Let’s get back to Florida.
Da Vinci is definitely my favorite non-seafood restaurant on Marco Island. It’s a more upscale restaurant — a lot more than some of the places I eat — situated in a small multi-restaurant development across the street from the Marriott Crystal Shores, where we stay in Marco. The adjacent outside eating areas of Da Vinci, Marco Prime, and the Oyster Society form a sort of plaza, with people bustling about and enjoying good food. There are a couple of other restaurants and stores around the plaza, not least an ice cream place, and it’s an inviting area. The indoor portion of Da Vinci, which is usually open to the air on the plaza side, is spacious, with a large bar area and additional seating that extends into quiet spaces. When we go to Marco, I always look forward to a meal at Da Vinci.
This time, I ordered a Caesar salad with anchovies to start, and the cavatelli with sausage and broccoli rabe tossed with olive oil and garlic, as my main course.
The Caesar salad was good, fresh, and nicely dressed, and they don’t stint on the anchovies. The star of the show, however, was the cavatelli. It was delicious. Sausage and broccoli rabe are one of the great food combinations. The richness and spices of the sausage marry wonderfully with the bitterness and garlicky flavor of the broccoli rabe. A little black pepper, some crushed red pepper, and you’re in heaven. At Da Vinci, all of the ingredients are top notch. The pasta and sausage are both house-made, and the broccoli rabe is always fresh and well cooked. I love the dish.
Da Vinci, of course, has fresh local seafood (and also the ubiquitous salmon). Nancy enjoyed the Mona Lisa salad — arugula, radicchio, endive, tomatoes, gorgonzola, and kalamata olives (which she gave to me) — with a grouper filet. Everything was fresh, everything was good.
Joyce chose a pasta and seafood combination, linguini and clams sautéed in garlic and olive oil. She seemed mightily pleased.
Looks good, doesn’t it?
Willie had fried calamari. Come to think of it, Willie almost always had the fried calamari on this trip. I need to sit down with him and see how the calamari compared at the various restaurants. At Da Vinci they looked very good, well fried without sign of grease, as you can see.
I didn’t mention the bread. I like bread, perhaps more than I should, and the bread is excellent at Da Vinci. And Da Vinci has a good selection of wines, especially reds, as well as craft beers. Many people seem to enjoy their cocktails, and I can vouch for their Maker’s Mark on the rocks. But the food is the why we keep coming back. Great meal. Great place.
We discovered that Da Vinci can get loud indoors, at least if you go on the late side on a weekend night and get seated close to the bar area, next to a table of people who, by the time you get there, have been dining for a while and are using their outdoor voices con brio to carry on a really uninteresting conversation. Fear not. The Da Vinci staff is very good, very professional, and will see about a new table. Normally, though, that is not an issue. And the noise is never a problem in the outside seating or farther from the bar.
Go to Da Vinci. Mangia!
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