Austin is saturated with fantastic BBQ restaurants, world-class taco spots and, as of fairly recently, some pretty legit Italian restaurants. But Greek food? Baklava and gyros are a little harder to find around these parts. Greek food is all about the fresh, simple flavors of the Mediterranean, and while Austin’s Greek scene is tiny, there are a handful of restaurants that will sufficiently satisfy your desire for dolmas. Read on for our top Greek food go-tos around the city.
Where to find Austin's best Greek food
You’ll find Santorini Cafe, an adorable blue and white converted home, sharing space on North Lamar with a coffee shop and a Balkan cafe. Santorini's affordable, delectable dishes are worth the trek to the hinterlands (read: Oak Ridge). Gyros, spanakopita, dolmas and fresh tzatziki are all on the menu, along with veggie options like baked feta and a vegetarian gyro. And while you might not associate a great sangria happy hour with a Greek restaurant, this one boasts $2.50 glasses until 7pm each day.
Come for the patio, stay for the food. Opa is one of those restaurants that has it all—a solid wine list, great Greek food, and a beautiful rambling patio with huge trees and porch swings. It’s perfect for a quick bite or lingering over bottles of wine with friends. Happy hour runs from 3-7pm on Monday through Saturday and all day Sunday, with half-priced glasses of wine, 30 percent off beer and $2 sangria and mimosas. Make sure to check their calendar for live music performances.
You’ll find a range of Mediterranean specialties at Almarah, including your standard Greek favorites. The restaurant is famous for being open late (2am), and has also gained a following for their well-appointed hookah lounge and made-to-order fresh pita. Though you can choose from the full menu at any time, daytime diners typically go for the $8.99 lunch special that includes a main entrée (gyro, chicken or beef shawarma, falafel, grilled veggies) and three sides or the personal pizzas for $6.99. Dinner portions are quite generous and you can pretty much assume you’ll be going home with a doggie bag.
This small café tucked away between North Loop and Crestview is a local favorite with Greek aficionados. The Mediterranean Chef offers Greek specialties like gyros, dolmas, baklava, and meat and spinach pies, giving diners the chance to score a simple and healthy lunch or early dinner. The café is also famous for their packaged Grandma’s Humus products that can be found at local grocery stores like Wheatsville Co-Op, at various H-E-Bs and at the downtown farmers' market.
Sarah’s was on Burnet Road before Burnet was cool. It was also one of the original Mediterranean market-and-cafés in Austin. The restaurant has a number of small tables alongside a grocery selection where hungry shoppers can kill two birds with one stone, taking home a tub of tahini sauce after getting a taste in their chicken shawarma wrap. The lamb shank, kefta beef and kibbeh are standouts on the platter menu. Sarah's is as casual as it gets—cafeteria style and disposable plates—so it’s more suitable for a quick dinner than a date night.
Find this food truck on the ever-popular Rainey street, dishing out massive gyros and hearty salads for lunch, plus late night plates for crowds that may have overindulged at nearby bars. Big Fat Greek Gyros' owner, Emmanuel Papadakis, replicates recipes from his grandmother’s kitchen; the Hercules gyro—topped with tzatziki and fries—seems to be the clear fan favorite, but each day you may be surprised by whatever concoction he’s decided to whip up, from Greek meatballs to moussaka.
Piles of Turkish rugs, low tables, pillows to sit on and jewel-toned lamps casting ambient lighting make Arpeggio Grill one of the more unique restaurants on this list when it comes to decor. It's Greek dining at its most comfortable, but if you require a more traditional environment, there’s also a section with four-top tables and chairs. Arpeggio's menu offers all the Greek classics—lemon chicken soup, baba ghanouj, lamb and chicken gyros, tabouli, moussaka—alongside specialty pizzas and halal hamburgers. If you’re headed there for lunch, there’s a sub-$10 lunch special served cafeteria style.
This locally-owned, family-run business in a strip mall is a surprise for most who stumble across it. Though the outside isn’t much to look at, inside 183 Grill you’ll find a small, clean café serving gyros stuffed with meat, falafel made in house, giant burgers, Greek salads and a $7.99 lunch special. Check their website for occasional promotions, and don’t skip the grill's curiously addictive hibiscus tea.
Athenian Bar & Grill is, in some ways, the opposite of most downtown restaurants. It’s large, inexpensive, never crowded, and you can be in and out in 20 minutes. Their cafeteria-style lunch is perfect if you’re looking for something quick and filling—and we do mean filling. Portions are massive, and you'll be able to get at least two lunches out of your lamb gyro, chicken salad or pot roast plate. Dinner is traditional table service; if you get there between 4 and 7pm on weekdays, make sure to take advantage of Athenian's outrageously cheap happy hour—$3 beers, $4 glasses of wine and $5-$6 cocktails.
A long-time campus institution, Miltos is the only Mediterranean restaurant in this area of Austin, and it’s exactly what you’d expect from a student-staffed spot. The casual, friendly and quick café may not leave you swooning, but the food is well worth a visit. Miltos supplements a menu full of Greek options like souvlaki, gyros and spanakopita with Italian calzones, subs and build-your-own pizzas. Their garlic knots deserve a special call out for being fresh, fragrant and utterly addictive.