Gaineville is the biggest city in North Central Florida and a popular college town, with the University of Florida here. If you’re looking for a great place to eat in Gainesville, you won’t be disappointed. There are plenty of wonderful Gainesville restaurants to choose from and in this post, we’ll be looking at the best in the city.
Whether you’re in the mood for some tasty barbecue or a delicious seafood meal, you’ll find it here. And if you’re looking for a place to grab a quick bite, there are also plenty of fast food options available.
No matter what your taste buds are craving, you’re sure to find something to satisfy them in Gainesville. Bon appetite!
Booking a last-minute trip to Gainesville?
If so, we have you covered. Here are some top recommended tours and experiences!
Top Tours in Gainesville
Butterfly Rainforest At Florida Museum (Crab Island has been my favorite experience in Destin!)
Glass Bottom Guided Kayak Eco Tour (2-Hour Clear Kayak Tour In Gilchrist Blue)
Rodman Reservoir Fishing Trips (Florida Wildlife Tour Near Gainesville)
Unique Scavenger Hunt Experience (Adventurous Scavenger Hunt Around Gainesville)
Top Hotels In Gainesville
Hotel Effie Sandestin – (Top Rated Hotel With Lots Of Activity Options)
The Grand Sandestin – (Best Rated Hotel In Destin)
Hyatt Place Sandestin – (Hotel Near Miramar Beach Destin)
Holiday Inn Express Destin E – (Highly Rated Budget To Mid Range Hotel)
Looking To Get Around In Gainesville?
Check out rental car rates here! 🚗
Gainesville Restaurants- 20 Places You Must Try!
1. Embers Wood Grill
Embers Wood Grill is a high-end steakhouse serving a broad range of surf ‘n turf dishes. Embers is also the only USDA Prime Cut steakhouse in all of Gainesville and their meat comes from the finest, regionally harvested produce.
The restaurant’s open pit wood-burning grill adds that extra smoky and charred flavor to their chops, which they are known for.
Their open courtyard and the fine wine list all add to the experience that is Embers Wood Grill!
Address: 3545 SW 34th Street, Suite A
Hours: Monday to Thursday 5 pm to 10 pm; Friday and Saturday 5 pm to 11 pm; Sundays closed
2. Satchel’s Pizza
Satchel’s is one of the oldest and most loved pizza places in Gainesville. This quirky and artsy restaurant first opened doors in 2003 and has a beautifully curated space that is a feast for all senses.
Satchel’s Pizza is known for its live music, homemade sodas, the special Satch salad and thick crust pies.
The building features stained glass windows, outdoor seating in a van, and an outdoor playground which was made by the architecture students of the University of Florida!
Address: 1800 NE 23rd Ave
Hours: Tuesday to Saturday 11 am to 10 pm
Photo Credit- Harry’s Restaurant
3. Harry’s Seafood Bar and Grille
Harry’s Seafood Bar and Grille is an important place in Gainesville’s dining history. What started out as primarily a seafood market in 1987, is today one of the most visited, New Orleans-inspired restaurants in the city.
They serve a wide variety of classic and modern dishes influenced by Creole, Southern and Cajun flavors.
Their jambalaya, crab cake Cardinale and signature cocktails are a hit. Harry’s is a hip joint and is the place to go to if you are looking for a fun time with friends or family.
They also have special happy hours so check those out before you go!
Address: 110 SE 1st Street, Unit A
Hours: Sunday to Thursday 11 am to 9 pm; Friday and Saturday 11 am to 10 pm
Photo Credit- Yummy House
4. Yummy House
Yummy House is one of the best Chinese restaurants in the Gainesville, Florida area. The restaurant first opened up in Tampa and is owned by two restauranteurs – John Zao and Tommy Tang – both originally from Toishan, China.
The authentic Cantonese flavors served at Yummy House are hard to find elsewhere. Their salt and pepper dishes are the bestselling items off the menu – whether you like it with tofu or calamari!
Yummy House is perfect for those looking for a delicious meal without having to pay a lot. The restaurant is kid friendly as well – making it the perfect place for a family dinner or a quiet date spot.
