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One of the things I love about St. Lucie  — besides stunning beaches, the gorgeous Spanish architecture, or the bright sunshine — are the dining options! Believe it or not, I can get tired of fresh seafood and old Florida staples, so I’m thrilled there’s so much more to explore. Dining out should be a great experience, even if you’re only going out because you don’t want to cook. And with a wealth of restaurants to choose from, you never have to settle!

So, kiss Chinese takeout goodbye, and forget about pizza delivery. There’s a world of ethnic dining to discover in Fort. Pierce and Port St. Lucie.

Spiro’s Taverna

Our first stop was at a local chain in Port Saint Lucie called Spiro’s Taverna, a small, homey restaurant sandwiched in the middle of St. Lucie West. With such an unassuming exterior, my fiancé Joel and I weren’t sure what to expect.

So when we stepped inside, we were taken aback by the low ceiling and rich, dark wood. A small half-bar filled with wine bottles sat across from a row of small tables, and we were not far away from the kitchen. We could hear and smell the staff preparing fresh Greek dishes — and the key word here is fresh. Joel’s zesty calamari tasted like it was minutes out of the ocean, and it was served with a side of vibrant veggies. Meanwhile, my chicken gyro’s tzatziki sauce was creamy, the flavors accented by a pop of tomato and melt-in-your-mouth pita. We ate heartily, enjoying the rustic stone pillars and Grecian murals on the walls.

The best part by far, though, was the handcrafted desserts. We chose chocolate éclair cake — heavenly puffs of pastry between layers of rich cream, and topped with a chocolate sauce. We left satiated — and you will, too!

Know Before You Go:

Sit anywhere you want when you come inside. Someone will help you out shortly. They also offer eat-in, to-go, and delivery services provided by Bite Squad (our version of Uber Eats).

Mervis’ Cafe

If you want to experience authentic Cuban food, go to Mervis Café. I’ll admit I was skeptical — after all, the café bills itself as a combined post office and Cuban joint. But after going for lunch one day, I’m a believer. (And so are the locals that congregate there regularly.)

The outside of the free-standing building seemed deserted. But when I went in, it was packed. People of all stripes — truck drivers, day laborers, students, men in suits — were clustered around the tables, chowing down on Cuban sandwiches, empanadas, ropa vieja & their popular cafe con leche.

The Spanish-speaking staff treated me with such warmth that I felt like part of the family. And the food? Perfection.

The Croquette Supremo sandwich was almost beyond description. Crispy croquettes paired with rich ham on crispy, flattened bread, lightened up by lettuce and tomato, and a crispy pop of potato chips. The empanadas are emphatically crispy, larger than my hand, and stuffed with potatoes and beef swimming in rich tomato sauce. And the handcrafted pastries, brimming with exotic fillings like guava and cheese, are as soft as they are sweet.

So, if you’re ever craving Cuban classics or some next level comfort food, Mervis Café is the perfect stop.

Know Before You Go:

You might have to park across a road, since a lot of the parking lot is taken up by post office loading docks. Try looking at the menu online before you head there — it’s often crowded, and the friendly staff moves fast. Order up front, then take a seat until they call your number.

Spice Thai

Our final ethnic treat was a restaurant locals speak about with awe: Spice Thai. At the house party we went to afterwards, everyone talked about how amazing Spice Thai is. From their rich, savory curries to their delectable pad thai, it’s long been a favorite of Port St. Lucie’s locals. Joel and I have to agree. Served in a low-key, zen-decorated dining room with plushy booths, the food is spicy, flavorful, and elegant.

If you’re new to Thai food, treat yourself to chicken curry puffs as an appetizer. Couched in crispy fried wonton, the chicken boasts a depth of warmth and flavor you won’t get anywhere else.

Despite the name, Spice Thai actually serves Thai / Japanese fusion. Joel’s a sushi lover, so he enjoyed the Scuba Roll. He loved the eel sauce, seaweed, avocado, seared tuna, and tempura flakes. Meanwhile, I indulged in light, crispy chicken katsu for a flavorful experience.

Know Before You Go:

Spice Thai is a slightly upscale, more formal restaurant. They take reservations and can get pretty crowded. Most locals skip the Japanese section of the menu and dive straight into the Thai.

So, next time you’re hankering for something different in St. Lucie, or just want to spice up your usual dining experience, try one of these ethnic restaurants! You won’t regret it!

Miranda Jade Friel is a freelance business copywriter under the name JFCopy. As a resident of South Hutchinson Island, she enjoys long walks on the beach and sampling the native cuisine with her fiancee, Joel. You can often find her at the Fort Pierce Farmer’s Market or local festivals.