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‘Watts for Dinner’: Sami’s keeps upping the bar

Will Watts
Correspondent

Our next food destination was Sami’s, located on Collier Boulevard on Marco Island.

This location started as a quick-stop market many years back, adding more and more food offerings and improving the property over the years. The latest renovation created more outdoor seating space and redrew the parking lot.

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Although the business has a lot of high-end touches inside, the place still stays true to its roots; retaining registers near the door – where they’ve always been – and a bank of freezers on one wall, containing various bottled beverages.

Things got off to an appetizing start with the cheesy garlic bread ($7.99). Baked at Sami’s, it’s the traditional garlic bread that’s served with entrees; adding a layer of melted mozzarella.    

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For my main entrée, I ordered the lasagna with Bolognese sauce ($17.99). My partner in dine selected the chicken Monte Carlo ($20.99); chicken breast sautéed with mushrooms in a brandy cream.

Included with our entrees, a plate of non-cheesy garlic bread arrived at our table, along with two small house salads, with Romaine lettuce, onions, black olives, green peppers and cucumbers with a side of vinaigrette dressing.

The sauce served with the cheesy bread was spectacular. Some of the best marinara I’ve had. And the dish had just the right amount of cheese. The salads were fresh and had more ingredients than your average complimentary salad. The dressing was a thick vinaigrette.

My lasagna featured a bit more robust sauce; undoubtedly made so by the addition of meat. It was a very nice effort, getting high marks for both presentation and serving size.

The chicken Monte Carlo was also a beautiful presentation; and I was jealous that I had not ordered it. However, this dish was tame and did not have the rich flavor I expected. I feel like blackened or at least seared chicken would have been an improvement. This tasted more like boiled chicken, leaving the mushrooms and sauce to provide the bulk of the flavor. Remember, this is just one opinion. Sami’s takes great strides to know their customers; and perhaps this is what the majority want in this dish.  

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We also took home a medium supreme pizza ($20.99) and a medium buffalo chicken pizza ($21.99).

The supreme featured Italian sausage, pepperoni, green peppers and onions. The buffalo has plentiful chicken chunks, cheddar and mozzarella and a spicy buffalo sauce.

For a few dollars more, you can upgrade to a large; if your refrigerator at home can handle it or you are planning on eating it right away.

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While perhaps not the best pizza Marco Island has to offer, it’s certainly not the worst. And if you don’t like cooking all that much, it’s a great thing to order while you dine in. I can tell you that waiting on a pizza is much easier when you have a bowl of lasagna in front of you.

Before we ended the dine in portion of our meal, we shared a dessert, ordering a crème brûlée ($6.99). It was different than any other crème brûlée I’ve experienced and thus is hard to judge. I’m not sure if Sami’s is trying something unique or perhaps confused an ingredient on this night. The color and texture, as well as a lack of sweetness, made me question it. By any other name, it was not bad. But it didn’t taste like crème brûlée; at least like any I’ve had before. Remember, being critical is the easiest thing in the world to do. But don’t tell anyone, I like my job.

It will take several more visits for me so sample the many splendid things that Sami’s has to offer with its vast menu. And I look forward too many return visits. I encourage all of you to support local and independent businesses like this one.         

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

If you go

Sami’s

  • 227 N Collier Blvd, Marco Island
  • 239-389-7499
  • samispizza.com