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Restaurant lunch highlights:

Bistro 1245

Bistro 1245

BISTROeggplantChoosing the lunch entrée image above for this review was easy with M.K.’s spectacular looking lunch of the Bistro 1245 Mixed greens salad ($7.96) with radish, pear slices, with a house made balsamic vinaigrette. A Salmon Filet topped MK’s salad for an additional $4.50. The salad was large enough to share and the salmon was cooked perfectly  Melissa raved about the creamy goat cheese combining with the crunchy pear slices. The olives , and balsamic dressing complimented the salmon, and goat cheese with flavor spikes of tangy flavor. You know GLOBers with lunches like this the idea of giving up meat seems more, and more like a very doable proposition.

When Bistro 1245 was the suggested lunch spot I immediately had visions of one of the best grilled cheese sandwiches in Gainesville. But alas fellow GLOBers I have already written about their most excellent grilled cheese. It is Meatless Monday so I opted for the Grilled Eggplant, Parmesan Cheese with grilled eggplant, fresh mozzarella, spinach, marinara and pesto on a baguette, image at top of this review. The $9.50 pricing also includes soup of a side salad.   The blending of the eggplant flavor and the marinara sauce creates a hearty, home cooked feeling that directed me to an internal warm and cozy place. The spinach in the sandwich was a pronounced taste surprise with both texture and flavor.

- GLOB Master



Menu, appetizer, reasons for return visits

By Melissa Kahan, GLOB Correspondent

BistroSFTypically when you find a restaurant that you enjoy dining at, you would think it would be only natural to consider it in your mealtime restaurant rotation. I have dined at Bistro 1245 a handful of times over the years, and every time it has been an amazing experience: the food consistently tasty, the menu items varied yet all extremely appealing, and the service friendly and attentive. For some reason, I let the small café next to sister restaurant, Leonardo's Pizza By the Slice, on University Ave. fall off the radar, and it seems that I am not alone in this. After a couple of recent visits, I will certainly not make that mistake again.

Yes, the parking has always been problematic for these cafes--the small, cramped lot adjacent to them creates traffic flow issues at peak times. It's no secret, though, that the results are worth the effort. Although small, Bistro 1245 presents its own charm, complete with a small, dimly-lit indoor dining space of about a dozen tables and an outdoor patio area with a handful of small tables shared by the pizza side. Another aspect they share: serving the infamous Leo's garlic knots, which could be my meal in and of themselves.

BISTROquoteBOXaThe variety of Bistro's café-style menu is a large draw. With everything from soups, salads, and sandwiches to pastas and a sirloin entrée that would satisfy the pickiest of carnivores, the menu teeters between sophisticatedand casual, and it absolutely works. I showed up in the most casual of attire and was seated outside with my dining companion, Greg, for his first, and I don't think last, experience. I had yet to order the Bruschetta appetizer, $6.95, and after little debate or time, Greg agreed it was the right choice.



"Three crostini appetizer was filled to the brim with a thick layer of creamy goat cheese, chickpeas, tomatoes, and shredded basil balanced atop one another was as visually appealing as it was appetizing." It was the perfect portion size and had the ideal balance of savory from the cheese, refreshing from the produce, and slightly tart from the balsamic reduction drizzled across the dish.

Next time, I will try it with the optional prosciutto for even more flavor diversity.

bistro2ferThis explosion of prominent, yet cohesive flavors was a theme of each dish presented. The list of sandwiches offered takes up half of the menu, but these are not your mother's ordinary sandwiches packed in your lunchbox; the list is the perfect example of the café ambiance – casual kicked up a few notches.

With multiple protein options, including salmon, seared tuna, chicken, duck, and tofu, there is a sandwich combination that would appeal to any hungry diner. In our case, they all sounded amazing. Having already tried and loved the Tuna Club, Greg and I decided to split the Seared Tofu Melt, $8.95, and the Sesame Ginger Duck, $13.95.

There is a Bistro1245 menu link at the bottom of this page.

The word 'satisfying' is an understatement to describe these selections. Curry is typically a very strong flavor, but the tofu had a slightly subdued, yet still notable curry flavor that enhanced the punch from the smoked gouda and the red pepper aioli. I was skeptical of this array of flavors, but it worked, especially on the sourdough bread. The duck sandwich, while a tad milder, image at top of this review, was actually the ideal accompaniment to the other sandwich: The richness of the duck played the star against the base of greens, tomato, and the garlic aioli, which I was pleasantly surprised wasn't more potent.



The butternut squash soup Greg ordered on the side was every bit as creamy as I had remembered, Greg noting fondly the hint of nutmeg. I always get the side Caesar salad because it is a very generous portion.

The value per meal always exceeds expectation. I cannot say anything poor about this establishment. They are even open until 10 pm daily.

The Bistro 1245 Three-Herbed Pesto pasta with chicken is calling my name.

The Pluses and Minuses of Bistro1245:

Bistro1245 (+) indicators: High value of price to quantity, friendly service, diverse menu, casual yet high quality, intimate and sophisticated while still casual ambiance, outdoor patio

Bistro1245 (-) indicators: Limited parking

Offer your GLOB comments, lunch photographs and opinions about Bistro1245. Please identify your opinions with a PLUS SIGN (+) for positive comments, and a MINUS SIGN (-) for your negative comments. - THANKS!



Forgotten bistro produces lunch surprises

By Mike Sanford, GLOB Editor

You know how some things reside out there in the world but remain completely off your daily radar screen? My kids are grown, and so I have no interest what-so-ever in Gainesville city recreation team sports. The National Hockey League Championship is happening right now and I could care less. There are a host of reasons why the Bistro1245 never made my radar screen.

