Discover great food with our guide to the best restaurants in Gainesville, Florida. You’ll find everything from burger joints to wineries!
**A big thank you to Visit Gainesville for suggesting such great establishments. Although they covered the cost of some of our meals, as always, all opinions are our own.**
Best Restaurants In Gainesville
With so many things to do in Gainesville, we know you’re bound to get hungry eventually. But don’t for a second think that, because Gainesville is a college town, all you will find to eat is fast food. In fact, you will find quite the opposite. Gainesville is a foodie destination, with incredible eateries and restaurants that cater to all food preferences. Below we list some of our favorite restaurants in Gainesville.
Note: If you’re looking for vegan restaurants in Gainesville, most of the places listed here have plenty of vegan options.
Best Burger In Gainesville
Our very first meal in Gainesville was a memorable one. We had dinner at The Top which is considered one of the best places to eat in Gainesville. It’s in the heart of downtown, with a laid back atmosphere and amazing food. Get there as they open because it does get packed!
We had a plantain chip appetizer and a triple cheese burger that had us drooling. The Top is known for its burgers and it is easy to see why. The burger was juicy and the smoked Gouda complimented it well. We also had two desserts because we couldn’t decide on just one! Both the chocolate cheesecake and peanut butter cake were fantastic.
Best Mexican In Gainesville
El Indio has been around since1991, and its no wonder because they have amazing food. It’s definitely one of the best restaurants in Gainesville. In fact, it’s so popular that they have two locations!
During our visit, we got an appetizer of guacamole. It was so good; we could tell it was fresh! Our main meal was a Carne Asada Bowl that came with marinated steak, guacamole, salsa, cheese, black beans, rice, and lettuce. We thought the steak was really well flavored and everything went together nicely. It was a large bowl though, and even though we were loving every bite, we could only eat about half and saved the rest for later.
Best Pizza In Gainesville
This quirky establishment is a little further from the center of town, but people gladly make the drive to go to Satchel’s Pizza. It looks small when you first drive up, but then you realize that there’s a lot more to it in the back, including a stage for live music and a playground for the kiddies. They even have an old van that you can eat inside of (yes, it has AC).
While you’re figuring out what to order, you can look around and admire stained glass windows made by Satch himself as well as art made by local residents. Satchel’s makes their own soda (which we ordered a flight of) and offers many vegan options. We chuckled when we heard people go to Satchel’s just for the salad, until we tried it and decided it’s one of the best salads we’ve ever had.
And the pizza… we ordered one regular slice and one Satch Pan slice. The Satch Pan has a thicker crust which borders, but isn’t quite, a deep dish pizza. The crust of the regular slice had a really nice crunch to it and we loved the fluffiness of the thicker slice, so we liked both styles a lot.
Best Seafood In Gainesville
Serving only the freshest seafood, Blue Gill Quality Foods will leave you wanting more. They have a great selection of food inspired by southern style cooking and made from the best local ingredients. For an appetizer we had the smoked fish dip which we thought had the perfect amount of smokiness. We also liked that the chips were homemade. For our main meal we had fried shrimp with collards and cornbread. The shrimp had a nice crunch to them and the cornbread was nice and fluffy.
Best Sushi In Gainesville
Without a doubt, the best sushi in Gainesville can be found at Dragonfly Sushi. The restaurant itself is really nice, with both indoor and outdoor seating and a bar perfect for socializing. The food though… we’d go back to Gainesville for the wontons alone! They were crispy and when you bit into them the flavorful just exploded in your mouth. They were amazing!!
We also had a Black Dragon Roll and Spider Roll, both of which were delicious. We completed our meal with Tempura Fried Cheesecake and ice cream. Each spoonful tasted like heaven!
Best Ice Cream In Gainesville
To indulge our sweet tooth, we found two places to get great ice cream in Gainesville! For traditional ice cream we recommend Sweet Dreams Homemade Ice Cream. Their ice creams are made with the highest quality ingredients and they have a ton of different flavors. They also make their own waffle cones. We chose the Bailey’s Irish ice cream and it did not disappoint. The creamy and decadent flavor had our taste buds doing a happy dance!
Best Wine In Gainesville
Just outside of Gainesville is Island Grove Wine Company. At 200 acres, they have the largest organic blueberry farm in the state and specialize in blueberry wines. From start to finish, everything is done on property; from fermentation to bottling. Even their labels are designed in-house!
Visitors can tour the winery itself or stop by their tasting house. We thought the tasting house was really nice; there were comfy chairs to relax and a small shop to buy wine related trinkets. At the tasting house, we headed straight to the counter, though, and started our wine tasting. We sampled a few of their berry wines and loved the smooth textures and sweet flavors.
We must note that Island Grove also has much more than just wines. Visitors can also sample and purchase various local honeys, salad dressings, salsas, and amazing oils & vinegars.
Best Beer In Gainesville
We may not be beer drinkers, but we can recognize a great brewery when we see one. Swamp Head Brewery is a fun place to chill and hang out with friends. It’s considered one of the best breweries in Florida.
When you stop in for drinks, see if a tour of their facility is available. They’re a lot of fun and include a beer in one of their limited edition tour pint glasses.
Final Thoughts On The Best Restaurants In Gainesville
In conclusion, there is no shortage of great restaurants in Gainesville, Florida. With so many options, we hope that this post with our favorite restaurants will inspire you to pay this foodie city a visit. Trust us, you won’t go home disappointed!
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