MARCO ISLAND — Easter is a time of traditions. Some of them, like an Easter egg hunt, you need kids for. Some, like Easter sunrise service, require an alarm clock.
One Easter tradition much beloved on Marco Island is going out to dine, and many local restaurants are more than happy to help carry on the tradition. The one thing that may be required is reservations, at those establishments that accept them, as Easter is a not only a big day for eating out, but also marks the last hurrah of the “high season” locally, and by and large, everyone is still in town.
Characteristic Easter dishes include lamb and ham, and apparently the buffet, as all of those options are well represented among the possibilities for Easter dining.
Bistro Soleil, at the Olde Marco Inn, gets things started in the morning, serving a brunch buffet from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., featuring eggs Benedict, cheese blintzes with strawberry sauce, steamed mussels Provencales, homemade smoked salmon, and a carving station with New York strip loin and baked Virginia ham, as well as waffles. Price is $36.95, $18 for children 6 to 12, and free for those five and under.
Casa Mia’s buffet is served from 12 noon to 6 p.m., featuring prime rib, ham and veal at the carving station, chicken, seafood, and a variety of salads, pasta, and side dishes, for $29.99, and $12.99 for children under 12. Like many restaurants offering Easter buffets, they are serving only the buffet, not their regular menu items.
Capri Fish House on Isles of Capri is serving a buffet from 11 to 7, plus many of their regular menu items. As befits the “Fish House” part of their name, they will feature seafood in the buffet, with grouper and jambalaya some of the standout dishes. The cost is $29.95, and half price for children under 12.
CJ’s on the Bay will offer a brunch buffet starting at 10:30 a.m., for $26.99 – a popular price point for buffets – and after 3 p.m., will switch to their regular menu.
Cathy O’Clarke’s, said manager Debbie Day, will open for a la carte breakfast at 8:30, going until noon, and then offer special items to augment their regular menu, including a 10 oz. or 16 oz. prime rib, roast turkey, Long Island duck and lamb chops, with prices up to $24.95 for the duck or lamb. Dessert will feature strawberry shortcake.
Arturo’s will open from 3:30 to 7:30 p.m., with their regular menu, said Arturo’s daughter Marisol Cortezar. If you prefer to dine at home, the restaurant offers a 25 percent discount on takeout orders if you call between 3:30 and 5:30, and pick up by 6 p.m.
Easter is a very big day for Erin’s Isle, off the island on 951, said owner Mike Ward.
“I’ve been known for 30 years for my holiday menus,” he said, urging diners to make reservations to avoid disappointment. The restaurant will serve a special Easter menu from 12 noon to 9 p.m.
The House of Mozart will be open from 2 to 10 p.m., with specials including rack of lamb, glazed duck breast, pork tenderloin “Don Giovanni,” chicken “Amadeus” and filet of red snapper in addition to many but not all of their regular menu items, said co-owner Manuela Schinagl.
Sasso’s will serve dinner from 4 to 9:30 p.m., said owner Mary Ann Kramer, with a special Easter menu including roast leg of lamb and seafood specials. All entrees will include Caesar salad or seafood bisque at no extra charge, and the restaurant will offer a special children’s menu.
Café de Marco is offering four specials, semi-boneless crispy duckling, rack of lamb, marinated veal chop, and pork osso bucco, said owner Sandra Franchino. Easter Sunday represents your last chance to dine there until December, as they close Sundays after Easter until the snowbirds return.
Island Café and Verdi’s will not be open at all on Easter Sunday, so you may see the owners and staff at some of the other restaurants. Of course, there are many more restaurants on Marco Island, too many to list them all, each with their own specialties.
Or, you could just collect the Easter from the kids’ egg hunt – you did hard-boil them, right? – and make egg salad sandwiches. Just don’t wait too long, particularly if the eggs sat outside for a while, waiting to be found. All in all, going out to eat seems like a really good choice.