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If this were a list of the best restaurants on Marco Island, or at least the best from the ones we sampled in 2019; it may or may not look different. But we’re judging the best dishes we tried, and only those we had in 2019.

More: Best desserts of 2019: The top five temptations for Islanders

That’s my way of saying that if you’re favorite restaurant or dish is not listed below, it may not have even been in the running.

There’s a lot of restaurants on Marco Island, and even more dishes. And any restaurant can hit a home run. But no matter how good or bad the overall meal, judging each dish on its merits alone can yield some surprising results. For example, some of our best selections include a simple cup of soup, an appetizer or two, and some salads; all competing with the main entrée. Now that’s muddying the waters.

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I’d love to hear what your favorite dish is; so, if you don’t follow this newspaper on social media, do so now and comment on this article. Or send your comments to news@marconews.com.

And to all the hard-working folks in the restaurant business here in Paradise, thank you for making 2019 a very delicious year.

With all that being said, let’s begin our countdown.

10. ‘Ocean Angel’ roll from Sushi Thai by KJ

The “Ocean Angel” roll from the sushi bar consists of tempura battered shrimp, with asparagus, masago, avocado and cream cheese. The roll is placed in a circle with shrimp, scallops and tempura flakes mixed with a special sauce filling the center.

More: ‘Watts for Dinner’: KJ’s offers top-notch sushi and Thai

There’s nothing more satisfying than freshly made, never refrigerated, sushi; soft with a buttery goodness. And Sushi Thai by KJ offers some of the island’s best.      

9. Boom, boom shrimp salad from Dolphin Tiki Bar & Grill

The boom, boom shrimp salad features crispy greens, tomatoes, mandarin oranges, cucumbers, and is topped with spicy breaded shrimp. What is the “boom, boom” you ask? It’s a spicy chili sauce mixed with cream or mayonnaise.

More: ‘Watts for Dinner’: Take a mini-vacation at Dolphin Tiki

These shrimps were a good size and plentiful and Dolphin Tiki Bar & Grill offers a nice waterfront atmosphere to enjoy them.

8. Chicken vegetable soup from The Old Marco Pub

Who would have suspected that a simple cup of soup served before dinner, along with fresh bread and butter would make the top 10 list for the year?

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

This soup du jour from The Old Marco Pub is amazing; featuring big chunks of white meat and assorted vegetables.

The soup was so hearty it could have been a meal.

7. The Bistro Caesar salad from Marek’s Bar & Bistro

The Bistro Caesar salad features chopped romaine lettuce, baked croutons and shaved parmesan, as you might expect; but hold the phone! This dish is elevated with the addition of bacon bits and crunchy Asian noodles. Thusly, it would qualify as one of my top five Caesars of all time and comes in number seven for 2019.

More: ‘Watts for Dinner’: Marek’s put a fresh spin on food

6. The ‘Bistro Bibb Salad’ from Fin Bistro

The “Bistro Bibb Salad” features Boston Bibb lettuce (a quality butter lettuce with large, loose heads and thick leaves), radicchio (which resembles red lettuce or cabbage) a warm walnut crusted goat cheese (that looks like a hush puppy in the center of the salad), potato straws and a tangy mustard herb vinaigrette. If you just said OMG! You are so correct.

More: ‘Watts for Dinner’: The details define Fin Bistro

Our compliments to Fin Bistro and the talented person(s) who created this oh so creative salad.

5. Wagyu beefs tips from Marco Prime Steak & Seafood

The Wagyu beefs tips from Marco Prime Steak & Seafood were served in a Dijon mustard cream sauce featuring shallots, wild mushrooms, asparagus and were topped with crispy onions and served with the house mashed potatoes.

More: ‘Watts for Dinner’: It’s ‘Prime’ time on Marco

This dish is a can’t miss! Tasty, tender beef tips, cooked-to-perfection, in a to-die-for sauce.

4. Pork Milanese from La Tavola

The pork Milanese is made with organic Berkshire pork cutlets, and served over a bed of arugula, tomato, onion, shaved Reggiano and balsamic reduction. The dish also had a side of white truffle creamy polenta.

More: ‘Watts for Dinner': Variety is the spice of La Tavola

La Tavola has tons of tempting offerings but make room for this one during your next visit.  

3. Calamari fritti from Davide Italian Cafe & Deli

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.

More: ‘Watts for Dinner’: Davide is to dinner what Versace is to fashion

2. ‘Shrimp Lenny’ from Cafe de Marco

The “Shrimp Lenny,” features three large shrimp, stuffed with surimi crab, wrapped in bacon and topped with hollandaise sauce. Your taste buds will be fighting over which flavor is better: the sauce, the bacon, the crab or the shrimp. But together, that make one magical melody for Cafe de Marco.

More: ‘Watts for Dinner’: Café de Marco brings it’s ‘A’ game

1. Chilean sea bass from The Oyster Society

The eight-ounce Chilean sea bass (deep water Artic) rested on a bed of beans and was surrounded by a wide array of tasty sauces. This was my first pairing of beans and fish, but my horror quickly turned to utter delight.

More: ‘Watts for Dinner’: Join The Oyster Society for some unbelievable perks

The Oyster Society is to be applauded for this amazing pairing and beautiful blend of flavors that earned it our number one spot.

More: ‘Watts for Dinner’: Pollo Tropical goes above and ‘Beyond’ with new offerings

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

If you go

Sushi Thai by KJ

  • 317 N. Collier Blvd., Suite 104, Marco Island
  • 239-970-2625
  • online@thaisushibykj.com

Dolphin Tiki Bar & Grill

  • 1021 Anglers Cove, Marco Island
  • 239-394-4048
  • dolphintikibar.com

The Old Marco Pub

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

Marek’s Bar & Bistro

  • 1121 Bald Eagle Drive, Marco Island
  • 239-642-9948
  • mareksmarcoisland.com

Fin Bistro

  • 657 S Collier Blvd, Marco Island
  • 239-970-6064
  • finbistro.com

Marco Prime Steak & Seafood

  • Located in Marco Walk Plaza, 599 S Collier Blvd., Marco Island
  • 239-389-2333
  • marcoprime.com

La Tavola

  • 961 Winterberry Drive, Marco Island
  • 239-393-4960
  • latavolarestaurantandbar.com

Davide Italian Cafe & Deli

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

Cafe de Marco

  • 244 Royal Palm Drive, Marco Island
  • 239-394-6262
  • cafedemarco.com

The Oyster Society

  • 599 S. Collier Blvd., Marco Island
  • 239-394-3474
  • Theoystersociety.com
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