The menu at Marco’s is mammoth, and I would suggest looking on the website before you go, if you take a while to decide on your menu choices at the best of times.
The antipasti section (that’s starters to you and me) does more to drench your appetite rather than whet it, especially when you can have any main pasta dish cut down to a starter size portion. Marco’s is clearly built for repeat visits, as there are so many starters that I could happily recommend. The calamari fritti (deep-fried squid but don’t be put off as it’s simply a firmer onion ring) is always delicious, the funghi (mushrooms) fritti is a fan favourite, and the pollo (chicken) fritto is also more than worthy. Vegetarians, who like things a bit different, would be well advised to try the panelle. They’re dry chickpea flour chips, gloriously coated in a gracious serving of garlic mayonnaise and ketchup and have a clear earthy taste. However, if that doesn’t sound like your thing, Marco’s are happy to adapt any of their dishes to become vegetarian friendly.
Once you’ve managed to pull yourself towards the main course, you’ll realise that your life was incomplete before you tasted the calzone al pollo. This delicious folded pizza is stuffed with chicken, vegetables, and a plain ragù to create a soft, doughy masterpiece. Regrettably, this dish has a habit of being served with less chicken inside it than there could have been, but that’s only ever an afterthought, one born out of greed and desire rather than disappointment. ‘Normal’ pizzas are cooked just as well (only thinner), and you can customize or add toppings with no fuss.
The main course menu doesn’t put many feet wrong, especially considering the offer of Marco’s most popular pasta and pizza dishes served up for a meagre £4.95. There are some oddities that my taste buds may never understand, such as the tortelloni vegetariani, a pumpkin pasta dish. The sweet pumpkin works against the savoury pasta at all points throughout eating and is better avoided in lieu of the mouth-watering, rather than mouth-confusing, options plentifully available throughout the rest of the menu.
The dessert selection is lacking, perhaps only comparatively. The real treat at Marco’s is the authentic Italian profiteroles, gorgeously encased in chocolate ice cream. It’s a sharer, but you won’t want to.
Service throughout the meal was near excellent and the waiting staff are all disarmingly attractive. You feel like requesting more black pepper and parmesan just to keep them around for a bit longer. There must be something in the water at Marco’s; it’s the like the Mr and Miss Waitress Competition 2010.
So, there you have it folks. Not only is Marco’s a fantastic place to eat, but going and doing so will also make you more attractive.
Meat/fish: 8. Vegetarian: 10. Service: 8. Score: 9.