12 Unique Restaurants in Ocala, FL: Extraordinary Places to Eat in Horse Country

by Jen
Unique Restaurants in Ocala, FL
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Welcome to our guide, where we spotlight unique restaurants in Ocala FL. Here, you’ll find everything from scenic dining spots to the best cheap eats and upscale options the city has to offer. Get ready to explore the diverse and delicious flavors that make Ocala’s food scene truly special!

In the heart of Florida lies a hidden gem called Ocala, a place that’s not just about beautiful horses and lush landscapes, but also a haven for food lovers seeking unique dining experiences. Imagine setting off on a culinary adventure where each restaurant is a world of its own, offering not just meals, but memories.

As you wander through Ocala, you’ll stumble upon places that are the talk of the town for their one-of-a-kind dishes and unforgettable atmospheres. From the cozy nooks of quaint cafes to the lively vibes of bustling eateries, there’s a spot for every mood and craving, complementing the array of things to do in Florida.

Each restaurant in Ocala tells a story, with menus crafted to surprise and delight. Whether you’re in the mood for a fresh, farm-to-table feast, a taste of international cuisine, or a classic American burger with a twist, Ocala’s dining scene has it all.

So, get ready to embark on a journey that will tantalize your taste buds and warm your heart. Ocala’s unique restaurants are waiting to turn your meal into an adventure. Whether you’re a local or a traveler, these dining spots promise to offer something new and exciting, making every visit a discovery, perfect for those flying to Florida.

The top restaurants to visit in Ocala, FL right now

Unique Restaurants in Ocala, FL: 12 Incredible Ocala, FL Eateries

From hidden gems to local favorites, we’re shining a light on the spots that make dining in Ocala unforgettable. Join us as we explore the flavors and stories behind these special places.

1. Taverna Berrocal

Taverna Berrocal is a gem among the unique places to eat in Ocala, FL. This cozy spot is a bit hidden but worth the find. It’s where tapas and Euro-Peruvian dishes come to life, offering something different for everyone’s taste.

Chef Juan Berrocal is the magic behind the menu. He’s traveled from Peru to kitchens in Europe, learning and cooking along the way. Now, he brings those flavors to Ocala. Imagine tasting dishes made with ingredients like 3,000 types of potatoes and hundreds of peppers. It’s a culinary adventure!

The restaurant itself feels like a little piece of Peru. With Andean decor and a welcoming vibe, it’s a place where food and culture meet. Whether it’s tapas or a hearty meal, everything is made with care and fresh ingredients. Chef Berrocal believes in quality, from the seafood to the garnishes.

So, if you’re looking for a dining experience that’s all about flavor, tradition, and a touch of the unexpected, Taverna Berrocal is the spot. It’s not just a meal; it’s a journey to Peru, right in the heart of Ocala.

Taverna Berrocal is one of the unique restaurants in Ocala, FL.
Taverna Berrocal is a hidden gem serving tapas and Euro-Peruvian dishes, offering something for everyone’s taste. | Image Source: https://www.facebook.com/

2. The Crazy Cucumber

A breath of fresh air in the dining scene, The Crazy Cucumber offers a healthy twist to fast food. Founded by Wendell Landry and Carlos Sanchez, known for their successful restaurants, this spot completes their trifecta of palate-pleasing destinations. Since its opening, it has become a go-to for those seeking delicious, affordable, and healthy alternatives.

Among the coolest restaurants in Ocala, FL, The Crazy Cucumber shines with its creative salads, wraps, flatbreads, paninis, sandwiches, and burgers. The menu is all about “crazy & healthy choices,” turning the concept of fast food on its head. Favorites include the O’Sally salad, a blend of grilled salmon and fresh ingredients, and the Chicken Waldorf wrap, mixing chicken with grapes, apples, and walnuts in a creamy dressing.

