560 South Collier Boulevard, Marco
At the Hilton Marco Island Beach Resort and Spa, a simple philosophy of good inn keeping is apparent in the atmosphere and lends a positive and heartfelt approach to their cooking and hospitality.
At the Hilton’s Paradise Café, fresh flowers are placed on every table every day. There are roses inside, and Astra Mary outdoors on the Gulfside terrace. A pride also blooms at the Hilton to match the radiance of the flowers, and the flavors and finesse found in every aspect of the beachside resort reflect the proven, age-old traditions that always signal success.
Throughout the intimate Sandcastles dining rooms and into the Paradise Café, an international clientele awaits to savor the dining experiences of a world-class destination. Travelers usually love to taste the local cuisine, and by providing fresh local grouper, snapper and lobster, along with the very best poultry, beef and lamb, the Hilton Resort consistently excels in surpassing their guests culinary expectations.
“We have many visitors that travel thousands of miles to be here,” explained Paradise Café server Brigid Egan. “Every day, at every table, there are different languages spoken. Guests from Germany, Great Britain, France and Italy all come to taste the flavors of Southwest Florida, and here at the Hilton, all the food is cooked to order and everything is fresh. Our customers are never disappointed and they come back again and again.”
Fresh food, cooked to order, is a basic fundamental in the culinary arts, but when great value is added to the recipe, many Marco Islanders just might find that the Hilton Resort on Marco Beach has some of the best dining venues and value pricing anywhere.
During a recent luncheon and interview with Executive Chef Asif Rasheed, Food and Beverage Director Jorge Diaz and General Manager Mac Chaudhry, several signature standards were revealed that make the value, the service, the staff and the food quality outstanding.
“I believe,” Asif explained. “That cooking is an art, and that anywhere we travel, the local food and the local spices of the region are what great chefs use to create that art.”
Asif expounded, “For me, it is not just the fresh food or the local ingredients, but fine cooking is also in the chef’s attitude. I cook from the heart.” He continued, “When you are happy, it reflects in the food. I love to cook! When you love your work, everything comes out perfectly. When I cook, I use only the best quality beef, fish, chicken or whatever, and achieving exactly the right temperature is what makes an entrée perfect. This can only be done when everything is cooked to order.”
“It is also very important to use local purveyors,” Diaz related. “Our fish comes straight off the boats from either Fort Myers or Florida’s Atlantic coast. Our beef comes from a special beef purveyor that only specializes in beef. When you buy quality, you must buy from specialty purveyors.”
At the Marco Beach Hilton, vacation-style dining with incredible value has arrived. My lunch with the Hilton leadership team featured a wonderful example of fresh fish cooked to order. I chose blackened tilapia over a mixed greens salad with beefsteak tomato wedges and Italian vinaigrette dressing. The mixed greens, sliced Bermuda onion and savory flavors of the crispy salad accompanied the blackened fish perfectly, for a heart-smart luncheon worthy of any world-class resort.
The beachfront resort not only caters to seasoned international travelers, expert at shopping for value, but with nightly specials from Sunday through Thursday and theme nights on Friday and Saturday, Marco Islanders can now savor the flavor and value without traveling thousands of miles.
From 5 to 10 p.m., Sunday through Thursday, dinner specials in the Paradise Café feature a choice of prime rib, grouper filet, chicken piccata or alder-planked salmon, with salad, veggies and sides, all for the sensational value of $16.
From 5 to 10 p.m., Fridays, the Paradise Café offers indoor or outside, open-air dining on the terrace for Friday Night Under the Sea, with a fabulous seafood buffet that includes a mixed greens salad bar, a raw bar, with oysters on the half-shell, steamed shrimp, Dungeness crab legs and Japanese Nigiri Sushi. Entrées include a chef-tended shrimp scampi station, three choices of fresh catch of the day and homemade seafood gumbo. Pricing is $32 for adults and $16 for children.
On Saturday evenings, the Paradise Café puts on an Italian feast and offers up another example of vacation-style dining with value. For $18, soup and salad bar are the starters before browsing a pasta station with angel hair olio, cheese-filled tortellini, or bowtie tetrazzini, with a selection of toppings or traditional Alfredo sauce. Asif’s favorite assorted desserts will sweeten up any evening, and the homemade key lime pie at the Hilton is always a crowd-pleaser.
Breakfast in the Paradise Café is served daily from 7 to 11 a.m., with juice, coffee, bacon, sausage, breakfast potatoes, oatmeal, bagels, made-to-order omelets, Belgian waffles and seven types of bread, The Café is a breakfast paradise, with everything imaginable for a great vacation-style meal with value.
Lunch in the Paradise Café is served from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., and dinner from 5 to 10 p.m., daily. The classic Hilton happy hour features two-for-one drinks and the inspired sounds of Mitch Peters on the piano, from 5 to 7 p.m.
With a soulful and sincere philosophy that is apparent from the leadership to the servers, a positive and heartfelt approach to cooking, hospitality and the basics of good inn keeping truly shine with great value at the Hilton Marco Island Beach Resort and Spa, located at 560 South Collier Boulevard. For reservations and information, call