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Classy addition to the Marco cuisine circuit

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Diners who enjoy the Marco Island dining circuit for its sheer variation have for the past few months been discovering La Tavola, a renamed, re-themed and revamped restaurant created by long-time restaurateurs Guy and Lisa Verdi.

They have for the past six months operated La Tavola in the former Sasso’s restaurant building off Winterberry Drive opposite Marco Walk.

The Verdi’s legacy includes running Verdi’s American Bistro from 1998 to 2010, and then Philly Grille from 2010 to 2015.

“We were going to expand Philly Grille when this opportunity presented itself,” said Lisa Verdi. Philly was casual food made from scratch. LaTavola is finer food made with the freshest of ingredients and also made from scratch.

Verdi said the past five months have been solid for the new restaurant, and predicted a really strong upcoming season, indeed boosted by the improvements to nearby Crystal Shores timeshare units, the Marriott resort down the road, and also steady business from the close-by Hilton resort.

“People don't have to worry about getting into their cars, they can just stroll over,” Verdi said.

A summer attraction, she said, is Thursday Night Tapas, with smaller food plates available at just $8 and up, while their special infused cocktails include The Waldo/Mike Wald Apple Jack Brandy/Housemade Sour Mix, and the Moscow Mule/Otto Svensson with Tito’s Vodka/fresh squeezed lime juice/orange syrup/Ginger Beer/sliced lime float. The regular menu is not available on Thursday evenings.The bar menu includes New England clam chowder at $6 and Atlantic lobster crisps wrapped in Phyllo/Tarragon Aioli at $15, for example, while typical entrees included grilled swordfish with tomatoes, caramelized fennel, olives, porcini mushrooms and creamy polenta, $26; and seafood pappardelle (Atlantic lobster meat, tomatoes, fresh herbs, shaved Pecorino and lobster rosa sauce, $26. Plenty of meat and chicken dishes are, of course, also on offer.

Verdi says her husband, along with executive chef Erin Wyman are responsible for the creations in the kitchen, while a staff of around 40 (in season) takes care of all the peripheral duties.

If you go

What: La Tavola Restaurant. Bar.

Where: Winterberry Drive opposite Marco Walk. Next to the mini-golf course.

Summer hours: Tuesday through Saturday, lounge opens 4:30 p.m.; dining room 5:30 p.m. Closed Sunday and Monday. Restaurant closes for summer recess in September, reopens second week in October.

Happy hour: All night in bar/lounge and dining room. Well drinks, house wines and beer – half price.

Theme: Italian.

Prices: Entrees $20s to low $30s; Tapas (Thursday) nights, $8 and up

Entertainment: Friday and Saturday nights. Ladies night also Friday, with $4 house-infused martinis cocktails for ladies.

Catering/take out: Yes

Telephone: 393-4960

Website: www.latavolarestaurantandbar.com

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