Sampler platters are a must at Mediterranean places, where the lineup of dips, salads and other starters is typically lengthy and tantalizing. How do you commit to hummus or baba ghanoush? Tabouli or tzatziki?

Sampler platters are a must at Mediterranean places, where the lineup of dips, salads and other starters is typically lengthy and tantalizing. How do you commit to hummus or baba ghanoush? Tabouli or tzatziki?

Mazah, an adorable little Mediterranean cafe in Grandview, has a terrific Couples Sampler that's ideal for dinner dates. (Tip: Snag a table on the teensy outdoor patio for excellent Grandview Avenue people-watching.)

For $22, two people get a feast of eight dips and salads plus falafel and an entree of choice. It's a great deal, and a good way to figure out which of those appetizers are worth ordering in full-sized portions the next time around.

At lunchtime, though, the more modestly priced and sized Small Sampler is the way to go.

Small Sampler, $7.95

This plate is small but packed with satisfying treats - all of them vegetarian to boot. Here's what you get:

-Hummus: A pool of creamy, garlicky chickpea dip is dusted with cayenne, drizzled in olive oil and studded with a green olive. A basket of housemade, still-warm pita bread comes alongside the dip for scooping this stuff up.

-Three Bean Salad: This colorful and bright-tasting salad is my favorite part of the platter. It's got black beans, white butter beans and pinto beans tossed with corn, bell peppers and onions. Fresh cilantro gives it some kick.

-Mediterranean Potato Salad: This vinegary, mayo-free version has chunks of white potatoes tossed in olive oil and fresh parsley.

-Fava Bean Dip: A chunky, cumin-y puree of beans, tahini and spices.

-Falafel: Two pieces of perfectly fried chickpea fritters are nestled in the center of the sampler, resting on some rice and slivered almonds and dressed up with a bit of Mazah's great tahini sauce.

Shelley Mann is the editor of Crave, Columbus' new dining magazine. Keep up with her at ColumbusCrave.com.

Photo by Eric Wagner