Second Helpings: Mediterranean
Meditteranean 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 Cuisines writer Barbara Chisholm. When you need quick, reliable information about Austin eateries, check here.
Longhorn Po-Boys290-B Medical Arts, 495-9228
Mon-Thu, 11am-8pm; Fri-Sat 11am-5pm; closed Sun
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.
Gyro King2021 Guadalupe (in Dobie Mall), 479-6222
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.
Louie's 106106 E. Sixth, 476-2010
Mon, 11:15am-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. Entrées include seafood risotto, sautéed veal scallopini, and pan-seared rainbow trout. There's also a ravioli-of-the-day selection available as an entrée or a tapa.
Mars1610 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, and Naan bread. The kafta, a North African dish made with seasoned ground lamb, and the Thai bouillabaisse, are two of Mars' most popular entrées.
Marakesh Cafe & Grill906 Congress Avenue, 476-7735
Mon-Fri, 7:30am-9pm; Sat, 9am-9pm
Celebrated as the downtown spot to cop great Mediterranean and Middle Eastern food and wines at unbelievably reasonable prices, Marakesh does a mean business among the suited crowd at lunch who tend to choose the sandwiches and sandwich plates (with hummus and salad) for noontime noshing. At night, take in live music and the kafta or tahjin of vegetables and chicken in a curry-coriander sauce or go all out and pick the menu's most expensive item: the lamb kabob with rice for an amazing $8.25.
Yoli's Mediterranean Grill14735 Bratton Lane, #310, 670-2788
The newest addition to the Mediterranean/Middle Eastern category, Yoli's menu features a strong fish component and reveals a love for the mammoth portobello mushroom. Appetizers include the crabmeat and artichoke portobellinis, a grilled shrimp and hummus plate, and homemade lentil soup. Pastas and seafood paella join salmon with pistachios and fish in saffron sauce among the entrée selections. Most items fall in the $10 to $14 range, with the Tenderloin Portobello at $22.95 as the menu's most expensive.
Gyro Plus7329 Burnet Rd., 451-0677
Easy to miss, stuck as it is in a nondescript strip mall next to a 7-Eleven, Gyro Plus makes a far better choice for snack food than the convenience store. Unlike the junk its neighbor doles out, Gyro Plus does fresh food. Fat, dripping gyros tucked into spongy bread are, as the eatery's name suggests, their specialty, although a handful of other Mediterranean and Middle Eastern specialties are worth sampling too.