I first found Marco a couple of years ago in his little shop-house restaurant hidden among the beer bar colony near Rompho Market in Jomtien Beach. Selfishly, I kept it to myself how incredible his food is. But, good food will always be discovered and he was soon the busiest guy on the block.
In 2016 Marco stepped up his game and moved to “Restaurant-Row” on Thappraya Road right next to Bruno’s. In my opinion, both an intelligent and ballsy move.
“I wanted to change the vision of my place from a restaurant- between-the-beer bars to a restaurant-between-the-restaurants” says Marco. “I wanted a bigger place, with a bigger kitchen to be able to offer more to my customers”.
His “bigger place” is a spectacularly turned out modern bistro with the clean lines of industrial design meshing perfectly with old world materials and colors. It’s fresh, it’s new and the mix of design sensibilities foreshadows the fusion cuisine.
Born with a foot in both France and Italy, Marco’s food has always reflected his roots. The move to his new location includes an intensification of that notion with the hiring of his cousin as head Chef. Also a Franco-Italian hybrid, Paolo has some real credentials attending culinary school in Paris and practicing his craft in fine dining palaces like The Concorde Opera in Paris, Michelin Starred Les Terraillers in Biot and Les Déserteurs in Paris.
The menu at Marco’s will fool you. At first blush, it appears to be a fairly straight-forward and compact Italian offering. But, a little closer inspection will reveal some of the fusion flair I’m going on about.
For starters there’s a hearty beef tartar as well as a very sexy salmon ceviche. Charcuterie platters are also available with a great selection of meats and cheeses. And, I am particularly fond of their big-ass house salad that is almost a meal in itself.
Every opportunity to hand-make ingredients in-house is taken. The tagliatelle, gnocchi, ravioli and tortellini are handmade right in the kitchen; same goes for the overwhelming portion of burrata cheese and all of the desserts (more on those later).
Marco’s has always been known for outstanding pizzas and again, a look at that part of the menu will reveal some modern twists. Naturally they offer all the classics people enjoy like the Margarita, Diavoli, Napoli and even a hunger-stopping Calzone. But, adventurous pizza lovers will lose their minds over such creations as the Hawaiian with ham and pineapple, the Seafood and the pizza with all the bells and whistles “Americano”.
Marco also offers pizzas with chicken like the “Pollo” with chicken and peppers and the “Paulo” with cream, mozzarella, whole grain mustard and chicken. He even made a pizza named after me … Parma ham stuffed with ricotta on top of thinly sliced eggplant … “The Bartola”. But, hands down my favorite is “The Marco” with Parma ham, rocket salad, cherry tomatoes and parmesan on top. Fresh, hot and with a slightly crispy crust … pizza perfection!
And, it is important to actually go to Marco’s instead of just reviewing his menu on-line. Every day Chef Paolo is trying something new. Black risotto with seafood, chocolate mousse and foie gras crème brulee to name a few.
My own guilty little secret about Marco’s is the desserts. I used to pop in late at night for the sinful profiteroles. Now my midnight mistress is a takeaway portion of the homemade lemon meringue pie. The chocolate lava cake I avoid … because … well, I want to eat half and roll around in the rest … it gets messy.
I predict Marco’s will be a fine addition to “Restaurant-Row”. His food is innovative, tasty and affordable.
His staff is efficient and friendly. We needed some “Nuevo” on “the row” and Marco’s has stepped in nicely.
by Bart Walters