Most locals and regular visitors will likely include Sasso’s International Cuisine and Seafood in their Top 3 Southwest Florida dining favorites. I don’t find articles about it in the standard Marco Island promotional publications, so locals and those “in the know” have managed to almost hide this gem. My husband and I found it by accident about 4-1/2 years ago, and we never fail to dine here at least once on every visit… as many times as we can, quite frankly. The dining rooms and lounge, with a big, comfy bar and several dining tables all fill up very fast. Even full-time residents say they try to make reservations at least one to two weeks in advance. If you are in a hotel, ask your concierge to help you, but don’t wait until your last night. We’ve talked with several folks who did that, only to regret having to wait until a future visit to get back to Sasso’s.
Because we travel and love foods from various cultures, Sasso’s lands right on target. The Mediterranean-styled interior is sassy, yet stylish… classic, yet comfortable. Diners fit in whether bedecked in their dressiest ensembles or in casual attire and flip-flops after a day at the beach. Regardless of whether Sasso’s becomes your favorite Marco Island haunt or the spot where you go just for a special dinner, you will probably find the owner (Marianne Kramer) circulating about the tables, making sure you feel welcome and that your foods are prepared to your liking. Sasso’s reflects Marianne’s passion!
We’ve always been welcomed by the staff and treated warmly and with the utmost professionalism, whether we were eating several courses in one of the exquisite dining rooms or simply sharing some appetizers in tapas style at the bar in the lounge. (Bartenders Jo-B and Cathy handle a big crowd with skill and smiles.) We admit that we are frequently wooed by the splendid nightly specials.
We love the regular menu items, especially items like the Ahi Tuna, whether as an entrée or in the Ahi Tuna Stacks appetizer, which is outrageously awesome, served on crispy wonton chips with a marinated seaweed salad and a superb Japanese ginger dressing. We also enjoy the ever-changing House Spring Rolls, the calamari (both the spicy Asian variation and the traditional Italian style with marinara for dipping), and the melt-in-your-mouth Lobster Purse. Who knew Maine lobster, portabella mushrooms, and brie cheese all wrapped in perfect puff pastry could be so gleefully addictive!!?
Every night a special menu features a different international culture. The other night, Greece got the nod, and my husband was wowed by the Lemon Chicken soup, heralding as the best he’s ever had… anywhere.
The live entertainment is also first rate. Everyone we have seen makes an effort to befriend the audience, welcoming both regulars and newcomers, and getting everyone dancing and having fun, whether you are 4, 40, or celebrating the 40th anniversary of your 40th birthday. Owner Marianne Kramer and her staff are doing a great job of making fine dining fun and not at all stuffy.
If you drop in some night without a reservation, don’t worry about the wait time for a table. The lounge is apt to be standing room only, especially on Thursday through Saturday nights. That’s because the Happy Hour deal is great and the musical entertainment is delightful. You could actually plan to go earlier and pop in next door to the miniature golf facility recently opened by Marianne and her husband. These 18 holes are far from typical, as the course meanders through luxurious gardens throughout the tropical theme.
Regardless of where we dine across the United States or abroad, we always look forward to coming home to Sasso’s. Check it out at www.Sassos.com or in person at 961 Winterberry Drive in Marco Island, Florida, just off Collier Boulevard, one block east of the Hilton.
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