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Jul 25, 2008 12:10 AM

13 Gypsies in Jacksonville

Anyone try this place yet? An actual authentic Spanish tapas place right in Riverside! The blackened baby octopus were amazingly tender and delicious. I'll be thinking about that dish all week. One thing I found odd was the lack of vegetables on the menu, though. Not a tomato, zucchini, asparagus or eggplant in sight. Is that typical of traditional tapas? I wouldn't think so. I can't wait to go back and try a few more things!

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  1. Yep, we hit it about two weeks ago. Everything was quite good. My keeper dish was the cod loin in the parmesan cream sauce (w/ just the right amount of cracked red pepper) and the risotto - both recommended. For others - the place is tiny - seats about 14 at most inside with one outside table. More veg would be good - the garlic mushrooms were as close as we got. Try the sangria - we tried the white and were very pleased. I'll get the octopus next time if it's on.

    The chef is the son of the folks who have been running Sangria House at the corner of Touchton and Southside Blvd, in the Publix center there. Basically 13 Gypsies is the chef and his wife. I recommend that you call and get reservations rather than dropping in - they have been basically full up since they opened. Good to see them maxing out - it helps us heal the hurt from our missing German pizza lady.

    1. Went for lunch during the week. Service was terrible. Young gal who obviously had zero experience waiting tables. Not real crowded but still took over an hour to get our food. Ordered one tapa (Steak Diablo) and it was mediocre at best. The paninis were terrible. There was absolutely nothing classic about the Classic Panini. My wife's sandwich was supposed to have carmelized onions but they were merely sauteed at best.
      I'll be surprised if this joint lasts long at a historically tough location. I'm all for trying new places and supporting the little places. I won't be giving this place a second chance.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Major18

        So, where WOULD you go? I will be in Jacksonville for 2 nights later in the month (taking daughter to JU). Any ideas?


        1. re: Major18

          Every restaurant is allowed some off days.. and I must say, you must have hit this place on an off day. The food here is glorious.

          I have been following the career of Chef Howard for some years now and he is without a doubt one of the *BEST* talents in this city, if not the state. If you dont give this place another chance, it really is your loss.

          1. re: rrock

            I was back in with a party of four for lunch a couple of days ago - no reservations and walked in about a quarter after 11. I second what rrock says above. The food was excellent and expeditious, and service was just fine. Worth another try at least - if you can find a seat. 13 Gypsies has been wall to wall busy since they've opened, as far as I can determine.