Address: 3102 SW 34th St.
Hours: Monday to Saturday 11 am to 2:30 pm, 5 pm to 9:30 pm; Sundays 5 pm to 9 pm
5. La Tienda
La Tienda is an authentic Mexican food joint mixing innovation with tradition. Eating here is as close to Mexico as you will ever get, sitting in Gainesville!
This is one of the very few places that serves authentic Mexican food in the city. Their tamales and menudo are to die for – and the burritos paired with a glass of red make for the best Sunday lunch you can imagine.
What is even better is that they also sell Mexican products and groceries like Mexican bread, fresh meats, pinatas, and more. So in case you ever want to have a South American-themed party, you know where to look!
Address: 2204 SW 13th Street
Hours: Monday to Thursday 11 am to 9:30 pm; Fridays and Saturday 11 am to 10 pm; Sundays 11 am to 9 pm
Photo Credit- Vegan Gator/Facebook
6. Vegan Gator Food Truck
If you have been looking for delicious vegan food in Gainesville, your search will end at the Vegan Gator Food Truck.
Their dedication to serving plant-based delicacies translates to lip-smacking dishes that even meat eaters frequently come back for!
Their artisanal burgers and smothered fries are two of the hottest-selling items on their menu. What is even better is that all their fresh produce is sourced locally and their sauces are made in-house. Meaning, waste-free, fresh, and healthy food for days!
Address: 220 NW 8th Ave
Hours: 12 pm to 7 pm; Sundays and Mondays closed
Photo Credit- Mojo BBQ
7. Mojo Hogtown Bar-B-Que
Mojo Hogtown Bar-B-Que has been running since 2003 and has several outlets across north and central Florida.
Mojo is known for its barbeque delicacies inspired from across the States. So whether it is the Texan smoked barbeque briskets or the vinegar-based pulled pork barbeque from North Carolina – they have it all!
The restaurant is pet friendly and also has a lavish bar with a choice of craft cocktails, signature whiskeys, and much more.
Try out the Frito Pie, Delta Catfish Platter, North Carolina Pork and Nashville Hot Chicken when here – you will not be disappointed!
Address: 12 SE 2nd Ave
Hours: Sunday to Tuesday 11 am to 9 pm; Wednesdays and Thursdays 11 am to 10 pm; Fridays and Saturdays 11 am to 11 pm
8. Northwest Grille
Northwest Grille is one of the oldest, family-run restaurants in Gainesville which opened its doors to the public in 1996.
This casual eatery is known for its specialization in seafood and serves some of the best seafood delicacies in the entire city.
The smell of seafood wafts through the door the moment you enter this restaurant. Beer battered “drunken grouper” and the miso-glazed yellowtail are two dishes you must not leave Northwest without trying!
They also have a special weekend brunch which is worth trying out. Their vegetarian options are aplenty, and they also have a full bar menu that features small-batch liqueurs, local craft beer, wine, and a lot more.
Address: 5115 NW 39th Ave
Hours: Monday to Wednesday 11 am to 9 pm; Thursdays and Fridays 11 am to 10 pm; Saturdays 10 am to 10 pm; Sundays 10 am to 9 pm
Photo Credit- Bay Islands Coffee
9. Bay Islands Coffee Company
Bay Islands is perhaps the oldest and most loved coffee shop for all of Gainesville. It is a small building located bang in the middle of a parking lot, making it very hard to miss!
The coffee shop is more of a cute hut with a pleasant outdoor seating area. Bay Islands Coffee Shop has been serving coffee since 1997 and has a broad menu selling iced coffee, hot chocolate, smoothies, small bites, and a lot more.
People’s favorite at Bay Islands is definitely their Cuban coffee and “Frozen Monkey” – a must-try if you ever find yourself there!
Address: 3270 SW 35th Blvd
Hours: Monday to Friday 7 am to 6 pm; Saturdays 8 am to 6 pm; Sundays 8 am to 5 pm
Photo Credit- The Swamp Restaurant
10. The Swamp Restaurant
The Swamp Restaurant is the go-to place to unwind after a hectic football game. Located in very close proximity to the Football Field and the University of Florida campus at Gainesville, it is no surprise that game days are usually jam-packed here, mostly with Florida Gators supporters and college students.
