Delicious Gainesville Finds On a College Budget

If you are tired of going to the same restaurants where the food is overpriced and not spectacular, this is the blog for you. I will visit a different restaurant that may not necessarily be well-known but might have amazing food for a reasonable price. I love food and hope to find a few new favorite restaurants. Eating on a budget, without having to splurge on Ramen noodles every day, is always a plus!

Dec 13, 2009


Bento Cafe offers delicious Pan Asian and sushi entrees and a modern, colorful atmosphere to enjoy your meal in. Soft, contemporary music is usually playing in the restaurant while the red light illuminates the ordering area. Not a fan of the Chinese food that I have found in Florida, Bento does an excellent job of satisfying my Asian hunger. Customers are able to pick from a variety of dishes, most with a signature meat and sauce combination, and choose whether they want their meal with noodles or rice. I typically order the garlic chicken noodle bowl that is covered in a delicious brown garlic sauce and is complemented by carrots and onions. Bento also gives you the option of calling your order in ahead of time to avoid the sometimes long line that can form in the small front area. The portions at Bento are pretty good, but this is definitely not the restaurant for a starving college student down to their last dollars. Meals usually are about $8.

Dec 9, 2009

CiCi's Pizza

Today my roommates and I decided to take desperate measures, which we should have made use of earlier in the semester, and search through the piles of final exam reviews to find our beloved Gator Greenbacks. After deciding that we would want whatever we ordered to feed us for at least two days, we voted on ordering pizza of some sort. Cici's Pizza had the best coupon: two large pizzas with one topping each for $9.99. I was a little skeptical of the quality of the pizza after the server told us that it would take only 10 minutes for our pizzas to be ready. Although we were probably only about five minutes late getting to the restaurant, our pizzas still were only slightly warm once we got home. One of my roommates truly enjoyed the sausage and pepperoni pizzas. I was not overly impressed, although I may just be used to my delicious Chicago deep dish pizza. Overall, two pizzas for $10 was a great buy. Dinner tonight and lunch tomorrow has been taken care of for three girls. Thanks Gator Greenbacks.

CiCi's Pizza
3246 SW 35th Blvd.

Dec 8, 2009

Poor at the end of the semester?

Around this time of year, many students are starting to run out of their beloved financial aid money. Thank goodness their are decent coupons that are passed out in random locations around campus the beginning of the semester. Gator Greenbacks and the $100 themed The Campus Special book are filled with hundreds of coupons that definitely helped me and my starving roommates fill our bellies.

Nov 1, 2009

The Crab Shack

Located at 104 NE Waldo road, this small restaurant is easy to miss. Sitting next to the Kangaroo gas station, one might look at the trailer-like building and imagine that the food could not possible be good. I was shocked after my first visit. The food was reasonably priced and well seasoned. Although the food is strictly takeout, the atmosphere of the restaurant was the last thing on my mind after I devoured the garlic crab. There were several meals that allowed you to sample many of the Crab Shack specialty items such as garlic crab and garlic shrimp. Homemade lemonade and juices showcased the southern, simply homemade style of the restaurant. The side items were also a surprising treat. Many of the sides were under 50 cents, which is something I rarely see on menus in Gainesville. Hush puppies, garlic crab and garlic potatoes were the highlight of my weekend thanks to the Crab Shack.

Sep 28, 2009

Emiliano's Cafe

Emiliano's Cafe specializes in tapas and pan-Latin cuisine. The modern atmosphere gives a big city feel to Gainesville. The menu included traditional Latin cuisine in Spanish and the English translations underneath. Although the entrees were not extremely cheap, the relatively inexpensive tapas, which included rather large portions and are to be shared, made it easy to order a few for the entire table and simply split the bill. I actually enjoyed the tapas more than my entree. They also had a large selection of fresh fruit juices including papaya, mango and guava which became the perfect backdrop for my mimosa. The popular 70s and 80s music played in the restaurant was a unexpected but pleasant treat to my Emiliano's experience.

A small portion of four traditional Mexican tostones is served with their signature garlic mojito sauce. Tostones are green plantains that are fried twice.

Two local paintings hang in the indoor seating area inside the restaurant on the brick wall underneath the fluorescent lights.

A colorful painting featuring a rooster surrounded by fruit created by a local artists hangs on the wall near the booths. Small lights frame the artwork displayed throughout the restaurant which prides itself on being a supporter of Gainesville art.

Sep 25, 2009

Shooting Star: Japanese Grill & Sushi

After a long week filled with exams, meetings and homework, my roommate and I decided we needed an hour to simply relax. She had heard of a little place that claimed to have drink specials throughout the week. With only 7 people at the bar including myself, my roommate, the bartender and four other people he seemed to know pretty well, it was easy to get comfortable at this restaurant. The extensive drink menu made it difficult to choose a drink at first but the reasonable beer specials actually made the decision for me. I look forward to trying the several different types of cold and hot saki they offer especially with the buy a drink get a drink free before 7 p.m. promotion. Although I am not a fan of sushi, unless the meat or fish inside is cooked which might not truly qualify as sushi to true sushi eaters, I decided to split some sushi with my roommate. The shrimp tempura rolls were excellent and the perfect meal to share. The restaurant also has live music and karaoke during the week with different drink specials every night.

Sep 8, 2009

Merlion Singapore Cuisine

The letters missing from the sign and lack of cars in the parking lot at Merlion truly were not good representations of the elaborate, maticulously decorated restaurant inside. The gold Buddha, koi pond, large screen television, vibrant paintings and flowing curtain-like material tha separated each booth, set the scene for a relaxing lunch.
The lunch menu offered several tantalizing meal combinations, all of which came with a spring roll, crab rangoon and rice, all starting at $5.95. The truly exciting element that the restaurant boasted was their British and Asian-inspired tea time. With over 20 hot teas being offered, all of which are served in a teapot which is kept warm by a candle. Specialty teas included the gator Tea and the jasmine flower petal tea.
I truly enjoyed my garlic chicken meal which went well with my jasmine tea and was evident by the lack of leftovers found on my plate. Merlion is definitely an excellent restaurant under the guise of being a hole in the wall. I would recommend it to anyone that is looking for a healthy, tasty meal that will not weigh heavily on their pockets.