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My latest adventure as an official foodie-for-hire was to Mango’s Dockside Bistro at the Esplanade Shoppes on Marco Island.

Sitting outside, I enjoyed a cool evening breeze, overlooking the water and the setting sun – well, I suppose the sun was behind those clouds somewhere. Still a spectacular night. And welcome to rainy season, or so I hear.

My dinner companion and I started with a starter, the bacon-wrapped shrimp jalapeños – six fresh jalapeños with a large shrimp, cream cheese and wrapped in apple-wood bacon and “gently baked.” The menu says to “allow a few extra minutes for preparation.” Maybe it was the beautiful surroundings, but we didn’t notice the extra time.

This is the best starter dish I’ve had in a long time. It is so easy to overcook shrimp, especially when you can’t hide it behind a sauce. These were big shrimp, cooked to perfection (you are going to hear that phrase a lot in this review).

For my entrée, I went with the Coastal California Chicken from the sandwich menu. It features a hulking

grilled chicken breast on a toasted Brioche bun with avocado, pepperjack cheese, bacon, tomato, onion and lettuce.

First and foremost, it does not come with mayo, but be sure to ask for it; unless you are one of those mustard or ketchup people. You know who you are.

The veggies were super fresh. Lots of lettuce was provided. My first instinct was to trim back on the  greens; but I piled it all on and was happy I did. The folks at Mango’s have the portions figured out.

The breast: tender, juicy and yes, cooked to perfection. The bacon: a bit on the crispy side, but you can’t please everyone (meaning me, especially when it comes to bacon. There’s this special place between rubbery and crisp that is hard to find). And the bread: OMG!

The dish comes with slaw, but not your average run-of-the-mill. It features small chunks of mango, and it works so well. You also get your choice of fries or fruit. A no-brainer. Right? I went with the fruit. Not what you were expecting? I know, I purposely mislead. I had a good reason for the diversion. I didn’t get the fries because I needed the room in my belly for the soup du jour, in this case vegetable beef.

Yes, I know. Hardly the perfect companion to the chicken sandwich, but it was an impulse purchase. This was a beefy broth with big chucks of beef – more beef than veggies. I loved it. My only regret was ordering the cup instead of the bowl.

My partner-in-dine ordered the spinach basil pesto linguine with blackened chicken (you can also choose mahi mahi or shrimp for this dish).

Like the sandwich, the chicken was cooked to perfection; and most importantly, he described the sauce as creamy, not cheesy.

“The flavor is not overwhelming,” he said. “You can taste all of the ingredients.”

Despite the location, Mango’s puts on no airs; instead, they bring the goods – right to your table for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  

If you go

Mangos Dockside Bistro

760 N. Collier Boulevard, #109

Marco Island

mangosdocksidebistro.com

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