This iconic place has a full bar and a massive flat-screen TV, making sure it remains happening throughout the week!
The Swamp serves a wide range of eclectic dishes from the classic burger to hummus platters, crab cake sandwiches, paninis, and a lot more. But in case you prefer a quiet cozy evening, you might want to skip this one out!
Address: 1104 SW 2nd Ave
Hours: Monday to Thursday 4 pm to 11 pm; Fridays and Saturdays 11 am to 2 am; Sundays 11 am to 11 pm
11. Dragonfly Sushi and Sake Company
If you are someone who digs fine dining and authentic, innovative Asian cuisine, there is no better place than Dragonfly Sushi and Sake Company for you.
This sophisticated contemporary restaurant is best known for its…well, sushi and sake but is also quite famous for its izakaya.
Izakaya is Japan’s version of tapas or shared plates. Do not also forget to try out their incredible sashimi and robatayaki while here.
Their yellowtail and beef tataki pesto is also worth trying. Dragonfly’s dedication to fresh produce and creative dishes and drinks easily translates to it being one of the best restaurants in Gainesville without a doubt.
Address: 201 SE 2nd Ave #104
Hours: Sunday to Thursday 5 pm to 10 pm; Fridays and Saturdays 5 pm to 11 pm
12. Crane Ramen
Speaking of Japanese food… If you are the kind to indulge in craft ramen and slow-cooked traditional Japanese food, Crane Ramen might just become your go-to spot.
Crane Ramen’s secret for so many happy stomachs is definitely in the noodles they use. Their dens and thin Tonkotsu-style noodle and the yellowish Tokyo Wavy noodle both work extraordinarily well with their masterfully flavored slow-cooked broths.
If you are a vegetarian, they have over eight varieties of mushroom ramen waiting to be devoured. But for the meat eaters, there are several kinds of chicken, pork, and egg ramen listed on their menu – the shoyu ramen being one of their bestsellers!
Address: 16 SW 1st Ave
Hours: Tuesday to Thursday 5 pm to 10 pm; Fridays and Saturdays 11 am to 4 pm, 5 pm to 11 pm; Sundays 11 am to 4 pm, 5 pm to 10 pm; Mondays closed.
Photo Credit- Flaco’s
Photo Credit- Amelia’s
14. Amelia’s Italian Restaurant
For all the Italian food aficionados in Gainesville, the one stop you must make while in the city is at Amelia’s Italian Restaurant.
This restaurant has been serving Northern Italian delicacies for over 30 years now in the downtown Gainesville area.
At Amelia’s, each dish is made from scratch using freshly sourced ingredients. Some of their most popular dishes that are worth trying include the Crostini NY, Surf and Turf Adriatico, Lobster Ravioli Alfonso, and Linguini Bolognese.
What is even better is that on the “Amelia’s TV” section of the restaurant’s website, Chef Andy Fass regularly uploads step-by-step recipes to make some of their best dishes from the comfort of your home!
Hours: Tuesday to Sunday 5 pm to 8 pm; Mondays closed
Photo Credit- Afternoon Restaurant
Afternoon is a casual, counter service restaurant known for its famous, massive brunches ongoing throughout the week.
This restaurant makes the classic big fat American brunch possible, without having to wait for Sunday to grace its presence!
Afternoon serves the freshest, most decadent pastries, perfectly poached eggs, and some nontraditional brunch items as well including shakshuka, mushroom tartine, homemade sodas and a lot more.
All of this, with a glass of wine or beer, and you, have yourself a complete, fulfilling meal! Not only are their brunches to die for, but they also often host indie events such as pop-ups and flea markets to keep the community engaged and entertained, all the while supporting small business owners.
They also have “after dark” dinner menus every Friday and Saturday.
Address: 231 NW 10th Ave
Hours: 9 am to 3 pm; Wednesdays closed
Photo Credit- Halo Potato Donuts
16. Halo Potato Donuts
Halo Potato Donuts is Gainesville’s very own independent donut and coffee shop running out of a food truck.
