Archer Road is your first destination in Gainesville. It is the entrance you take from I-75 en route to UF. This road is decorated with every chain restaurant you could possibly imagine. College students are on a constant budget and Archer Road offers cheap eats. Here you will find your Starbucks, Panera Bread, Chick Fil A, Chili’s, and Outback Steakhouse to name a few. Archer Road is also home to many strip malls with grocery stores, supermarkets, craft stores, convenience stores, specialty shops, and everything in between. So when you are running errands, whether it be grocery shopping or looking for new gator gear, a quick meal will be available everywhere you turn.
Midtown is a strip of shops, restaurants, and bars located right across the street from campus. Several dining options are conveniently placed in walking distance from UF. Thus, it offers quick and easy access to meals in between classes and study sessions in the library. Some popular places at midtown include Grill Fresh, The Swamp, Pita Pit, Jimmy Johns, Tijuana Flats, Relish, and Sushi Chao. The Swamp Restaurant is also a popular bar for students over the age of 21 to enjoy after their study hours. It is also a special place to visit on game days in the fall because it is full of Florida Gator décor and a convenient walk from the football stadium. Other bars that serve food in Midtown are Fat Daddy’s Bar and Grill, Salty Dog Saloon, Midtown Social, and The Rowdy Reptile.
Students often like to end their weekend nights at Midtown by visiting Italian Gator, or as students more commonly call it, “Pizza by the Slice.” Italian Gator is a pizza joint that takes orders from a window and delivers hot, fresh pizza by the slice to its pedestrian customers.
Also located near Midtown is a restaurant called Three Natives. It is a juice bar that offers breakfast and lunch by serving bagels, wraps, sandwiches, salads, smoothies, and the ever so popular açaí bowls.
The Downtown area makes Gainesville’s restaurant scene really shine. Almost all of the restaurants are locally owned and have become wildly successful amongst Gainesville residents. Downtown restaurants offer more upscale and specialized menus than Midtown. It is where many students like to get brunch, celebrate their birthdays, take their parents, and have anniversary dinners. These restaurants offer a wide variety of tastes that satisfies every type of craving from burgers to sushi, Cajun food to Italian and Spanish dishes, to eclectic menus and craft beer spots. Some great spots include: Boca Fiesta, The Top, Original American Kitchen (OAK), Dragon Fly, and Manuel’s Vintage Room. There is also a wide array of venues for concerts and parties, as well as bars for students that are 21 years old and over.
A popular favorite for sushi cravings is Liquid Ginger. It is located Downtown near the Hippodrome Theatre. It offers sushi tastings, sushi rolls, and a wide array of Japanese dishes. The Peppered Tuna sushi tasting is delicious. It includes seared peppered tuna, scallion, fish eggs, sesame seeds, spicy mayo, and wasabi sauce. Their Japanese salads are also outstanding such as the Kani Salad which has crab meat, spicy mayo, fish eggs, and sesame seeds that lies on a bed of sliced cucumbers. The Lobster roll is very highly recommended. Michael Herman, senior at UF and sushi fanatic says, “It’s one of the best sushi rolls I’ve ever had.”
Also located near the Downtown area is a popular brunch spot called Civilization. Civilization offers tasty organic plates as well as a large portion of vegetarian options. Most loved items include the Challah French Toast, Cajun Frittata, and Hungarian Grilled Cheese. Civilization also offers delicious coffees and teas. Be sure to try the Mocha Latte. It is made with steamed chocolate almond milk. So good!