Where to Eat in Gainesville: The Best Restaurants and Bars

April 14, 2018 Kandra Bartel

Home to the University of Florida, the largest and oldest university in the state, as well as the Santa Fe Community College, Gainesville is a hub of education and culture. Perhaps due to its strong student population, the city is also at the heart of independent music in Florida, having produced numerous musical acts from a variety of genres. The natural surroundings, including parks, lakes and the adjacent Paynes Prairie State Reserve provide a green getaway from the bustle of city life.
Things to do in Gainesville

1. Manuel's Vintage Room

6 S Main St, Gainesville, FL 32601-6215 Reservations, Seating, Waitstaff, Wheelchair Accessible, Serves Alcohol, Accepts American Express, Accepts Mastercard, Accepts Visa, Digital Payments, Accepts Discover, Accepts Credit Cards Italian, European, Vegetarian Friendly, Gluten Free Options Dinner SGD 26 - SGD 33 +1 352-375-7372
Excellent
84%
Good
10%
Satisfactory
4%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 314 reviews

Manuel's Vintage Room

Reviewed By nabeab - Miami

Manuel the owner welcomed us! We had a good glass of reistling and arugula salad, snails, lobster ravioli and the gnoccis. We were full for dessert but every single dish was excelent! Tiny, cute place. I recommend to reserve in advance!

2. Bangkok Square

6500 SW Archer Rd, Gainesville, FL 32608-4785 Takeout, Seating, Waitstaff, Parking Available, Wheelchair Accessible, Serves Alcohol, Reservations Asian, Thai, Vegetarian Friendly, Vegan Options, Gluten Free Options Lunch, Dinner +1 352-375-4488
Excellent
75%
Good
20%
Satisfactory
3%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 192 reviews

Bangkok Square

Reviewed By karen0706 - Severn, Maryland

Our dinner here was excellent. I had chicken and shrimp with vegetables in a red pepper sauce and my husband had the Pad Kee Mao combination of beef, chicken and pork. The entrees were delicious and beautifully presented. The atmosphere is quiet and comfortable, and service is friendly and efficient.

3. Paramount Grill

12 SW 1st Ave, Gainesville, FL 32601-6244 Takeout, Seating, Waitstaff, Parking Available, Street Parking, Wheelchair Accessible, Serves Alcohol, Wine and Beer, Accepts American Express, Accepts Mastercard, Accepts Visa, Reservations, Accepts Credit Cards American, Fusion, Gluten Free Options, Vegetarian Friendly, Vegan Options Lunch, Dinner, Breakfast, Brunch +1 352-378-3398
Excellent
75%
Good
16%
Satisfactory
7%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 290 reviews

Paramount Grill

Located in the vibrant and historic Downtown Gainesville, Florida, the heart of the city. For over 10 years Clif Nelson, chef and owner of Paramount Grill, has been serving unique and innovative cuisine. Our wait staff is attentive without being intrusive. We use only the best, freshest ingredients and most everything is house made including our desserts. We serve beer and wine, of which there is a nice variety and is reasonably priced. FREE valet parking available Tuesday-Saturday starting at 6 p.m. and on special holidays.

Reviewed By Florida-Traveler-US - Tallahassee, Florida

Paramount Grill has very unique dinners that contain layers of flavors. One of us had the kangaroo filet (a first for us) and the meat was tender and slightly nutty tasting. I had the shrimp and lobster over black pasta, also very good. Another member of our party had the duck. All dinners were tremendous. One dinner had mushroom ravioli, another had arugula ravioli. Of course, there are always other items in the dinners, such as asparagus or mushrooms. For dessert, we enjoyed the chocolate tart (silky smooth) and the blueberry cheesecake. Their wine list has depth to it so there is always something available to complement the meal. While the Paramount is pricy, we try to go at least once a year for special occasions. We love the valet parking.

4. Embers Wood Grill

3545 SW 34th St, Gainesville, FL 32608-2775 Reservations, Outdoor Seating, Private Dining, Seating, Waitstaff, Parking Available, Wheelchair Accessible, Serves Alcohol, Full Bar American, Steakhouse, Grill, Vegetarian Friendly, Gluten Free Options Dinner, Late Night SGD 39 - SGD 39 +1 352-380-0901
Excellent
75%
Good
16%
Satisfactory
7%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 519 reviews

Embers Wood Grill

Reviewed By paintergurl - High Point, North Carolina

We were celebrating a special occasion dinner and we all agreed that this restaurant was the best choice available in Gainesville. We were happy with the wine list. Nice ambiance if a tiny bit too dark. Wait staff was professional, although some might think perhaps a bit too familiar. The arugula beet salad was excellent and so were all the other appetizers we tried. Fish was okay. Lamb shank was very good but I would recommend ordering it with regular sweet potatoes instead of the lobster mashed potatoes (just would have been a better combination).

