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Gainesville, Florida


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21 replies to this topic

#1 VivreManger

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Posted 25 March 2005 - 02:16 PM

Judging from the absence of posts -- almost none - - Gainesville is the pits. There is ball and chain central on Archer and Newberry Roads and a few pretentious over-priced steak houses like Porters and Mark's US Prime.

The only places that seem worth trying are Newberry BBQ, Juniors for soul food, (1218 N. Main St. 371-8008, HOURS: 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily), and Emiliano's downtown, for Latin American/Caribbean.

In terms of my own food preferences, my first choice is always to find what is distinctive to the area I am visiting. Thus no chains, no sushi, unless it is directly on a coast, and no East or South Asian cuisine, unless there is a substantial community of that origin. Since I have lived much of my life in New England, I rarely eat Italian unless I am in Italy.

I have to go there in about two weeks for a quick visit. I wonder if I should simply brown-bag it for 48 hours.

#2 joiei

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Posted 25 March 2005 - 02:43 PM

Gainesville exists only because of the college. I would not expect anything other than places catering to the college crowd. It if is cheap and plentiful seem to be basic drivers for this group and can they drink plenty of beer with it. So I would go with the bbq places and ethnic and college budget types of places. I would not try to find fine dining beyond chains. Have fun.
It is good to be a BBQ Judge.

#3 joiei

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Posted 25 March 2005 - 02:51 PM

suggestion, try to find the hottest hangout and check it out.
It is good to be a BBQ Judge.

#4 crouching tyler

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Posted 25 March 2005 - 03:33 PM

Emiliano's downtown, for Latin American/Caribbean - This was good when I was there in the first half of the 1990's. :unsure:

If large, guacamole laden burritos are your sort of thing, there was a place called Burrito Brothers - fresh ingredients - good stuff. I can only hope it still exists. It's within 1 block of campus.

There was good food to be found when I was there. And I didn't frequent the chains. It was certainly not high cuisine, and the university certainly dominates the community. But university towns often contain hidden jems - you just have to get off the beaten path to find them. I wouldn't write Gainesville off completely.

If I had been back since 1995, I would have more advice for you. Good luck.
Robin Tyler McWaters

#5 robyn

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Posted 25 March 2005 - 04:56 PM

We go to Gainesville 2 or 3 times a year for an overnight. To go to festivals - visit friends - etc. We were there last weekend. It isn't New York - it isn't even Jacksonville. But I don't think you have to brown bag it. We ate at Steve's Cafe Americain last weekend. It was uneven (some things good - some things could have been better) - but interesting. And ambitious. Pleasant room. Good service (where else but a place like Gainesville will most of the staff be in the process of earning advanced degrees?). Certainly not what you'd expect in Gainesville. And it's hard to complain when the 4 course fixed price menu was about $25. Give it a try.

The place we went to trip before this one was very acceptable neighborhood Italian (Italian chef/owner was friends with our friends and perhaps that helped - he knew we weren't "pizza to go" types). Can't remember the name. Will find out if you'd like (won't spin my wheels if you rule out Italian). Robyn

#6 robyn

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Posted 25 March 2005 - 05:12 PM

Forgot to mention. Mr. Han's is a sentimental favorite of ours. We go there for dim sum (don't know the exact hours - we usually go on Sunday). Mr. Han's was a dump of a place with the best Chinese food in north Florida. It moved to swell new quarters - kind of a nightclub setting - about 20 years ago. The place looks dated now. But the dim sum is good (not world class but as good as any you'll find in the south). As for the Chinese-Chinese/American population - it's large in Gainesville. As in any university town.

Also - if you're on or near Campus at lunch - there's a nice buffet on one of the higher floors in the student union. It's the kind of place where faculty get together for lunches. Robyn

#7 Susan in FL

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Posted 28 March 2005 - 07:36 AM

I was glad to find this thread. I'm planning to be there for a workshop in May, and it's never too early for me to start researching on where I'll eat when I'm planning a trip!
Life is short; eat the cheese course first.

#8 VivreManger

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Posted 28 March 2005 - 08:17 AM

After I return, I will try to post my comments. On the agenda is Emiliano's, Juniors, Newberry BBQ, and Bistro Mediterranean Grill, though we may not hit all of them.

