Second Helpings: Mediterranean/Middle Eastern

Chronicle writer Greg Beets serves up local meditteranean and Middle Eastern cuisine in this week's Second Helpings.

The weekly Chronicle feature "Second Helpings" offers readers the opportunity to sample tasty, bite-sized restaurant listings compiled from new and previous reviews, guides, and poll results. This week's entries were compiled by Chronicle writer Greg Beets. When you need quick, reliable information about Austin eateries, check here

Akropolis

11655 Research Blvd., 342-2057

Mon-Thu, 11am-3pm, 5-8pm; Fri, 11am-8pm; Sat, 11am-3pm

The menu and dining area at Akropolis are both limited in scope, but they do what they do quite well. Their sizable gyros on thick, fresh-grilled pita bread are especially tasty. Akropolis also serves cheesesteaks, burgers, Greek salad, veggie dolmas, and baklava. The $4.75 weekday lunch specials include pasticcio on Tuesday and spanakopitta on Thursday.

Gyro King

2021 Guadalupe (in Dobie Mall), 480-8418

Mon-Sat, 10am-8pm; Sun, 10am-9pm

Gyro King's spicy beef and chicken gyros keep the UT student population sated during study breaks, especially those on a saltines-and-ramen budget. Their location in the Dobie Mall food court is a particularly fine respite from the culinary monotony of fast food and dorm cuisine.

Longhorn Po-Boys

290-B Medical Arts, 495-9228

Mon-Sat, 11am-midnight; Sun, noon-11pm

2801 Guadalupe, 472-9911

Mon-Sat, 11am-10pm; Sun, noon-10pm

In addition to serving a superlative menu of sub sandwiches, Longhorn Po-Boys also makes some of the city's best and cheapest falafel for hungry students and businesspeople alike. Famous stuffed grape leaves offer something different for the daring, blue-collar gourmand. Other Mediterranean fare includes hummus, tabouleh, spanakopitta, and baklava.

Louie's 106

106 E. Sixth, 476-2010

Mon, 11:15 am-10pm; Tue-Thu, 11:15am-10:30pm; Fri, 11:15am-11pm; Sat, 5-11pm; Sun, 5:30-9:30pm

Louie's 106 is a classy way to begin an evening in the entertainment district. In addition to having one of the most refined dining rooms in town, Louie's 106 has a fine selection of tapas, including Blue Island Mussels, fried calamari, and escargots. Entrees include seafood risotto, sauteed veal scallopini, and pan-seared rainbow trout. There's also a ravioli-of-the-day selection available as an entree or a tapa.

Mars

1610 San Antonio, 472-3901

Sun-Thu, 5:30-10:30pm; Fri-Sat, 5:30-11pm

One of Austin's most eclectic restaurants, Mars features a menu predominantly inspired by Asia, India, and the Mediterranean. Their appetizer assortment starts things off right with superb pot stickers, spring rolls, baby back ribs, and Naan bread. The salmon-wrapped asparagus is also a good bet. The kafta, a North African dish made with seasoned ground lamb, and the Thai bouillabaisse, are two of Mars' most popular entrees.

Second Helpings: Mediterranean/Middle Eastern

Tocai

601 W. Sixth, 457-8880

Mon-Thu, 11am-2pm, 6pm-10pm; Fri-Sat, 6pm-11pm

Tocai supplements its considerable wine bar fare with a solid Italian and Mediterranean menu. The fried calamari appetizer is exemplary, as is the asiago-sauced gnocchi. Entree-wise, the standout Bouillabaisse Portuguese is a light-bodied seafood stew flavored with saffron and vegetables. Tocai's version of Ossobuco ($17.95) accompanies the braised veal shank with an intense Masala demi-glace (wine-based brown sauce) and a serving of creamy porcini risotto.

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