Authentic Peruvian cuisine is only short drive from Ocala

A Belleview restaurant only minutes away from Ocala is serving up authentic Peruvian food six days a week.

Off the Hook, which celebrated its third year in business earlier this year, has brought a different flavor to a location that had previously been a couple different restaurants in the last decade.

Located on Highway 441 (10901 US-441) in Belleview, the restaurant is situated in the Annie’s Plaza complex, on the opposite end of the development from Jade Pagoda.

Off the Hook in Belleview, FL
Off the Hook is located in Annie’s Plaza in Belleview (10901 US-441)

The menu is a collection of authentic, traditional Peruvian favorites and boasts an extensive collection of fresh seafood prepared in basic, but delicious ways.

The most well known of these seafood dishes is the Peruvian national dish, ceviche, which is typically made from fresh raw fish that is cured in lemon or lime juice. Off the Hook offers a few variations of the dish, which is served fresh, giving diners the choice of pescado (fish), shrimp, seafood, or a general mix.

Seafood is a staple of Peruvian cuisine, and, like in most dishes from Latin America, is combined with rice, beans, cilantro and spices to create wonderfully colorful and flavorful dishes. There is no better example at Off the Hook than their arroz con mariscos (rice with seafood), which combines large pieces of fish, shrimp, and calamari with a risotto-style of rice.

Arroz con mariscos at Off the Hook
Arroz con mariscos at Off the Hook

The menu is filled with entrees that are prepared in each and every way, including stewed, stir-fried, grilled, and deep-fried.

One of the most popular variations, served with either pollo (chicken) or churrasco (skirt steak), is “a lo pobre,” which translates as “to the poor.” It includes a well-seasoned piece of meat that is grilled and accompanied by two fried and slightly scrambled eggs, as well as the ever-popular tacu tacu, which is a common Peruvian side that features a combination of rice and beans that are mashed together and seared.

Churrasco a lo pobre with tacu tacu
Churrasco a lo pobre with tacu tacu and fried eggs.

Peruvian style stir fry and fried rice that have combined tastes and techniques with Chinese Cantonese culinary traditions are known as Chifa, and Off the Hook offers a collection of these types of dishes. The restaurant’s stir fry dishes are prepared using woks and their fried rices are prepared in a similar fashion to traditional Chinese fried rices.

Stir fried chicken with rice at Off the Hook
Stir fried chicken with rice at Off the Hook

Off the Hook is closed on Monday, but open every day from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., closing at 8 p.m. on Sunday. If you take a trip there soon, share your photos with us!

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