
- Marco Island: 10,000 Islands Shelling Tour by Boat
- 1 The Top 9 Marco Island Restaurants
- 1.1 Doreen’s Coffee
- 1.2 Empire Bagel Company
- 1.3 Dockside Bistro Mangos
- 1.4 The Sunset Grille
- 1.5 The Table
- 1.6 Sale and Pepe
- 1.7 Snook Inn (Update: Has been damaged by Hurricane Ian but per their FB they will be rebuilding and reopening so call/check their SM before going to make sure they are open)
- 1.8 Marco the First
- 1.9 The Society of Oysters
- 2 Which of these Marco Island restaurants are you going to try first? Please let us know in the comments!
The Top 9 Marco Island Restaurants
N. Collier Blvd. (239) 394-2600267 N. Collier Blvd.
Doreens, by far the most popular breakfast venue on the island, can be a headache to get into during peak season. The wait is a foreshadowing of what is to come, and I tell you that it will be worthwhile.
Check out the full-service bar as you wait for your name to be called. Together with brunch favorites like mimosas and Bloody Marys, coffee-based drinks are available to wake you up in more ways than one.
If you’re the designated driver, you’ll have your pick of quality coffees and seasonal juices.
Doreen’s menu includes something for everyone, from the ordinary to the pleasantly inspired. My favorites are those that pay respect to their native state, which makes this one of the greatest breakfast spots on Marco Island.
Consider the Key Lime Pancakes, for example. Have you ever heard of something so distinctly Florida? A tangy and creamy key lime sauce coats fluffy pancakes. You’ll think you skipped right to dessert.
If you like something savory, consider one of the Egg Bentleys, which are properly called since they outperform the standard Benedict. The Southern breakfast special is not to be missed. It’s a real flavor of the south, created with fried green tomatoes, a handmade biscuit, and topped with buttery grits.
The Fig Omelet is for the more daring diner. It may seem a bit out there, with bacon, onions, figs, and creamy brie cheese, but trust the chef! This is a delicious taste combination.
Doreens, like a real breakfast classic, is only open from 7:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., but they do provide a wonderful assortment of lunch options, including a savory selection of satisfying salads. Whichever you select, Doreens is a Marco Island breakfast spot that every tourist should try.
Empire Bagel Company
239-642-41477 N. Collier Blvd.
If you want something a bit quicker than Doreens but still substantial and luxurious, go to Empire Bagel Factory. It’s a family-owned eatery near Tigertail public beach that’s ideal for a day outdoors.
The bagels are made fresh every day, and if you’re a bagel connoisseur like me, you won’t be disappointed.
Another advantage? Empire Bagel Factory may be the greatest eatery on Marco Island in terms of value, with every sandwich smeared with cream cheese and stacked high with meat and vegetables.
These guys also don’t scrimp on the seasoning.
Bagels with Asiago, Garlic, Sesame, and Everything are stuffed with the toppings that give them their names. Sample the Everything bagel, which is properly toasted and topped with scallion cream cheese. You may not want to interact with anybody for the rest of the day, but you will not be sorry.
The bacon, egg, and cheese breakfast sandwich will keep you going throughout the day. If you want something sweet, the cinnamon sugar bagel goes great with maple or walnut cream cheese.
Did I mention they also serve lunch? For lunch, I can’t think of anything better than a bagel sandwich. Lox is a traditional go-to, and it shines here. Silky lox is packed with tomatoes, onions, and the all-important capers and served on a bagel with your choice of schmear. Such a great way to begin the day!
The staff is kind and keeps the coffee pouring for those who dine here. For those who are on the run and in a hurry, call ahead orders are also available. Make a reservation for breakfast or lunch at this iconic Marco Island eatery.
Dockside Bistro Mangos
N. Collier Blvd. (239) 393-2433760 N. Collier Blvd.
A hidden gem awaits you in a nook of the Esplanade Shoppes. Mangos Dockside Cafe was founded as a family business by Marco Island residents, and it shows in every aspect, from the friendly employees to the whimsical restroom decor. I could spend hours looking at the wall of amazing sunset images contributed by guests.
Mangos Dockside is recognized for wonderful waterside eating on Marco Island and offers an extensive menu with numerous local specialities and standard bistro dishes.
If you’ve never had conch fritters, here is the spot to try them! The conch is front and center and at its finest, battered and fried gently and topped with a drop of lemon chili aioli. The spicy conch chowder is also tasty, but it tastes more like gumbo than the creamy chowder you would anticipate.
Fish tacos are another light choice to eat while soaking up the rays. I suggest grilling them and going for the fresh grouper. They’re light and flaky, with a tart taste of scallion aioli and creamy guac on the side.
Salads, sandwiches, burgers, and even sushi are available.
The delicate yellowtail topping shrimp tempura and avocado roll in the Ceviche Roll, but the Mangos Way ceviche sauce ties it all together for a vibrant and delicious conclusion. If you want something more satisfying and spicy, I also suggest the Baked Scallop Volcano roll.
Whichever you select, you can’t go wrong with this relatively undiscovered treasure. You’ll understand why it is among the best nine restaurants on Marco Island.
