Discover great eats with our guide to the best restaurants in Gainesville, Florida. From burger joints to wineries, Gainesville has it all!

Best Restaurants In Gainesville, Florida

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.

Appetizer of Plantain Chips with black bean hummus, mango salsa, and guacamole from The Top, one of the best restaurants in Gainesville
Appetizer of Plantain Chips with black bean hummus, mango salsa, and guacamole.
Triple Cheese Burger with white cheddar, aged provolone, and smoked Gouda.
Triple Cheese Burger with white cheddar, aged provolone, and smoked Gouda.
Chocolate cheesecake from The Top in Gainesville
Chocolate cheesecake
Peanut butter cake from The Top
Peanut butter cake

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.

Carne Asada Bowl from El Indio, one of the best restaurants in Gainesville, Florida
Carne Asada Bowl

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.

Flight of soda at Satchel’s Pizza one of the best restaurants in Gainesville
Flight of soda
large salad at Satchel’s Pizza
This salad is huge!
One regular slice of pizza and one Satch Pan slice
One regular slice of pizza and one Satch Pan slice

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.

Smoked fish dip with homemade tortilla chips
Smoked fish dip with homemade tortilla chips
Fried Shrimp with collards and cornbread
Fried Shrimp with collards and cornbread

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!

Krab Wontons from Dragonfly Sushi, one of the best restaurants in Gainesville
Krab Wontons
Black Dragon roll
Black Dragon roll
Spider roll from Dragonfly Sushi in Gainesville
Spider roll
Tempura Fried Cheesecake
Tempura Fried Cheesecake

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!

Bailey's Irish ice cream in a homemade waffle cone
Bailey’s Irish ice cream in a homemade waffle cone

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.

Wine tasting in Gainesville, Florida
Wine tasting
We really enjoyed our tour of the winery!
We really enjoyed our tour of the winery!
blueberry flavored vodka!
They even make blueberry flavored vodka!

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.

Lots of beer choices at Swamp Head Brewery
Lots of beer choices
Learning all about how beer is made at Swamp Head Brewery
Learning all about how beer is made at Swamp Head Brewery

Final Thoughts On The Best Restaurants In Gainesville

In conclusion, there is no shortage of great restaurants in Gainesville. That’s what makes it one of the best cities to visit in 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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Discover great eats with our guide to the best restaurants in Gainesville, Florida. From burger joints to wineries, Gainesville has it all!

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  1. Carol Colborn says:

    I would love to taste that burger with all that lovely cheese melting on top! And I’ve never heard of rolling ice cream. I hope there is a place for steamed crabs and other seafood that isn’t fried!

    1. Hi Carol, Blue Gil did have plenty of options that weren’t fried. 🙂

  2. Well I hope you are happy, I gained 5 pounds reading your post 😉 I would so go for the shrimps, sushi and rolled ice cream! It’s a Thai thing become in vogue right?

  3. Everything sounds so delicious. Plaintain chips, sushi, ice cream…all some of my favorites. I hope to make it to Gainesville so I can try some of these tasty treats.

  4. I never knew there were such great restaurant in Gainesville. Thank you for sharing.

    Looks like you and Buddy are having fun. I hope that you and Buddy have a Merry Christmas.

  5. Tempting photographs there. What would be closest to the local food in Gainesville? You said there are vegan options in all these places but did you find any good vegan only restaurants too there?

    1. Hi Anu, we were not looking for vegan only restaurants so we can’t really say but with so many restaurants in Gainesville we’re sure there are some.

    2. Anu, we have lots of vegan only restaurants as well as desserts and bakeries. My two favorites even though I’m a meat eater are curia on the drag (they have food and a bakery on site) and karma cream (sandwiches, ice cream, and baked goods are all vegan). There’s also a truck called vegan gator that is supposed to be extremely good

  6. Good choice with Bailey’s Irish ice cream. If I can get that in a freshly made waffle cone, I am a happy bunny. That ice cream…hmmm, not sure how that would be. With ice cream and wine, I largely stick to the tried and tested.

  7. Whoa! Gainesville has certainly come a long way. I’m from Florida and used to pass through there quite often, back in the ‘olden days’ of the 80s. I certainly don’t remember seeing fabulous sushi available, that looks absolutely scrumptious!

  8. The food looks amazing! The sushi and plantain chips ……… yes! Thanks for sharing. So good to know which restaurants are good before heading to a place.

  9. The pictures of the Bailey’s ice cream and the peanut butter cake are embedded in my mind now. Have to go out looking for something similar today 🙂 Don’t you just love desserts?

  10. You had a lot of Gainesville, didn’t you? All these yummy treat for my stomach alone, oh my word, I can’t just get over the frenzy. Starting with The Top and ending with a wine tour at Island Grove Wine Company, I might just literally live in Gainesville

  11. Seems like a foodies heaven. 🙂 The rolled ice cream looks good. Would love to watch being made. I do remember seeing something similar in Eastern Europe but I forgot what it was.

  12. This is a lovely guide and I am sure I will not go hungry if I stick to this in Gainesville! The desserts looked quite tempting. I am also fascinated by the rolled ice cream. Looks great and the way it is made looks so interesting.

  13. You had me at peanut butter cake and I died at rolled ice cream. WHAT EVEN IS THAT? Booking a trip to Gainesville ASAP!

  14. Even though we lived in Florida for a few years, we never made it to Gainesville! I think that was one of the few areas of the state we didn’t get a chance to visit. We will have to check it out when we make it back to FL again—all of these restaurants look really great! Blue Gill Quality Foods sounds really delicious. I would love to have some of that shrimp! Would love to try the rolled ice cream too—yum! The winery looks fun too and I like that they have more than wine. Always fun to have a variety of local goods available!

  15. Gainesville has become quite an upscale town from its roots as a college town. We have enjoyed a few places together including the Dragonfly Sushi. I’m still amazed at how many breweries are there in Gainesville but then again, I shouldn’t really be surprised with all the college students looking for something to drink besides Gatorade. 🙂

  16. Did you try karma cream ice cream? Excellent spot

    1. Hi Josh, we haven’t yet! Thanks for the recommendation though, we’ll try and go there the next time we’re in the area. 🙂

  17. The second dessert from the top is on their menu as peanut butter pie. Wanted to clarify for your readers as they do sometimes also carry a peanut butter cake and it’s very different (but still good)

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