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By Julian Maiucci
Born and raised in Martin County, I’ve always loved where I live, but it wasn’t until I returned home from college that I began to appreciate all of the fantastic food options in and around Stuart. After college, I quickly obtained my real estate license and found myself going out for lunch and dinner with clients quite often. Many of these individuals were from out of town, so they would ask me to choose a location. This allowed me to show off Stuart’s many family-owned and operated restaurants serving high-quality, delicious food. From waterfront dining, fine dining, casual eateries, boutique coffee shops, sushi, and breakfast and brunch spots, Stuart offers dozens of great dining experiences for every pallet and budget. When asked to select a few of my favorites, it was challenging. In addition to the food itself, I believe the entire dining experience from the service, quality, and value all play an essential part. These are just a few of my favorite spots that I visit regularly.
SOUTH FORK KITCHEN & BAR
Address: 900 SE Indian St, Stuart, Florida
New American scratch restaurant with full liquor and raw bar. Reasonably priced fine dining in a comfortable inviting atmosphere. Offering many seafood options along with pastas, steak, and more. It was their award-winning burger that brought me here on my first visit. I love a good burger, and must say, the double cheeseburger here is hands down the best in our area and one of, if not the best, burger I’ve ever had! A must try. Since my first visit I have returned and tried other menu items, which were all delicious and freshly prepared.
Favorites: Crispy Tuna Sushi, Grilled Octopus, BAMF Burger: bacon-onion jam, chipotle aioli, American cheese, hand-cut fries (photo)
Address: 100 SE Martin Luther King Jr Blvd, Stuart
Downtown Stuart’s newest spot for fresh delicious food and all things from the farm. The definition of farm to table, Colab Kitchen is the restaurant and market for Colab Farms, located in Western Martin County. The farm does not use chemical pesticides or herbicides and uses non-GMO and untreated seed for all their growing.
Upon entering Colab Kitchen you are greeted with the market and bakery, serving fresh veggies, house made cheese pastries, bread, sausage, beef, eggs, and more!
Past the market is the hostess stand where you are greeted with a large indoor dining area, expansive full liquor bar with specialty house cocktails, and an open kitchen. Walk through the indoor dining to the sliders and you will be surprised to see the enormous outdoor area with beautiful outdoor seating on the patio, green space for children to play, smoker house, mobile bar (for special events), and more. The atmosphere is truly amazing and has an upscale feel like nothing else in Stuart or Martin County.
The menu is continuing to evolve, as they just opened the doors a few weeks ago. Fresh, unique, and quality ingredients are how I would describe their menu and food thus far. Market is open daily 8-4pm, lunch weekdays 11-2pm, brunch on Saturday and Sunday 10:30-3pm, and closed on Monday & Tuesday. Dinner is coming soon!
Favorites: Smoked Brisket Sandwich: horse-radish bbq, tomato jam, arugula, aged cheddar (photo), Return of the Glory Bowl, any of their house made Flour & Water pizza pies.
Address: 1315 SW Martin Highway, Palm City
Authentic Italian fine dining with the freshest ingredients. Family owned and operated in Palm City since 1997, Clarettas takes great pride in their food, service, and dining experience. Every year in the summer they close the restaurant and return to Italy. While there, they not only take a much-needed vacation, but search for next year’s wines, cheeses, cured meats, and flour for their homemade pastas.
Many authentic Italian dishes are not complex, but focus on quality. You can taste this here. Extensive wine lists, house made pastas and sauces, traditional Italian dishes, new specials, and house made desserts are bountiful. Clarettas brings a true Italian dining experience to Martin County.
With parents that were both born and raised in Italy, and having visited Italy several times, I can honestly say dining at Clarettas is as authentic Italian as it gets in our area. I love the opportunity to speak Italian with the owners and staff. This completes the entire dining experience for me and adds to the authenticity Clarettas bestows. Also, their special reservation wine dinners throughout the year are amazing and highly recommended.
Favorites: Spaghetti al tartufo nero: long flat pasta, fresh spinach, imported speck, cream and fresh black truffle, Prosciutto Crudo e Melone (photo), Butternut squash Ravioli, and any of their steaks are amazing.