Mediterraneo's Market & Café: Mediterranean Food Tapas Style

We'd been hearing how good Mediterraneo's Market and Café (18033 Upper Bay Road) was for quite some time. But it wasn't until two things happened that we finally got the impetus to drive all the way down to Nassau Bay to try it out. First, there was a big sample menu in the Menu of Menus insert in the HP, which we happened to be glancing through when we were hungry one day. Second, it made our very own Eating Our Words Top Ten Restaurants in Clear Lake list. If our fellow bloggers like it, we've got to try it. So on a balmy Saturday evening, we headed south to get some mixed Mediterranean cuisine and fresh air.

The first thing we noticed was that the place was very inviting and warm, with a colorful patio full of plants and twinkle lights. Our waitress, Larissa, was extremely attentive and helpful. When we explained we wanted to try lots of different options, she suggested we start with the mezze platter, which was basically a sampling of five different appetizers of our choice. We decided on the falafel patties, dolmas, spanakopita, mixed olives and feta and tomatoes. We also couldn't resist adding some hummus, grilled haloumi cheese, Greek salad and a bit of grilled gyro meat. Guess we were hungry.

When all of this arrived, the table was covered in small plates of delicacies. We grabbed a big plate and began filling it with small samples of the dishes. We agreed that the vegetarian dolmas were excellent, not too vinegary like at some places. The haloumi cheese was hot and salty and paired well with the pita and tomato. We also made mini falafel and gyro sandwiches topped with olives and tzatziki. The falafel was perfectly crisp and flavorful, while the gyro was outstanding. The hummus had a smooth consistency, but needed a little more tahini for more flavor.

After we ate, we went inside and perused the pictures of celebrities who had used Mediterraneo's catering services. There were many, many pictures of Jessica Simpson (some with her dog, some with her ex-husband Nick, some with the owners), but somehow this just added to the charm of the place. There was also a small market located near the JS shrine which offered all kinds of scrumptious baklavas and namouras, as well as canned and frozen foods and a deli.