There are countless obstacles freshmen face when arriving at college, and wondering where they can get their next meal is high on the list — especially for vegans.
To save you the trouble of finding the most popular vegan-friendly places in Gainesville, we conducted polls with current UF students to see where they prefer to eat on and off-campus.
Top three places to eat within walking distance of campus
1. Krishna Lunch (39 out of 61 votes)
On the Plaza of the Americas, you’ll not only be greeted with the smells of a warm, vegan-friendly buffet but also with soft chants and familiar faces. There are so many unique qualities Krishna Lunch offers that it's hard to pinpoint what exactly makes it student's go-to meal. For only a $5 donation per lunch, you get unlimited food like penne pasta with tofu tomato sauce or chili — and dinner if you’re clever enough to bring a container from home.
2. Bento (16 out of 61 votes)
Tofu can be a problematic food to try and cook well on your own, so let's leave it to the pros. Located underneath The Standard at Gainesville, Bento is known for its customizable entrees such as build-your-own poke bowls. Choose from entrees like the red curry or Sriracha garlic. This option is great for students who have an hour to spare in between classes and need to refuel.
3. El Indio (3 out of 61 votes)
While El Indio may not be considered on-campus, it is only a 10-minute walk from Library West and is well worth the trek if you're trying to get your money's worth. The options are affordable and plentiful -- just ask them to hold the cheese and sour cream. Tacos are served quickly and start at only $1.75. They even offer tempeh fillings for your burrito and taco needs.
Top three places to eat if you’ve got a ride
1. Blaze Pizza (17 out of 44 votes)
It's debatable whether or not pizza is one of the most missed foods among the vegan community, but Blaze Pizza has got your cravings covered. Decide between the classic, high-rise or gluten-free dough because yes, they are all vegan. When asking for the vegan cheese, pizza crafters will ask if you’d like them to change their gloves in case of cross-contamination. Choose unlimited toppings like pineapple or even spicy vegan chorizo. My only advice is to try to not burn your mouth when you're scarfing it down uncontrollably.
2. Bolay (16 out of 44 votes)
There is no such thing as a cheat meal at Bolay. Health-conscious vegans with an appreciation for a satisfying meal don’t need to look any further than Bolay. Create your favorite combination with ingredients like forbidden black rice, ginger broccoli or miso-glazed tofu. A common struggle for eating out as a vegan is getting accurate information from employees about what is vegan or what is not, but you don't need to worry about that here. They have every vegan option labeled for a swift ordering process.
3. Boca Fiesta (5 out of 44 votes)
Boca Fiesta is nothing short of a good time with a lively atmosphere and great company. This dine-in Mexican restaurant is the place to go for when you want an intimate night out with a small group of friends. If you order the chips and guacamole to share, they will bring you avocados and ingredients to make it yourselves. Among tacos and burritos, they even have fried vegan mac and cheese and a spiced Mexican chocolate chip cookie sandwich made locally by Karma Cream.
For more options, students have suggested keeping an eye on @GainesvilleVegans on Instagram for some lesser-known vegan foods in town and surrounding areas.