il Tesoro

4.5
173 reviews
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$30 and under
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Contemporary Italian
Il Tesoro Ristorante, our fine dining restaurant in Sanibel Island, Florida, was established by our head chef, A.J. Black. He was born Antonello Jacopo Maximus Cuoco in a small seaside town in Sicily. Inspired by his childhood on the island, where he fished and cooked with his family every day, Black got his start cooking for neighbors and friends. It was an act of love and a chance to work with masters of cuisine. They taught him to transform fresh ingredients from local gardens, mountains, and seas into delicious fare.
After growing up working in his family's restaurant in Rome, Chef Black refined his talents at the Italian Culinary Institute before completing his training at the famous Grand Hotel. At the age of 19, he opened his first restaurant, Cafe Roma, in the Laterno District of Rome, on the Via San Giovanni.
Featuring fresh, local, seafood-based Italian cuisine with a modern twist, we're Sanibel Island, Florida's, best place to enjoy an intimate meal in a casual atmosphere.
What 173 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.5based on recent ratings
4.5
food
4.5
service
4.4
ambience
4.1
value
Noise · Quiet
83% of people would recommend it to a friend
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DA
Philadelphia
2 reviews
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

This is not your typical island restaurant. This little gem with an open kitchen serves rustic but refined Italian at the next level.

Was glad to see the chef take over when the previous owners shuttered their locations here and in NYC, and the food has never been better

AN
Detroit
1 review
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The food was spectacular....the service was warm and inviting! I am Italian and will say this was as authentic as you could get! This was not just dinner out-it was a memorable experience! We will certainly be back!

OT
Miami
2 reviews
Dined on August 3, 2019
Overall 3food 4service 2ambience 3

Food was actually very good, Surprisingly even that it was not very busy the service was very poor. It could have been a great dinner if the service would have matched the level of the food.

JS
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on August 2, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excellent meal and ambiance. I return every year!!

SF
Chicago
6 reviews
Dined on August 1, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Excellent food quality and service.

OT
Miami
1 review
Dined on July 27, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great Experience! Would definitely recommend if your in Sanibel

OT
New England
3 reviews
Dined on July 27, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

One of the best in SWFL and certainly one if the top three dining experiences on Sanibel/Captiva.

OT
Baltimore
21 reviews
Dined on July 24, 2019
Overall 2food 2service 3ambience 3

For Sanibel
It was good, but honestly it was not as good as I expected or was the quality, flavor or atmosphere worth the price tag. The AC was broken. The wine list was great. The food so so.

JC
Orlando
1 review
Dined on July 24, 2019
Overall 1food 1service 3ambience 3

WOULD NEVER EVER EAT HERE AGAIN. THE VEAL WAS HORRIBLE, MY PASTA DISH WAS DISCUSTING, ALL THE PASTA WAS STUCK TOGETHER. THE MANAGER DID NOT EVEN COME TO THE TABLE TO FIND OUT WHAT WAS WRONG.

LM
1 review
Dined on July 20, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

Antipasto is fantastic. I had the veal marsala and it was very tender with a wonderful sauce.

MR
1 review
Dined on July 19, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great people, great food just the right ambience. Very small and cozy. The smell when u walk in is amazing

DW
Miami
4 reviews
Dined on July 12, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 3

So -so dinner. Food OK, ambiance OK, but nothing special.

OT
Orlando
2 reviews
Dined on July 6, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 3

The food is amazing

MG
Milwaukee
6 reviews
Dined on July 5, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Wonderful service and food. We went twice during our week in Sanibel, once with our children and grandchildren and once as a couple. The antipasto was amazing. For a quiet, delicious meal, this is the best restaurant on Sanibel.

L
New York Area
12 reviews
Dined on July 4, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 3

It is a super tight restaurant. People are literally touching each other if seated on the booth side of the tables. The noise level was outrageous,! The chicken was so tough, it couldn’t be cut with a knife. Charging four dollars for a can of soda( in the can), is absurd. Wouldn’t go back.

H
New York Area
19 reviews
Dined on July 4, 2019
Overall 2food 2service 3ambience 2

Food was at best average

SF
Indiana
8 reviews
Dined on July 3, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Wonderful food, great service and a lovely evening. Very good wine list.

OT
Cleveland
10 reviews
Dined on June 26, 2019
Overall 1food 1service 5ambience 3

Unfortunately the quality of the food has changed. Used to be a favorite. Sent many dishes back that were inedible. The server was incredibly nice and we were grateful for that. I hope they turn this around and start purchasing quality again

M
Louisville
22 reviews
Dined on June 21, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We were there on a Friday evening. The service was excellent as was the food. The homemade bread was a special treat! We had the caprese salad, ribbon pasta with bolognese, and the eggplant Parmesan. Tiramisu for dessert. All were excellent! Well

DO
New England
3 reviews
Dined on June 16, 2019
Overall 3food 4service 5ambience 5

We went to Il Tesoro for a Father's Day dinner later on Sunday evening. The ambiance was wonderful and we were pleased with the seating. The staff was extremely attentive and accommodating. We were the last party in the restaurant and did not feel rushed or hurried. The food was good - everyone at the table was pleased with his/her meal. The downside is that it was extremely expensive. While I enjoyed the atmosphere, was very pleased with the service and liked the food - the cost of the food would dissuade me from visiting again.