The Sunset Grille
S. Collier Blvd. (239) 389-0509900 S. Collier Blvd.
Sunset Grille is a renowned tourist destination since it is situated on Marcos’ famed South Beach. Yet, let’s face it, the whole island is a tourist destination. This one, however, is more valuable than most!
The meal is mostly typical Florida bar fare. I definitely suggest the mini-crab cakes that we tasted. Most crab cakes fall short because the crab is utilized in moderation. No way at Sunset.
These small crab cakes were made using fresh crab flesh rather than bread crumbs and oil. They’re paired with a creamy aioli that brightens up the whole meal.
We also splurged on crab legs, which I had with superbly cooked onion rings. Big rings were lightly but appropriately breaded and fried to offer that crunchy crunch followed by the onion’s sweetness. Whichever entree you have, the onion rings are not to be missed!
Fried fish baskets, juicy burgers, spicy wings, and a variety of other dishes are also available. You’re not hungry if you can’t find anything to eat here. This is one of Marco Island’s top restaurants for traditional American cuisine.
The bar has an indoor-outdoor design that extends onto the terrace. It’s the ideal vantage point for watching the sun set into the Gulf. If you pay careful enough, you could just see the Green Flash when the sun bids its last farewell.
Winterberry Dr. (239) 393-4960961 Winterberry Dr.
This unassuming establishment seems to be a little Italian bistro, yet the sign outside advertises American cuisine. The varied cuisine mixes many influences to create show-stopping delicacies. They captured my heart with their excellent display and everyday entertaining.
Make a point of starting with the Warm Brie. Each mouthful is given on crispy ciabatta crostini and topped with toasted pine nuts, a drizzle of sweet honey, and arugula to balance it all out.
Try the Seafood Linguini in a silky cream sauce or the perfectly seasoned Fra Diavolo for the main meal. Neither dish is light on fish.
A Half Rack of Lamb is not only a generous piece, but it is also reasonably priced. It’s a delicacy not to be missed, served over roasted garlic mashed potatoes and finished with a cherry and mint demi sauce.
Don’t leave without sharing a dessert. Both the Key Lime Pie and the Flourless Chocolate Torte are gluten-free, making them ideal for sharing with a big group. Go for the handmade waffles and ice cream with caramelized bananas and Nutella if you want to indulge.
When you’ve eaten to your heart’s content, relax and enjoy the entertainment after your Marco Island dining experience. There is no better way to spend a night out than this.
Sale and Pepe
480 S. Collier Blvd.
You’ll swear you’ve been transported to Italy the minute you walk through the doors of Sale e Pepe. The dining area is the epitome of grandeur, with marble floors and lavishly equipped seats. The Terrace, on the other hand, is evocative of chic Italian lake-side bistros. Order an Aperol Spritz and take a seat.
If you’re not sure where to begin, one word will suffice: burrata! This creamy, milky, somewhat sweet cheese is one of the greatest on the globe, and the Caprese recipe from Sale e Pepes does not disappoint.
All of the pastas are highly recommended, but the Cacio e Pepe is a must-try. It’s a modern take on a classic, with agnolotti stuffed with pecorino, peppers, and guanciale. Pappardelle Alla Bolognese maintains loyal to its origins and is a comforting and familiar alternative.
The Passera is a meuniere-style flounder made with olives, capers, and, of course, lemon. After you’re done, try not to lick the plate. If you’re searching for a unique Marco Island dining experience to enjoy around the table, Sale e Pepe also serves a complete, salt-crusted fish.
Are you a true gourmand? I’ve collected a selection of the greatest gourmet presents for you and your loved ones. Subscriptions for cheese, meat, and sweets, as well as some classic must-have gourmet devices.
If you want to eat meat, go with a classic: Vitello Alla Milanese. Thin, delicate veal is served with arugula and cherry tomatoes and covered with Parmesan. It’s light yet flavorful, and it’ll leave you with space for dessert.
This is one of the most expensive restaurants on Marco Island, but it is also one of the more memorable.
Snook Inn (Update: Has been damaged by Hurricane Ian but per their FB they will be rebuilding and reopening so call/check their SM before going to make sure they are open)
The phone number is (239) 394-33131215 Bald Eagle Dr.
The Snook Inn is a Marco Island institution that embodies one of the most distinctive, and my favorite, aspects of island life: sail-up eating! Snook Inn, located on the sea near the north end of the island, has multiple boat docks for customers arriving by boat.
The setting and scenery alone make Snook Inn a must-see for guests, but the cuisine is also very good. It’s also one of Marco Island’s most affordably priced seaside eateries. There’s always a fantastic bargain to be found with a daily happy hour and an all-you-can-eat crab special running in the summer.
There is plenty of outdoor seating and live music every day, making this the ideal beach bar to spend a quiet day at. Sip on the house Fros if you’re feeling fancy. For the extremely courageous, a vodka floater may be added on top.
The Spicy Grapefruit Jalepeo Margarita is delicious and packs a punch. It’s quite the treat on a hot day, made with fresh-squeezed juice, fresh jalepeos, and a sriracha salt rim.
