A Local’s Guide to the Best Gainesville Restaurants

Central Florida is home to some of the best cuisine around! Whatever you’re in the mood for, you’re in luck. Gainesville, FL, boasts a diverse range of dining options. Whether you’re in town with a bunch of picky eaters or you’re on the hunt for authentic international cuisine, there’s no doubt you’ll find the perfect place to eat. Try an indulgent Italian pasta dish or go for something light to refuel for more adventures. Read on to browse the best restaurants in Gainesville, FL! 

As satisfying as they may be, the amazing food in Gainesville can only take up so much of your day! Get access to our free Vacation Guide and discover the amazing events and activities that you can experience when visiting! 

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The Best Restaurants in Gainesville, Florida

Italian Cuisine

Francesca’s Trattoria

Open for both lunch and dinner, drive 16 minutes to get to Francesca’s in Gainesville. This is another romantic destination you can take your sweetheart to sweep them off their feet on your weekend getaway. Enjoy handhelds like their variety of lunch paninis that come with your choice of Italian fries, soup, or salad. Or sample lunch pastas and specials paired with a $5 glass of wine. For dinner, expect heartier entrees that you can enjoy as a complete 4-course meal. 

Piesanos Stone Fired Pizza

There’s nothing like a hot pizza after a long day of exploring, and in Gainesville, Piesanos is one of the top spots for that. Start off your dinner with their giant meatball served with melted provolone cheese, ricotta, basil, and a delicious marinara sauce, then order their pizza antico! This mouthwatering creation is made with mozzarella, char pepperoni, and fresh basil — a recipe that has stayed the same since 1905! 

Seafood

Northwest Grille

Northwest Grille in Gainesville, FL, is known for its fresh, quality seafood. Family-owned and operated since they opened more than 20 years ago, guests of this restaurant can see the care that goes into each dish served here. With large portions, delicious cuisine, and excellent service, you can’t go wrong at this local favorite. If you aren’t in the mood for seafood, indulge in a steak or vegetarian dish! 

Latin American Cuisine

Emiliano’s Cafe

Emiliano’s Cafe is the perfect restaurant for a romantic dinner date. Spice up your life with enticing flavors from Spain, Mexico, South America, and the Caribbean. Start off with a minty mojito and split tapas. Be sure to sneak a few bites off each other’s plates to try a little of everything! 

Asian Cuisine

Crane Ramen

Nothing hits the spot quite like a giant bowl of steaming ramen. At Crane Ramen, feast on a combination of the freshest, local ingredients. Taste the perfect concoction of noodles, veggies, tender meats, and farm-fresh eggs steeped in boiling hot stock. 

Fine Dining

Dragonfly

Gainesville is a great town for foodies. You’ll find an excellent selection of high-end restaurants no matter what you’re in the mood for. And, to make your experience even better, many offer outdoor seating! One of our favorite places to dine is Dragonfly. This Japanese restaurant is a must-try for sushi lovers and has an outdoor bar and dining area where you can enjoy delicious cocktails and sashimi and maki rolls. 

Romantic Restaurants

Embers Wood Grill

Embers Wood Grill in Gainesville, FL, won’t disappoint. They have won countless awards, and when you come here for dinner, you’ll see why. They serve only USDA Prime Cut Meat that they cook over a real wood grill. Taste the delicious smokiness that comes through in everything from grilled steaks to seafood. They have multiple options for seating in their dining room or the outdoor courtyard. For a more casual meal, you can sit at their full bar. With 2 certified Sommeliers, you will be in good hands for dinner and wine pairings. 

Stay at SweetwaterBreakfast Catering Assorted Breakfast Pastries

There’s plenty of delicious food at the best restaurants in Gainesville, FL, but you won’t have to venture far from where you rest your head to get a great meal! At Sweetwater Branch Inn, you can start your day off right with our delicious complimentary breakfast! Some of our guests’ favorite dishes are frittatas and French toast casserole. After a comfortable night in one of our renovated cottages or historic guest rooms, and a delicious breakfast, you’ll be well-equipped to explore Gainesville! 

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