This time of year there’s always something going on and it’s not always possible to get everything done and get dinner on the table. I’m always looking for new, local places to try, rather than the corporately held restaurants, so when I passed by this little place, tucked out of the way, and the lights were on, we stopped in. Oasis Restaurant in Ocala, is located on Hwy 200 a couple of miles west of I-75 The decor is kitschy-diner and the whole restaurant was completely decorated for Christmas; from the red plastic table cloths, to the red plastic curtains with Santa, holly, wreaths and ornaments everywhere – it might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but we enjoyed the humor of it.
They’ve got a pretty large menu with lots of choices. Entrees from meatloaf to spaghetti to salmon (although I’m not really sure why they called it “Pink Salmon”, is there another kind? Lots of sandwiches and an extensive breakfast menu. The place was deserted, but it was pretty late and I’m guessing this place is a big hit with the nearby retirement community. The kitchen was completely visible from the restaurant and immaculate – the server and the chef were both very friendly and very accommodating.
My daughter, Haley decided on the “pink salmon” which came with a mango chutney and she opted for the California blend vegetables and mashed potatoes. It was a nice dish. I would have preferred the chutney be warmed up a little – it was quite chilled, but it was tasty. I was pleasantly surprised by the fresh vegetables that were cooked perfectly and still had a crunch. To be honest, I expected frozen vegetables and these were definitely fresh. The mashed potatoes were hot and delicious – very home made.
I opted for the BLT on sourdough bread and I was delighted! A generous portion of crispy, thick bacon, sliced beefsteak tomato and crunchy iceberg lettuce, with just the right amount of mayonnaise. The bread was lightly toasted and perfect. The coleslaw was pretty good (but I’m very particular about my slaw) and the pickle was perfect. I really felt like I was in an old time diner and I was quite happy.
The real star of the dinner however, was my son’s Monte Cristo. This was the real thing. Perfectly cooked French Toast, turkey, ham and swiss all melty and gooey with a side of raspberry preserves – this was delicious! I really can’t stand the way this sandwich has evolved into a deep fried mess – this was a throw back (again) to the authentic, diner, Monte Cristo. Served with mashed potatoes and gravy, and another one of those great pickles. I had more than one bite of the sandwich and the potatoes and my son just about licked his plate clean.
Clearly the sandwiches are the stars here, although there were no complaints from my daughter about her fish. The place was super reasonable, friendly, immaculate and more than worthy of a second visit.
Ocala, Florida 34481
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