Most of the restaurants at which Nancy and I eat while in Marco Island are on the casual side — Dolphin Tiki, Stan’s, Lee Be, Cocomo’s, and the like. We do have a more formal dinner, at least by beach standards at a place like Fin Bistro, Da Vinci, or the Oyster Society, at least once on every trip. The last two trips we’ve gone to Arturo’s, this time with college friends John and Helen Tierney, who stayed with us at Marriott Crystal Shores for a few days.
Arturo’s actually isn’t so much formal as it is quiet. There’s always a cheerful buzz, but nothing that interferes with conversation. Arturo’s accepts reservations, so there’s no long wait to aggravate the nerves — or lubricate them. It makes for a very relaxing dinner, one in which you can focus on the food and. your companions.
But the food is the star. Each dish we’ve tried has been excellent. It begins with a cocktail or glass of wine and a menu. Bread arrives preceded by an ambrosial aroma, and followed by a garden salad notable for its freshness and a light touch just-the-right-touch of dressing — blue cheese in my car.
Regular readers have noticed, when in Florida I order grouper, hogfish, or one of the snappers, and that I order it blackened or with capers in a lemon-butter or wine-butter sauce. It’s no surprise that I chose Grouper Island Style, in a lemon-butter sauce and topped with crab and capers.
The fish was excellent. The crab really held its own, and the vegetables — I don’t usually talk about vegetables a lot, but these deserve a mention. They were fresh and cooked just through, and the potatoes (I don’t know why they look little gray there — they were snowy white) were smooth and buttery. Like the grouper, they benefited from a bit of the sauce.
Helen had the Tuscan shrimp and scallops, which were sautéed and teamed with a sauce of white wine, and topped with capers, slivered almonds, some cherry tomatoes, and basil.
What a pretty plate. How could that combination not be a hit? If there was a way, the kitchen certainly didn’t find it. Fortunately for me, it was a large plate of food, and both John and I were able to get a taste. Lovely.
Nancy and John also had the grouper, and a good time was had by all. John and Helen were very pleased, as were Nancy and I.
Don’t they look like nice people? Helen, indeed, said that it was her favorite meal of the trip, and I can tell you that there was brutal competition. Goodland seafood sets a very high level of freshness and flavor, and a lot of chefs in Marco really know how to treat it. Certainly the chef at Arturo’s does.
Not that Arturo’s is limited to seafood. There are steaks, veal dishes, and rack of lamb. You can get duck l’orange and chicken parmigiana, marsala, piccata, and Francaise. It’s a talented kitchen, and all the customers seem to be happy with their choices.
Arturo’s is tucked away in a small, single story commercial flanked by a nail salon and a coffee shop. It’s easy to miss, overshadowed by the crowds at the Esplanade an other busy dining hubs, like the Marco Prime-Oyster Society-Da Vinci, etc. area. It’s an oasis of a sort, well worth seeking out. Be sure to put it on your dining list.
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2 thoughts on “Arturo’s, Marco Island, Florida”
Finding a good and quiet restaurant is something to treasure now days. We’ve almost given up on finding quiet ones in our region unless it’s a special occasion and we go to a top-rated place that generally also costs a small fortune.
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That’s true most places, at least in cities. This one was on the reasonable side — at least for truly fresh seafood.
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