BistroSFBoy, I have been wrong for a lot of years about café adjacent to Leonardo's on the corner of University Ave and 13th St as a lunch time option.

Lunch pal Lynn D. and I shared our lunches at the Bistro yesterday, and we both agreed we had two of the best sandwiches we have enjoyed in a long time.

Bistro1254 is a contemporarily cool, popular place for lunch B1245Dining11right across from the UF campus. As soon as we were seated, we immediately had questions, which were readily accepted by the servers in this nook of food lovers:

> "Is the Bistro/Leonardo owner also own 706?" (Yes, he is one of the owners along with Mark Newman.)

> "Does the Bistro1245 bake its own bread? (Just the rolls, which they actually get from next door at Leonardo's by the slice)

> "If you hated zucchini as a child, do you like zucchini today?" (No.)

During much discussion with the 1245 staff around these questions and about related food things, Lynn and I were deciding what to share for lunch.

Do we order a pasta dish and a sandwich? Bistro has a nicely described meat loaf sandwich. How do I ignore that choice? The chicken sandwich with basil aioli, onion jam, and melted gruyere really sounded good to both Lynn and I.

B1245ROLLSWe decided on a 50/50 lunch swap and shared the Meat Loaf Sandwich and the Roasted Chicken Sandwich. Lynn added a garden salad as her side dish, and I added a Caesar salad to my lunch.

Waiting for our lunch we shared some fresh baked garlic rolls that made everything in the world seem OK.

Our sandwiches were served amid oohs and aaahhhs as we directed our attention to the beautifully stacked sandwiches before us.

Lynn and I must've been using the same radar because after we exchanged sandwich halves, I started eating that half I got from her instead of the one that I ordered, and Lynn started on my half. Taking our first bites in unison we looked at each other with looks of astonishment. These were really good sandwiches.

The Meat Loaf Sandwich consisted of homemade meat loaf, dijon mustard -- extra stars awarded for this ingredient -- red onion, greens and tomato on what they call farm bread.

B1245SANDWICHThe flavors of the basil aioli, onion jam and the thick chunks of chicken breast on the Roasted Chicken Sandwich blended together for a beautiful three part harmony of flavor. The gruyere cheese melted into the other sandwich elements and create toasted sandwich bliss.

As the staff had been so friendly and willing to answer questions, I asked what was in the meatloaf as it had a very rich flavor. I was told that it has everything in it. You can't tell by looking at it, but you can sure tell by tasting it that it's a special recipe.

Lynn and I both cleaned our plates.

The B1245 has some other intriguing lunch entrees, including a sirloin steak sandwich, some interesting sounding pasta dishes, and a Grilled Three Cheese made with the same yummy bread the meatloaf was served on.

Lynn wants to come back and try the Sesame Ginger Duck Sandwich.

Shame on me for ignoring this lunch time hot spot for so long. That won't happen again. There are still numerous new taste adventures waiting at the B-1245.

The Pluses and Minuses of Bistro1245:

Bistro1245 (+) indicators: Baked bread, integration of sauces, spices and flavors make the Bistro1245 a five star lunch.

Bistro1245 (-) indicators: Parking, congestion, parking congestion.

Offer your GLOB comments, lunch photographs and opinions about Bistro1245. Please identify your opinions with a PLUS SIGN (+) for positive comments, and a MINUS SIGN (-) for your negative comments. - THANKS!


It was a perfect, cool Friday, and I was thinking soup and a sandwich. Hmmm . . . a multitude of choices race across my brain, and the spinning wheel landed on the Grilled Three Cheese at Bistro 1245. Yum!  It is one of the better grilled cheese sandwiches in Hogtown, or so the GLOB Master thinks. I didn't remember this from the last time I ordered the sandwich, but the menu now says along with provolone, smoked gouda, gruyere cheese, and a slice of tomato, pesto can be added to this lunchtime bliss bomb for an additional $1.50.  Gosh Pee-Wee, if you're feeling like a carnivore, you can add some bacon to the Grilled Three Cheese for yet another $2.00. That turns your GTC sammie into an $11.00 lunch. I was feeling smart about being meatless today. Unsure about the pesto, I took my attractive servers advice and had the green goo added on, and boy was I glad I did. Feeling smart and sophisticated, I selected the Butternut Squash Bisque to compliment my my mid-day sammie. Once again the unique farm bread makes this a wonderful sandwich. Toasted and grilled to perfection, the thin farm bread slices encased a melted cauldron of flavors and textures that screamed out individually: "Can you taste that tomato?" "That's the pesto mingling in that gooey bite of provolone." "Oh man, that bite had toasted bread AND three cheeses plus the pesto in one bite!" The soup was an excellent palette cleanser with a marvelous lightness of squash flavor.  This lunch had me thinking, "It's good to be alive!"

- GLOB Master

Last modified onTuesday, 11 September 2018 06:05

Additional Info

  • Phone Number: 376-0000
  • Address: 1245 W. University Ave., Gainesville, FL
  • Urban GLOB Location: Midtown
  • Latitude: 29.651707
  • Longitude: -82.337856
More in this category: « Flying Biscuit Cafe Arby's »


  • R. Hong
    R. Hong Wednesday, 24 October 2012 11:43 Comment Link

    The food here is great but the service is very mixed. One waitress in particular is almost surly.

  • Pamela
    Pamela Wednesday, 01 June 2011 13:14 Comment Link

    + The bistro has a fabulous ambience that is at once laid back yet bustling. I am partial to their butternut squash bisque, creme brulee and sandwiches that are unique without being frou-frou. Wines aplenty and desserts to help the stressed. You can take the kids and they can have pizza at Leonardo's which has a door which joins the two great spots.

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