As a Sotheby’s realtor, I often find myself “selling” the Ocala lifestyle. And, as a foodie, you can bet I’m quick to share my favorite local watering holes and eateries.
Luckily, in a community like Ocala, with so many great family-owned restaurants, it’s easy to pair my love of good food and drinks with my desire to support other locally owned businesses.
I’ve put together a roundup of favorite places I enjoy regularly. I think it’s important to support these places because they give our community its unique flavor and lead the way in reflecting Ocala’s hospitable spirit.
If you see me at one of these establishments, please introduce yourself. I’m equally as happy to talk epicurean delights as I am real estate!
101 E. Silver Springs Blvd.
(352) 528-CORK (2675)
I love the cozy atmosphere of this restaurant owned by the Sokols, a family of winemakers. I first met the matriarch of the family, Patricia, through my volunteer work with the Ocala Royal Dames, an organization dedicated to raising money to combat cancer.
I highly recommend one of the Sokol family wines with your dinner and Katherine Sokol is always available to help you pair your dinner with the perfect wine accompaniment. Every plate from Chef Deras is a piece of art for the senses.
Ivy on the Square
53 S. Magnolia Ave.
The vibe and comfort food here make it a very welcoming spot to relax after a long week!
I highly recommend checking out the Thirsty Cobbler, a speakeasy bar with a 1920’s vibe that is hidden in the back of the restaurant. My favorite Ocala bartender, Billy, has a long list of great cocktails to choose from but my favorite drink choice is The Wiliwoke. (The original Ivy House is located in nearby Williston.)
Yellow Pony Pub & Garden
1750 NW 80th Ave.
On the weekends, this a great place to enjoy live music while sipping a Yellow Pony Julep.
I’m a fan of the fish and chips, which always come out crispy and fresh. Also, if you order the delicious nachos, which I highly recommend, bring a crowd to share them with because the portion is huge.
This lovely pub is just steps from away from watching world class horse shows and wonderful boutique shopping. I highly recommend stopping by on your way to visit with my friend Austin, who showcases the Debonair collection.
Latinos Y Mas
2030 S. Pine Ave.
This family-owned Latin fusion restaurant with a Mediterranean flair, never disappoints.
Depending on how strong you like your drinks, I’d highly recommend their sangria or margarita.
More times than I can count, I have ordered the Latinos 2030 Salad and the Pescado a la Rusa, which is a lightly seasoned Mero fillet, grilled and topped with a lemon butter sauce and fresh mushrooms.
Mesa de Note
2436 E. Silver Springs Blvd.
Between the choice of music playing in the background and the staff always remembering who you are, every visit to Mesa feels welcoming. One of the great things about this restaurant is the layout, which allows for conversation without your feeling like everyone is listening.
Expect great pasta and a reasonably priced wine list. Try the portabella mushroom soup—it is decadent but worth it. Even my kids have grown to love this restaurant and no longer want to order from the kid’s menu.
2015 SW 17th St.
This locally owned group of restaurants (with locations in Ocala and Belleview) serve up my favorite wings, named “Slap Your Mama.”
The owner of this restaurant, Rondo Fernandez, has a big heart for Ocala’s different charities and particularly youth sports. I’ve witnessed him supporting the Forest High School football team while watching my son play football as a running back.
Mark’s Prime Steakhouse
30 S. Magnolia Ave.
This is our go-to eatery for date night.
Expect top notch service and nothing less than exceptional plates coming out of the kitchen of executive chef Randal White at this downtown steakhouse. I usually order the bone-in ribeye, but I can’t help but rave over the bread loaf and butter they start you with—a simple thing made special because it’s always served warm and perfect.
The bar is grand and stately. It’s also a great place for meeting everyone from local business folks to world renowned stars passing through Ocala.
There is valet service at this restaurant, which makes it easy to access even when downtown is at its busiest.
3405 SW College Road
I introduced my parents to sushi for the first time at Tony’s and they were so impressed! I often bring my clients traveling from horse shows to this local spot.
Tony’s has become a family favorite and whether you enjoy one of the hibachi tables or rolls, you won’t be disappointed.
The Original San’s Pizzeria
4953 NW Blitchton Road
My round up of favorite restaurants wouldn’t be complete without including pizza.
This family pizzeria has been perfecting their pizza making skills for 35 years—and you can taste the difference!
Stella’s Modern Pantry
20 SW Broadway St.
And finally, last but not least, Stella’s Modern Pantry is my favorite place to grab a glass of wine and enjoy a cheese board downtown.
This is also my fail proof shop for buying gifts for clients to celebrate closings.
Contact Tasha at: Premier Sotheby’s International Realty, firstname.lastname@example.org, (352) 613-6613