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For Italian lovers, Davide Italian Cafe & Deli has it all: sandwiches, pizza and pasta. It’s a satisfying stop for takeout or dine in; lunch or dinner.

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We decided to dine in on this early Sunday evening just at the doors were opening.

Things got off to an appetizing start with the calamari fritti ($10.95); calamari lightly fried and served with marinara sauce. Calamari is one of our favorite starters and this one didn’t disappoint. You might expect an amazing marinara from an Italian joint (and it was), but Davide scores bonus points for the size; enough for a party of four to share.

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As regular readers of this column know, I have a weakness for Bolognese, and Davide has two to chose from: lasagna or pasta. I picked the latter ($18.95; the lasagna is a dollar less) and went with the linguine as my pasta of choice.

Here’s a detail you’ll love. It wasn’t the exact same marinara sauce as the calamari. It was thicker and a bit richer, and equally as tasty. Oftentimes you’ll feel as though there’s just one big vat of sauce in the back of some restaurants. Not so with Davide.

And the meat. Usually with an awesome sauce, some restaurants assume they can get away with lesser meats. Not at Davide. You can taste the meat and it’s awesome. It tastes like you ground up a high-quality steak.   

My partner in dine picked the quattro stagioni (which comes in veal, $21.95 or chicken $18.95). He picked the latter. The thinly sliced chicken breast is pan-seared with roasted red peppers, onions, mushrooms and artichoke hearts in a light tomato sauce and served with penne pasta.

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The breast was tender and cooked to perfection, and once again, the serving size was impressive.

I almost forgot to mention. Our dinners came with complimentary hot and toasty bread, served with an amazing olive tapenade, and a small, fresh house salad. So, bring your appetites.

The indoor dining area is cozy, with additional tables outside. If you come at dinner time and in season, a reservation is recommended.

Davide might call itself a café and deli, but that’s only a reflection of its size and some of its offerings. When it comes to taste. It ranks among the island’s best restaurants with top-notch service.

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This newspaper pays for all meals related to dining reviews. We do not solicit or accept free food.

If you go

Davide Italian Cafe & Deli

  • 2541, 688 Bald Eagle Drive, Marco Island
  • 239-393-2233
  • davideitaliancafe.com
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