Florida Life - Dining in Florida
Ocala restaurants take it up a notch
Stella's in Ocala boasts an array of pastries.
Not so long ago, diners in Ocala were thrilled when the town added an Indian restaurant and sushi to a menu long on chains and fast food. The town's formerly limited palate is hard to remember walking off the old downtown square into Stella's Modern Pantry, with modern steel racks packed with sleek cookware, aged balsamic vinegars and the latest Joseph Joseph accessories. The coolers are filled with vacuum-packed steaks, rare salamis and artisan cheeses: Cotija from Oaxaca, Mexico; Cowgirl from California; and Sweetgrass from Georgia. Plus a rainbow of jewel-shaped pastries from Albert Barrett. And, of course, very cool cupcakes.
Stella's is not just for shopping. You can grab a modernist seat and dine on artichoke flatbreads and French cheese plates, prosciutto and serrano ham, fig bread and peppadew peppers.
Ocala now boasts three Indian restaurants, two wine bars, a Brazilian steakhouse, two farmers markets each week, sushi galore and home-grown Great American Coffee Roasters. And a thoroughly authentic French restaurant, La Cuisine, with the farmhouse tarte tatin, chocolate mousse and daring combinations like foie gras on gingerbread.