Welcome to Ask Eater, a column from Eater Austin where the site’s editors answer specific or baffling restaurant requests from readers. Have a question for us? Submit your questions via email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “Ask Eater Question.”
Dear Eater —
When I lived in the northeast, I loved to shop at a Mediterranean grocery. Is there a similar market in Austin? I know I can find feta, olives, and flatbread at H-E-B or Whole Foods. I want something more specialized — an extensive deli and prepared food available. I’m craving feta wrapped in store-made flatbread and hummus.
Dear Mediterranean Market Seeker —
If the Netflix show Mo has taught us anything, it’s the power of good hummus. I can’t tell if you’re looking for more of a prepared foods cafe or a grocery, but I’ll give you options for both. The two major players in Austin’s Mediterranean grocery game are market/cafes Peace Bakery and Phoenicia Bakery & Deli, however International Food-Market is also a strong contender.
In the “grocery-cafe” category, Phoenicia is a longtime Austin staple, opened in 1979 by the Abijaoude family from Lebanon. In addition to fresh-baked pita and baklava (get there early), the store serves a great hummus and prepared foods alongside imported olives, cheeses, olive oils, and other groceries. There are two locations: one at 4701 Burnet Road in Rosedale (which is larger and has more restaurant space) and another at 2912 South Lamar.
Halal market International Food-Market is another grocery-cafe option. It has fantastic hummus, fresh-baked breads, and a wide assortment of groceries.
Peace is the “newcomer,” opened in 2014 by Nuha and Jihad Hammad, a couple from Palestine. It’s more focused on the bakery and prepared foods, serving a variety of meats, sides, vegetable dishes, and more, but gets high marks again for vegetable dishes and hummus. It’s located at 11220 North Lamar.
Finally, while I absolutely respect your rejection of H-E-B and Whole Foods, I will say that Central Market often has more specialized items if you’re looking for something specific. Don’t forget that Austin has some great Mediterranean restaurants as well — if there’s a dish you like, perhaps you can sweet-talk them into revealing their sources.
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