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Fun places in Gainesville/Jacksonville

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Hi -

I will be visiting Gainesville (specifically UF) soon and want to explore the restaurant scene in Gainesville/Jacksonville. Any fun or interesting places you would recommend? I'm leaning towards fun things like fondue, belly-dancing, make your own food, etc. etc. Thanks!

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  1. Dragonfly is the best sushi restaurant in Gainesville....located in downtown Gainesville by the historic Hippodrome theater.

    1. Bento Cafe in Gainesville is a cool little Pan-Asian restaurant that is great for lunch or a quick, fun dinner before a movie, since it's right next to the movie theater on Newberry Road. They have bento boxes (segmented trays with different goodies in each compartment, like exotic and good versions of school lunch trays), sushi, and more, but they also have bubble tea in multiple flavors. Sweet and refreshing as a drink or a dessert, it is a neat experience to have bubble tea for the first time, with the chewy tapioca balls at the bottom of your drink, wide and colorful straws, and heat-sealed cellophane lids on your cartoony cups.

      1. I think if you're looking for a fun or interesting place you should definitely check out Satchel's Pizza. It's not right next to the school, but it's a great place to eat. Their pizza is outstanding and I have been craving their salad and a calzone since I moved away!!

        It's a funky little restaurant that is usually packed and is more popular amongst the older students and residents. I highly recommend it!

        1 Reply
        1. re: Swedeisme

          Satchel's is hidden away, far from the chains and congestion of Archer Road, but it really is the best pizza in Gainesville. I second the recommendation.

          However, they do not take credit cards (or didn't the last time I was there), so be sure to have cash on you!

        2. The Pontiac was very good last time we were there visiting the young'uns. No belly dancing though. Don't know of any fondue places in G'ville- unless Melting Pot has oozed into the chain restaurant glut up there.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Rachal961

            Melting Pot on University Ave past Downtown has been there since late 90's or earlier.

          2. I lived in Gainesville for 4 years and the places I enjoyed were The Top(good place for a good meal), Hogan's Heros(great subs and beers) and Chopsticks(Chinese).

            4 Replies
            1. re: killedge

              It's actually Chop Stix (Cafe), and it's more of a Pan-Asian thing... unless there is another Chinese restaurant called Chopsticks, which could get confusing. But Chop Stix Cafe, south on SW 13th Street, heading away from campus, was one of my favorite restaurants in town, with a beautiful location right on a lake.

              1. re: killedge

                Sorry, Hogan's Heros is gone.

                1. re: maxzook

                  Really?? I loved that place. I also miss Joe's Deli tremendously.

                  1. re: polkcountygator

                    I'm pretty sure there's still a Hogan's on N 13th ST next to Brasington's Outdoors.

              2. The Swamp Restaurant on University across from the real swamp (Football Stadium) is great for people watching, sitting outside, enjoying the energy of a college town. The food is American, but is pretty good.

                1 Reply
                1. re: polkcountygator

                  We enjoyed The Swamp one weekend in Gainesville for a football game. The food is decent and it's great vantage point to watch that whole scenario of the big college football traditions!