Three Local Restaurants to Try in Gainesville

Moving to Gainesville from South Florida I knew that I would come to a very different environment and that there would be many things that I would miss from back home.

One thing that I knew that I would miss from back home would be all the amazing food and the variety of options of places to go out to eat at.

But in exploring Gainesville, I realized that this city has a great variety of amazing restaurants with options for whatever you might be craving.

The best part is that a lot of these restaurants are local and the food is made fresh with many local ingredients.

There is an array of places to try up here and all are so different and great in their own way.

The three restaurants that I will showcase in this story are some of my favorites up here and helped open my eyes to the variety of great food available in Gainesville.

  1. 1. Afternoon

    A great brunch place closer to downtown Gainesville is Afternoon.

    Afternoon has a fresh variety of meals that include twists on traditional breakfast dishes and more diverse ones that help make an international cuisine more accessible to all people.

    One of these different, international dishes is the shakshuka, which is a typical Israeli dish of eggs baked into a skillet filled with seasoned and stewed tomatoes and it’s usually served at breakfast.

    But even Afternoon’s more traditional dishes are delicious and have their own spin on them to elevate them from their traditional form.

    My favorite dish to get there is their egg and cheddar sandwich, which also has pickled onions and aioli on it for a more refined version of an egg and cheese breakfast sandwich.

  2. 2. Dragonfly

    One of the first restaurants I ever heard about in Gainesville was Dragonfly.

    People always told me that whenever my parents were in town visiting, I should ask them to take me to Dragonfly.

    Fair warning, it is a bit nicer and pricier than the other restaurants on this list.

    But while Dragonfly might be a bit too pricey for the average college students’ usual budget they have deals sometimes such as their happy hour, which not only applies to drinks but also to some of their food, every Sunday through Thursday from 5 to 7 p.m.

    Also, don’t worry if sushi isn’t your thing Dragonfly offers a variety of other dishes, all keeping in their tapas style of dishes that make sharing easy!

    Some of their dishes one should try if they don’t like sushi but still want to experience a meal at Dragonfly include the steamed buns, pork dumplings, vegetable tempura or one of my favorites the short rib miso ramen.

    If small tapas style dishes are not your thing, the ramen bowls are delicious and offer a more substantial amount of food.

  3. 3. Sababa

    This is a local restaurant that I have only just tried for the first time this year, and regret that I did not try it sooner!

    Sababa serves traditional Israeli cuisine and everything is very authentic and tastes homemade.

    When I went in last time and asked about the bourekas, traditional Israeli puff pastries that usually have some salty or savory filing such as potatoes or mushrooms inside of them, the worker at the register told me how they change the flavor every month and then he gets to work on making them for the store.

    The restaurant workers were very accommodating and friendly and were more than patient when I had to ask what multiple things on their menu included in them.

    The falafel sandwich I had was very flavorful and filling and had some of the best hummus and Israeli salad, which is mostly comprised of tomatoes and cucumbers, I have ever had anywhere.

    I never thought I would find such a diverse and delicious restaurant as Sababa here in Gainesville. 

Over the past few years of living here in Gainesville, I am consistently surprised by the vast majority of different kinds of restaurants here that have food from all over the world.

Coming from South Florida I really thought I would miss having access to good, homemade tasting flavorful food but there are many places here in Gainesville that meet all those requirements, such as Sababa.

Often, it is easy to stick to eating at all the chain places present here in Gainesville just because they’re very close to campus and feel more convenient.

But there are many restaurants here in Gainesville that are local, fairly cheap and good all it takes is a bit of exploring to find something new that you’ll like!