Category Archives: Restaurants

Famous Amos Restaurant

Famous AmosFamous Amos has been serving Jacksonville residents delicious southern-style country cooking for over 40 years.  Featuring breakfast all day, great lunch and dinner specials, and lots of fresh, locally-grown vegetables, it is a favorite in the Mandarin community.

My grilled tilapia with fresh veggies on a bed of rice was the best!  Here is a picture:

Famous Amos

If you go:  There are six restaurants and a full service catering department.  Most menu items are under $10.  Locations, hours, and a complete menu are available on their website at

Bayard Cafe

The Bayard CafeThe Bayard Cafe is a cheery addition to the historic community of Bayard. Located midway between Jacksonville and St. Augustine, Bayard was once a stopping-off point for tourists traveling along US 1 between the two cities.  In the 60s and 70s shoppers browsed for bargains at the Bayard  Antique Village or the Country Store.  Now, with the continued growth of Jacksonville to the South, Bayard seems very much a part of the city, though maintaining its rural charm.

Bayard Cafe interiorThe Bayard Cafe is open for breakfast and lunch daily.  There is a full breakfast menu, a bakery and a coffee bar. Lunch options include homemade soups, salads and sandwiches, as well as daily specials ranging from spaghetti, meat loaf, and fried chicken to Fish Friday. Perhaps, your biggest decision will be deciding what to order!

I thoroughly enjoyed the quiche supreme, which was also homemade and came with a salad.   There was a steady stream of fellow diners, even after the normal lunch rush.  Friendly service, homey atmosphere, great food, and very reasonable prices – I will be back, too!

The Bayard Cafe is located is located in the Shoppes of Bayard, 12525 Philips Highway (at US 1 and Old St.Augustine Rd). You can check out their website at and also find them on Facebook.


The Back 40 Urban Cafe

The Back 40 Urban Cafe in St. Augustine is a great place to enjoy lunch or dinner away from the tourist crowds.  You’ll have to look to find it, as the charming little house blends with other residential homes on the street.  Once inside, there are several different rooms in which to eat.

The menu has a Mexican touch and offers many vegetarian  options, as well as chicken pot pie and amazing tacos.  Happy Hour specials are from 3-6 everyday.  Bring friends and family! You’ll find this hidden gem  at 40 South Dixie Highway, St. Augustine, Florida 32082.

Awesome Lunch at The French Pantry

The French Pantry is located in a warehouse on Powers Avenue with no signage except for an awning at the entrance.  You could easily drive by without even noticing there is a place to eat.  But The French Pantry is no secret to its many raving fans.


Rated #1 of 1436 restaurants by Trip Advisor, the family owned restaurant offers French-inspired lunches. Specialties include bruschettas, paninis, salads, sandwiches on  homemade bread, and decadent desserts.  Each lunch includes bread and dipping oil. Everything is wonderful!

If you go: Expect a long line after 11:30, but it moves quickly.  There are 10-12 tables inside, and communal seating is part of the charm.

KAN-KI Japanese Steakhouse

Chef Sonny has prepared a volcano!

At KAN-KI Steakhouse & Sushi Bar, the entertainment is as important as the food.  I recently went to the restaurant at 11148 San Jose Boulevard in Mandarin with my son and grandsons.


Inside KAN-KI of Mandarin


Teppanyaki (grill) tables allow guests to sit back and enjoy watching their food being prepared.  And our chef, Sonny, put on quite a show.  Shrimp, steak, chicken, fried rice, and assorted veggies were all cooked to perfection – and oh, so fresh!  Great food and wonderful entertainment made for a fun evening.

If you go: KAN-KI has 3 locations in Jacksonville – Mandarin, Southside and Eagle Harbor.   Family friendly! More information is available at

An Apple A Day Deli

This gem is located at the base of the elevator in Jacksonville Landing.  Menu items include the great smoothies, a healthy juice bar, coffee, fruit, and a variety of homemade soups, salads and sandwiches.  You can even get a margarita!

An Apple a Day is a wonderful place to stop by after “walking the bridges” or climbing the 44 flights of stairs at the Bank of America Tower.  And after ordering, you can enjoy that smoothie while watching the activities along the St. Johns River at The Landing

Everybody’s Restaurant

Everybody’s Restaurant

Everybody’s Restaurant in nearby Baldwin, Florida is where everybody goes to eat.  It is also a favorite stop-over for cyclists biking the Jax-Baldwin Rail Trail.  Everybody’s offers down home country cooking, friendly service, and food like Mom used to cook.

Everybody’s serves breakfast, lunch and dinner with a varied menu sure to have something for everyone.  Their fried chicken is the best around!  I had the rib-eye sandwich and opted for a veggie in place of the customary fries.  There’s also hamburgers and hot dogs,  sandwiches and salads, fish, pork chops, even liver and onions, great veggies, homemade salad dressings, and more.  Our total lunch bill for two was around $17.

Down home country cooking

Everybody’s is located at 35 US Highway 90 in Baldwin.

A helpful hint for those biking the rail trail:  We chose to drive to Baldwin so we could start and end there, rather than start in Jacksonville and then have to bike the 14.5 miles back after all that wonderful food!


Anatolia Grill & Bar

Anatolia Grill and Bar in MandarinWhat to you do when you arrive at the office for an 11:00 appointment and find you’ve been stood up?  After busying myself with paperwork for about an hour, I decided to treat myself to lunch!

Anatolia Grill & Bar, located in Mandarin, has been on my list of places to visit, and I am so glad I  checked it out.  Great service, a relaxing atmosphere, authentic Turkish and Mediterranean cuisine,  a piano for evening music – Anatolia’s has a lot to offer.  For $9.99, I enjoyed a 3-course lunch, which comes with a variety of menu items to choose from.  The falafel plate was wonderful, as were the tabouleh and pita; and the kazandibi, a caramelized light milk pudding, was to die for!

Don’t miss this place!

I will definitely be back.

Anatolia’s is located in the Outback Plaza Shopping Center at 9825 San Jose Boulevard.  A complete menu and more information may be found on their website.

Dreamette Opens in Mandarin

New Dreamette Ice Cream in Mandarin

Tomorrow, July 15th, is National Ice Cream Day and Mandarin residents have a new, great place to celebrate!  Dreamette, the Murry Hill icon that has been serving scrumptious soft serve cones, shakes and sundaes to Jacksonville families for more than 60 years, now has a location in Mandarin.

Dreamette Mandarin is located in the Outback Plaza Shopping Center at 9825 San Jose Boulevard.  Serving the same ice cream and menu as the Murray Hill original,  Dreamette Mandarin is open Monday through Saturday noon to 9:00 pm and Sunday 1:00 – 9:00 pm.

The original Dreamette in Murray Hill, still serving after 60 years

My favorite ice cream is the strawberry/vanilla swirl in a waffle cone.  What is yours?

Istanbul Grille

Having had the pleasure of traveling in Turkey several years ago, I looked forward to lunch at the Istanbul Grille, now located at 9041 Southside Boulevard, southeast of the Avenues Mall.

The restaurant did not disappoint!  Features include a lunch buffet at $8.95, as well as a  complete menu.  Everything is made from fresh ingredients.  As a vegetarian wannabe,  I chose the falafel accompanied by a side of tabbouleh.  Both entree and salad were outstanding.  If I would learn to cook as well as they, I could easily exist on a diet of chick peas and parsley!

A delightful experience!  The Istanbul Grille and adjoining Hookah Lounge are opened for lunch and dinner and can be reached at (904) 403-2234.