Best Restaurants In Gainesville, Florida

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!

 

Best Restaurants In Gainesville

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.

 

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 restaurants in Gainesville Florida

Appetizer of Plantain Chips with black bean hummus, mango salsa, and guacamole.

best burger in Gainesville

Triple Cheese Burger with white cheddar, aged provolone, and smoked Gouda.

best dessert places in gainesville

Chocolate cheesecake

best dessert places in Gainesville

Peanut butter cake

 

Pro Tip: If you’re looking for vegan restaurants in Gainesville, most of the places listed here have plenty of vegan options.

 

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 seafood in Gainesville

Smoked fish dip with homemade tortilla chips

best seafood in Gainesville

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!

 

best wontons in gainesville

Krab Wontons

best sushi in Gainesville

Black Dragon roll

best sushi in Gaineville

Spider roll

Tempura Fried Cheesecake in Gainesville

Tempura Fried Cheesecake

 



 

Best Pizza In Gainesville

We will say it is a bit difficult to choose who has the best pizza in Gainesville because restaurants around town make their pizzas in different styles. We did do our best to sample a few pizzerias though, and you can read the following post to see who we thought were the best pizza places in Gainesville.

 

Big Lou's NY style pizza

Big Lou’s NY style pizza

 

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!

 

For something a little different, try Mr. Cool. Here, they make Thai-style rolled ice cream. If you haven’t tried rolled ice cream yet, you are definitely missing out! Not only is it fun to watch them make it, but the flavors combinations are endless. They have a menu you can choose from, or you can create your own. We chose the Monkey Business (of course!) which had a vanilla ice cream base along with fresh bananas and Nutella.

 

best ice cream in gainesville

Bailey’s Irish ice cream in a homemade waffle cone

best rolled ice cream in Gainesville

Rolling the ice cream

Monkey Business rolled ice cream with bananas and Nutella

 

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. 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 wine in Gainesville

Blueberry flavored vodka

wine tasting in Gainesville

Wine tasting

wine making facility

The state-of-the-art 10,000 sq. ft. winery

best wine in Gainesville

It’s wine o’ clock somewhere, right?

 

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. They’re also all about Florida, which we love. 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.

 

Swamp Head Brewery

Swamp Head Brewery

Lots of beer choices at this Gainesville 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, Florida. You can even take a food tour in Gainesville to get to know more of the local eateries! With so many great 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!

**A big thank you to Visit Gainesville for suggesting such great establishments. Although they covered most of the cost of our meals, as always, all opinions are our own.**

 

20 Comments
  • 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!

  • 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?

  • Melissa says:

    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.

  • John says:

    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.

  • Anu says:

    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?

    • Buddy says:

      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.

  • I have never been to Gainesville, but if I ever go, I will know where to eat! Thanks!

  • Shweta says:

    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.

  • 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!

  • Mags Nixon says:

    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.

  • 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?

  • Lydia Smith says:

    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

  • Nisha says:

    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.

  • 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.

  • lia garcia says:

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

  • Jenna says:

    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!

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Hi! I'm Vicky, a South Florida-based blogger traveling around the world with my stuffed monkey Buddy. Tired of the 9-5, we recently sold all of our stuff and started traveling full time. Click on the photo to learn more!

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