Photo courtesy Pixabay/pixel2013

When people first think of Mediterranean food, their minds often wander to pita bread, bowls of hummus and savory helpings of olive oil. However, Mediterranean cuisine is so much more than that. The popular cuisine includes the diverse tastes of countries that border the Mediterranean Sea, including Spain, Italy, Greece, Turkey and Morocco. Although dishes vary, many share common ingredients like feta cheese, grape leaves, olives, grains like bulgur and couscous and uniquely spiced meats, often lamb. It’s typical for dishes dishes to be prepared with fresh ingredients, making them a healthier option when compared to the hearty entrees you regularly see on contemporary American menus.

Almarah Mediterranean Cuisine

12129 Ranch Road

For some of the best Mediterranean food in Austin, make your way over to Almarah Mediterranean Cuisine. A family-owned restaurant, the inspiration for their dishes comes from years worth of ancestral cooking and has deep roots of Jerusalem tied into their flavors. For starters, be sure to try out their stuffed grape leaves, filled with rice, parsley, chopped onions and tomatoes. For dinner, try out their chicken kabob plate, lamb shank, or grilled fish. For those looking to taste the range of flavors at Almarah, we recommend ordering these menu items for the table:

  • Koufta kebab: A seasoned blend of ground beef, lamb and onions, charbroiled and topped with hummus, tomatoes and lettuce and wrapped in pita bread.
  • Almarah meza platter: Hummus, tabouleh, baba ghanouj, chicken, lamb and beef shawarma, served with rice and pita bread.
    • For those of you wondering, baba ghanouj is a sauce made from eggplant and sesame seeds, olive oil, lemon, and garlic.
  • Falafel: Vegetarian sandwich rolled in pita bread & topped with hummus, tomatoes, lettuce, onions and tahini sauce.

And while it’s not especially Mediterranean, their wide selection of pizzas aren’t bad options either. If you’re interested in extending your night, Almarah also offers a hookah lounge, located directly next to the restaurant. Almarah’s is located less than 20 minutes from our downtown Austin apartments.

Kebabalicious

3rd & Congress

After a group of college friends traveled to Switzerland and saw first-hand the popularity of the donor kebab street vendors, they decided to bring the food back home to Austin. Now, with food trailers scattered throughout downtown, visitors can enjoy a tasty selection of beef, lamb or chicken kebabs, as well as falafel. Each dish can be personalized for a perfect taste, allowing you to pick the level of spice, as well as any add-on sauces, meats or vegetables. Aside from enjoying your kebab, we highly recommend the k-fries, a combination of crispy french fries with feta cheese, spicy red sauce and crushed rep pepper. Yum!

And for those wondering about dessert, don’t worry—they’ve got baklava.

Photo courtesy Pixabay/axelslash7

Cafe Malta

3421 W William Cannon Drive

With all of their food made from scratch, Cafe Malta combines the flavors of Italy, Spain, Morocco, Lebanon and southern France for tasty and unique dishes that are hard to beat. Using fresh, local ingredients, you’ll be able to enjoy delicious food in a relaxed bistro setting that is sure to keep you coming back for more. Serving lunch, brunch and dinner, enjoy menu items such as ravioli, pork chops and grilled shrimp. For lunch, we recommend the Malta burger, an 8-ounce beef patty topped with bleu cheese, dijon, caper aioli and raw vegetables. Other menu items include:

  • Tuna and watermelon ceviche
  • Gnocchi sage
  • Heirloom tomato salad
  • Mussels

Cafe Malta is is open from 11am-4pm every day and located 10 minutes from our Warehouse District apartments.

Arpeggio Grill

6619 Airport Blvd.

A popular restaurant for friends, families and couples to enjoy, Arpeggio Grill was established in 2005 and has continued to bring flavors to life ever since. Using fresh, quality ingredients, you can find all of your favorite Mediterranean dishes here, as well as additional menu items you might not be familiar with, but will be encouraged to try. Take your pick from falafel, gyro or kebabs. Or switch things up with their beef shawarma or Greek pizza, topped with feta cheese, gyro meat, tomato, red onion, pepper and more.

For those not in the mood for Mediterranean, you can take your pick from dishes such as Hawaiian pizza, chicken wings or cheesecake.

Interested in more blogs like this? Be sure to keep up with the AMLI blog!