Editor’s note: This is part of an ongoing series on the Gainesville food scene. The eateries featured are evaluated using Reddit, Google, Yelp, TripAdvisor and staff experiences.
You are not alone if you ever get stumped on where to take your date. This list compiles the best places to take your date and combines both delicious food and unforgettable experiences that the city of Gainesville offers.
Whether you prefer fine dining or a relaxed, casual setting, these are the places Gainesville natives take their significant others when they hit the town.
Embers Wood Fired Grill
Rated as one of the best steakhouses in Florida by Best Things Florida, Embers is one of the best places to treat your date to a night out. All the steaks are hand cut and trimmed in house and chosen from the top 2 percent of all beef in America.
The steaks are grilled on hickory, pine and cherry woods. Reviewers rave not only about the steaks but everything Embers serves on the menu. Check out special Gainesville-specific offerings like crispy gator tail or the orange and blue salad (served with mandarin oranges, blueberries, spiced pecans and a citrus-champagne vinaigrette).
Embers also won the 2023 Wine Spector: Best of Award of Excellence and is one of the only 1,200 restaurants recognized worldwide.
- Location: 3545 SW 34th St., Suite A
- Hours: 5-9 p.m., Mon.-Thu., 5-10 p.m. Fri.-Sat.
Prime and Pearl
Prime and Pearl opened in 2021, giving Gainesville a new date night option. The restaurant looks to bring innovative and elevated dining to the area. Located in Celebration Pointe, Prime and Pearl explores the relationship between land and sea with menu options ranging from dry aged steaks to oysters and sea bass. The namesake dish is an 8-ounce filet served with crispy oysters.
Prime and Pearl has an extensive wine list, but also serves cloud-infused or specialty cocktails. Fan favorites are the smore’s old fashioned and the espresso martini.
- Location: 4949 Celebration Pointe Ave.
- Hours: 4-9 p.m. Tues.-Thu., 4-10 p.m. Fri.-Sat., 4-9 p.m. Sun.
Ichiban has been serving Gainesville sushi for over 24 years. The restaurant is located in Magnolia Parke and boasts a modern atmosphere with a 500-gallon salt-water fish tank to observe while you are dining.
Ichiban offers over 40 choices for specialty sushi rolls. You can also request a custom roll from the chef. Ichiban also hosts other Asian cuisines such as Chinese, Thai and Korean.
- Location: 4928 NW 39th Ave.
- Hours: 11:30 a.m.-9 p.m. Sun.-Thu., 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Fri.-Sat.
Tucked away in downtown Gainesville is the French family-owned restaurant Alpin Bistro. The bistro serves freshly made, traditional French cuisine and is the perfect romantic setting with a French inspired interior.
Reviewers rave about the traditional French foods like les croques, les croutes, quiches and charcuterie. The bistro serves an extensive wine selection, and on Wednesdays it offers a buy two drinks, get one free deal. On Thursdays, Alpin offers fresh pasta, which is a fan favorite.
- Location: 15 SW 2nd St.
- Hours: 5-10 p.m. Tues.-Thu., 5-11 p.m. Fri., 11 a.m.-3 p.m., 5-11 p.m. Sat.
One Love Café
Located in the heart of Magnolia Parke is One Love Café, an outside eatery with live music, fun events and delicious food. One Love makes date night interesting. Watch football games that are projected on a large screen, enjoy a live local band’s performance, or participate in karaoke night (Wednesday from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.). Everything on One Love’s menu is made fresh with locally sourced ingredients.
The menu consists of casual fare like sandwiches, burgers, pasta and salads. One Love offers a full bar, and during Happy Hour (3 p.m. to 5 p.m. daily) beers, wines, and seltzers are buy one, get one half off.
- Location: 4989 NW 40th Place
- Hours: 11 a.m.-3 p.m., 4-9 p.m. Wed.-Fri., 11 a.m.-2 p.m., 4-9 p.m. Sat., 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sun.
Satchel’s is a Gainesville favorite. The restaurant serves up pizza in a funky atmosphere. Satchel’s is one large art exhibit with stained glass, bright colors and mosaics.
Full of talking points, it will surely amaze you and your date with the artistry and the pizza. Be sure to check on the website for days with live music.
Satchel’s specializes in pan pizza, which is soft on the inside and has caramelized edges. You can customize your order with over 35 ingredients, including vegan and vegetarian options.
Satchels offers wine and beer menus, but the highlight for drinks is the selection of homemade sodas made with real cane sugar. You can try all of the sodas with Satchel's soda flight for $6.
- Location: 1800 NE 23rd Ave.
- Hours: 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Tues.-Sat.
Now, let the debate begin! Weigh in with your thoughts in the comments section below.
What Gainesville is saying: