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Temperatures hovered perfectly in the low 70s for our early evening dinner outside at Verdi’s Bistro. Since my 2018 dinner featured indoor dining, I thought this would make for a different way to experience the fine dining at one of Marco Island’s premiere restaurants.

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We came with hearty appetites and decided to share two appetizers, the mushroom crostini ($10, garlic toasted bread, sautéed mushrooms with a gorgonzola cream sauce) and the warm baked brie ($11, featuring arugula, roasted shallots and garlics, toasted walnuts and a balsamic drizzle).

The brie featured a nice melody of flavors – I have a weakness for toasted walnuts and I add roasted garlics to a lot of dishes at home (they’re supposed to be good for you).

Perhaps I was a tad more partial to the comfort-food flavors of the mushroom crostini. Don’t let the fancy name fool yet, it’s downright decadent and finger-licking good.

For my main entrée, I selected the salmon ($30). The dish comes with a minimal but tasty house salad, featuring a garlic roasted vinaigrette dressing (the best part).

The sizable salmon features a lemon butter sauce and sits atop a bed of parmesan risotto and sautéed spinach. This was perhaps the best salmon I’ve eaten in quite a while. Cooked to absolute perfection and complimented perfectly with these two extremely tasty sides. My compliments to the chef.

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My dining companion picked the “Triple Tail Med Style” ($32). It also comes with a house salad but for a slight upcharge you can select a soup or larger salad. He selected the roasted beets salad, featuring red and golden beets, mandarin oranges, red onions, gorgonzola cheese and toasted almonds in a white mandarin vinaigrette.

The golden beets really added to the visual appeal of this dish. It almost earns a perfect score with just a minor-points deducted for less than flavorful mandarin oranges.

The triple tail featured tomatoes, green and black olives, feta cheese and was served over sautéed spinach and jasmine rice.

As I mentioned, my previous official visit to Verdi’s was in 2018, December to be exact. Back then, I ate the “Verdi’s Meatloaf” ($22 then, $24 now). It was a layered masterpiece with a garlic mashed potato foundation, a hearty portion of meat featuring a tangy mushroom smoked tomato sauce and topped with green beans. The sauce was the star of this entrée; and I cleaned my plate.

During that visit, my dining companion picked a local favorite, the chicken phyllo ($24 then, $25 now) chicken breast, spinach and Boursin cheese wrapped in crisp phyllo dough and baked to a golden brown and with garlic mashed potatoes in a chicken stock. I was amazed by the portion size and generous helping of cheese pouring out the sides.

In 2018 we also partook in dessert. We shared the whiskey bread pudding featuring raisins soaked in a Kentucky bourbon whiskey sauce and topped with vanilla-bean ice cream. When it comes to bread puddings, we’ve had our ups and downs. This one was a winner. Served warm, the sauce and ice cream nearly stole the show. I was in heaven.

Verdi’s has been in business since 1998 on Marco Island, and I can see why. The quality is consistent, the prices are reasonable, and the staff is friendly and accommodating. I almost wish we had encountered one problem, just so I could see how they handle it.

One last thing. I was also impressed with the way you pay. The restaurant uses a portable card reader you use at the table; with several tip options available with just one click. Your card never needs to leave your hand and there’s no need to pull out the tip calculator.

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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

Verdi’s Bistro

  • 241 North Collier Blvd., Marco Island
  • 239-394-5533
  • verdisbistro.com
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