Sure, you may have spent the day tailgating, but chances are you consumed more beer than food and should probably eat something. Don’t just throw any old thing down your gullet. Instead, try one of these places, none of which require you to dress in anything beyond your Gator gear:
The Swamp Restaurant: Sure, it’s packed on game days, but it IS right across from the stadium. Plus, it serves up tasty bites (fried gator, ahi tuna tacos), and it has an outdoor deck that’s delightful on a nice evening.
Dragonfly has been around for years, but it’s still one of the best spots in Gainesville, both for sushi and for Japanese food. Order off the customer-favorite menu to get a taste of what’s popular, such as the miso black cod or the overstuffed Bomb Roll with tuna and tempura shrimp. Or try something from Chef Jeff Allen’s curated menu, perhaps the aji nigiri (horse mackerel) or the wagyu carpaccio. If you love to eat in season, you’ll be happy you went with the seasonal omakase menu, both for food and cocktails. No matter what you go with, don’t forget the tempura fried ice cream.
When you’re in the mood for really good Italian, head to Manuel’s—but make sure you get a reservation first. This tiny 12-table restaurant is frequently packed with people enjoying lobster ravioli in a truffle cream sauce, housemade gnocchi in a fontina cream sauce, and breaded pork Milanese. The menu is classically Italian, save for a few dishes, including the vintage duck in a blackberry porcini mushroom sauce and the pasta purses stuffed with poached pear and ricotta and swirled with an herbed brown-butter cream sauce.
This just may be the quirkiest restaurant in all of Florida. After all, at Satchel’s, you can eat in an old mint-green van, under a plane, in a greenhouse, or next to a wall of stained-glass windows with psychedelic shapes and colors. Even with all of this, the pizza is the star. It features creative toppings, housemade sauces, and allergy-friendly subs, such as dairy-free cheese. Just know that it can take 45 minutes to get your pie if it’s super busy, but there’s enough local art and repurposed items to keep your attention.
With its trendy decor, locally sourced meats and veggies, and housemade broths (stocks bubble 24 hours a day), Crane Ramen feels like a top ramen house in a major city. Start with some of the steamed buns or the kimchi brussel sprouts, then work your mouth over to one of seven varieties of ramen. They come with everything you need, but feel free to customize yours by adding extra toppings, such as a six-minute egg.
If you’re looking for authentic dim sum, check out Yummy House. But don’t miss the dim sum service as it only runs from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. The food on the carts, including steamed dumplings and sticky rice with shrimp, tends to run out, so make sure you get there on the earlier side. If you don’t, you’ll still find great Chinese dishes, including clay pots and lotus-root veggie options.
If you’re a novice beer drinker, you’ll love World of Beer just as much as a die-hard beer lover. That’s because World of Beer has more than 50 beer options served up in bottle and draft form. The beers hail from all over the world, from Germany to Mexico to the Czech Republic.
Graduating seniors and their parents love this upscale surf ’n’ turf spot. It’s a classic white-tablecloth joint serving up Gulf of Mexico blue-crab bisque, grilled caesar salads, organic chicken, and USDA Prime beef cooked over a pecan-, hickory-, and cherry-wood grill.