Airports, love them or hate them, they are not necessarily the place you go for good food. That arrives when you get to your destination, that far flung land of foodie decadence and if like me over indulgence.
Though Marco’s New York Italian isn’t in the forecourt like some other ‘foodie faves’, it sits quite perfectly in the Holiday Inn that is within a short distance of the terminals and forms part of Birmingham Airports hotels. In fact a shuttle link takes you to the dreaded check in (my thoughts!) and that far flung land.
I have to say, honestly that eating in a Holiday inn wasn’t my idea of a fun Friday night, but I’d seen photos of the restaurant and felt reassured that it is a place in its own right to visit. Sitting on the Coventry Road not far from Solihull town centre it has a nice comfortable inviting feel about it, and is spacious with booth seating (which we liked) and tables for couples and fours etc.
The last time Ruth and I ate at a hotel restaurant at an airport it was I recollect a dodgy Beefeater type place that had a a la cardboard as its main course for vegetarians, made exotic by serving it with new potatoes. So on walking into Marco’s We were pleasantly surprised to find a smart modern decor and more upscale feel.
The restaurant felt intimate and good for couples with its plush monochrome design.
Marco’s New York Italian at Birmingham Airport is open all day and blends American and Italian dining, think pastas, steaks, burgers, pizzas, cocktails and salads.
It has numerous vegetarian dishes on the menu so I was well covered.
Ruth and I jumped straight in and ordered a couple of cocktails whilst we looked at the menu. Ruth ordered a Gin Martini and myself a Negroni, a classic of Italian cocktails, (aperitif) which shouted Italy as soon as started drinking it. Mmm Florence!
Ruth enjoyed her Martini which she said had a nice gin kick to it.
Olives, grissini sticks, croccante with warm baked sourdough bread, olive oil and balsamic. (Below)
We grazed on the above table sharing plates. The olives, garlicky, salty, were good and along with the breadsticks and croccante crackers a highlight and plentiful for 2 or even 4. Though the sourdough?Mmm, not so good, and certainly not the sourdough I’m used to from Maison Mayci in Kings Heath. Not very airy or light, very disappointing.
Salad of beetroot, goats cheese and walnuts.
For a Vegetarian starter (though the sharer was like one) I chose the salad of beetroot and goats cheese with walnut dressing. I really enjoyed this dish. It looked pretty, the beetroot thinly sliced but not overpowering the salad and with the right quantity of goats cheese and walnuts ( scattered over) was the right type of starter (with hindsight) to enjoy at Marco’s New York Italian. Not too large and lights a feather. A lovely Vegetarian dish.
Ruth chose the Caeser Salad, with avocado and though this was came with anchovies they said it could be made without.
For my main course I ordered Macaroni di funghi, wild mushrooms with a poached egg and we shared a side dishes of Onion Rings and Sweet Potato fries (though I think I ate greedily most of the fries).
Surprisingly, I am pleased to admit this was a lovely dish. The mushrooms, deeply flavoured with a runny poached egg providing a lovely rich and deep flavour to the well cooked and lightly coated macaroni and a contrast to the earthy delicate mushrooms interspersed within the pasta.
The egg making the dish feel more substantial and though a decent and generous sized plate of food it didn’t feel heavy or repetitive. The flavours held well together to make another excellent vegetarian dish which you can have as a starter also (smaller portion).
The sweet potato fries were very good though the Onion Rings were not so and became soggy at the bottom of the dish they came in.
Ruth ordered a 10oz ribeye steak (which I knew she would) with garlic and rosemary, fries and tomatoes and said it was good and I believe her! Well what else can I do.
Side dishes: Sweet Potato Fries and Onion Rings.
Macaroni di Funghi with poached egg.
For desert we were persuaded to sample a number of dishes, a trio in fact. I insisted on trying the Hot Italian Donuts with Chocolate sauce and Ruth chose the Classic Affogato with Amaretti biscuits, vanilla ice cream with espresso. (Forgot to take a photo)
We also chose the temptingly sounding and recommended by the restaurant Sicilian lemon sorbet with Frozen Limoncello.
The Italian Donuts were very impressive. Hot rich Gooey Chocolate for dunking the lightest donuts I’ve tasted for a long time. A perfect desert with a coffee and an outstanding choice when at Marco’s.
The Sicilian lemon sorbet was a total contrast. Zingy, refreshing, with a good limoncello liquor flavour coming through. They both worked well together, lovely.
The Classic Affogato, was also to be recommended. A full espresso flavour, made well. Good flavours with a whopping three scoops of vanilla ice cream.
We also ordered two large glasses of wine with our main courses both recommended by our server Jason.
Ruth ordered a deep and recommended red wine, a Shiraz (Short mile bay) from Australia with her steak and I ordered a white wine, A Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough, New Zealand.
A so called ‘Marco Recommends’ wine, right? Written as MR on the menu. Got it! They were both good. A nice recommendation. Thanks Jason! Not Marco.
I was very impressed by Marco’s New York Italian at Birmingham Airport. Not once did it feel like a second rate restaurant in a hotel. It had a quality feel, felt relaxed, modern and in our case romantic. The service was attentive and friendly throughout, helpful when asked for recommendations which were frequently made during the evening. The food we ate was very good, tasty, substantial and had the balance between New York and Italy just right with a good range of dishes. The Vegetarian side of the menu has numerous choices, and for that it is a recommended place to dine for veggies.
In fact what the restaurant does is provide those living in the area a nice venue for special occasions that is affordable and doesn’t involve a curry or sitting in a pub.
It’s a hub for the community as well as guests to the hotel and for those guests it’s not A La Cardboard but A la LA (or New York) good, tasty food and good service that ticks many boxes.
You can feel refreshed taking off (or getting up at home) the next morning, full and satisfied and that can’t be a bad thing. Now that for me is a recommendation, Marco!
Thanks for reading,
I’ve teamed up with the Gastro Card who Invited me to try out the new vegetarian dishes and menu at Marco’s New York Italian at Birmingham Airport. Our food and drinks were complimentary, but a positive review wasn’t required, just an honest one of our experience which I’ve duly delivered by aeroplane.
Marco’s, Holiday Inn Birmingham Airport, Coventry Road, B26 3QW.
For details on the Gastro Card see
Thanks in particular to Jason and his team for the service on the night and recommendations.
Also note that if you drive to the restaurant/hotel then you can claim back your car parking fee.
The last two photos courtesy of Marco’s New York Italian and Holiday Inn Birmingham Airport.