PORT ST. LUCIE DINING
Menu features melting pot of influences
from around the Mediterranean
Head chef and owner, Fernando Dovale, is completely hands-on at his restaurant, cooking daily alongside his sous chefs and assistants.
One of Fernando Dovale’s favorite things to do, outside
of cooking at his restaurant, Fernando’s Dockside
Grille, is to return to his native Portugal and
visit small villages, trying their local foods and then
creating his own recipes from the amalgamation of those trips.
When he was growing up, Dovale recalls being around
seafood and fisheries. In Figueira da Foz, a coastal town in
Portugal, Dovale was introduced to the art of salted cod, various
types of shellfish and how to carefully choose the freshest
“I started working at the age of 14 for the Grand Hotel
now the Mercure Figueira da Foz at the front desk,” Dovale
says. “I worked different positions through the years, and I
learned a lot there.”
Dovale enjoyed cooking for friends and while he was educated
at the hotel’s culinary institute, he is mostly self-taught.
After moving to the United States in 1984 at the age of 23, he
started out his culinary career as a maître de, bartender and
then a dining room manager.
As his culinary career continued to develop, he owned or
was head chef at restaurants in North Carolina, New York,
Florida and Massachusetts. At one point, Dovale worked on
a merchant ship in the Gulf of Mexico as the head chef and
says he enjoyed adding that experience to his repertoire.
“I opened the original Fernando’s in New Bedford, Massachusetts,”
he explains. “I lived there for some time and
served Portuguese and Mediterranean cuisine. I wanted to
move down to Florida and knew there was a small Portuguese
community in Port St. Lucie.”
ON THE MOVE
In 2013, Dovale moved to Florida with his wife and four
children. They settled in and he quickly opened Fernando’s
Dockside Grille. Residents were very supportive and quite
welcoming of his seemingly quiet entrance to town.
“I did not advertise the restaurant for a long time,” Dovale
says. “My customers knew about it by word-of-mouth. Portuguese
friends would come to eat, enjoy their meal then tell
some of their American friends and repeat. That’s how it is,
and it’s been good for the restaurant.”
Since much of Portugal’s population resides in coastal
cities such as Lisbon and Porto, seafood is quite popular and >>
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