A Mediterranean Port in Stuart
By: Gabby Gregory
Port Barna had a consistent 5-star rating on all of the major review sites, which is unprecedented. As a result, Abby and I had very high expectations.
Yet, somehow, owner and executive chef Pablo Bouquet exceeded all of them.
You walk into the restaurant and immediately feel at ease. The space is intimate, but breezy and open at the same time.
There is soft music playing in the background, fresh linens on the tables, and subdued lighting. A large garage door opens onto the outdoor patio. Abby, who has been to Southern Europe, said, “I feel like I’m in Barcelona!” That sentiment makes sense, because locals in Spain use “Barna” as the nickname for “Barcelona.” The décor, the seating, and the menu is very authentic.
If you have never had Mediterranean cuisine, then do not stress! It’s delicious. Plus, Port Barna’s menu features a fun and unique mixture of Mediterranean flavors with others, like Italian, French, Spanish, and Greek. There is something for everyone, even your kids! And, you can feel good about eating there because the dishes are fresh, healthy, and feature produce from a local family farm, Nelson’s.
While Abby and I pondered over what to eat, our sweet waitress Taylor brought us some lightly toasted bread with diced tomatoes and caramelized onions arranged on top. The starter had a slight sweetness that married well with the bread. It was petite, cute, and, as Abby commented, “very good.”
For dinner, Abby ordered the special of the night, steak over ziti with spicy mozzarella and marinara ($11.80). I chose the Moroccan chickpea salad ($10.80). The steak on Abby’s pasta was picanha, a Latin American cut of meat that is extremely flavorful.
It was tender, juicy, and peppery without being too spicy. There were large, meaty mushrooms incorporated into the sauce, and fresh grated parmesan on the side. Abby said the dish was “exquisite.” My salad was a beautiful, bright burst of flavors.
It was herbaceous with a zing– an embodiment of the color green. I
absolutely adored it.
We finished the meal with the Barna Mousse ($9.95) for dessert.
It was, in a word, stunning. Smooth and silky without being too sweet, the mousse “should be outlawed for being so sinfully good,” Abby declared.
You have to go to Port Barna. Everything about it, from the genuine Mediterranean atmosphere to the pleasant staff, from the fully stocked bar to the incredible food, is worth your time. Abby and I already have plans to return, as the menu will continue to expand with time. We are looking forward to trying everything. In fact, Pablo mentioned that, soon, the dinner menu will feature fettuccine cooked in a large wheel of cheese.
When that happens, he’ll be hard-pressed to get rid of me… I’ll be there every night. Expect to see me there when you go.