Pepe’s – Three Peppers

Pepe’s is probably a 2 pepper restaurant. In fact, it’s a great place for lunch with friends or co-workers. It has a typical menu with a few specialties. But Pepe’s offers something more.

What makes this a great restaurant for a date is the mystique. This is one of those special gems, where you have to have a password to get in. A friend whispers the directions. You wear sunglasses for the drive over. So Romeo’s here’s your line: “You like Mexican food? I know a great little place.”

Let me explain. Pepe’s is a grocery store, complete with cereal, meat, fresh bread, and cd’s from Mexican bands. But in the back of the store, past the bread, and an invisible barrier that scares the Olive Garden crowd away, and just about the time your date grabs your arm, you’ll be seated in a tastefully decorated restaurant with delicious food.

Pepe’s offers a mix of Mexican dishes from tacos and enchiladas to savory meat and Spanish rice. The recipes are very authentic with a personal twist. Refried beans come with a crumble of queso for color and flavor. I had a great dish with steak slathered in a spicy tomato sauce. Warm corn tortillas came on the side.

The salsa is fresh and spicy. Not too hot, with plenty of onion and cilantro. The chips are thick and crunchy and go perfectly with a glass of horchata, a sweet rice water beverage. Pepe’s is knows for having particularly good horchata. If you want to go all the way to Mexico, try the syrupy guava juice. It comes with a glance from the waitress. I think I heard the kitchen stop when I ordered it.

I always get the sense that this is a big family operation, because the servers are so friendly. They will happily explain anything on the menu. Their accent and tone is very reassuring for those who gave up bread sticks and marinara.

Go to Pepe’s. Have an adventure. Travel to a little store on the outskirts of town. And step into a delicious world all its own.

7915 W Highway 40
Ocala, FL 34482
Google location is incorrect. Take 40 past I-75. On right, before intersection of SW 80 Ave.
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Published in: | on July 19th, 2008 | Comments Off on Pepe’s – Three Peppers

Latinos y Mas – Three Peppers

I simply cannot recommend this restaurant any higher. I take my wife here for special occasions. Sometimes we just go for lunch. The menu offers plenty of choices of North American Mexican dishes, as well as South American Columbian dishes. Perhaps their is no real line, but I divide the menu like I would at a fine restaurant — steak on one side, hamburgers on the other.

So too with Latinos y Mas. The Columbian dishes have more of the old world influence with black beans and yellow rice. While the Mexican dishes are typical of other Mexican restaurants and consist of ground beef, refried beans, and enchilada sauce, and always come in large cheesy portions.

You should know that I have never ordered the same dish twice, and I have never been disappointed. Each and every dish has been excellent. So far my personal favorites have been pollo con arroz, a savory chicken served in yellow rice with bell peppers, and pollo something I can’t remember, a flattened chicken breast that is breaded with coconut and served with a sweet glaze.

As soon as you are seated, expect tortilla chips and fresh salsa compliments of the house. The second order is added to your bill. The salsa is the finest quality. Fresh tomatoes, onions, and cilantro make a crisp, light taste that will have you double dipping in no time. It uses chopped tomatoes as a base, instead of tomato paste.

The decor is simple and clean. Booths and tables are available. The dining area is cramped, but can accommodate larger groups easily. If there are any shortcomings, I’ve only noticed when dining in a pair during lunch rush.

The servers are always friendly and sharp looking in their bright white shirts. Most speak English very well.

2030 S Pine Ave
Ocala, FL 34471

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Published in: | on April 22nd, 2008 | Comments Off on Latinos y Mas – Three Peppers
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