For your convenience,

Newberry BBQ Ten Miles out of town
(352) 472-7260 (352) 472-PORK (7675)
25405 W Newberry Rd
Newberry, FL 32669

Juniors Restaurant, 1218 N. Main St. 32601-4370 352 (371-8008) about a mile from 13th & University, at western end of campus
HOURS: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily


Emiliano's, 7 SE 1st Ave, 32601 Gainesville, 32601 - (352) 375-7381
http://www.emilianoscafe.com
Thu 11:30 to 10:00PM
Fri till 10:30

The Bistro Mediterranean Grill, (352) 873-7876 3500 SW College Road, Suite 400, Ocala, FL 34474

#9 Random Alias

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Posted 28 March 2005 - 11:54 AM

There are 3 food items I miss from my time in Gainesville.

1. Falafel King (#9 w/hot sauce)
2. Subs
3. Burrito Brothers


3 - Burrito Brothers - a Gainesville institution. It's still there, it will be there when you visit, it'll probably be there 20 years from now. That said, if you don't have fond memories of eating there (cheaply) while at UF, you won't be impressed. In the end, it's just a burrito.

2. Subs - they we're everywhere and better than any I've had since. There's something about Florida, and Gainesville in particular that means good subs.

1. Flafel King - The original was right next door to Burrito Bros, which was right across the street from campus. It's gone, but they opened a second store out a bit from campus. This is really the only thing I miss enough to go out of my way for should I ever end up in Gainesville.

Falafel King



I'm told by friend who still live there that Satchel's is supposed to be a pretty good pizza place. If you want upscale dining, you're in the wrong place.

http://www.satchelspizza.com/

#10 robyn

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Posted 28 March 2005 - 08:14 PM

I'll be interested to see what you think of Emiliano's. We only ate there once - during a downtown arts festival. Downtown was too crowded and the restaurant was pretty bad. But I'm not willing to make a final judgment about downtown restaurants when they're slammed like they are during an arts festival. Robyn

P.S. Re the place in Ocala. Ocala is about 40 miles from Gainesville. Do you have to go to Ocala - or is the place supposed to be worth an 80 mile round trip?

Edited by robyn, 28 March 2005 - 08:25 PM.


#11 VivreManger

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Posted 28 March 2005 - 08:52 PM

I'll be interested to see what you think of Emiliano's.  We only ate there once - during a downtown arts festival.  Downtown was too crowded and the restaurant was pretty bad.  But I'm not willing to make a final judgment about downtown restaurants when they're slammed like they are during an arts festival.  Robyn

P.S.  Re the place in Ocala.  Ocala is about 40 miles from Gainesville.  Do you have to go to Ocala - or is the place supposed to be worth an 80 mile round trip?

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I was puzzeled by the Ocala reference as well. Bistro appears under Gainesville and I think that it maybe some computer error. The place I am looking for is within the UF orbit since it was the choice of some faculty who wanted to meet there since it is close to campus. But the address I gave may be wrong.

Yours is the second bad notice about Emiliano's so I may drop it, rather than test it. Juniors may be better.

#12 robyn

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Posted 28 March 2005 - 09:32 PM

Bistro Mediterranean Grill looks interesting. But it's definitely in Ocala. Here's the web site. Robyn

#13 VivreManger

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Posted 28 March 2005 - 09:42 PM

Bistro Mediterranean Grill looks interesting.  But it's definitely in Ocala.  Here's the web site.  Robyn

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There may be a restaurant simply called The Bistro which got google-confused with the other one.

#14 egator

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Posted 03 May 2005 - 11:18 PM

Paramount, Dragonfly Sushi, Liquid Ginger, Amelia’s, Dinner, The Top, Steve’s, Leonardo’s 706, Café Gardens, Ivey’s, Mildred’s, Taste of Saigon II. That’s what immediately comes to mind. Granted they're not 4 star places, but I would choose them over brown-bagging it.

Ocala? Are you kidding me? You’re killing me! There is a hell of a lot more going on here than in Ocala (although I hear they have a good Indian place – of all things).

I'll admit these places do include Asian, Italian, etc. As far as distinctive to the area...ummm...booze, hotdog at gator game? :raz:

#15 jbzepol

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Posted 17 November 2007 - 07:32 AM

Paramount, Dragonfly Sushi,  Liquid Ginger, Amelia’s, Dinner, The Top, Steve’s, Leonardo’s 706, Café Gardens, Ivey’s, Mildred’s, Taste of Saigon II.  That’s what immediately comes to mind.  Granted they're not 4 star places, but I would choose them over brown-bagging it.

Ocala?  Are you kidding me?  You’re killing me!  There is a hell of a lot more going on here than in Ocala (although I hear they have a good Indian place – of all things).

I'll admit these places do include Asian, Italian, etc.  As far as distinctive to the area...ummm...booze, hotdog at gator game?  :raz:

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Sorry eGator..I have to disagree with you on the Ocala statement. While Gainesville may have a couple of restaurants (literally) that are decent but grossly overpriced (Mark's Prime and Paramount Grill), when it comes to more "pedestrian type food" (pizza, sandwiches, etc..) Ocala beats G'Ville hands down.

