Since most of my eating endeavor thus far focused on casual dining, I wanted to experience what Gainesville had to offer in fine dining. Manuel’s Vintage Room stuck out as an authentic Italian restaurant perfect for an intimate date or an extravagant night on the town.
Manuel’s is a small and cozy restaurant built from the big city dreams of Manuel Chavez. Chavez’s restaurant venture began in Detroit before moving to Gainesville. His first establishment in Gainesville, Daniela’s, brought the introductory taste of his take on fine Italian cuisine. Due to Daniela’s success, Manuel and his son Marco opened Manuel’s Vintage Room.
The experience of Manuel’s stems from cuisine Manuel fell in love with while travelling the world and his vast knowledge of fine wine. When you visit Manuel’s, you definitely get the vibe that Manuel draws on his expertise to create an amazing dining experience.
When we arrived to the restaurant and were seated, my boyfriend commented on how the restaurant reminded him of the restaurants he experienced on a family trip to Italy. It is a small establishment, but it adds to the ambiance of the restaurant. It was hard for us to decide what to eat, as everything on the menu sounded impeccable. I decided on the Pork Medallions ($19), which is grilled pork with portabella mushrooms and red onions in a port wine reduction. My boyfriend chose the signature Manuel’s Chicken ($15) that features grilled chicken breasts with habanero peppers in a white wine butter sauce.
At first when the waiter brought our food, the plates got mixed up. This mishap allowed both of us to try a sample of the other’s choice. Both plates tasted outstanding, but their different tastes both had something great to offer. The Pork Medallions definitely encompassed everything I look for in a pork dish. The meat was thin cut, and each piece was tenderized beautifully by the sauce. It possessed a savory taste I never before experienced. Manuel’s Chicken was by far the favorite dish for both of us. The peppers gave the chicken the perfect touch of spice, and the sauce was yet another example of how Manuel’s sauces perfectly compliment their dishes.
When we were ready to leave, Manuel himself asked us how we enjoyed his menu. He expressed his appreciation that we enjoyed his restaurant, and his interest in our opinion added the perfect personal touch to the meal.
Price Range: $$
Good For: Dinner
Must Try: Manuel’s Chicken, Gnocchi Daniela, Tiramisu
Hours: 5 p.m – 10 p.m Tues – Sat, 5 p.m – 9 p.m Sun
Location: 6 S Main St, Gainesville, FL