The flatbreads and paninis tell their own stories, with options like the Mediterranean flatbread and The Newton panini, each offering unique flavors and ingredients. For those who love customization, the “BYO Sandwich” lets diners craft their perfect sandwich. And let’s not forget breakfast, where Belgian Waffles and Cheesy Bacon Grits & Eggs start the day right.

The Crazy Cucumber offers a healthy twist to fast food, completing a trifecta of palate-pleasing destinations.
The Crazy Cucumber offers a healthy twist to fast food, completing a trifecta of palate-pleasing destinations.

3. Stella’s Modern Pantry

Stella’s Modern Pantry is a delightful spot that brings a unique flavor to downtown Ocala. It’s a place where food meets art, offering a cozy atmosphere that invites you to slow down and savor the moment. With its bright and inviting decor, it’s easy to feel right at home, but keep your eyes peeled, or you might just walk past this quaint gem.

As one of the hidden gem restaurants in Ocala, FL, Stella’s Modern Pantry offers more than just a meal. It’s a culinary experience wrapped in a shop filled with artisanal products, from kitchen gadgets to exquisite wines and unique gifts. The menu features a select variety of pressed sandwiches, salads, cheese plates, and baked goods, each made with a focus on quality and attention to detail.

Whether you’re in the mood for a chicken salad sandwich, a cheese and charcuterie platter, or just a cup of specialty coffee, Stella’s has something special for you. The pantry is also stocked with wines, sparkling waters, and juices from around the globe, making every visit a chance to try something new.

Stella's Modern Pantry brings a unique flavor, where food meets art in a cozy atmosphere.
Stella’s Modern Pantry brings a unique flavor, where food meets art in a cozy atmosphere.

4. Ocala Drive-In

Offering a unique blend of nostalgia and modern convenience, Ocala Drive-In is a standout destination for entertainment in Ocala. It’s not just about watching movies under the stars; it’s about creating memories that last a lifetime. With a commitment to affordable and safe family fun, the drive-in showcases two great movies for one low price, ensuring a night full of entertainment.

The drive-in’s concession stand is a key part of the experience, supporting the venue through sales of delicious treats and snacks. From classic popcorn to their “New Orleans Style” muffuletta, the menu offers something for everyone. It’s the perfect way to enjoy a movie night, with tasty food and great films.

Among the fun places to eat in Ocala, FL, the Ocala Drive-In stands out. Open seven nights a week, rain or shine, the Ocala Drive-In is a testament to timeless entertainment. It’s a must-visit for anyone looking for a fun, affordable night out in Ocala.

Ocala Drive-In offers nostalgia and modern entertainment with affordable family fun, showcasing two movies for one low price.
Ocala Drive-In offers nostalgia and modern entertainment with affordable family fun, showcasing two movies for one low price.

5. Brooklyn’s Backyard

Transforming from a pizza place into a vibrant dining destination, Brooklyn’s Backyard wins hearts in Ocala with its unique blend of flavors and lively atmosphere. Janice and Tim Thomas, the owners, have created a space that blends community, excellent food, and entertainment seamlessly.

Standing out among themed restaurants in Ocala, FL, this spot delights with its backyard party ambiance. Its acclaim goes beyond pizza and the King of the Wing title, attracting crowds for the full experience. A must-try is the St. Croix burger, featuring cream cheese, Thai chili sauce, and fried banana peppers.

The menu doesn’t stop at burgers and wings; it’s filled with fresh appetizers, soups, salads, and sandwiches. The atmosphere truly sets it apart. With live music on Fridays and seafood buckets on Saturdays, there’s always something happening. The introduction of wine and tapas pairings and beer dinner events keeps the dining experience fresh and exciting.

Brooklyn's Backyard is one of the unique restaurants in Ocala, FL.
Brooklyn’s Backyard wins hearts with its unique blend of flavors and lively atmosphere.

