‘Watts for Dinner’: Old Marco Pub come hungry, leave happy

Will Watts
The shrimp scampi from Old Marco Pub, Marco Island.

Located in Olde Marco, the aptly named Old Marco Pub was our next food destination. Featuring a huge bar, dining room and live music, it is a true testament of everything Islanders want in an establishment. That’s not to say that if you were a time traveler dropped into the middle of the restaurant, you might have trouble figuring out what decade you were in.

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Things got off to an appetizing start with fresh bread, butter and the soup du jour, an amazing chicken vegetable featuring big chunks of white meat and assorted vegetables. The soup was so hearty it could have been a meal.

Chicken Sorrentino from the Old Marco Pub, Marco Island.

Alas, I pushed on, ordering the shrimp scampi ($26), with extra-large shrimp sautéed and featuring garlic, butter and white wine over pasta. The pub won my heart with this dish because sitting right there in my plate was pasta al dente. After years of suffering soggy spaghetti (from some otherwise great restaurants), I finally found someone who knows how to cook it just like I like it. It’s enough to make one tear up. Next time, I’m just going to order double pasta, and sit back and carb load.

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My partner in dine picked the chicken Sorrentino ($25); chicken topped with eggplant, spinach, garlic, fresh mozzarella and vodka sauce served with pasta ala vodka.

The chicken vegetable soup from Old Marco Pub, Marco Island.

Artistic and layered, so complicated and yet so simple. This dish integrates a lot of my favorite ingredients into one stellar and successful dish. My dining companion, who may be more critical than me, the food critic, gave it very high marks.

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While the surroundings welcome you like your favorite neighborhood bar, the food rises above and is better than many upper-end restaurants. The Old Marco Pub: come hungry and leave happy – even if you don’t drink.

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If you go

The Old Marco Pub

  • 1105 Bald Eagle Dr., Marco Island
  • 239-642-9700
  • www.oldmarcopub.com