When choosing a rental community, the area that you'll be living in can be as important as the prospective apartment itself. Any district is like plain bread without the authentic establishments that provide the meat, bringing flavor to the area.
Residents of Gainesville, Florida are lucky enough to find cuisine gems on every corner. Stretching from Archer Road to midtown, and downtown to Micanopy, the Gator Nation has countless restaurants. No matter which rental community you reside in, good food is never more than a stone's throw away. The issue is that wining and dining can be pricey. Fortunately, with such a large college population, there are a ton of restaurants in the Gainesville area that provide a big bang for your buck. You may be living in a cheap apartment but are you really saving money if you're spending a fortune on food? Get a comprehensive look at what you'll be spending while at UF with our cost of living guide that covers everything from food to entertainment. Holding true to the university student mantra, balling on a budget, we are happy to share some of the best Gainesville food deals that the Swamp has to offer. Regardless of your taste buds or budget, these meals are sure to satisfy and fill you up without draining your bank account
Asian Food Deals for $10 - or less
Everyone knows that Dragonfly, located in downtown Gainesville, is the premier mecca for sushi around UF. The food is out of this world! However, at roughly $10-$15 per sushi roll, this is the kind of establishment that you take your girlfriend to on an anniversary dinner… not whenever you're craving some spicy tuna. When your budget is tight and you're in need of an Asian-fix, check out these local Gainesville food deals.
For all the sushi lovers out there who can easily devour five California rolls and still crave more, Sushi-2-Go is the place for you. Their signature daily deal features 3 rolls for $10.00 or 2 rolls for $8.00. That's an unbelievable serving of 24 pieces of sushi for $10.00.
What Sushi-2-Go lacks for in quality, it makes up for in value ten-fold. With 2 Gainesville locations on both University Avenue just across the street from Matherly Hall (in the Target Copy building) and Tower Road, just past The Oaks Mall on Newberry Road, residents of almost every apartment community have their own respective store. Try it out for yourself, and see what you're missing.
This restaurant may seem small and quaint, but Crane Ramen has generated huge buzz for its mighty flavors and signature special.
As Gainesville's first craft ramen restaurant, this downtown eatery is well-known for ten dollar Tuesdays. This weekly event serving delicious ramen bowls at a discounted rate of $10 is one of the most esteemed Gainesville food deals in the area. With each dish made from scratch using fresh ingredients from local farms and produce markets, Crane Ramen is beyond worth every penny.
TexMex Food Deals for under $6
Even gators can't resist the charm of Tijuana Flats – a popular chain founded by a University of Central Florida graduate. Whether you're drawn in by the trippy mural designs, the fully stacked hot sauce bar, or the fast service, you'll certainly stay for the Taco Tuesday specials
On Tijuana Tuesdays, you can purchase their signature "dos tacos" served with chips and a drink for only $5.49. Just like Sushi-2-Go, Tijuana Flats has two restaurants in Gainesville located in Midtown and on Archer Road, giving apartment residents easy access to cheap Mexican cuisine anytime the craving strikes.
Blue Agave takes it to the next level. Enjoy delicious tacos made with fresh ingredients for only $1 at Blue Agave on Wednesdays, and let the Taco Tuesday mania carry on until manana. Located on the Northwest side of campus, this hidden treasure is a departure from the usual restaurants near UF.
Regardless of your TexMex tastes, just know that in the 'Ville, consuming tantalizing tacos without breaking the bank is a cause for 24-7 celebration.
Italian food deals that will make you say, "mamma mia"
The Gelato Company
The Gelato Company is yet another downtown Gainesville destination. Serving mouthwatering meals in the style of crepes, paninis, salads and more, this restaurant is both affordable and addicting. With just under 20 delicious entrees to choose from, most of which come with a choice of two side dishes, the Gelato Company offers up an enticing daily special.
Along with the purchase of any entree and drink, you receive a scoop of their delectable gelato for free! That's a full-blown meal for just under $10.
There's nothing that completes a relaxing day adventuring downtown like a quality meal served with complementary gelato. For a moment, you may even forget you're in Gainesville and find yourself teleported to the wondrous streets of Italy.
Leonardo's Pizza by the Slice
Luckily for us, UF's acquisition of Leo's property on University Avenue in the Midtown neighborhood is being pushed back a couple of years, so we have more sacred time with this beloved pizza joint before it moves locations.
Well known for their creative daily slices, Leonardo's also offers great value in their "meal-a-rama" specials. For just under $8, you can get two NY slices and a soda, and for right below $10, you receive a NY slice and a delicious small garden salad along with a soda. For those with huge appetites and a slightly larger budget, the last meal-a-rama features a pasta marinara, small garden salad, two rolls and a soda for only $11.95.
Bar and Grill Deals
Gainesville may still be mourning the loss of the Copper Monkey in midtown, a classic dive bar that served some of the best burgers in the community for only $3 on Mondays. However, as we allow our long-esteemed metallic primate to rest in peace, we are in no short supply of similar specials in the area.
