‘Watts for Dinner’: Nacho Mama’s, Marco’s home for Tex Mex

Will Watts

Our next dining destination is Nacho Mama’s in Marco Walk Plaza, Marco Island. The landmark restaurant offers Tex Mex and American fare. You know me, I love Mexican food. The more authentic the better. But, to a lesser degree, I also like Tex Mex.  

Things got off to an appetizing start for me with a bowl of beef chili, topped with onions and cheese and served with a corn muffin. It was a hearty, rich chili with a quality-tasting beef. I loved the moist corn muffin, breaking it up in my bowl over the chili and mixing it in. Yum! I wish more places served chili. I guess there’s just not high demand for it in Florida.

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My dining companion had the chicken enchilada soup. Yes, enchilada. And to answer your next question, yes, they also have a chicken tortilla soup.

The enchilada soup featured shredded chicken simmered in an enchilada sauce (instead of chicken broth for the tortilla). Inside you’ll also find diced tomatoes, corn, black beans and rice. It’s then topped with tortilla strips and cheese and is served with that corn muffin. I’m not sure how common enchilada soup is, but I haven’t seen it served in any other restaurant. Nacho Mama’s gets an A for originality and for flavor.

For my main entrée, I selected traditional enchiladas. You get three per order. This dish only comes with red sauce, no verde (green) on the menu. You can get beef, chicken, pork or veggie. Or you can mix and match.

While not a likely choice for the average diner, I selected one beef, one chicken and one pork. Just so I could sample each. My favorite was the pork. Really flavorful. In second place, the beef. Very hearty and delish. The chicken was my least favorite, as it appeared to be dark meat. I might sound like a food snob, but when it comes to enchiladas, I’m a white meat kind of diner.

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The enchiladas are covered in red sauce and melted cheese (fantastic!) and topped with scallions. It’s served with rice and refried or black beans.

Of note, while I did not see these options in the in house menu, online it says you can order this dish with carne asada, chicken breast (perfect) or shrimp and scallops.

My partner in dine selected the tamales. You get two. Pork is the featured meat inside. And unlike some, these do not have salsa inside – which is helpful if spicy food doesn’t agree with you but your friends brought you to a Tex Mex restaurant.   

The tamales are also topped with melted cheese, a side of picante sauce, sour cream, rice and refried or black beans. He liked the tamales a lot but would have preferred a green salsa.

Our last visit to Nacho Mama’s was September 2020.

During that visit we tried the quesadillas. You can choose from cheese, beef, chicken, pork, shrimp, scallop, carne asada, fajita chicken, grilled tuna or veggie; or just about any combination of the above.

We picked the veggie with a grilled crispy tortilla filled with tomato, corn, cilantro and a myriad of other veggies along with onion and cheese. It’s served with sour cream, picante cream, black olives and jalapenos. Very good!

We also tried the seared ahi tuna, sesame encrusted lightly seared tuna, topped with Thai sauce. It’s served with rice and wasabi paste. The Thai sauce is tangy and amazing, and the tuna was seared to my liking; enough but not too much. Lots of sesame seeds and a huge serving, considering.

We also sampled the Mama’s Burritos (2 per order). I picked shrimp as my protein and the red pepper cream sauce instead of black bean salsa. These burritos were packed tight. And I loved the salty, cheesy, red pepper cream sauce. I added my own cotija cheese for just the right mix. Amazing!

Nacho Mama’s is a popular spot for locals and tourists alike. You might have trouble finding a seat outside during mealtime, but there’s usually something available inside. Happy eating!

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This newspaper pays for all meals related to dining reviews. We do not solicit or accept free food. Not all dishes are featured in print, but you can find a gallery of all reviewed dishes online at marconews.com.

If you go

Nacho Mama’s

  • 599 S Collier Blvd., Marco Island
  • 239-389-2222
  • thenachomamas.com