5. Satchel's Pizza

1800 NE 23rd Ave, Gainesville, FL 32609-8925 Takeout, Outdoor Seating, Seating, Waitstaff, Parking Available, Highchairs Available, Wheelchair Accessible, Serves Alcohol Italian, Pizza, Vegetarian Friendly, Vegan Options, Gluten Free Options Lunch, Dinner, Late Night SGD 3 - SGD 31 +1 352-335-7272
Excellent
67%
Good
22%
Satisfactory
8%
Poor
2%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 1 reviews

Satchel's Pizza

Reviewed By Kent H - Raleigh, North Carolina

Fun place. Funky. Really liked it we had great wait staff. Real good pizza. Make what you want. You have to try all their flavors of home made soda. Plus good desserts. Cookies apple cheese cake. Worth the wait Nd visit

6. Blaze Pizza

3617 SW Archer Rd, Gainesville, FL 32608-2412 Takeout, Outdoor Seating, Seating, Parking Available, Highchairs Available, Wheelchair Accessible, Serves Alcohol Italian, Pizza, Fast Food, Vegetarian Friendly, Vegan Options, Gluten Free Options Lunch, Dinner +1 352-377-6644
Excellent
67%
Good
27%
Satisfactory
4%
Poor
2%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 223 reviews

Blaze Pizza

Reviewed By Mike C - Clearwater, Florida

Ordered the meat lovers pizza and was not disappointed at all. The pizza was delicious and flavorful; cooked to perfection. The person(s) taking my order was friendly and attentive. Prices are reasonable. The clientele are mostly students but that didn’t stop this 57 year old man from experiencing this place for the first time. Would return if I lived in the area.

7. Piesano's Stone Fired Pizza

5757 SW 75th St # 101, Gainesville, FL 32608-5504 Takeout, Seating, Waitstaff, Parking Available, Television, Highchairs Available, Wheelchair Accessible, Serves Alcohol, Full Bar, Free Wifi, Delivery, Reservations Italian, Pizza, Vegetarian Friendly, Vegan Options, Gluten Free Options Lunch, Dinner +1 352-371-8646
Excellent
63%
Good
26%
Satisfactory
9%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 261 reviews

Piesano's Stone Fired Pizza

There are now two locations in gainesville with excellent pizza and italian offerings.

Reviewed By Thomas M - Gainesville, Florida

This little restaurant located in The Hunters crossing shopping center is a delicious spot for Everything Italian. My favorite meal is Chicken Picata. It’s a delightful blend of your favorite pasta and a tangy lemon caper sauce the Chicken pieces are so tender. They serve wonderful yeast rolls with a vinegar/olive oil dressing. PS their pizzas are amazing.

8. Dragonfly Sushi & Sake Co Incorporated

201 SE 2nd Ave, Gainesville, FL 32601-5811 Takeout, Outdoor Seating, Seating, Waitstaff, Television, Wheelchair Accessible, Serves Alcohol, Full Bar Japanese, Sushi, Asian, Vegetarian Friendly, Vegan Options, Gluten Free Options Lunch, Dinner, Late Night SGD 39 - SGD 39 +1 352-371-3359
Excellent
62%
Good
26%
Satisfactory
9%
Poor
2%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 472 reviews

Dragonfly Sushi & Sake Co Incorporated

Reviewed By Wizrapp - Gainesville, Florida

We were not the best candidates to eat at Dragonfly but the reviews were so good, that we had to check it out. We made our way through the very extensive menu and found things that we liked--I have a shellfish allergy so that means shrimp, crab, etc. are off limits, and my husband doesn't like that anyway. And salmon has to be eliminated--bad reactions to that. So although I wanted to venture out and try the tuna sushi, I decided against it, especially since my husband doesn't like it and we wouldn't be sharing.

He's also anti-vegetable but fortunately, he likes peppers so we had those, a bowl of white rice, and the wagyu beef plate and the chicken breast skewers. Very tasty!!! So if you're into beef or chicken, there's something for you, although depending on your appetite, you might want to order times 2. We were fine, but had plenty of room for dessert.

We ordered the ice cream--requested 2 scoops of strawberry and one scoop of vanilla, and also it was so delicious, fresh and creamy. We asked our waitress about this and she said it's made fresh in-house. Very yummy! Also had a glass of cava and it was also delicious.

So check out Dragonfly. Cool decor, delicious food and great people-watching in downtown Gainesville.

9. The Top

30 N Main St, Gainesville, FL 32601-5322 Parking Available, Highchairs Available, Takeout, Outdoor Seating, Seating, Waitstaff, Street Parking, Free Off-Street Parking, Television, Wheelchair Accessible, Serves Alcohol, Full Bar, Accepts American Express, Accepts Mastercard, Accepts Visa, Accepts Discover, Accepts Credit Cards American, Bar, Fusion, Vegetarian Friendly, Vegan Options, Gluten Free Options Lunch, Dinner, Brunch, Late Night SGD 13 - SGD 26 +1 352-337-1188
Excellent
64%
Good
27%
Satisfactory
6%
Poor
2%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 603 reviews

The Top

the TOP / prepped daily / fresh & local ingredients / see you soon

Reviewed By AlbertAlberta2012 - Gainesville, Florida

Very creative menu, good vegetarian options, big bar, a very popular dining spot for Gainesville. Get there before 6 pm if you want to avoid a wait. Managed to hit happy hour, and then munched on a variety of appetizers which were all good. We each had something different for the main meal, they do have a taco night which is quite fun. It's popular for a reason, worth the trip.

10. Metro Diner

2132 SW 34th St, Gainesville, FL 32608-1204 Takeout, Seating, Waitstaff, Parking Available, Highchairs Available, Wheelchair Accessible American, Diner, International, Contemporary, Vegetarian Friendly, Vegan Options, Gluten Free Options Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Brunch +1 352-353-2889
Excellent
61%
Good
26%
Satisfactory
9%
Poor
3%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 272 reviews

Metro Diner

Reviewed By mikeinflorida1507 - DeLand, Florida

Visited the Gainesville location Saturday before Easter. We were in town for a UF baseball game, and had breakfast before the game. I had the meat lover's omelette with hash browns and a biscuit. HUGE omelette! Big portion of hash browns, and the most dense biscuit ever. There was a bit of a wait to get seated, but not too bad. Others in our group had the biscuits and gravy, and eggs benedict, and the child in our group had the chocolate chip pancakes. Everyone was totally satisfied. Server was excellent too.

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