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Best of June: The top things we ate in SWFL

Will Watts
Correspondent

We continued the “Takeout Edition” of “Watts for Dinner” in June in order to free up tables for those who choose to eat at island restaurants with limited seating.

This month featured two Italian restaurants and one French eatery.

DaVinci’s Ristoranté Italiano, Marco Island

I picked DaVinci’s Ristoranté Italiano in Marco Walk Plaza after I received a mass-emailing from the restaurant about their sunset menu, an offer too good to pass up. For $29 per person, you can choose from select appetizers, entrees and desserts. I do love a special!

For my appetizer, I picked the crab cake. Golden and delicious, and even in the takeout container, a thing of beauty. And it tasted great too!

For my entrée I picked the shrimp scampi, medium-sized shrimp sautéed with garlic and finished in a white wine lemon butter sauce over linguine. Anyone who thinks the portions are smaller with this special would be wrong. This was a huge portion! And the flavors blended beautifully. I enjoyed every bite.

For dessert, I picked the cannoli. Featuring the traditional tube-shaped pastry dough and filled with a sweet ricotta cream cheese. A great way to top off this meal.

My partner in dine got things started with the calamari fritti, calamari dusted with flour, lightly fried and served with marinara. He didn’t let the fact that this was a huge appetizer delay him in the least, finishing every bite. The sauce was also amazing!

For his main dish, he picked the salmon ratatouille, featuring panseared salmon served with ratatouille, peppers, vegetables and linguine with a pesto cream sauce. The salmon was beautiful and a huge portion. The pasta was also generous, and both were cooked to perfection.

For dessert, he picked the tiramisu, Savoiardi cookies soaked in espresso, spiked with coffe liqueur and layered with mascarpone cream cheese. Yum! Yum! Yum!

More:‘Watts for Dinner’ the Takeout Edition: DaVinci's offers top-notch Italian fare

Italian Deli and Market, Marco Island

Marco Island’s Italian Deli and Market on Collier Boulevard is a great spot for Italian groceries, fresh from the oven Pizza (whole or by the slice with limited availability), hot or heat and eat dinners, sandwiches and so much more.

From the appetizer menu we picked the fried artichoke hearts ($9.99). Deep fried artichoke hearts served with the deli’s incredible marinara sauce. Simply amazing! Such a great way to start the meal.

From the cold heroes list, I picked the roasted turkey sandwich ($8.99). Made with fresh ciabatta bread you can add lettuce, tomato, mayo, mustard, roasted peppers or oil and vinegar; and for an additional $1.50 you can add extra cheese or fresh mozzarella.

The bread is simply amazing and the star of this dish. The turkey was stacked high. I added mayo, lettuce, tomato, peppers and the mozzarella for a flavor explosion. I highly recommend this sandwich.

My partner in dine order the chicken cutlet sandwich ($9.99) from the hot heroes list. He added the same toppings and was the first to point out just how amazing that bread is; and his sandwich also earned rave reviews.

The pizzas options were staggering, with custom options, specialty pizzas and three different white pizzas to choose from; who does that?! We are huge fans of white pizzas for two reasons, typically no meat and since we order big from the deli, a bit of a break from the red sauce. Although this place’s red sauce is the bomb!

We ordered the “Quattro Formaggi” ($19.99) made with four cheeses: provolone, parmesan, mozzarella and ricotta cheeses. You can add alfredo sauce for a $1.50 more; but we didn’t.

The ricotta was clotted into little islands across the slices; the rest of the cheese melted into a beautiful blend over a cooked to perfection crust; it was also topped with a fragrant and dry basil and oregano blend. I was in pizza heaven.

Speaking of other meals: we also took home two heat and eat dinners. Here’s the deal, if you want them ready at pickup, they’ll heat them up for you (an extra change may apply). If, like us, you want them for later, you can also do it that way. They’ll even provide heating instructions when necessary.

I picked the lasagna dinner ($9.99). It was incredible; another chance to try what should be award-winning marinara sauce.

My dining companion had the chicken parm ($12.99) featuring three breaded all-white meat cutlets swimming in red sauce and topped with cheese. It earned rave reviews but did not include pasta; which I would recommend you add. And guess what, they sell it there by the box. You can also pick up some pre-made dessert.

More:‘Watts for Dinner’ the Takeout Edition: Italian Deli and Market, that’s amore

Bistro Soleil, Marco Island

When I saw the Marco Island Chamber of Commerce email from Bistro Soleil advertising their “Summer 2020 Prix Fixe” menu, I knew: For $29, plus tax and gratuity, you can pick items from three courses.

For your first course, you can pick from the soup of the day or a house salad with black peppercorn and garlic vinaigrette.

I picked the house salad, which is mainly lettuce and carrots, but fresh ones. The star was the dressing, so magical. I had to find a roll to make sure and get every drop. My partner in dine picked the soup, and on this day, it was a cup of mushroom.

For your second course, you can pick from the pan-seared duck breast, veal ravioli, seafood crepes, beef and eggplant crepes, the catch of the day or chargrilled chicken breast. Each entrée comes with a seasonal vegetable and the starch of the day.

I picked the beef and eggplant crepes, featuring chargrilled eggplant, ground beef, broccoli, ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese and bechamel sauce.

The ground beef is not overdone and is only a minor player in this dish; the eggplant has the starring role. The broccoli is served outside the crepe and on this day also served as the vegetable of the day and the crepe was apparently the starch. It was a unique and tasty dish.

My partner in dine picked the seafood crepes, stuffed with shrimp, bay scallops, crab and French leeks, topped with a saffron mornay cream sauce. Another unique and tasty effort.

More:‘Watts for Dinner’ the Takeout Edition: Bistro Soleil offers a summer special

The third and final course is a dessert round. You can pick from a crème brûlée, key lime mousse made with yogurt and sour cream and topped with a raspberry coulis or a dark chocolate cake served with vanilla ice cream.

I had the chocolate cake; which was very mousse-like inside and super delicious; packs a lot of flavor into a small dish. My dining companion had the crème brûlée, and it was amazing.

The “Prix Fixe” menu is available on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Don’t delay, a deal like this won’t last.

As always, support local restaurants in their time of need, if you can. Stay healthy and eat well.

More:Hey Marco Island, looking for a place to eat?

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

If you go

DaVinci’s Ristoranté Italiano

  • 599 South Collier Boulevard, Marco Island
  • 239-389-1888
  • ristorantedavinci.com

Italian Deli and Market

  • 247 N Collier Blvd., Suite 104, Marco Island
  • 239-394-9493
  • marcoislanditaliandeli.com

Bistro Soleil

  • Olde Marco Island Inn & Suites, 100 Palm St., Marco Island
  • 239-389-0981
  • bistrosoleil.net