Dinner Date With Culture

By Amanda Roland

by Renee Castro

Gainesville is a melting pot of people and their cultures. Many people have migrated to Gainesville in the years since the university has opened, and with it has come an array of cultural influences like foods, stores and so much more. Gainesville has so many restaurants that offer a range of culturally diverse foods. Here are our favorites to help you get started on uncovering Gainesville’s diversity through food!

Sushi Matsuri

This quaint Japanese style sushi bar screams authentic from the minute you walk in. You can order traditional Japanese dishes like yakitori or oyako don. There is also a fresh sushi bar that you can sit at while the sushi chefs whip up your special roll.


3418 SW Archer Rd Gainesville, FL 32608 (Moving to Butler Plaza West in June!)

Francesca’s Trattoria

This locally owned and operated Italian restaurant has authentic food that is made from scratch each day. All of the pasta and their sauces are made homemade by the staff at their arrival each day. Guests can enjoy a variety of Italian dishes like eggplant rollatini, pasta e fagioli or lobster fra diavalo. Buon Appetito!


4410 NW 25th Pl Gainesville, FL 32606

Bangkok Square

This small family-owned restaurant serves authentic Thai food. The menu features a section labeled traditional thai dishes and has a meat selection of chicken, tofu, beef, shrimp, duck, scallops and more. Each meat is served with a traditional sauce from the curry section or sautéed section.


6500 SW Archer Rd. Suite J Gainesville, FL 32608

8181 NW 38th Lane, Unit 100 Gainesville, FL 32606

Beque Holic

This restaurant offers an experience like
no other. Dine in for a Korean barbecue with all you can eat meats that you cook yourself, right at your own table. The menu features a variety of Korean inspired meats like pork bulgogi, seasoned squid and even beef tongue.


3812 W. Newberry Rd Gainesville, FL 32607

La Tienda

This restaurant is an experience in itself.
A small market-style restaurant, where
you can purchase products, groceries and even movies, this Mexican stop brings so much culture to life. Choose from authentic style tacos, burritos and tortas, or enhance your meal with nachos or taquitos. If you love spicy, Mexican, cheesy goodness, this restaurant is where you should be.


2204 SW 13th St. Gainesville, FL 32608

Alpin Bistro

Europe meets Florida at this divine, small restaurant. All of the cheeses and charcuteries are imports from various European territories. With a changing menu due to local and seasonal availabilities, a dinner at Alpin is unique at each visit. Wine, beer, chocolate and cheese lovers can indulge on their favorite foods in the comfort of their own hometown.


15 SW 2nd Street Gainesville, FL 32601

Reggae Shack Cafe

This restaurant puts an emphasis on bringing the Jamaican culture to Gainesville. The restaurant brings food, music, culture and more to every guest who walks through the doors. Each Jamaican-inspired dish embodies the food and culture, with options like coconut shrimp, beef patties, jerk chicken wings, rum cake and even more!


619 W University Ave Gainesville, FL 32601

Gator Suyaki

Come here if you are looking for a modern interpretation of classic Chinese dishes and fresh ingredients. For those who are looking for classic Chinese food, they can have the choice of several authentic dishes ranging from pickled bok choy fish fillet soup to roast duck or cumin lamb. For those who prefer an American-Chinese entree, there is a section that offers americanized dishes like orange chicken and honey garlic chicken.


3830 SW 13th St Gainesville, FL 32608

Emiliano’s Cafe

In the heart of downtown, latin fusion meets Gainesville. The foods are inspired by the Caribbean, Spain and South America to make a hispanic-satisfying menu. The menu features a little bit from everywhere, if you are a hispanic food lover. Choose from the classic pinon, ropa vieja or mofongo de camarones, but make sure you pair it with a sangria or traditional mojito to leave you wanting more.


7 SE 1st Ave, Gainesville FL 32601