So because Gainesville is home to the University of Florida (GO GATORS!, no but seriously, everyone here is obsessed), we’ve found that there are some really amazing restaurants. I will try to attempt to critique our visits –
When we first visited, we went to Dragonfly – which happens to be a REALLY good sushi restaurant here in North Central Florida. Its a really hipster place, there are a lot of trendy people that decide to go there, i guess because its downtown. They even serve lychee martini’s! Made us feel back in NYC. Their drink menu is awesome and I have to say, i’ve had some good sushi before and this place is definitely my #2 favorite of all time. The food is so fresh, and if you like spicy, this is your spot. They have a huge selection of Sushi that can be customized anyway you would like. The way they serve their dishes is tapa style, so the sushi menu is a full menu, but all of their entrees are small dishes. It’s just enough. Their Crunch roll is fantastic, the dragonfly short ribs are amazing, the tuna flatbread is a super spicy pizza-like dish, and much much more. (I cant even remember right now what else we’ve eaten). The only downsides – the wait can be long if its a busy weekend evening, and the lighting inside is kinda dark.
the next place we tried was called Amelia’s – not much to say about this place, it was pretty mediocre and the food wasn’t that wonderful. It was a “home cookin” feel but nothing luxurious for downtown Gainesville. The chef came up and introduced himself, which was nice, but overall we weren’t thrilled. The wine selection was good though.
One of my personal favorite spots is called Bistro1245 (no website just a menu). They are managed by the same people that manage Leonardo’s. I love this place because they have really great presentation for their food, which by the way is really delicious. They use really fresh cheeses and i LOVE cheese – haha. I love their house salad with grilled chicken, they bring it out with goat cheese clumps on top and sliced pears. The flavor just flows so nicely together. Dave got the fish tacos and said they weren’t that good, but i have yet to try them. The sandwiches are really good, i got the smoked turkey club a few times and added a cheese to it. YUM! they’re a bit pricey but other than that – so good.
AHHHH… Emilianos… what can i say? Great wine selection, awesome paella. Agreed with my tummy but not my special gentlemen friends :-p… the place is nice, great vibes. The dolce de leche dessert is the best i’ve had in a while, its so sweet and moist. buuuuuuut their tea selection could use some work, with regular tea their only option.
SISTERS is a place in the Haile Plantation Village owned by these two sisters that cater (Olive you eat well!) and it was really good. We went for Dave’s birthday with my parents when they were visiting. Being that it is in Haile, it was so enjoyable because Haile is so cute and upscale. The food came out – Great presentation, “homesque” vibe in the restaurant, and bottom line great food selections. Its worth a try. It was kinda pricey, but for a Birthday or celebration its worth it. Their lemon cake is ridiculously good. their Lemon cake > Red Velvet. Take it from us.
annnnnnd the bagel cravings started around the 2nd week in Gainesville. The Bagel Bakery has gourmet spreads, fresh delicious bagels and a selection of sandwiches that are to die for. And whats even better is they give – They serve Guatemalan Coffee and i believe they send a lot of their proceeds to guatemala for children in need. I will find out details next time i go.
So i heard about Embers from reading Gainesville magazine and hearing about the “Iron Chef Gainesville” event they did to try to raise money for something – and the chef of Embers came and cooked head to head with another in the community. That being said, i knew it was worth trying. The food at Embers was beyond my expectations. We had 3 courses for goodness sake – we don’t usually do that….. lol. We got 2 desserts when we usually NEVER get dessert. Suffice it to say that I had heartburn from these donut things i ate for dessert with chocolate on them… OUCH. (WORTH IT). We both got steaks, and really, i mean really, liked them. Their baked macaroni and cheese is mouth watering. AHH….
Back when we just visited Gainesville for the first time we were told about The Top. We seriously needed to get the EFF out of our apartment and so we went out and got delicious burgers at this place. The bill came out to like 12 bucks. YEA!!!!!!!…. seriously. SCORE
We tried out Ichiban Sushi and to be quite honest I really didn’t like it. I got more out of Dragonfly… it was a nice vibe though because it was very japanese and definitely had a huge variety of menu choices including chinese food and even with Korean BBQ which made Dave all giddy. Maybe next time i’ll get something else? I got a special that i forgot the name of already and then a grilled salmon roll, the cooked salmon killed it for me. Dave’s korean BBQ was good though, he got some kind of stew.
Our favorite thus far i think is The Warehouse. Its in an old warehouse that was redone and has a hipster feel. It’s classy and they serve delicious cocktails (I had a caipirenha and dave had a dirty warehouse) Calamari was a bit overcooked but still good, the sauce for it was so mysterious and yummy. Dave got chicken curry with jasmine rice and I got Atlantic Salmon with Jasmine Rice. Both were so light, fresh, and full of flavor. They were both not too over the top and both of us felt good when we left. No heartburn tonight! haha. Prices were normal, it was definitely great, and we can’t wait to return.
Thats all we’ve tried so far, other than chain restaurants like Moe’s, Chipotle, Five Star Pizza (BLEH) and others. I shall keep updating!
Until then, more home cooked meals!