By Anna-Marie Menhenott
MARTIN COUNTY -- Finding the perfect spot in south Florida to spend some relaxing time close to home, whether it's a meal on the waterfront or an overnight stay at a resort, the spot is right under many of our noses.
From a tiki bar and swimming pool, to charter boats and fishing docks, topped with top-notch dining with a picturesque view, Pirate's Cove Resort & Marina has everything covered.
The expansive property sits on Manatee Pocket, nestled in Port Salerno, a historic fishing village with immediate access to the Okeechobee Waterway and Intracoastal Waterway.
When I visited Pirate's Cove, I felt like I was visiting a sleepy fishing town. The weather was as gorgeous as the views and the resort atmosphere made me feel as if I had escaped the world for a little while.
Although the marina and hotel areas are the larger attractions, my time at the resort was spent at Pirate's Loft, a spacious restaurant overlooking the water.
I spoke with executive chef Richard O'Keefe who told me one of the keys to their success. "We cater to the regulars who visit us all the time. We have three bars on the property and one of them is primarily used by people that make us a routine stop," he said.
"We have a tiki bar on the waterfront that is very popular on the weekends. We have live music downstairs and have a band in here (the restaurant) most weekends. That's where our third bar is located."
The spacious restaurant has three areas to accommodate guests. The waterfront area was quiet and was perfect for those who wanted to enjoy a dinner that rivaled the beautiful view. There was also a room that could be partitioned off from the other areas so larger parties could enjoy privacy. The elegant dining room had wooden ceilings and large windows offered a breathtaking view of the marina.
The third area in the restaurant held a full bar, stage and area for dancing.
There is also a swimming pool area, other private dining rooms and a space in front of the marina with chairs and tables if guests prefer to sit by the water.
"Guests can feel comfortable and sit wherever they want when they visit us. The same food options are available at all of the bars and all of the areas of the restaurant," Mr. O'Keefe said.
The restaurant also plays host to many of the areas fishing tournaments and is the favorite place for high school reunions.
While I was enjoying the view, I was served house specialty She Crab soup. This award-winning appetizer was full of mushrooms, lumps of king-crab, simmered with heavy cream in a shrimp and lobster stock. The soup was delicious and enough to make a meal out of.
Mr. O'Keefe suggested I try the roast pork dip sandwich, and I'm glad he did. The tender meat is thinly sliced and topped with melted Swiss cheese. The sandwich is served on a warm, soft roll with onion jus for dipping.
The meal came with a choice of sides including sweet potato fries, mashed potatoes, sautéed vegetables, wild rice pilaf or red beans and rice.
I chose the red beans and rice, which were a perfect complement to the roasted pork.
In addition to the items I tried, there are delicious seafood entrées, a variety of chicken and steak dishes as well as pub-fare appetizers, ribs and burgers.
Whether taking someone on a romantic date or spending a day in the sun with the family, Pirate's Cove is an amazing place to visit.
Pirate's Loft is open for lunch and dinner seven days a week. It is located at 4307 S.E. Bayview St., Stuart.
Full menu is offered Sunday - Thursday, from 11a.m. - 9 p.m. and on Friday and Saturday from 11a.m. - 11p.m. Happy Hour takes place Monday - Friday, from 3- 6 p.m. Bar hours are Sunday - Wednesday from 11a.m. - 10 p.m., Thursday from 11a.m. - 11 p.m. and Friday and Saturday, from 11a.m. - midnight. The Tiki Bar is opens at 3 p.m. Monday - Friday and at noon on Saturday and Sunday.
For more information, call (772) 223-5048.