Dining review: Philadelphia freedom, cheesesteaks are here on Marco

Will Watts

The next stop on our dining adventure is Philadelphia, by way of Marco Island and the Philly Grille. 

We stopped for an early dinner just as the restaurant was reopening at 5 p.m. We had heard about the amazing hamburgers and signature cheesesteak sandwich. 

The house roasted peppers and flatbread points appetizer at the Philly Grille, Marco Island.

I was surprised to see a lot of higher-end dinner entrees on the menu, and no burgers (that’s a lunch thing). 

We’ll save those big entrees for another day, as we had our mind set on eating with our hands tonight.

Things got off to an appetizing start with the house roasted peppers and flatbread points. The red peppers were well-season with generous amounts of parmesan cheese; but I felt as though just one ingredient change would take this dish from amazing to spectacular: perhaps goat cheese or feta; or keep the parm and add some cream.

The Philly cheesesteak sandwich at Philly Grille, Marco Island

For my main dish, I choose the cheesesteak, giving the wait staff a directive for the most “authentic” version on the menu. While it’s very obvious from that order that I’m no expert on Philly cuisine, here’s what I can tell you about the sandwich: the steak was flavorful -- more so than some full cuts I’ve had; thinly cut, ribeye (I’m guessing) the melted cheese sauce (aka cheese whiz not from a can) was heavenly and just out of sight were a few large petals of steamed onions. The star of the show for me was the fresh, chewy hoagie. It was a thing of beauty to behold.

A close second was the homemade potato chips drizzled with parmesan cheese. You can upgrade, if you desire . But I'm glad I didn't. 

My partner-in-dine choose from the flatbread menu. It was long, thin, fresh and delicious. This particular flatbread featured sausage, spinach -- he noted that neither were oily, which is too often the case -- and sun-dried tomatoes. 

A flatbreak from Philly Grille, Marco Island.

When dining early, remember there are always little corners of the menu to suite your lunch appetite; or lunch wallet, whatever the case may be. If you don’t feel like drinking or eating a full entree, that’s OK. Your waiter may be a little disappointed at first, so just make sure to remember him/her in the end and forego the straight 20 percent in favor of a little more generosity -- if you can.

More:Dining review: Good food, great prices make Jackie’s a local fave

More:Dining review: Da Vinci Ristorante for a night in Italy

This newspaper pays for all meals related to dining reviews. We do not solicit or accept free food.

If you go

Philly Grille

1000 N Collier Blvd, Marco Island


philly-grille.com (website currently under construction)