Tried vs. True: Where you SHOULD be eating in Gainesville

By Hannah Gamache

Junior, English Major

Bento Cafe vs. Momoyaki

We all know and love Bento as our go-to Gainesville restaurant to fulfill that Asian food craving. If my friends and I are in the mood for Asian, the default choice is Bento, naturally. This popular Asian café is usually pretty crowded, and for good reason. For around $8.00, you can get a rice bowl, noodle bowl, or bento box. The food is decent, and some dishes are better than others. Their chicken teriyaki a tad on the rubbery side, and ordering something you have never tried before can be a shot in the dark. As I fork out an extra three dollars for a sugary boba tea, I sometimes find myself wondering how Bento became so popular.

Now, the place that everyone should be frequenting is Momoyaki. It is a little Asian restaurant right off of Archer on Southwest 34th. If you want authenticity, variety, and flavor, Momoyaki is the place to go. Their specialty is Japanese and Korean cuisine, and their noodle and rice bowls are also around $8.00. Every dish that I have ordered at Momoyaki has been superior in taste and quality to Bento. Vegetarians also have the option of ordering either tofu or tempeh dishes. For a nice change, I recommend the hot green tea served in a lovely porcelain pot. They also have a large selection of sushi, sake, and specialty drinks. Some of the entrées cost a bit more, but nothing exceeds $15.00. If you want great food for a good price, you need to try Momoyaki.

Next time you’re craving a noodle bowl, you should think twice before opting for the usual at Bento.

Photo Credit: Cresonia Hsieh

Panera Bread vs. McAlister’s

Panera is a classic café that offers a wide selection of soups, sandwiches, and salads, and even pasta. With the addition of free Wi-Fi, it’s no wonder that students are always hitting up Panera for a group study session. Their bakery also offers a number of breakfast options, pastries, baked breads, and the college student essential: coffee. Their frozen coffee drinks cost about the same as a Frappuccino from Starbucks and aren’t overpowered by excessive sweetness. As a healthier option, they even have fruit smoothies. How can any tired, hungry, homework-laden student resist?

While their menu is not as extensive as Panera’s, McAlister’s Deli has comparable prices and delectable food that sets it apart. Their hot and cold sandwiches, delicious soups, and robust salads are generously portioned and easily stand up to those at Panera. Try their famous sweet tea for a little southern flare—refills on the house. McAlister’s most unique feature is their selection of loaded potatoes, which they call “spuds.” If you are a potato lover, McAlister’s is the place to be. My favorite is the Black Angus Roast Beef Spud, topped with caramelized onions and cheese. Complimentary Wi-Fi is also offered at McAlister’s, so the next time you are in need of some food and a study session, why not give this deli a try?

How Do You Roll vs. Sushi-2-Go

How Do You Roll, touted as the first custom sushi restaurant, is the latest sushi place to hit University Avenue. Their “create your own” option for sushi rolls and bowls puts a unique twist on the typical sushi joint. Their fruit and vegetable options are particularly tasty, and it is a nice change to be able to order exactly what you want on your roll. The only downside is the price: $6.00 for a roll, and that is without any extra toppings. Those will cost you at least a dollar more each. The rolls are good, but without their $2-dollar-off coupon, I would be hesitant to go there again.

If you are cost conscientious about sushi like I am, Sushi-2-Go is the better choice. Their best deals are two rolls for $8.00 and three rolls for $10.00. Whether you’re sharing with a friend or shamelessly devouring every piece yourself, Sushi-2-Go inarguably offers the better deal. They have plenty of tasty options for rolls, and I have never had a problem requesting that one ingredient be switched out for another. Sushi-2-Go is speedy, reliable, and, as their name implies, they also deliver! Sushi-2-Go should remain your go-to sushi joint on University.

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Photo Credit: Cresonia Hsieh
Photo Credit: Cresonia Hsieh

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