Dustin and I don’t like going to chain restaurants, especially for date night. Whenever we want to go out we pull up the Yelp app and search for a new restaurant to try. We haven’t been to every single one in Gainesville, but these are my five favorites. They are not ranked in any particular order. These are great to go with friends or with your significant other!
5. Flying Biscuit Cafe
This is definitely one of my favorite breakfast/brunch locations in the ‘ville. Everything I have ordered has been delicious and I will certainly never get tired of going here. The menu contains some unique food items and vegan/vegetarian options. The atmosphere is also really nice. There are so many bright colors and patterns around the restaurant. It’s a really great and fun place to go on a date or even take your family when they are in town. Don’t pass up on ordering one of their biscuits. Those biscuits are still the best I have ever had and Dustin agrees. They sprinkle some sugar on their biscuits which adds to the already delicious flavor. I have been here three times and have ordered different dishes every time. I’ve had the California Dreamin’ ($8.75), Organic Oatmeal Pancakes ($8.75), and Peanut Butter and Jelly stuffed French Toast ($10.00). Every single item on their menu sounds absolutely delicious. I loved all three of the dishes that it’s hard to choose which one was my favorite. You and your date will have a lovely time here. The service is always wonderful, just like the food is.
Located on: 4150 NW 16th Blvd, Gainesville, FL 32605
4. Public & General
Okay, I absolutely adored this restaurant. The restaurant itself is so unique. There is some seating outside and some inside. The building looks beautiful at night because the lights outside are lit up. It is a little more casual than a formal sit-down restaurant. When we went we ordered our food at the bar and then sat ourselves. They are well known for their burger and have an incredibly large selection of wine and beer. Their menu changes frequently so be advised. I have recently become a fan of fried green tomatoes so I ordered the Fried Green Tomato Sandwich ($7-8) and Dustin ordered the Burger with American Cheese ($6.00). The menu changes frequently and unfortunately I don’t remember exactly how much my sandwich was. We also ordered the Dill Fries ($6). For the fries you have an option of a small or large bowl, we ordered the large. It was definitely worth it. I highly recommend ordering the Fried Green Tomato Sandwich, it had such a unique taste and I devoured the entire thing. That sandwich is definitely a reason to go back. Dustin really enjoyed the burger. I got to take it a bite and was impressed. Their menu is small, but it is definitely worth going. If you are over 21 make sure to try out their craft beers and wine. I was unable to, but I have heard great things about them.
Located on: 1000 NE 16th Ave, Gainesville, FL 32601
3. Root & Pecker
One of the main reasons why this restaurant is one of my favorites is because they grow everything fresh right in their backyard. All the plants and seasonings are always fresh. I have come here a couple of times and have always enjoyed what I ordered. Every table at the restaurant has orange flowers in a vase which is a nice touch. It gives off a “farm” vibe. Don’t let that throw you off, it’s a great place to relax and eat your meal peacefully. Like Public and General it is a less formal type of sit-down meal. You order your meal at the counter, then sit at a table. They also have in-door and out-door seating. If it is a breezy day outside, go ahead and sit at an out-door table. Their menu is large and is filled with a variety of foods. If you are a vegan/vegetarian there are plenty of meal options for you. One dish that I have ordered every time I go is the Thai Tomato and Squash Soup ($3.49). I am already a huge fan of squash soup and this one has such an interesting taste to it that I love it. Other dishes I have ordered have been the Gourmet Farmer ($5.99) and the Margarita Pizza. Both of those dishes were also excellent, but my favorite is still the soup. This is a great place for a lunch date.
Located on: 32601, 5408 Northwest 8th Avenue, Gainesville, FL 32605
2. Pomodoro’s Cafe
Yummy, yummy in my tummy. If you love Italian food, you’ll love this restaurant. I have been here twice, once for the full sit-down meal and another time when I just picked up some pizza. Their pizza is delicious, hands down. This restaurant is one of my favorites to order pizza from. I liked it more than Five Star Pizza and Five Star is pretty good. Besides the pizza the food is incredibly delicious. Dustin and I went the night of Valentine’s Day. Every girl received a flower from the restaurant, it was very sweet. That night they had a Valentine’s special menu. I ordered the “Heart Shaped Lobster Ravioli.” It was phenomenal. This was my first time trying it and loved it. I don’t believe they sell this regularly so if you’ll want to try this dish you’ll have to go on Valentine’s Day. Dustin, who doesn’t like seafood, liked the ravioli as well! The fact that they were heart-shaped was adorable. The restaurant is large and also has indoor and outdoor seating. It is a more formal sit-down restaurant. So if you’re looking for a nice night out, head over to Pomodoro and don’t forget to order the Italian Wedding Cake for dessert. We loved it and ate every piece.
Located on: 9200 NW 39th Ave Gainesville, FL 32606
1. Bistro 1245
Last on this list is Bistro 1245. This little, hidden gem is connected to Leonardo’s Pizza. The reason I call it a hidden gem is because you don’t really notice it when you’re driving down University Ave. There is parking behind the restaurant and it is quite small. The night I went it wasn’t busy, but I can’t imagine how that place gets when it is busy. I took my dad here one of the times he came to visit. For the appetizer we ordered the Bruschetta ($5.95) which was divine. The presentation of it is great, it just looks so delicious. For my meal I ordered the Butternut Squash Bisque ($4.50) and the Fish Tacos ($8.50). The bisque was delicious. As I’ve mentioned before I am a huge fan of butternut squash and this was one of the best soups I have had. The fish tacos were also wonderful. You could tell the fish was nice and fresh. Their menu has a lot of options and I was finding it hard to decide on something. I’m glad I went with the fish tacos though. I was not dissapointed. This restaurant is not extremely formal nor expensive. So if you’re on a budget and want to go out somewhere, this is the perfect restaurant to go too. Especially if you live on or close to campus.
Located on: 1245 W University Ave, Gainesville, FL 32601
Photos by: Bismarie Plasencia