6. Ivy House on the Square

Starting over a quarter century ago, Marjorie Hale, affectionately known as “Mimi,” had a dream. She transformed a historic 1912 French country home into a welcoming space for the community. Today, her vision and family have grown with Ivy House on the Square in Downtown Ocala, a place that feels like home for many.

With its move to downtown, Ivy on the Square became one of the best places to eat in Ocala, FL. The new location, a charming 1890s Victorian home, blends modern tastes with a 1900s vintage aesthetic. The Speakeasy theme chosen for this spot perfectly marries the old with the new, creating a unique dining experience.

The restaurant features tall beamed ceilings and exposed brick walls, adorned with enlarged historical photos from the 1900s. Waiters in suspenders and bow ties add to the speakeasy vibe. Offering seating for around 150 people, the venue also boasts a chic outdoor dining area. The menu elevates southern hospitality with dishes prepared from scratch, including cage-free poultry and grass-fed wagyu beef.

Ivy on the Square offers a unique dining experience blending modern tastes with a vintage aesthetic.

7. The Black Sheep on Broadway

In the heart of downtown Ocala, The Black Sheep on Broadway stands out. It’s a cool spot with its own twist on food, plus a big choice of beers and wines. Think tasty bites from the sea and the land, unique sliders, and sandwiches that everyone loves.

It’s on the list of best restaurants in Ocala, FL for good reasons. The vibe is rustic, making you feel right at home the moment you step in. You can chill, watch some TV, pick songs on the jukebox, or even play some golden tee golf. And yes, there’s live music and karaoke too!

The menu? It’s like a flavor trip around the world. American, Asian, Cuban, Italian, French, Mexican, Cajun, and Greek tastes all mix up here. This place takes classic dishes and spins them into something new and exciting. So, if you’re up for discovering some deliciously different flavors, The Black Sheep on Broadway is your go-to.

The Black Sheep on Broadway offers a unique twist on food with a variety of beers, wines, and tasty bites.
The Black Sheep on Broadway offers a unique twist on food with a variety of beers, wines, and tasty bites. | https://www.theblacksheeponbroadwayocala.com/

8. Bank Street Patio Bar

Bank Street Patio Bar stands out in downtown Ocala with its expansive setup. This place is a marvel with its two bars and two patios, making it the largest of its kind in the area. It’s designed to welcome everyone, from large groups to families, in a smoke-free, kid-friendly environment.

In the search for unique restaurants in Ocala for dinner, Bank Street Patio Bar shines brightly. Its vast space is matched by a diverse menu that features lighter fare like tacos, flatbreads, bowls, and salads. There’s even a special menu for kids, ensuring that every family member finds something to enjoy.

But Bank Street Patio Bar is more than just a place to eat. It’s a hub for entertainment, offering live music on a regular stage, making every visit a potential party. The restaurant’s layout includes a cozy indoor bar with large TVs and comfortable seating, ideal for groups. The outdoor patios provide a relaxed atmosphere with soft seating, perfect for enjoying the Florida weather.

Open every day, with extended hours on weekends, this bar and restaurant caters to the Ocala community with its unique blend of good food, ample space, and lively entertainment.

Bank Street Patio Bar shines with a diverse menu, including tacos, flatbreads, bowls, salads, and a special kids' menu.
Bank Street Patio Bar shines with a diverse menu, including tacos, flatbreads, bowls, salads, and a special kids’ menu.

9. Elevation 89

Bringing a fresh vibe to the Ocala National Airport is Elevation 89, offering a dining experience like no other. With a modern dining room and bar that overlook the tarmac, guests can enjoy their meals with a view of planes taking off and landing. It’s not just a meal; it’s an experience.

The team behind Elevation 89, led by Operations Manager Jeremy Zajac and Executive Chef Jeremiah Goodrich, has crafted a menu that promises both quality and value. They’re all about bringing unique dishes to the table, ensuring there’s always something new and exciting to try.