And, for those seeking for their next Instagram-worthy drink, the Loaded Bloody Mary is a must-try, stacked high with meats, cheese, and pickled vegetables.
The menu is extensive, and the cuisine is delicious, so you’ll have no problem consuming your libations. You could construct a dinner off of the appetizers, which include Stuffed Oysters, Smoked Baby Back Ribs, and Calusa Flatbread.
But leave space for the Grouper Sandwich; it’s legendary for a reason. Whether fried, blackened, or grilled, I like the blackened version, but all are delicious. It’s worth every cent when served with a side and a trip to the salad bar.
Kick back, relax, and enjoy. You could even see a dolphin stop by to say hello as he goes by this fantastic Marco Island restaurant.
Marco the First
S. Collier Blvd., (239) 389-2333599 S. Collier Blvd.
One of four restaurants owned by the Carvelli family, but each has its own distinct identity.
The family’s first gift to the island was DaVincis, an exquisite Italian restaurant that brought all the tastes of their home in Mesoraca, Italy, to southwest Florida. Marco Prime Steaks and Seafood, their version on the typical American steakhouse, launched in 2013.
The Oyster Society and the previously mentioned Snook Inn are both owned by the family. Except for the final, they are all situated on South Collier Blvd on the same tiny retail block.
All have appealing Happy Hour deals, as well as a large assortment of bespoke drinks. Begin with the Vesper, a light but strong cocktail of gin, vodka, and flowery Lillet at Marco Prime.
During happy hour, a wonderful range of wine and snacks are also offered at a substantial discount, but only at the bar.
The Wagyu Beef Crostini is an absolute must. The meat is so delicate and tasty that it seems indulgent. It’s served with sautéed mushrooms and onions, which complement the creamy tang of blue cheese crumbles sprinkled on top. If you like the appearance, you’ll like the edible blossoms.
The lamb carpaccio is also highly praised and difficult to come by. It’s a worthy opponent to the more classic beef version, served with a saline mix of olives, spicy arugula, tangy sundried tomatoes, goat cheese, black truffle, and finished with a lemon vinaigrette.
Being a luxury steakhouse, the menu includes a range of steaks and a school of fish, all of which may be prepared to request.
The filet mignon is soft and decadent when grilled rare and topped with creamy, umami foie gras. It’s a meal fit for a king when served with creamy spinach cooked with smoked gouda and a double filled loaded potato.
Asian BBQ Yellowfin Tuna with black rice, crab, and pineapple pico is a hearty seafood dish. Don’t miss the Family’s Secret Espresso Martini for a delightful wake-up call as you begin to sink into a well-earned food coma.
This is the place to go if you’re seeking for a Marco Island steakhouse.
The Society of Oysters
239-394-3474599 S. Collier Blvd.
The Oyster Society is a place you’ll hear praised time and time again. Everyone here seems to agree that it is the greatest restaurant on Marco Island, and they are completely correct.
A sibling restaurant to Marco Prime, and directly next door, Happy Hour offers abound here as well, albeit in keeping with the restaurant’s prohibition-era atmosphere, it’s hilariously referred to as Social Hour here.
If you just try one item, make it the Spicy Tuna Bites. Creamy tuna with a spicy aioli is served on the most gently cooked sticky rice bits. This appetizer is finished with micro herbs and a blend of sweet and spicy sauces.
each during Social Hour, allowing you to indulge without breaking the budget. Yet you won’t want to stop there. Oysters from Blue Point are just $1.50.
For those looking for more traditional meals, consider the Pork Belly and Tostones. The pork belly is thick, but the herbal chimichurri sauce and zesty pico de gallo balance it out.
The Caramelized Spanish Octopus is not available during happy hour, but it is well worth it. It’s like taking a journey to the Mediterranean before the main course, served over a white bean salad with smoked pepper vinaigrette.
There’s also a nice sushi variety. The Hamachi Crudo is usually a hit, and the Surf and Turf roll is a refreshing change from the ordinary. It’s a tad pricy, but it’s worth it if you want to indulge.
You’ll recognize several Marco Island fine-dining seafood restaurant favorites like Lobster Thermidor, Salmon Oscar, and Ciopinno, but look a little deeper and you’ll find what makes this establishment so distinctive.
Pistachio Crusted Sea Bass is a unique way to prepare this delicate fish. The mild sea bass is liberally topped with crushed pistachios and served over a white bean and shrimp ragout. It’s rich, complex, and a fan favorite for good reason.
The Seared Diver Scallops are another one-of-a-kind dish, with butternut squash and mascarpone ravioli topped with carrot and beet puree and a vanilla bean beurre blanc. Nothing like it can be found anywhere else.
Moroccan Lamb Shank with Sun-Dried Tomato Couscous and Roasted Vegetables is a luxurious choice for carnivores.
Bookings may and should be made, but keep in mind that Happy Hour is only offered at the bar on a first-come, first-served basis for all Carvelli family restaurants.
Whether you want to enjoy the richness of seafood that a coastal town has to offer or simply want something unique, Marco Island offers some of the top places to dine for you.
Which of these Marco Island restaurants are you going to try first? Please let us know in the comments!
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