‘Watts for Dinner’: A seafood soiree at Marek's Marco Island

Will Watts
Correspondent
The seafood pasta from Marek's Bar & Bistro, Marco Island.

Our next dining destination is the historic Marek's Bar & Bistro in Olde Marco.

Things got off to an appetizing start with the “Coral Reef Calamari” ($11) featuring a “sun-blushed” tomato sauce and the “Wild Mushroom Risotto” ($14) featuring a creamy risotto, truffle oil and parmesan shavings.

Three things stood out about the calamari. First there were only tubes. Love that! My fav! Second, the light and amazing tempura-like breading and lastly, the incredible sauce. In other words, everything about this dish stood out.

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We also had the appetizer-size “Wild Mushroom Risotto” (it also comes as an entrée). This was perhaps my favorite dish of the night. So creamy! So colorful. I savored every bite. This will likely be my entrée next visit.

For the next course, I selected the warm almond-crusted goat cheese salad ($11) featuring mixed leaves, cranberries and a balsamic vinaigrette. Yes, the goat cheese was warm, and it sat atop the tastiest of toasts, just above the greens. What a great way to start your meal.

My dining companion selected the soup of the day ($8) which was a sun-dried tomato bisque. It earned high praise.

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For my main entrée, I picked a dish from the specials list, the seafood pasta ($30) featuring assorted fish, crab, shrimp and mussels in a white wine garlic cream sauce over fettuccini. That sauce was the star of the show. Put it in a glass and I’d drink it. It was also impressive just how much seafood there was in this dish. My compliments to the chef.

My partner in dine selected the garlic jumbo shrimps and scallops ($29) and served with your choice of side: steamed vegetables, stir-fry veggies, rice, mashed potatoes, fries or scallop stack potatoes. He picked the latter. Another incredible blend of flavors that was as nice to look at as to eat.

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For dessert, I had the carrot cake ($9). I almost changed my mind when the served warned me in advance that this was not your traditional carrot cake. But I was intrigued.

You see there’s no cream cheese icing. Just the cake and some ice cream. It’s good cake, but it had some flavors I don’t traditionally associate with carrot cake. While super delicious (when judged on its own merits), I’d consider changing the name. Perhaps spice cake and ice cream?

My friend enjoyed the crème brulee ($8) and deemed it well done.

Marek’s is 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 at just about every turn. The wait staff is kind, patient and always checking in. And the kitchen is filled with talented artisans.

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This newspaper pays for all meals related to dining reviews. We do not solicit or accept free food. Not all dishes are featured in print, but you can find a gallery of all reviewed dishes online at marconews.com.

If you go

Marek's Bar & Bistro

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