Among unique Ocala FL restaurants, Elevation 89 stands out for its breathtaking views and innovative “Flight Plan Menu.” This spot is perfect for aviation enthusiasts and anyone looking for a meal with a view. Plus, their “Sunday Fly-In” brunch offers a buffet that’s as impressive as the planes on the runway.

Elevation 89 offers a unique dining experience with a modern dining room and bar overlooking the tarmac.
Elevation 89 offers a unique dining experience with a modern dining room and bar overlooking the tarmac. | Image Source: https://www.elevation89attheocalaairport.com/

10. Depot on Magnolia

Looking for fun restaurants in Ocala, FL? Depot on Magnolia is the place to be! It’s set in a cool, historic steampunk train depot right in the heart of Ocala. This spot is all about bringing people together for great food and drinks in a unique setting.

They serve up some amazing dishes like truffle fries, infused with white truffle oil and Parmesan, served with a side of Dragon sauce. Yum! And it’s not just about the food; the vibe here is all about history, art, and culture.

Depot on Magnolia is open for lunch and dinner, with hours that make it easy to stop by. Whether you’re in the mood for a quick bite or a full meal, they’ve got you covered. Plus, the place is just adorable inside, making your meal even more enjoyable. Don’t forget to save room for dessert – everything’s homemade and totally delicious.

Depot on Magnolia is a fun spot set in a historic steampunk train depot.
Depot on Magnolia is a fun spot set in a historic steampunk train depot. | Image Source: https://depotonmagnolia.com/

11. Harry’s Seafood

Harry’s Seafood in Ocala is a treasure trove for seafood enthusiasts. Nestled in the bustling heart of downtown, this spot is famous for its fresh catch and Southern flair. From crab cakes to lobster linguine, and shrimp and grits, every dish promises a burst of flavor.

The restaurant is a go-to for locals and visitors alike, offering daily specials that keep the menu exciting. Plus, with a full bar, you can pair your meal with the perfect drink. Whether you’re in the mood for a specialty cocktail or a craft beer, Harry’s has you covered.

For those seeking the best food in Ocala, FL, Harry’s Seafood is a must-visit. It’s not just the quality of the seafood that sets it apart; it’s the care in preparation and the Southern touches that make each dish stand out. With options for everyone, Harry’s Seafood is where good food and great times come together.

Harry's Seafood is a treasure trove for seafood enthusiasts, offering fresh catch and Southern flair.
Harry’s Seafood is a treasure trove for seafood enthusiasts, offering fresh catch and Southern flair.

12. Mojo Grill and Catering Company

A standout spot in Ocala, Mojo Grill and Catering Company is known for its vibrant atmosphere and delicious food. With locations on East Silver Springs Boulevard and 17th Street, each spot is decked out with cool, music-themed decor, including a full drum set hanging from the ceiling!

In the mix of Ocala FL’s best restaurants, Mojo Grill really shines. The menu is a fun blend of Hispanic, American, Caribbean, and Cajun dishes. Think roasted pork, empanadas, shrimp and grits, and tacos, all bursting with flavor. Plus, they offer over 20 different wing sauces to choose from.

Whether you’re in the mood for tacos, quesadillas, or just some tasty wings, Mojo Grill has it all. Each dish is made fresh and is sure to leave you wanting more. And if you’re not in Ocala, no worries! They also have locations in Belleview and Leesburg, each carrying the same eclectic vibe and tasty menu.

Mojo Grill and Catering Company is one of the unique restaurants in Ocala, FL.
Mojo Grill and Catering Company stands out for its vibrant atmosphere and delicious food featuring cool, music-themed decor.

Frequently Asked Questions About the Unique Places to Eat in Ocala, FL

Check out our Ocala FL restaurant guide for answers to all your dining questions in this vibrant city.

What food places are unique to Florida?

Florida is known for its vibrant mix of cultures, which reflects in its unique food places. You’ll find Cuban, Caribbean, and Southern influences throughout the state. In Ocala, the mix includes spots like Mojo Grill for a fusion of flavors. For seafood lovers, places like Harry’s Seafood highlight fresh catches with a Southern twist. These spots offer a taste of Florida’s diverse culinary landscape.

