Iwas on Philips near the Avenues Mall and saw Istanbul Grill and decided to go in and have lunch. Finally found a place that makes their own gyro meat! Istanbul Grill has been open for about a year now (it used to be the Avenues Diner.)
Atmosphere: Located just off 1-95 & Philips, this place is easy to miss - its in a small strip center. When you enter, just imagine a diner turned restaurant. Ample diner style seating booths on the right side and their "lounge" area seating opens up to some outdoor seating. The atmospehere is comfortable, maybe because everyone there was very friendly. There is nothing fancy about this place but what I observed, the food makes up for it!
Menu: Typical of what you would expect in a "Mediterranean" restaurant. They have a lunch buffet that seemed very reasonable for the price - there were 7 hot buffet items and of course, hummus, pita, dessert, etc. From what I saw, everthing looked fresh. There was a steady stream of patrons to the buffet, but the hummus was a big draw - saw more than 1 person take at least a cupful on their plate.
I didn't have the buffet but instead had grape leaves and a gyro platter and was not disappointed.
The grapeleaves were very fresh- you could tell that these were made in house unlike many others that use the bottled or canned grapeleaves. Very good flavor without being overpowering.
The gyro - what can I say...I was very happy the minute I saw the meat - I knew that this was made fresh (almost all other restaurants whether Greek or Mediterranean use that frozen meat loaded with salt, but oh so good...) The flavor was great, not salty but spiced nicely. The Tzatziki sauce was nice and thick.
Service: I have no complaints about the service - the waitresses were good - they explained each and every dish on that buffet to would be buffet eaters!! The management prides itself in using all fresh food.
Overall, I was glad to find this place on this side of town, and will go back and try some of their other meats, etc.1040 Philips Hwy
Jacksonville, Fl 32216
Tel. (904) 821-6767
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