‘Watts for Dinner’: Panera Bread offers good, clean ingredients

Will Watts
The roasted turkey and avocado BLT with chicken noodle soup from Panera Bread, South Naples.

Our next stop is Panera Bread at 951/41 in South Naples. If you’re craving a health-forward sandwich, salad or soup, Panera is a can’t miss.

Panera is all about clean ingredients, sourcing foods without artificial additives, trans fats and the like; and a transparent menu.

More:‘Watts for Dinner’: A fresh bagel and a smile

I ordered the roasted turkey and avocado BLT ($9.89) coming in at just under 700 calories. Here’s what I loved: presentation was top notch, with fresh greens, perfectly ripe avocado and thick-cut craving board turkey. Here’s what needs improving: it needs a tad more bacon (my guess is that messes with the calorie count too much); and the turkey was cold. I think this sandwich would be much improved with warm meat.

The toasted steak and white cheddar sandwich with the Baha mac and cheese from Panera Bread, South Naples.

I also had a bowl of chicken noodle soup ($5.79) at under 200 calories. The soup was amazing and had a homemade taste. I prefer mine a bit spicier. But not an issue. Oddly for a soup place, there’s no crackers in the joint. I searched and searched. I asked the kitchen. No crackers. None. But you get some bread with it. Nice for dunking but not the same.

My partner in dine had the toasted steak and white cheddar sandwich ($9.89). Unlike my sandwich, the presentation was not good here. His sandwich had the wrong bread, was also cold (no, not toasted) and just disappointing.

He had better luck with the Baja mac and cheese ($9.19): tender shell pasta in a blend of rich cheeses including a tangy Vermont white cheddar cheese sauce, topped with Pico de Gallo, avocado and cilantro. Coming it at over one thousand calories, you get the appeal right away.

This dish I highly recommend. It looks great and tastes even better.

If you are tired of worrying about the ingredients in your food; and just want a good, tasty meal; look no further than Panera.

More:‘Watts for Dinner’: An Italian feast from Napoli On The Bay

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

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If you go

Panera Bread

  • Shops At Eagle Creek, 12720 Tamiami Trail E., Naples
  • Panerabread.com
  • 239-963-0351