Italian is the kind of ethnic food individuals take for granted. Yes, there is a Carrabba's or Olive Garden on every corner, but Jacksonville has a large selection of untapped locally owned and operated Italian restaurants that are smaller, more intimate, and use wonderful fresh ingredients and unique flavors to run circles around the big box chains. One of these small Italian treasures in Jacksonville is Benito's Italian Café & Pizzeria.
Benito's does lunch and dinner service, both being excellent and fairly well priced for the quality and quantity of food you receive. They also have lunch and dinner specials, showcasing some of their delicious items each day. Benito's is a great place to try new dishes - I've never heard a complaint from any of my fellow diners. So though I haven't eaten every item on the menu, I feel comfortable in saying that you will enjoy whatever you order. Some of my personal favorites at dinner include the appetizer Calamari ($9), the Chicken Picata ($15), and the Shrimp Scampi ($18). Dinners are served with your choice of soup or salad and ridiculously good garlic bread. If the Potato soup happens to be an offering during your visit, it is a must have as well!
Part of the charm of Benito's is knowing that they are family owned and operated - evident in the care they take with their restaurants and their menus. Benito's Italian Café & Pizzeria has three locations: Mandarin/Southside, Atlantic Beach, and St. Augustine. I usually visit the Mandarin/Southside store which is located at (next to the Avenues Regal Cinema):
9475 Philips Hwy # 8
Jacksonville, FL 32256-1346