The Best Local Restaurants In Ocala, Florida

Silver Springs is just one of the spectacular natural attractions close to Ocala
Silver Springs is just one of the spectacular natural attractions close to Ocala | © Ian G Dagnall / Alamy Stock Photo
Marcelina Morfin

The largest village in Marion County, Ocala is a beautiful city brimming with historic charm. Stroll along the district to discover pretty architecture or the Downtown Square to explore unique shops and great local bistros. From Indian to Thai to French cuisines and more, here is a list of some of the deliciousness found in Ocala, Florida.

Amrit Palace

Established in 1972, Amrit Palace specializes in Indian and Pakistani delicacies. Open for lunch and dinner Tuesday through Sunday, this spacious dining venue features a warm, inviting environment perfect for savoring an array of aromatic dishes. Highlights of the menu include tandoori shrimp, bhindi or okra cooked with tomatoes, onion, ginger, and spices, and lamb vindaloo curry. Specialty drinks and desserts, including homemade Indian cheese in a rich cream sauce, are also available.

Ayuttaya

Ayuttaya brings a taste of Thailand to Ocala. Within a lovely, peaceful interior space, guests can feast upon a wide range of dishes from noodles to curries to house specialties and more. Notable dishes include Two Friends Panang, which combines chicken and prawns with fresh asparagus and other steamed vegetables in Panang curry sauce and ground peanuts, and Tornado Shrimp – with jumbo shrimp on a bed of mixed vegetables and lightly fried eggplant topped with green curry. Chef’s choices are also available, including the eponymous Ayuttaya duck that is slow roasted and then deep-fried and served with your choice of sauce. Try these delectable dishes Monday through Saturday.

Brooklyn’s Backyard

Open every day from 11am, Brooklyn’s Backyard is a befitting name for this eclectic haunt, as the interior looks as though it could be someone’s back garden. The rustic, outdoor-style space features wood from a century-old barn, greenery, and pops of color creating a lively yet laid-back atmosphere – great for sampling an array of meals from different global cuisines. Must-try options include the St. Croix burger, which is topped with cream cheese, fried banana peppers, lettuce, tomato, onion, and secret sauce. The Central Park pizza topped with olive oil, garlic, ricotta, mozzarella, and pesto is also not to be missed.

La Cuisine

Established in 2009, La Cuisine is a charming restaurant owned by Patrice and Elodie Perron, and is located in the historic downtown area of Ocala. Open Tuesday through Saturday, the interior features red and art-adorned walls plus wooden accents creating a warm ambience perfect for enjoying a night out with friends and family. Sourcing the highest quality and freshest ingredients available, the culinary team cooks incredible European dishes such as the local free-range chicken with fresh herbs, a truffle and gourmet goat’s cheese béchamel sauce and the champignons farci – portobello mushrooms stuffed with roasted eggplant purée, parmesan and roasted garlic.

Latinos y Mas

Established in 1991, Latinos y Mas is a delightful cafe serving Latin fusion cuisine. The welcoming atmosphere makes it a prime location to celebrate any occasion, whether a night out with family and friends or a special outing. A family-owned dining establishment, the restaurant is open for lunch and dinner Monday through Saturday and features a menu brimming with zesty meals. The char-grilled steak, shrimp, and vegetables served with white rice, sweet plantains, and Argentinian chimichurri sauce is a highlight here. In addition, the Spanish-style rice with mixed vegetables, mushrooms, onions, peppers, and tomatoes is a must-try. Be sure to end the night with a sweet treat like the tres leches cake, which is sponge cake covered with three milks.

Mesa de Notte

Serving lunch and dinner Monday through Saturday, Mesa de Notte is a warm, inviting restaurant specializing in Italian cuisine. Within a rustic-style interior, guests will find a host of delicious appetizers, soups, pasta, fish and meat entrées. Recipes that can’t be missed include risotto porcini, and the aragosta e gamberoni Verona – Maine lobster tail and shrimp simmered in cognac-plum tomato-cream sauce with shallots, fresh basil, and crushed red pepper over angel hair pasta. Complementary wines are also offered.

The Mojo Grill & Catering Co.

A recipient of multiple awards, The Mojo Grill and Catering Co. entices customers not only with its appetizing cuisine but also its friendly staff. Founded in 2009, this family-friendly establishment offers an eclectic menu with Cuban, Southern, and other delights from around the world. Within a vibrant environment, complete with colorful decor, guests have a variety of dishes from which to choose, including starters, soups and salads, wings, burgers, and much more. Highlights include the beef empanadas with Cuban-style beef, served with black beans, rice, and sweet plantains, and the black bean burger topped with bell peppers and pepper jack cheese. Try these recipes and more any day of the week.

Stella’s Modern Pantry

Located in the historic downtown area, Stella’s Modern Pantry is a European-style market and bakery where visitors can shop for unique grocery items or sit in and enjoy delicious treats. For those looking to relax with something tasty, this bakery has sweet and savory selections all made with the best ingredients available. The menu is bursting with flavors, with highlights being the Tuscan flat-bread pizza with sausage, balsamic onions and peppers, the goat’s cheese, roasted peppers, marinated onions, and chickpea sandwich, and the flat-bread pizza with wild mushrooms, roasted peppers, and fontina cheese. Be sure to end the meal with something sweet from the bakery case.

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