Marco Island is a small, man-made area of land that lays on the southern edge of Florida. Obviously, Florida is known for its beautiful beaches and tropical weather, but this island takes paradise to a whole new level. A sunset is pretty much guaranteed with every delicious dinner, and you can choose to relax on the beach or explore the ocean surrounding the island during the day. Not to mention, you will definitely spot a dolphin while visiting and maybe even a manatee if it's the right time of year. Now, if I haven't yet convinced you to visit this small piece of paradise, then you should know that every craving is available within the vicinity of the island, and it does not disappoint. From Mexican food to fresh seafood and Italian food to Thai food, the restaurants in Marco Island have it all.

After spending a couple weeks each summer for the past five years in Marco Island, I have found a handful of restaurants that are worthy of being named the best ones on the island. These 7 restaurants are highlighted first in this article. However, there are a couple extra must-sees that I always visit when I go to Marco Island, and I couldn't help but share these special places as well. Therefore, at the end of this article you'll find a couple of honorable mentions that make a vacation to this tropical location even more worth while (if the dolphins didn't already convince you to visit).

1. Marco Prime

Rachel Roche
Rachel Roche

Marco Prime is one of Marco Island's best steak house restaurants. They also have plenty of seafood options, as well as some tasty sides and decadent desserts. As a tuna lover, I usually can't help but get their tuna tartare whenever I come here, and it's one of my favorite dishes at this restaurant. They also have delicious prime steaks of all cuts that are well-worth the price.

As you can see in the first picture above, I chose the "Grouper Dynamitos" as my entree, and it was just as good as it looks. I also featured one of their special drinks in the second picture above, which is their margarita with Grand Marnier foam on top. At Marco Prime, you can choose to either sit inside, at a table, or outside at their outdoor bar and patio area. The atmosphere at this restaurant is just as enjoyable as the food. 

2. CJ's on the Bay

Rachel Roche

If I had to pick, CJ's on the Bay would be my favorite restaurant on the list. This restaurant has a fun, island-y atmosphere as well as some delicious food and drinks. Their menu is mostly catered around seafood, but they also have non-seafood dishes such as pastas, sandwiches and even prime rib. Their coconut shrimp appetizer is my favorite of all time, and they also have some other unique appetizers such as upside-down nachos and award-winning blue cheese potato chips. CJ's on the Bay is one of the most fun restaurants on the island as they have live entertainment, usually consisting of a DJ or singer, on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. They also have a large outdoor bar and seating area that is right on the bay, so you'll never miss a sunset while eating here.

3. The Speakeasy

Rachel Roche

The Speakeasy of Marco Island is a smaller restaurant with a casual atmosphere. They have outdoor seating that is also right on a channel, so definitely come here during sunset hours. The Speakeasy has a large variety of bar food along with seafood, pasta, pizza and more. They also have a  lobster special every Wednesday night that you can't miss, because who doesn't love lobster and a deal? So if you're looking for a casual bar for the night in Marco Island, this is definitely the place to go.

4. Joey's Pizza

Joey's Pizza would probably have to be my second favorite restaurant on the island. In fact, the food is so insanely delicious here that I ended up eating it before I ever got around to taking a picture of it. However, this restaurant has some of the best Italian food I have ever tried. Their bruschetta is amazing, they have one of the best antipasto salads ever and whether you decide to have pizza, pasta or a meat dish, you will definitely leave anticipating the next time you can come back to this restaurant. This is also a great spot to watch the sunset, as their indoor bar opens to their outdoor patio area, and it's located just a block away from the ocean.

5. Doreen's Cup of Joe

Rachel Roche
Rachel Roche

Doreen's Cup of Joe is located right next door to Joey's Pizza, and they are owned by the same family, so you can expect the food to be equally as enjoyable at both places. My family always visits Doreen's Cup of Joe when we are leaving the island because you definitely have to get here early to get a table. The decor at this breakfast/brunch restaurant sets a beach-y atmosphere that is purely enjoyable and definitely a must-see on Marco Island.

