When thinking of Gainesville, “cultural” most likely isn’t the first word that comes to mind. I mean, it’s a college town essentially in the middle of no where. Thank goodness there’s more to this place than a swamp, restaurant chains, and country music.

Although South Florida can’t be beat, the hispanic culture definitely has bragging rights for its culinary expertise in our neck of the woods. Live la vida loca this Hispanic Heritage Month and try at least one of these five Hispanic secrets of Gainesville.

1. La Tienda

"No place I'd rather be… ?" ? #mexican #nom #nom #nom

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Translated as “the store”, La Tienda is where Gainesville meets the rich culture of Mexico. The restaurant is known for its Carne Asada Tacos among many other classics. From burritos, tortas, tacos and enchiladas, you’re guaranteed to have a colorful dish–and a yearning desire for more of Mexico.

To all my fellow vegetarians out there, there’s an entire section on their menu dedicated to us. Talk about something for everyone.

2. Mi Apá Latin Café

This is the correct way to arepa ? #chompthis

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Casually going to leave this here…
“Best Cuban food available outside of Miami I have ever had. This is coming from a Cuban person.”—Robert Ruiz

Serving all meals of the day, Mi Apá is proud to leave your stomach full and your wallet fuller. Cuban authenticity and customer affordability are the restaurant’s core values. They have 11 types of arepas, 11 different natural fruit juices, and what seems like 11,000 options to make your stomach smile eternally.

3. Boca Fiesta

Talking about how mean I may or may not use to be in high school…

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Boca Fiesta is the type of place that wouldn’t want even a single soul to face extinction due to insufficient taco consumption. With more of an American twist than the previous two restaurants, Boca Fiesta has an even wider selection of meals.

The “Fiesta” in its name comes from the famous Boca Margarita, freshly squeezed and agave sweetened (not that I’ve had it before or anything). Each month they incorporate a new meat into their menu, and each week there is karaoke and trivia night. It’s all about the good vibes and satisfied food babies. My kinda party.

4. Emiliano’s Cafe

Bougie (pre) birthday brunch boozing w/benedicts & bubbly.

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Did someone say classy and fabulous? How many restaurants do you know around town that have a different brunch menu for Saturday and Sunday?

Although a bit higher on the price scale than the others, Emiliano’s is Downtown Gainesville’s greatest Hispanic treasure. With monthly specials and events, no Emiliano’s experience will be the same as the last. It gets better. They even have their own news publication and drinks from Spain, Mexico and South America. Get your fancy on and dive into this dazzling happening.

5. Flaco’s

@td_cox showed us Flaco's tonight, really good Cuban foodz ? I got the pan con pollo!

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In West University born and raised. With nothing on their menu over eight dollars and 94 cent tostadas, Flaco’s is a keeper for college students and their bank accounts. From pastries to pressed sandwiches and empanadas to coffee, Flaco’s has all the classics to make Hispanic Heritage Month genuine.

Here’s to a month embracing Hispanic heritage, especially the food part. To a town that is more culturally aware than it is given credit for, thank you. ¡Vamos!