Eating local in Gainesville

New to town? You’re probably looking for some great places to grab dinner while you’re still looking for the box you packed your pots and pans in. Here is a list of great places to grab delicious food from a local restaurant.

  1. The Top has a wide variety of food choices, and are known for their vegetarian and vegan options, extensive beer and wine list, and quirky atmosphere. They also have a Sunday brunch that’s worth waiting for.
  2. Sisters is located in the Haile Village Center (in Haile Plantation) and features breakfast, lunch and dinner dishes ranging from ethnically inspired specialties to traditional standards made with fresh ingredients.
  3. Tucked away quietly on the east side of downtown Gainesville is the charming East End Eatery, which is open for lunch and dinner and serves food that is a mixture of Latin and regional Floridian flavors. They only accept cash, so make sure to bring some!
  4. The Jones Eastside is a local restaurant that specializes in locally-sourced ingredients prepared simply and deliciously. The flagship location on the east side of town only accepts cash, but it’s new restaurant, The Jones B-Side, is located downtown, open late, and accepts credit cards.
  5. For a great lunch or early dinner, try Tempo Bistro To Go. They use fresh, local ingredients in their simple, straightforward and delicious food. They serve soups, salads and sandwiches, baked goods and specialty drinks in a bistro setting.
  6. The Warehouse is a great choice for lunch or dinner with a menu that ranges from filet mignon to spicy fried tofu.
  7. Located in a building that was previously a bakery, Civilization features ethnic comfort foods from around the globe with many vegetarian options. Most of the menu is sources with local and organic ingredients and the restaurant is cooperatively run.
  8. If you’re looking for something a little different, look no further than the Pelican Brothers food truck. Their menu changes daily (follow them on Twitter for locations and daily menus), and their prices are great.
  9. In the mood for fast Latin fare at a spot that’s open late? Flaco’s Cuban Bakery & Coffee is the place to go. They have everything from ropa vieja to burritos and pastelitos to satisfy your cravings. They also have two locations — in downtown and midtown.

If you’re looking for suggestions of specific dishes to get, check out foodspotting.com. Users photograph and review their meals and you can browse by all sorts of filters. One of my favorite people to follow is Melanie Ling, who has taken me along for many of her eating adventures.

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