Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
We inform. You decide.
Monday, June 05, 2023

With so many Latin restaurants in town, how do you know which ones are the real deal? Where can you get an authentic media noche? Who makes the best guava puff pastry? Which place can satisfy your Latin food addiction? Eight of the most popular places are reviewed here to let you know what's fabuloso and what's not.

Virtually Cuban

2409 SW 13th St.

(352) 336-4125

The only restaurant that deserves to be called "virtually" Cuban brings classic south Florida Cuban cuisine to Gainesville for less than ,10. They offer several sandwich and entree combinations that are an exquisite blend of seasonings, featuring a ropa vieja dish that tastes just like your Cuban grandma's cooking. But while the fare is flavorful with portions large enough to feed two, the restaurant has a bland, tan interior and hours that are a real drawback - it's only open Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Na'Guara Latin Corner

5240 NW 34th St., Suite D

(352) 225-3555

This cozy, Venezuelan-Cuban restaurant quickly whips up a variety of large and small bites for breakfast and lunch for less than ,8. Its diverse menu features some tame entrees, such as the delectable coreana arepa with roast pork, grilled onions and tender, white cheese on a fluffy corn pancake. There are also exotic entrees such as the cazon arepa, which has shark meat. This snack spot's staff chatters in Spanish while VH1 Uno broadcasts on a flat-screen TV in the background. Due to its location, Na'Guara caters more to the SFCC crowd than UF students.

Emiliano's Café

7 SE First Ave.

(352) 375-7381

Enjoy what you're reading? Get content from The Alligator delivered to your inbox

European street-side café meets American jazz lounge at Emiliano's downtown. The pan-Latin fare offers succulent flavors mildly seasoned in a medley of Spanish, Caribbean and Latin spices that will wow any sophisticated palate. The restaurant is a stylish backdrop for a fancy night out at medium to high prices. However, if you're looking for authentically Cuban or Central American food, this isn't the place - Emiliano's is more Latin fusion than anything else.

Mi Apa Latin Café

114 SW 34th St.

(352) 376-7020

Mi Apa boasts the largest and most varied venue in Gainesville, offering 18 different arepas and a large assortment of Latin fruit smoothies. Its drive-thru also saves patrons on a time crunch. It's even open until 3 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. The catch? This restaurant seems preoccupied with quantity and variety rather than quality.

Flaco's Cuban Bakery

200 W University Ave.

(352) 371-2000

With its scenester atmosphere, yummy sandwiches and fairly authentic pastries, Flaco's embodies the ideal college hang-out spot. You can eat inside or order at its takeout window. It's a bit pricey for sandwiches (a media noche, pastry and bottled water costs just less than ,10), but they serve up hot and appetizing sandwiches that taste even more amazing after a night of bar hopping. Be wary of its hours of operation: Early in the week they close in the afternoons, but later in the week they stay open until early morning.

Fritanga Latin Grill

1702 W University Ave.

(352) 371-4454

Wooden plaque sculptures from Honduras and bas-relief miniature houses line the brightly-colored walls of Fritanga Latin Grill, making the atmosphere eclectic and inviting. About ,6 to ,9 will get you a meal at the only Latin restaurant walking distance from campus. It's well worth the price, offering the closest thing to Central and South American cuisine. They even have hard-to-find items such as Salvadoran pupusas, a white corn-flour tortilla stuffed usually with cheese, or gallo pinto, a unique blend of spices and red beans and rice known to Nicaraguan cuisine.

Green Plantains Restaurant

5150 SW 34th St.

(352) 378-1930

This casual restaurant redefines the borders of Chinese and Latin cuisine, creating unique fusion flavors such as the flamingo fish topped with Spanish chorizo and a blend of three cheeses. While they have a great lunch special at ,4.95 plus tax, the dinner entrees seem a bit overpriced.

The eclectic décor offers a warm and quiet environment, but the slow service and distance from campus takes away from the experience.

La Fortuna Latin Market & Deli

125 NW 23rd Ave.

(352) 371-9496

La Fortuna cooks food and sells the ingredients so you can make it yourself - they even sell a box of just-add-water churros, a popular fried pastry dessert. The convenient location close to Ward's can make it a nice stop on a grocery trip, and they change up the menu every day with four entrees from different countries.

Support your local paper
Donate Today
The Independent Florida Alligator has been independent of the university since 1971, your donation today could help #SaveStudentNewsrooms. Please consider giving today.

Powered by SNworks Solutions by The State News
All Content © 2023 The Independent Florida Alligator and Campus Communications, Inc.