In a city like Jacksonville that’s populated densely with chain restaurants, it can be a rare treat to discover a local, family-owned restaurant. And while the First Coast has several such restaurants tucked away in between the chains, very few stand out in both quality and service.
Shiraz Pizza & Italian Grille offers a rare example of a family-owned restaurant that excels in both categories. Located in a shopping center off of Southside Blvd. near Hogan Rd., the restaurant may be a little hard to find but is well worth the effort. The location itself is small and intimate, which blends well with the kind of service offered.
Guests are welcomed upon entering, and menus are already set out on all tables. The family seems to handle the service aspect themselves as well; a little girl who must have been the daughter took our orders, enthusiastically telling us how the plates we chose were two of her personal favorites and assuring us we had chosen correctly.
She certainly wasn’t kidding; the food was nothing short of delicious. We sampled their chicken alfredo and their Shiraz Specialty dish, which consisted of angel hair pasta and grilled chicken tossed in creamy pesto sauce and a hint of alfredo. Our dishes came out fairly quickly and were cooked to perfection. The Shiraz Specialty was the highlight; the pesto was as good as any you’ll find in Jacksonville. What made the meal even better was the price; Shiraz is the most cost-efficient restaurant we have reviewed to date.
Of course, given that it’s also a pizza place, we felt compelled to sample a slice of their basic cheese pizza. They didn’t have an individual slice available, so they instead freshly cooked a small cheese pizza for us to take with us. Not only does this reflect the excellent service Shiraz offers, it also made for a great snack later. The pizza is every bit as good as their more elaborate dishes.
For those in the Southside area, Shiraz also offers delivery services, a rarity for such a small restaurant.
Overall, we recommend Shiraz Pizza & Italian Grille to anyone in the Southside area with a taste for well-seasoned Italian dishes, as well as for a quick pizza fix.