Sunday, May 13, 2007

Review: The Top

Where: Just north of University Avenue and Main Street in Gainesville's downtown area, The Top restaurant can be found across from another popular hangout, The Atlantic.

When: I went Friday, May 11 for dinner. The restaurant was packed with people. Some at tables, some at the bar. This is a popular restaurant for locals and for students.

Atmosphere: The Top has a very laid back, indie sort of environment. It's walls have interesting art, and the lighting is kept dimmed and intimate. Interesting music is always playing, though never loud enough to disrupt a conversation.

Menu: A major attraction for The Top is their many vegetarian selections. They have many dishes that offer a choice of meat or tofu. The dishes are all over the place. From stir-fry to stuffed chicken to pastas.

Service: The service I received was friendly and quick. Make that very quick. Very, very quick. I barely had time to eat my appetizer before my salad was out, and when I was halfway done with my salad, the entree had hit the table. Despite this minor annoyance, the server was very friendly and attentive. It's important to note that it looked as though he was covering half the restaurant by himself, so that may have explained why the dishes were coming out as they were.

Food: I ordered the special of the day, Crawfish Etoufee. It's a Cajun dish with crawfish and vegetables in a brown sauce served over rice. It was accompanied by some grilled asparagus. All parts of the dish were great. The sauce was just spicy enough, the crawfish and the vegetables were tasty and tender, and the asparagus was fresh and grilled just right.

For an appetizer, I ordered the 'word famous corn nuggets'. While that's an exaggeration, it probably shouldn't be. The corn nuggets are fantastic, and the garlic ranch complements them perfectly. While the other appetizers looked equally appealing, I don't think I could resist ordering these again.

I also ordered a small side salad, which was surprisingly good for a garden salad. It had a good variety of vegetables, all of them fresh and tasty. The vinaigrette was quite good as well.

Price: The average entree at The Top is around 10-13 dollars, with appetizers coming in at 3-6 dollars.

Overall: The atmosphere and the quality of the food are the reasons to go to The Top. 8.5/10

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