As you can see in the first picture above, I chose to drink a bloody mary with my brunch, and the restaurant also has various mimosa and bellini alcoholic beverage options as well. Below the first picture is the crab cake eggs benedict, and it not only looks delicious, but tasted incredible. If you loves eggs benedict, they have a few different ways you can get them here, and I am sure they do not disappoint. Additionally, this restaurant has some of the most creative brunch options such as a breakfast burrito, breakfast nachos and different types of pancakes as well. If you love brunch and find yourself in Marco Island, definitely give this restaurant a try.

6. Snook Inn

The Snook Inn is another one of my favorites on the island. This restaurant is located right on a channel. In fact, you can actually park your boat at the Snook Inn and have lunch or dinner here, which makes this a unique spot to enjoy your meal. The Snook Inn has delicious seafood, which is always more enjoyable when eating it oceanside. You can even bring a  fish that you caught during the day and have it prepared for you to eat here. Along with the great views and tasty food, they have a large outdoor bar and patio area that encaptures the atmosphere of Marco Island all in one restaurant. Not to mention, this is definitely a place where you might spot some sea creatures in the water while enjoying your meal. 

7. Sunset Grille

Sunset Grille is located in one of the Marco Island hotels, right on the beach. It has a island bar atmosphere that is perfect for watching sports on T.V. or the sunset on the beach (hence why it's called "Sunset Grille"). The trend of delicious seafood in Marco Island continues at this restaurant, but they also offer a large variety of other food such as bar appetizers, salads, sandwiches, pasta and more. This restaurant is perfect for a laid-back dinner after a long day of swimming or doing ocean excursions. 

Honorable Mentions

1. Paradise Seafood & Gourmet Market

Rachel Roche

While I am definitely not against eating out at restaurants every night while on vacation, it is nice to have a home cooked meal every once in a while - especially when that home cooked meal includes some delicious, fresh seafood. My family and I decided to make our own seafood boil one night, so this small seafood market located on the island contributed greatly to the quality of this meal. It definitely wouldn't have been as delicious as it was without the fresh king crab and jumbo shrimp from Paradise Seafood & Gourmet Market. If you have a kitchen where you stay in Marco Island, you have to check this seafood market out and give yourself a night to be the chef.

2. Tesoro Bar & Lounge

This was one of the most beautiful locations that I ate at in Marco Island. This restaurant is located on the roof of the JW Marriott in Marco Island, which is right on the beach. The view from this rooftop bar and lounge area is stunning. Tesoro is only available to those people who are 21 and up, so make sure you give this place a visit once you're of age to catch the best view of the Marco Island sunsets right on the beach. Not to mention, this bar and lounge has delicious drinks and fancy food. You will feel extremely at peace up on this rooftop bar -  I can guarantee it. 

3. Just Beachy Burgers and More

I have included this in the honorable mentions because it technically isn't a restaurant - it's a boat. I know, it sounds weird, but if you end up going boating or jet skiing around Marco Island, you can find a small beach area where the channel and the ocean meet. Boats and jet skis line the small beach, people cool off in the ocean and enjoy food, drinks and ice cream on the beach during the day. This area can get pretty crowded, especially during lunch time, so make sure to get here before lunch time to secure your spot. You won't want to miss lunch at Just Beachy Burgers either. Not only do they have burgers, but they have delicious chicken sandwiches, hot dogs, chicken nuggets and more. It's the perfect food for a hot, relaxing day at the beach.

4. Truluck's

Rachel Roche

Lastly, I had to add Truluck's as an honorable mention because they have some of the best crab I have ever had in my life. If you are a crab-lover, and you visit Marco Island, make the half-hour drive to Naples for dinner one night to try Truluck's crab. The picture above was actually a special entree at the time we visited - a whole king crab which was flown in fresh from the Aleutian Islands in Alaska. In addition to this specialty, the restaurant always carries different types of king crab and stone crab, as well as other fresh seafood that is just as delicious. You really can't go wrong when visiting Truluck's, so be sure to give it a try if you're in the area.

All of the restaurants and place I have encountered in Marco Island and near the island have inspired this article about what their unique menus and beautiful views have to offer. Small island restaurants always seem to have the greatest, freshest food, and that definitely holds true when it comes to these Marco Island restaurants and more. Not only will you leave this small Florida island with a tan, maybe some seashells and a full, satisfied belly but you'll leave with the desire to return to this paradise and the amazing restaurants that it has to offer. So what are you waiting for? Book your trip!