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!

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.