Compare Gainesville's Satchel's and/or Big Lou's Pizza (the only two worth a mention) between Ocala's Sammy's or Lorito's pizza...you can't; they're in a different league! Ocala wins.

Pizza is just one example. The reality is that there is no high-end food in Gainesville ("high-end" meaning quality and value). But all hope is not lost. While on the whole the food in this town (G'Ville) is nothing to blog about, there are pockets of the ethereal here and there. Gyros Plus, for instance, serves mediocre gyros/sandwiches; but I would put their hummus up against anyone in Florida, the U.S. or the Middle East for that matter.

I would comment on some of the restaurants on your list of "what immediately comes to mind", but I was told that "if you don't have anything nice to say...".

Eat Well,
-john

#16 nibor

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Posted 23 November 2009 - 08:13 PM

Bumping up an old thread: Has the restaurant situation improved at all in Gainesville?

#17 Kayakado

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Posted 03 December 2009 - 01:15 PM

Satchels Pizza on NE 23rd street is the best pizza or salad in all of central of northern florida. We drive the hour+ drive from Jax several times a year to eat there. We ride the 30 mile off road bike trail in the morning and hit Satchels for lunch. Just make sure it isn't a home game weekend or you'll have a loooooong wait to get a table. I had told friends Satchels food was better than sex and they scoffed at that idea until they ate there.

satchellspizza.com

#18 jbzepol

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Posted 07 December 2009 - 12:31 PM

Satchel's Pizza is wayyy overrated. They need to a higher gluten flour as that "snap" to the crust is missing entirely; also if you're expecting even the slightest hint of those wonderous blisters which only a high temp wood or coal oven can produce forget it! It does NOT exist in this town at all.
Blue Highway Pizza in Tioga Town Center is not artisan pizza by any means but in my opinion way better than Satchel's even despite their liberal use of cornmeal.

For Chinese South Garden in Haile Plantation blows the competition out of the water. Do not expect anything transcendental, menu wise, but on execution alone they are the best hands down.

La Tienda for Mexican food (and not Tex-Mex) is the G'Villes finest, although, El Indio is respectable has a drive-thru!

Mildred's Big City Food and Mark's US Prime are still the two powerhouses for "Fine Dining".
Ti Amo has slipped but, in all fairness, I have not been back in a while.

#19 jbzepol

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Posted 07 December 2009 - 03:31 PM

Satchel's Pizza is wayyy overrated. They need to SWITCH to a higher gluten flour as that "snap" to the crust is missing entirely; also if you're expecting even the slightest hint of those wonderous blisters which only a high temp wood or coal oven can produce forget it! It does NOT exist in this town at all.
Blue Highway Pizza in Tioga Town Center is not artisan pizza by any means but in my opinion way better than Satchel's even despite their liberal use of cornmeal.

For Chinese South Garden in Haile Plantation blows the competition out of the water. Do not expect anything transcendental, menu wise, but on execution alone they are the best hands down.

La Tienda for Mexican food (and not Tex-Mex) is the G'Villes finest, although, El Indio is respectable AND has a drive-thru!

Mildred's Big City Food and Mark's US Prime are still the two powerhouses for "Fine Dining".
Ti Amo has slipped but, in all fairness, I have not been back in a while.

#20 mssurgeon81

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Posted 01 July 2011 - 12:37 PM

Any updates on the Gainesville food scene? I'm moving there in a year from Philadelphia, and I'm starting to panic at the amount of culture shock that would appear to be forthcoming...
Sarah Fernandez aka "mssurgeon81"
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#21 mssurgeon81

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Posted 20 January 2014 - 04:14 PM

Bumping for any north Florida lurkers....

So the Gainesville food situation is not as dire as I'd feared. Thee are plenty of good little independent restaurants which aren't doing anything earth-shattering, but are putting out good food. North Florida has an abundance of good fresh local food, and while there aren't a lot of avant garde preps I've been pleasantly surprised at the tasty meals The local chefs are producing,

Embers, The Top, and Civilization are a few of the places I've had a good meal at lately. The Queens Arms pub in haile has also been a great find.

Anyone else have some Gainesville favorites or hidden gems?
Sarah Fernandez aka "mssurgeon81"
Philadelphia, PA

#22 scubadoo97

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Posted 20 January 2014 - 04:32 PM

That's good to hear.

Been too long since I went to school there. Spent a little time there 5+ yrs ago when on of my kids was at UF and we were at the mercy of their taste buds.