Sometimes it’s hard for me to get to restaurant’s working the schedule I do. Some of the best places in Jacksonville are closed on Sunday and Monday (my usual days off), and most places are closed by the time I finish work. Dinner at 13 Gypsies has therefore been a long time coming!
First off, let me start by saying that the place is tiny, and by tiny I mean 7 tables. It therefore stands to reason that a reservation is a must!
The cuisine at 13 Gypsies follows more of a Spanish style theme, so I wanted to bring a wine that was extremely flexible (from a food pairing standpoint). The wine that I chose was the Biltmore Estate Blanc de Blancs, 100% Chardonnay from the Russian River Valley. The wine was everything I expected it to be, offering a slight yeasty/bready quality (as found in a lot of Champagnes), lemon, pear, Granny Smith apple and good acidity.
I always find sparkling wines to be one of the most versatile food pairing wines going, and the Biltmore wine stood up to everything we threw at it! Honey Garlic Hummus, Roman Gnocchi, Shrimp Curry, and Warm Artichoke & Chickpea Salad. It even managed to handle the desserts of flan and tres leches.
Everything we had at 13 Gypsies was amazing! The portions are small in true tapas style, but it always blows my mind when I read reviews online that blast a restaurant for small potions. Too many people judge a restaurant on the size of its portions, without first evaluating the quality.
I say that if you know in advance that you are looking for big portions on your plate, go to the Cheesecake Factory, not a restaurant like 13 Gypsies! Our table of 4 left the restaurant full, not stuffed so we can barely walk, but comfortably full.
If I was going to be really picky, I would say that the wine list was an afterthought for the restaurant. So much design has been clearly put in to both the website and food menu, but the wine list (offering a mainly Spanish selection) seems to have been overlooked. I brought the Biltmore and paid the corkage fee (whatever that fee may have been because I didn’t ask). It’s not too often that I bring my own bottle to a restaurant, but I see it becoming more a regular thing because of this website.
To conclude, I have no shadow of a doubt in my mind that 13 Gypsies is one of the best, if not the best restaurant in Jacksonville. If you haven’t been, make your reservation and go!
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