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“Something of a disappointment” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Carmine's Cafe

Carmine's Cafe
8810 SW Highway 200, Unit 115, Ocala, FL 34481-7824
352-854-1000
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Ranked #17 of 377 Restaurants in Ocala
Cuisines: Italian
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Restaurant details
Dining options: Reservations
Description: Telephone: 352-854-1000 This is the best kept secret in Ocala!!
Quebec City, Canada
Senior Contributor
44 reviews 44 reviews
25 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 21 cities Reviews in 21 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
“Something of a disappointment”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed October 25, 2013

As a snowbird, I come to Ocala often. Arrived recently and heard a lot about how good Carmine's Cafe was supposed to be. Last week I went alone for lunch, returned last night with friends for supper.
There's absolutely nothing about the exterior of Carmine's to suggest anything exceptional about the food inside: the place is in a 50's strip mall along the highway, sandwiched in among several very ordinary establishments.The inside is a little more inviting, although there has been minimal effort in giving the place an appealing look. Through an open door in the back of the room, customers can see planks and scraps of wood that do little to inspire a relaxed dining experience. Already, there is a marked difference with restaurants in Sicily, where the aesthetic aspects are taken very seriously
For lunch, I had the eggplant parmigiana along with a salad and house dressing. The parmigiana was quite good, although a little salty, and the house dressing a little sweet for my taste. Overall, the experience was positive and the price reasonable, so I planned a return visit to try the supper menu.
For supper, two of us ordered the veal marsala, and another friend tried the chicken parmigiana. Not particularly wanting the house dressing on my salad, I asked the waitress to simply bring me the oil and vinegar and I would dress the salad myself.
The waitress did a poor job, bringing the chicken parmigiana and two chicken marsala plates. My salad came with the house dressing in spite of my request.
After sending back the chicken marsala, I finally got my veal marsala, and was not impressed. The meat was not of the highest quality, cut too thick, and overcooked. The sauce with mushrooms was, on the other hand, outstanding. The pasta underneath was overcooked and tasteless. With the meal, I ordered a glass of chianti, which turned out to be of average quality, a generous quantity, but a little too warm. A lot of restaurant owners are starting to understand that red wine is better served a little cooler than room temperature: the owner of Carmine's should give this a try.
On their website, Carmine's proudly invites: Come and taste the best that Sicily, and now Ocala, has to offer! After numerous exceptional experiences in Sicilian restaurants, I have to say that I was disappointed in Carmine's.

  • Visited October 2013
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Food
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89 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    60
    18
    5
    2
    4
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Pompano Beach, Florida
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
6 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
“Awesome again”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 19, 2013

Second time in area, second time to Carmine's! Wicked good! Service excellent! Great pour on wine. Food consistent!

  • Visited September 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Livingston, TX
Top Contributor
181 reviews 181 reviews
142 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 84 cities Reviews in 84 cities
59 helpful votes 59 helpful votes
“North Jersey Italian Taste”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 16, 2013

The best puttanesca in Florida. Everything prepared as requested. Sort of like being a guest in an Italian home, everyone has a smile and you will eat too much. Very kind with the wine. Be careful of the seasoned oil for bread dipping, you will have to ask for more bread and oil. We discovered Carmines a few months ago and love it. Bringing a large group for a family celebration this Friday.

  • Visited October 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
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Ocala, FL
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
8 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
“Unexpected find, great Italian food!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 9, 2013 via mobile

Food and service were outstanding, grouper franchese and spaghetti with meatballs. Great pour on the wine. Everyone was very friendly. Music was fun and could sing along.

  • Visited September 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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Ocala, Florida
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 restaurant reviews
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
“Awesome meal, huge portions!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 14, 2013

This is our favorite restaurant in Ocala. Angelo gives huge portions, serves delicious, authentic Italian meals, and has very reasonable prices. Eating here is fun and always a delight!!

  • Visited July 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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