The owner of Halo Potato Donuts, Drew Stuerman, describes potato donuts as the in-between of yeast and cake donuts with the lightness of the yeast, yet the density of the cake.
The Lemon Blueberry and the OG donuts here are bestsellers. Their donuts are made fresh daily and are a Gainesville staple.
So if you are looking for a very local, authentic Gainesville experience, Halo Potato Donuts is a must-do!
Address: 1323 S Main St
Hours: Wednesday to Sunday 7 am to 10:30 am; Mondays and Tuesdays closed.
Photo Credit- Flying Biscuit
17. The Flying Biscuit Café
If you are an all-day breakfast fanatic, the Flying Biscuit Cafe is the place you must go. This Southern-inspired laid-back chain was first opened in Atlanta in 1993 and has since expanded to over 25 locations throughout the States!
They are known for the variety of biscuits they bake throughout the week. But their different styles of eggs, bacon, waffles, pancakes and a lot more reminds you of the comfort of a homely breakfast available all through the day!
Address: 4150 NW 16th Blvd
Hours: Monday to Friday 7 am to 2:30 pm; Saturdays and Sundays 7 am to 3 pm
Photo Credit- Hana Sushi
18. Hana Sushi
Hana Sushi is one of the finest sushi bars for a true culinary delight in all of Gainesville. Their fusion Asian cuisine comes with exotic flavors and special sauces making each bite better than the last!
The authenticity of the Japanese cuisine here is unmatched. Some of their most popular dishes include sashimi sushi, shrimp hibachi, salmon teriyaki, and the chicken katsu box.
Address: 3147 SW 45th St Ste 10
Hours: Sunday to Thursday 11 am to 10 pm; Fridays and Saturdays 11 am to 11 pm
Photo Credit- Paramount Grill
19. Paramount Grill
Paramount Grill offers fine dining and has over 20 years of experience serving patrons across Gainesville.
They have separate menus and timings for brunch, lunch, and dinner and each meal is impeccable, to say the least.
The restaurant still serves the legacy Chef Clif Nelson left behind after passing away in 2020. The true stars off their menu are the Angus lobster filet, good morning burger, crab cake benedict, and lobster with smoked gouda omelet.
Address: 12 SW 1st Avenue
Hours: Tuesday to Thursday 11 am to 1:30 pm, 5 pm to 9 pm; Fridays 11 am to 1:30 pm, 5 pm to 9:30 pm; Saturdays 5 pm to 9:30 pm; Sundays 10 am to 2 pm
Photo Credit- Beque Holic
20. Beque Holic
Bequw Holic is a premium Korean barbecue place in Gainesville where you can immerse yourself in authentic Korean food and culture.
They have all-you-can-eat options, as well as combos serving a wide range of carefully crafted meats and seafood including pork belly, beef bulgogi, and squid.
The restaurant has a big space where big groups and parties can be accommodated easily – a rare find in the restaurant culture at Gainesville.
Though they do not have the traditional floor seating most Korean restaurants do, they have electric grills for each table where you can cook your own meats and eat it wrapped in lettuce with kimchi or paired with ramen soup – however you like!
Address: 3812 Newberry Rd
Timings: Monday to Thursday 4 pm to 10 pm; Fridays and Saturdays 11:30 am to 11 pm; Sundays 11:30 am to 10 pm
Closing Thoughts: Gainesville Restaurants- 20 Places You Must Try!
As you can see, Gainesville has a wide variety of restaurants to choose from, whether you’re looking for a quick bite or a sit-down meal.
Whatever your taste, you’re sure to find something to suit your needs in Gainesville’s eateries.
So next time you’re in town, be sure to check out some of the great Gainesville Florida restaurants!
If you’re looking for more activities to do in Central Florida, then visit Clermont, which is 2 hours south of Gainesville!
Book Your Next Trip! For Accommodations and short-term rentals, I recommend Booking.com as they are the best in the business when it comes to rates and places to stay.
To Book Activities- For activities, I suggest booking with Viator, they have thousands of 5-star activities to choose from!
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