Ocala is popular for its beautiful natural springs, such as Silver Springs, known for clear kayaking. It’s also famous for horse farms and equestrian trails. The city’s rich history, outdoor activities, and scenic places in Ocala FL to eat make it a unique destination. Ocala’s charm lies in its blend of natural beauty, history, and vibrant dining scene, attracting visitors year-round.

What is the signature food of Florida?

Florida’s signature food is the Key Lime Pie, known for its tangy lime flavor, creamy texture, and graham cracker crust. Seafood also plays a big part in Florida’s culinary identity, with fresh catches like shrimp, crab, and grouper being popular. In Ocala, you can enjoy these flavors at local seafood restaurants, offering dishes that celebrate Florida’s bounty from the sea.

Where can I find scenic places in Ocala FL to eat?

Ocala boasts several scenic dining spots that combine great food with beautiful views. For an unforgettable dining experience, look for restaurants near Silver Springs or along the Ocklawaha River. These locations offer serene water views. Elevation 89, located at the Ocala International Airport, provides a unique backdrop with planes taking off and landing, making it one of the scenic places in Ocala FL to eat, perfect for those staying in Florida.

What are some cheap eats in Ocala FL?

Ocala offers a variety of cheap eats in Ocala FL that don’t skimp on flavor. From food trucks serving up tacos and burgers to cozy diners offering classic American fare, there’s something for every budget. Local markets and delis also offer affordable, fresh options. Look for daily specials and happy hour deals at local restaurants for the best value.

Waffle House diner is an iconic diner serving comfort food classics in a cozy atmosphere.
Waffle House diner is an iconic diner serving comfort food classics in a cozy atmosphere.

How can I experience fine dining in Ocala FL?

For those looking to splurge on a meal, fine dining in Ocala FL is represented by restaurants that offer gourmet experiences with a focus on quality and presentation. These establishments often feature locally sourced ingredients, innovative dishes, and exceptional service. Look for restaurants with chef-driven menus that highlight Florida’s seasonal produce and seafood for a memorable fine dining experience.

What outdoor activities can I enjoy in Ocala?

Ocala, one of the top places to live and visit in Florida, is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. You can explore the beautiful Silver Springs State Park, go horseback riding at one of the many equestrian trails, or hike in the Ocala National Forest. The area is also great for bird watching, fishing, and kayaking in its crystal-clear waters. Ocala’s outdoor activities showcase the natural beauty of Florida.

Can I find international cuisine in Ocala?

Yes, Ocala’s dining scene includes a variety of international cuisines. From authentic Italian and Mexican restaurants to Cuban, Asian, and Mediterranean eateries, there’s a world of flavors to explore. These restaurants offer an opportunity to enjoy global dishes without leaving the heart of Florida. Whether you’re in the mood for sushi, pasta, or tapas, Ocala has a spot for you.

What are some family-friendly dining options in Ocala?

Ocala is home to many family-friendly dining options that cater to all ages. Places like Mojo Grill offer a lively atmosphere with a diverse menu that’s sure to please everyone, from kids to adults. With spacious seating, kid-approved dishes, and a welcoming vibe, these restaurants make dining out with the family a fun and stress-free experience

Final Thoughts On Unique Ocala, FL Restaurants

We hope you enjoyed exploring the flavors and sights of Ocala through our Ocala FL restaurant guide. From scenic dining spots to budget-friendly eats and fine dining experiences, Ocala has something for everyone.

Whether you’re a local or just visiting, this guide aims to help you discover the best of what Ocala’s culinary scene has to offer. Remember, there’s always a new dish to try or a hidden gem to uncover in Ocala. So, keep this guide handy and get ready for your next delicious adventure in our vibrant city. Happy eating!

The top restaurants in Ocala, FL for all types of travelers
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