Two of my favorite things in life are the University of Florida and food. That being said, I need to share with you some of my top food picks around Gainesville. This is the ultimate bucket list of foods you need to eat in Gainesville that you as a University of Florida student need to eat before you die (or graduate) and where in Gainesville you can find them.
1. A Slice of Cheese Pizza from Leonardo’s By The Slice
RIP to Leonardo’s come five months from now (moment of silence for the fallen pizza)… but if you haven’t tried any food from there, you need to at least savor a slice (or four, in my opinion) of cheese pizza from their restaurant (with rolls!). If you’re REALLY feeling adventurous, ask for the slice of the day. Either way, Leonardo’s does not fail and will not fail us ever.
2. A Bowl of Raviolis with Dream Cream and other toppings from Fork and Pasta
At Fork and Pasta, you basically get to DIY with your favorite pastas and toppings create your own recipe. My roommate and I go at least three times a month for stress relief. My personal favorite bowl is a bowl of raviolis with Rosé sauce and Dream Cream sauce mixed, with added sausage, roasted garlic, zucchini, tomatoes, mozzarella, and spinach when it’s available. The restaurant currently offers a few specials, during the week that really cuts the price down too, so be on the lookout for those! #StayNoodly
3. Any Relish Burger from Relish
Relish has great burgers and even greater company. If you haven’t had a burger from the restaurant, you’re seriously missing out. Especially the cheese fries (YAS).
4. Shrimp and Grits from The Flying Biscuit
I’m a sucker for anything that includes the words “grits,” and after you taste the ones at The Flying Biscuit you will never, ever want to go back to any other grits anywhere. I’m also partial to anything with seafood as well, so Shrimp and Grits is my (and many others’) go-to meal at The Flying Biscuit.
5. Waffles at Peach Valley Café
My friend once said to me “You’re either a Peach Valley Café girl or a Flying Biscuit girl,” and after much thought and consideration, I’ve decided that she’s wrong: you can be both. I go to Peach Valley specifically because their waffles are to DIE for, especially with a combination of toppings like the ones above. Pair that with a glass of your favorite juice and you are going to be full and dreaming of waffles for the rest of the week.
6. Cookie Dough Cupcake from Gigi’s Cupcakes
Gigi’s has the best cupcakes around town, and my personal favorite is their cookie dough cupcake. I have to physically restrain myself from grabbing one every time I drive back to UF from work, and pretty soon you will, too.
7. Ribs and Other Offerings from Adam’s Rib Co.
I am a die-hard fan of all things BBQ, courtesy of my BBQ loving father, and Adam’s Rib Co. is where I would like to think I was born all those years ago.
Seriously though, BBQ runs in my blood and the employees of Adam’s Rib Company. They make every bite so enjoyable that you may have to order seconds. Or thirds.
7. Guacamole from La Pasadita
Raise your hands up high if you’ve been blessed with trying La Pasadita’s guac! Their guacamole is definitely the best around town, especially after a hard day at school with those UF classes.
8. All Sixteen Flavors from Wing Zone
A classic University of Florida choice, as it started right here in the kitchen of one of UF’s fraternity houses. If you love wings, burgers, and all American food, stop on by, but the best thing about this place is their sauces. Order up a ton of chicken tenders and try all sixteen in one sitting (or before you die or graduate… whichever is shorter).
9. A Make Your Own Pizza from Dough Religion
Dough Religion and Oozoo’s may own the same building, but only Dough Religion owns my heart. Mostly because I love pizza. But ANYWAYS.
The point is, everyone can have whatever pizza they want! So if I want to put zucchini and vegetables on my pizza but my roommate only wants cheese, we can BOTH get our OWN PIZZAS. My mind is blown.
10. Churros from Mi Apa Latin Café
One word: churros. That is all.
11. “The Five” breakfast sandwich from Maple Street Biscuit Company
This is the breakfast sandwich to rule all breakfast sandwiches here in Gainesville. “The Five” breakfast sandwich is one of my personal favorites because it’s such a classic combination of different, seemingly not combinable things. You have your every day breakfast sandwich, you have your fried chicken, and you have your biscuits and gravy ALL ROLLED UP INTO ONE.
To conclude, in the words of Simon Cowell,
12. All of the Food from Bagels and Noodles
Would you normally think that these two plates can be served at the same time? If not, buckle your seat belts, boys and girls, because this is legendary: Bagels and Noodles serves both bagels…
wait for it…
AND THEY’RE REALLY GOOD BAGELS AND NOODLES.
Try and tell me I’m wrong.
13. A Slice of Pizza from Satchel’s Pizza
“Yeah, I’ll keep your pizza safe for you while you run to the bathroom…” *eats the entire thing*
14. A Fruity Pebbles Donut from Gator Baked
My love for donuts and my love for Fruity Pebbles have combined into my love for the Fruity Pebbles donut. I love this donut so much. Cue the tears.
Gator Baked serves may donuts of all shapes and sizes. Just don’t go too crazy.
15. Chicken Nachos at The Copper Monkey
If anyone loves nachos more than life itself, it would be me. And these nachos always hit the spot. Every. Single. Time. Copper Monkey is also in Midtown, so relatively close to everything, which is always nice.
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16. A Fudge Brownie from Karma Cream
No one can deny that Karma Cream is delicious, except for… nah, no one can. My personal favorite dessert they make is their fudge brownie. Filled with chocolate-y bits of goodness, I try as hard as I can to replicate them and can’t even come close. You did good, Karma Cream. You did good.
17. Breakfast at Metro Diner
I am a firm believer of the “breakfast at basically all times of the day” philosophy, so breakfast is no joke to me. Therefore, when I say that a breakfast place is good, it’s got to be good. Speaking of good breakfast, Metro Diner has superb hash browns. Please try them; your life will change.
18. Tuna and Salmon Bowl from Sushi Chao
I myself don’t really enjoy sushi, but Sushi Chao is a staple in most UF students’ diets, so I had to give it a shoutout. This picture of a sushi and salmon bowl from there makes me want to head on over right now.
19. The Most Unique Flavor Pop You Can Find from The Hyppo
A weekly trip to The Hyppo is not enough, kids. They have the craziest ice pop flavors I’ve ever seen in my entire life, but every one is just so good I just can’t get enough. Find the wackiest flavor you can find and I guarantee you it will be the best thing ever. Props to The Hyppo employees for making their food so darn good.