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Marek’s is just so darn charming. Located in the historic Collier House (the home of William “Captain Bill” Collier, the first postmaster of Marco Island and the son of Marco’s first permanent settler, William Collier, outside the Calusa Indians), the building is beautifully restored, light and airy with interesting nooks and crannies to fill every glance.

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Things got off to an appetizing start with the Bistro Caesar salad ($9.50). This dish features chopped romaine lettuce, baked croutons and shaved parmesan, as you might expect; but hold the phone. This dish is elevated with the addition of bacon bits and crunchy Asian noodles. Thusly, it would qualify as one of my top five Caesars of all time.

My partner in dine started with the warm almond crusted goat cheese salad ($10). The dish featured mixed greens, cranberries and a balsamic vinaigrette and goat cheese atop a lightly and perfectly toasted piece of bread, with almond slivers. It’s hard to write that without drooling. Both salads were a cut above and offered a beautiful presentation and flavor.

For my entree, the English treat that is cottage pie ($16). Never underestimate the influence your surrounds have on you when making decisions. When I called to make my reservation, I was met with a British accent; the same one that greeted us at the entrance. So when I saw the English offering of cottage pie, I just had to have it.

Cottage pie is ground beef and vegetables in gravy with a mashed potato topping. Sounds heavy, right? Well, not really. If you use a lean ground beef, as was done here, and when your potatoes are whipped this light and fluffy, it turns an otherwise heavy dish into an unbelieveable delight -- with emphasis on the light. It was hot though. Temperature hot, not spicy hot. And it never cooled down. Those potatoes were like insulation for the inside meat and veggies.

My dining companion selected the angus New York strip steak ($24) in a red wine sauce and served with mashed potatoes. Cooked to near perfection, it was an impressive piece of meat sure to curb any appetite. 

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But there’s always room for dessert. Right? So we solider on. He ordered the caramel pecan piece with a scoop of ice ($9); while I went with the Key lime pie ($8). Both had powered sugar and strawberries; and I especially liked the strawberry drizzle over the Key lime. It was an interesting mix of flavor sure to add even more delight.

From beginning to end, Marek’s put a fresh spin on dishes you thought you knew. Not enough to change your appetite; just enough to whet it.

More: Looking for a place to eat on Marco Island?

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

If you go

Marek’s Bar & Bistro

  • 1121 Bald Eagle Drive, Marco Island
  • 239-642-9948
  • mareksmarcoisland.com
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