Mother's Pub and Grill
Mother's Pub and Grill, located right near Leonardo's on West University Avenue, is a popular Irish sports bar near campus that serves a variety of daily specials on food and beverages.
While you can get their famous wings for only 50 cents on Monday and 60 cents on Sunday, you can also grab a burger or cheeseburger for a mere $3.50 on Wednesdays and Fridays. At Mother's, daily Gainesville food deals are the gifts that just keep giving, and none of us in the good old Ville seem to be complaining about it.
Whether you're looking for a chill spot to watch the most anticipated sports game of the year or looking for some cheap munchies to accompany a good old brew, Mother's is the place to be. Located just a couple blocks from Heavener hall at UF, you can even walk on over here for a short study break whenever your brain feels fried. After all, what better to way to solve this problem than with some equally fried food?
Known for serving some of the darn burgers in all of Gainesville, Loosey's is the place to go when you're craving those American classics. With locations near downtown and at Hailley's Plantation, Loosey's offers top-notch recipes for cheap.
On Burger Wednesdays, chow down on their signature burger and fries for only $6 – a real steal when you consider the quality of these meaty, juicy patties.
No matter which location you decide to visit, expect to have some amazing times at Loosey's. With daily events that feature open mic and karaoke nights, the laidback atmosphere promotes an entertaining culture. With a plethora of funky tunes and awesome interactions, Loosey's takes the average wining and dining experience way up a notch.
Bountiful Brunch Deals
Brunch is the quintessential Sunday morning activity, and arguably the best meal of the day. In Gainesville, there are so many places to get amazing brunch meals, but these two Gainesville food deals arguably pack the biggest punch when it comes to brunch.
Bagels and Noodles
One of Gainesville's most underrated food joints, Bagels and Noodles is certainly unique. The shop on West University Avenue is a brunch spot by day and a Vietnamese restaurant by afternoon/night. Yes, you heard us right – talk about versatility!
While the two food genres at Bagels and Noodles are equally enticing, the brunches are simply charming. Everything from omelets to traditional breakfast platters are delicious and entirely affordable, coming in under $10. Pair your meal with some of their delicious coffee, and prepare to have your world changed.
At Bagels Unlimited, you're getting as close as you're going to get to real NY bagels in the Gainesville area. Serving hearty food in whopping portions that rarely exceed $8, this is where you come for brunch when you want promising portions and flavor.
Bagels Unlimited has two locations, one on SW 43rd street and the other literally right next to Bagels and Noodles on West University. Good luck choosing between Bagels and Noodles and Bagels Unlimited. We usually just choose the one with the shorter line because they're both equally delicious!
Local Gainesville Favorites
Gainesville is well known for its out of the box, one-of-a-kind food culture. Besides the wide assortment of funky restaurants around UF, residents are privy to all kinds of feast-like gatherings that hold their foundations in the gator nation. These events unite those who live in the area, allowing people to connect to others while they consume flavors completely authentic to the Gainesville community.
Krishna Lunch is arguably one of the coolest and quirkiest traditions on the UF campus. Since 1971, people have enjoyed the famous Hare Krishna vegetarian lunches at the Plaza of the Americas. Following a weekly menu on Monday through Friday in the afternoons, the Gainesville Krishna community serves unbelievable vegetarian food for only $5.
Lunch options include starchy rice or noodles, the most popular being the Krishna spaghetti, along with two vegetarian main dishes, including innovative delicacies such as meatless chili. On the side, you receive a salad with magical creamy almond dressing as well as a traditional desert called Halva that changes flavors daily.
Once you've paid, you can come back for seconds, thirds, fourths - as many times as you'd like! You'll certainly want to keep returning for more because Krishna lunch is so delicious and one of a kind.
Union Street Farmers Market
The Union Street Farmers Market is also a beautiful Gainesville tradition. Ever since 1996, local farmers have gotten together to sell fresh vegetables and products for the community, and more recently, food stands as well as custom merchandise booths have joined the mix.
On Wednesdays from 4-7 p.m., rain or shine, people flock out to Bo Didley Plaza located downtown for food, entertainment, and good vibes. These weekly farmers market events help bring the community together for a healthy, productive, and positive purpose. It also doesn't hurt that everything sold there is so affordable.
You get the 'deal?'
Of course, there are always discount applications like ‘Tastebud' and ‘Hooked' that grant you daily discounts on restaurants in any zipcode. However, there is something to be said for non-chain restaurants and food traditions that are completely unique to where you live. Often, these kinds of small details can be the fine line that distinguishes a town from a true community.
While this isn't a comprehensive list of Gainesville food deals, we would require a legitimate encyclopedia to entirely cover the area's amazing dining options. Even so, one thing is for certain - home is where the heart is, but the heart is where the good food and great deals are. Gainesville is a unique town with so many authentically original restaurants, and apartment residents are extremely lucky to have them so close by.