A hotel may not sound like the ultimate lunch destination — unless you’re vacationing. But when a friend told me about The Bistro in the Courtyard by the Marriott on Bradenton’s riverfront, I thought it was worth a try.
The quiet, contemporary-styled cafe, right off the main lobby, is the perfect lunch spot if you want to get away from the hustle and bustle of work for an hour.
You can sit and just sip coffee (they serve Starbucks) or order food from the menu.
Besides lunch, the cafe serves breakfast goodies such as blueberry buttermilk pancakes with country syrup ($8), breakfast BLTs that include egg, bacon, cheddar cheese, lettuce and tomato on sourdough ($7). There’s also fresh cut fruit ($3).
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My friend and I were overwhelmed with the lunch choices. For instance, there’s the tomato mozzarella pizza ($7.50), tender barbecue ribs with classic coleslaw ($11.75 half rack, $16.25 for full) and the Bistro burger with Wisconsin cheddar, bacon, lettuce, tomato and bistro sauce ($8.25 single, $10.75 double). The Bistro has a caesar wrap served with grilled chicken ($8.50), roadhouse chili with green onions and cheddar (all soups are $3.75 for a cup and $5.75 for a mug), and buffalo wings served with dipping sauce, carrots and celery ($8.50). All of the Bistro’s sandwiches and wraps are served with coleslaw and your choice of chips, vegetable sticks or whole fruit.
I ordered the grilled chicken quesadilla ($8.75), recommended by The Bistro server. My order came with about five or six large quesadillas. A decent amount of chicken was dripping in melted cheddar cheese on the inside. On the outside, the pita bread was a combination of soft and crunchy. My meal was served with a huge side of salsa and sour cream.
My friend ordered a ham and swiss melt ($9). Her toasted sandwich was piled high with slices of thin ham with grain mustard and tomato served on sourdough bread. She opted not to get the pickles that come with it. The order also came with a side of chips and coleslaw. She said the sandwich was tasty, though the toast was a little too hard.
We split an order of tart apple salad ($8) to share. The salad was huge, and was, for me, the best part of our lunch. My friend also enjoyed it. The salad had fresh, crisp green lettuce, apples, aged cheddar, cranberries and walnuts. The cranberries and nuts were brought out the sweetness of the salad. We had enough for leftovers.
Overall our meal was good, though a little more average than I was expecting at hotel prices. Regardless, I’ll be back for coffee.
January Holmes, features reporter, can be reached at 745-7057.