AB
1 review
Dined on June 8, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Outstanding! Recommended by our hotel and they did not disappoint. Food and service were excellent!

AD
Indiana
18 reviews
Dined on June 5, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Fantastic service and food. The mushroom ravioli was amazing and the sea bass perfect. Hidden gem on Sanibel.

OT
Chicago
1 review
Dined on June 1, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excellent food and very accommodating of allergens. Highly recommend dining at Il Tesoro.

D
Tampa
12 reviews
Dined on May 31, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The food is excellent. The service is outstanding. I see why I keep returning!

L
Louisville
11 reviews
Dined on May 30, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Our dinner here was the best meal I may have ever had. The place is elegant and charming with impeccable service and a menu full of incredible offerings. I had the homemade fettucine with vodka sauce and it was AMAZING. My date loved his seafood risotto as well. They had quite a few vegetarian options on the menu and are willing to modify some recipes if you prefer a meatless version. Great wine list also. It has an authentically Italian vibe on Sanibel, and is more sophisticated than the island’s other (still great) choices. We will definitely go back. It’s worth the splurge. Perfect for a date or special occasion.

OT
Philadelphia
1 review
Dined on May 29, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Absolutely the best restaurant on Sanibel! Fantastic cuisine, excellent service, lovely wine selection, quiet and refined ambiance.

LP
1 review
Dined on May 29, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Went on a date with my girlfriend here and it was a perfect evening! Not too dressy and not too casual, the food is to die for! Delicious!! And a lot of vegetarian options.

S
Phoenix
16 reviews
Dined on May 26, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The menu choices were numerous and the food was great! Nice wine list and the service was flawless. Probably not a good place for young children as the restaurant itself is smallish but very intimate. Leave the babies home for this one.

JB
Cincinnati
6 reviews
Dined on May 25, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

In our experience in coming to Sanibel for many years, this was the best meal we’ve ever had on the Island. We were in Italy last year, and this is the most authentic Italian meal we’ve had since. The food, the service, the charming atmosphere will keep us thinking about this place until we’re able to make it back for our next trip. The lobster ravioli will haunt my dreams.

F
St. Louis
23 reviews
Dined on May 22, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 3

We were traveling, and this restaurant was recommended to us. First of all, it is very hard to find. The signage is minimal, and almost nonexistent. I guess the locals know where it is, but Sanibel thrives on its tourism! The building itself could use a lot of improvements/updates. Also, the noise level was distracting. Italian music was blasting loudly, almost obliterating our conversation. Toning it down would have been nice.
Despite the above, the menu was extensive, the service was very good, and the food was beautifully prepared and tasty. I will return, but with lower expectations.

AL
Chicago
6 reviews
Dined on May 19, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

One of the best on Sanibel.
The Polenta Bolognese reminded me of exactly what I ate as a kid growing up.

C
Milwaukee
28 reviews
Dined on May 15, 2019
Overall 2food 2service 4ambience 3

Meal was just okay. Both my wife and I had the sea bass with risotto special. The sea bass was prepared with the skin on. Really dislike it when this is done. Too many additional items, sun dried tomatoes, artichoke hearts and mushrooms. The flavor of the sea bass was lost with all of these additional items. Price of $45 per meal was extremely high for this tasteless sea bass. Risotto was good. Had sea bass elsewhere and it was great. Won’t be back.

a
New England
1 review
Dined on May 12, 2019
Overall 2food 2service 2ambience 4

I have been to this restaurant in the past and enjoyed the food and felt the service was very good but today was a big disappointment. Nearly a 1 hr wait after order placement and food that was bland & just not very well cooked. I know they can do better.

KB
Pittsburgh
8 reviews
Dined on May 12, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We loved this restaurant! Its small but so quaint. Felt very authentic. What a gem!

BH
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on May 9, 2019
Overall 2food 3service 1ambience 2

The waiter started by lying and telling us that it is against the law in the State of Florida to bring your own wine (and pay corkage) at a restaurant. He doubled down by telling me that he used to do it but recently had to pay a $580 fine so he won’t allow it any more.

Things didn’t improve from there.

The food was average, the service was poor.

LS
Detroit
9 reviews
Dined on May 9, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

We found this gem several years ago and love dining here. The food is wonderful, service is great and the restaurant has a very intimate atmosphere.

CT
Charleston
7 reviews
Dined on May 6, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excellent food and staff. The four cheese gnocchi is wonderful!

JB
New York Area
5 reviews
Dined on May 3, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Quaint Italian bistro reminding me of Italy as soon as I walked in. Wonderful food. There’s no bar or booze, just wine which totally fits the experience.

d
Milwaukee
2 reviews
Dined on May 2, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

When asked 'what is your favorite restaurant on the island?' recently, the answer was enthusiastically il Tesoro!! great service, food, ambiance. the total package :)

F
New York Area
10 reviews
Dined on May 1, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Wonderful!

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