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Every now and again I have a good idea. But this one turned out to be borderline great. I saw that the Marco Island Hilton was having a job fair. That’s right, they’re not open, at least for overnight guests. But they will be soon. And the restaurant is open now; and they do offer a day pass as well. What a perfect and peaceful time to check things out.

So off we went for an early Sunday dinner. Yes, I often eat dinner early on Sunday, foregoing lunch for other types of fun. We entered the newly renovated lobby on our way to The Deck. Everything was bright and clean and in order. Peering over to the tower, we could still see some visible work that was ongoing.

The moment you enter The Deck you see a fire pit with fake flames – although they looked very real, I was thankful. Who needs open flames in this heat? We had our choice of seating but opted to stay indoors due to the heat and stormy-looking conditions outside. Yet, it was still a million-dollar view of Marco’s sandy white beach.  

As dinner doesn’t start until 6, we ordered from the lunch menu. Lots of great options and (I’m guessing) much cheaper prices.

Things got off to an appetizing start with the island nachos, a huge boat-shape container full of nachos topped with pulled pork, melted pepper-jack cheese, fresh avocado, cilantro and a side of grilled pineapple salsa. I bet your mouth is watering just reading that. And it should be. Every bite was as good as it sounds. And we stopped halfway through, for fear of not having enough room to sample our entrees.

Before the nachos, we partook in the gratis appetizer, deep-fried pita bread served with a white bean dip (think hummus). Amazing!

My main dish was the special of the day, for just $9.99. It was a wrap filled with turkey, bacon, avocado and greens, served with a side of fruit. And if you’re thinking, sounds light for dinner, think again. I could only finish about half of it. But to be fair, I substituted the fruit for the fermented root vegetable chips.

I know what you’re thinking, fermented is not something you usually like to hear in conjunction with eating. They take these root veggies and soak them overnight in vinegar. The result? Multi-colored potato-like chips that are the bomb!   

My partner in dine had the lobster salad on a buttered bun, also with the vegetable chips. Here’s the headliner, real lobster. Yes, it was $22, a bit on the higher side of the menu, but it was a very generous portion that also was only half eaten.

Fresh food, good prices, a priceless view and for now, much more quiet than you could ever expect for ocean-front dining on a weekend.

Now’s the time.

More: Watts for Dinner: Stonewall’s takes me back to college

More: Dining review: Philadelphia freedom, cheesesteaks are here on Marco

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

If you go

The Deck, at the Hilton

560 S. Collier Boulevard, Marco Island

hilton.com and opentable.com/r/the-deck-at-560-hilton-marco-island-resort-and-spa-marco-island

239-394-5000

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