Latinos Y Mas offers contemporary Latin fusion cuisine with flavor to savor and broad appeal.
Story by David Moore
Photos by Chris Redd
Contemporary Latin fusion cuisine with a Mediterranean flair is how Latinos Y Mas describes the food it serves at the popular local restaurant on South Pine Avenue.
It really is the perfect description. Chef Maria Pozo takes traditional Latin dishes and adds her own special flare to them. That flare, that unique touch, is what helps set Latinos Y Mas apart from other restaurants. Add to that the great service and friendly staff and you’ve got quite a combination.
The restaurant was totally renovated three years ago, giving it a fresh, contemporary look and doubling its seating capacity. This increases your chances of getting a table during the busy dinner hours.
My wife, Beth, and I visited on a recent weekday night and the parking lot was full of cars. This is also a great spot for lunch.
Our waitress was friendly and attentive and met us with chips and salsa. That homemade salsa is so fresh and chunky; you can’t help but like it. They make about 10 gallons of the salsa a day.
You may have a hard time deciding from the great menu. Will you choose from the Latin dishes or from the Mexican side of the menu?
That kind of variety, says owner Webster Luzuriaga, is what has made the restaurant so successful. A large family, or a big group of friends or coworkers, can dine here with everyone finding something they will like.
Webster and Fatima Luzuriaga are the owners and managers of Latinos, which opened in Ocala in 1991. This is truly a family operation since Chef Maria Pozo is Fatima’s mother. Maria and Fatima head up the kitchen while Webster oversees day-to-day operations. Other family members are also employed here.
Webster suggested Jalea de Mariscos for an appetizer. This Peruvian dish was fantastic! A mountain of fried calamari, shrimp, yuca and fish, served with a relish of tomatoes, onions and limejuice, plus a chipotle based sauce for dipping. That tasty sauce, like all the sauces, dressings and salsa here, are made by Maria and her staff. And luckily for us, they sell some of them for consumption at home.
Next up were our salads. We both went with Latino’s Avocado Salad. It’s served with avocado, hearts of palm, tomatoes, red onions, cucumbers, black olives and crumbled feta cheese on a bed of mixed greens. Make sure you try the 2030 Dressing, a garlic based dressing from its famous 2030 Salad, named after its address at 2030 S. Pine Ave.
Next, we ordered the Pollot Mediterraneo and the Churrasco Criollo con Camarones for our entrees, per Webster’s suggestion.
Pollo Mediterraneo is a grilled chicken breast with feta cheese, artichoke hearts, sun-dried tomatoes, and fresh basil leaves with lemon butter white wine reduction. It was served with roasted vegetables. What a wonderful, flavorful dish this is.
Churrasco Criollo con Camarones is a char grilled steak, shrimp and vegetables served with rice, sweet plantains & Argentinean Chimichurri sauce. This was another winning combination. My steak was tender and flavorful, but it was made even better with the chimichurri sauce. I think in the future, I’ll have a side of that sauce with whatever I order. That’s just how good it is.
The plantains were perfect and could easily be your dessert. But when you have Tres Leche Cake, Flan, Passion Fruit Mousse Delight, and a chocolate Tuxedo Bombe to choose from, it can be hard to resist. Webster said the restaurant has tried to offer something different, but customers won’t hear of it.
I can see why. That passion fruit dessert is delicious and has a unique flavor that you will love. But you’re also sure to enjoy Tres Leche Cake, a sponge cake covered with three milks. It’s a sweet way to end your meal and it’s a cold dessert so it’s perfect for the summer.
And at the end of the night, if you still find yourself thinking about that salsa or the chimichurri sauce, you can take some home with you.
If You Go …
Latinos Y Mas
2030 South Pine Avenue, Ocala