Nancy and I found a great new place! Great seafood, great setting, great service.
One of our favorite restaurants on Marco Island is Da Vinci, a wonderful Italian restaurant just across from the Marriott Crystal Shores, where we stay in Marco. Da Vinci makes much of their own food — pasta, sausage, etc — in house, and it’s delicious. Nancy and I made reservations there, and we were looking forward to another great meal. Then I strolled over the night before and I was taken aback by the lack of social distancing even for outside tables due to the sheer number of people waiting for tables outside: DaVinci is clustered with several other very popular restaurants and the space was jammed. Plan B time. I talked to the concierge at Crystal Shores to see where we could reserve an outside table. She suggested, a new place, the Deep Lagoon Seafood and Oyster House.
Deep Lagoon, it turns out, is a branch of a restaurant group with locations in Naples and Fort Myers. Nancy and I arrived and were seated immediately at a nice six-person table overlooking an esplanade and marina, 6-8 feet from any other diners or passers-by. Even the inside tabes were airy, the interior being wide open to the outdoors.
I ordered a cup of gumbo to start.
Actually, I started with a half dozen raw oysters that were fresh and delicious, so I guess the gumbo was a re-start. The gumbo was quite good. Nancy tasted it and declared it spicy. True, and good. The oysters were fresh, cold, and nicely briny. They came, as oysters should, with additional horseradish to enliven the cocktail sauce. Thus elevated, the sauce was the perfect accompaniment for saltines.
Whew! That was serious horseradish. I loved it.
The menu featured a lot of hogfish, which was a hint to order hogfish. Hogfish, also known as hog snapper, probably will soon be known by a more euphonious name — something like nahi-nahi or pink roughy — although to me, few things say “great taste” like “hog”. I ordered hogfish stuffed with lump crab, broiled and topped with hollandaise sauce, low calorie I’m sure.
The fish was superb, cooked just right, and with that snapper texture and sweet flavor. Hogfish s right up there with grouper. And it was a lot of fish. As you can see, the dish came served over a rice pilaf and green beans — fresh local green beans. We were in Florida, after all. The juices from the hogfish, crab, and sauce flavored the rice beautifully.
Nancy ordered Hogfish Lagoon Style — hogfish prepared in white wine, garlic, pine nuts, tomato, and basil.
It came, as you can see, with green beans and steamed broccoli. Again, the fish was tender, moist, and just flaky. We also wound up with an order of smashed red potatoes through some miscommunication. They were very good, very creamy but with a rough mash that provided some nice texture.
Deep Lagoon is a great addition to the already excellent Marco Island dining options. (I actually almost wrote “dining scene.” Shudder!) It’s a pleasant setting, overlooking a marina with lots of boats you could never afford. The service is a delight, and the food is top drawer. Give it a try. You’ll love it.
And while you’re at it, click “follow” on our front page to receive blog posts in your email box. Or bookmark us and check in from time to time. If you’re planning a trip, you can “Search” the name of the city, state, or country for good restaurants (in Europe, usually close to sites, like the Louvre or the Van Gogh Museum, that you’ll want to visit in any event). Comments, questions, and suggestions of places to eat or stories to cover are very welcome. And check out our Instagram page, johntannerbbq.