Queens – Astoria

Back to NYC Eats… and Drinks!

Agnanti, 1906 Ditmars Blvd [GREEK]
– The interiors resemble an old family style dining room, with some kitsch to boot! We sat outside instead, under the canopy, watching the rain, right across from Astoria Park! This place isn’t close to transit by any means but worth the trek nevertheless. Friendly wait staff, reasonable prices, and some quality grub here! We tried the Tzatziki, Saganaki, Fried Whitings and their house special Rooster – all very very good!

Aliada, 2919 Broadway [GREEK]
– This is the kind of laid-back, old neighbourhood establishment that one associates with neighbourhoods like Astoria. Great loation, good food, reasonable prices, plenty of outdoor seating, and service that doesn’t rush you at all! Good Hummus, excellent Falafel – made up of a mixture of Chickpeas and Fava Beans – and great Pork Chops, charcoal grilled!

Artopolis, 23-18 31st St [BAKERY]
– A very laid-back, casual place, with friendly staff, and lots of room in which to browse through their countless bakery offerings! An excellent selection of cookies, deserts and bread, and lots of Greek specialties including
Melomakarouna, known as Phinakia elsewhere.

Astor Bakery, 1223 Astoria Blvd [BAKERY / AMERICAN]
– Lovely corner location in an out-of-the-way stretch of Astoria, spacious cheerful interiors with high ceilings, bright tiles and exposed brick. A superb selection of baked goods, making it really difficult to decide on what to get! I ended up trying their Blueberry Tart which was outstanding! Breakfast sandwich was good too, and the Coffee superb! Will be back here again as their highly reputed Burger beckons 😉

Bahari Estiatorio, 3114 Broadway [GREEK]
The welcome is exceptionaly warm, the service attentive, and the food really good in this huge family-style dining room, run by a family, in what was formerly known as Stamatis! The Char-grilled Octupus and Beef Patties were the best things we ordered and worth coming back for here!

Bare Burger, 3321 31st Ave [AMERICAN]
This review is for their original location and for brunch alone. A largish space, with interesting interiors and a lot of outdoor seating options for warmer months. Good service, decent prices and a very satisfying brunch! I got the Lumberjack – Bacon, Eggs and Waffle – all of it very good. They serve a strong cup of Coffee and have a great brunch time deal on their Beers, if that’s you’re leaning! I’m still to try their Burgers and certainly plan on doing so!

Bohemian Hall & Beer Garden, 29-19 24th Ave [BEER GARDEN]
– This century old Beer Garden, the city’s oldest, is most definitely one of the best places to drink beer in the city! Think Oktoberfest! Great selection of German and Czech Beers, a grill serving up some good Wurst and a massive, massive courtyard abuzz with beer drinkers from every corner of the globe!

Brooklyn Bagel & Coffee Company, 3505 Broadway [BREAKFAST]
– With 2 locations in Astoria and one in Chelsea, I still can’t figure out why they have ‘Brooklyn’ in their name! But that aside, they do what they say really well – make excellent hand rolled Bagels and some great Coffee! They are truly a
breakfast venue, opening at the crack of dawn and closing in the late afternoon!

Butcher Bar, 37-08 30th Ave [BUTCHER / BBQ]
– There motto is a good sell, ‘we cook what we sell and we sell what we cook’! The Butcher section is in fact bigger than the 20-seater restaurant but everything seems to blend right in. The things to get here are the Double Smoked Burnt Ends and the Dry-rubbed St.Louis-style Ribs – both excellent. The Brisket itself is so-so, as are the sides. Prices are very reasonable, portions are just right and its BYOB!

Cafe Triskell, 33-04 36th Ave [FRENCH]
– For a slice of Europe in Astoria, hit up this charming little cafe, just off the 36th Ave subway stop. Chef Philippe runs an efficient kitchen, churning out sweet and savory Crepes (which I’m still to try!) and other French fare. I’ve only had brunch here so far – the Croque-Madame was great – but I plan to be back there to try a few of their Crepes and more!

Carioca Grill, 29-03 Broadway [BRAZILIAN]
– Another great buffet addition to the already solid Brazilian line up in Astoria! A good Salad selection, every kind of protein you need, superb Black Beans, and high quality Meat from the grill.

Cedars Meat House, 41-08 30th Ave [LEBANESE]
– Essentially a Middle Eastern grocery and butcher shop, Cedars has a kitchen area up front, with a handful of stools across from it. The Chicken Shawarma here is unlike any I’ve had in the city, layered with a thick and rich garlic paste – divine! The Eggplant, Tabouleh, stuffed Zucchini and Hummus – all were excellent, and each one was a huge serving! My Lebanese friend described it as ‘home-cooking’! Four of us ate to our hearts content – with leftovers – for less than 30 bucks! The only caveat to all this – don’t come here on a cold winter night – their heating sucks!

Cevabdzinica Sarajevo, 3718 34th Ave [BALKAN]
– This old school family-run Bosnian Grill doesn’t have much by way of decor, but their kitchen does the trick and keeps the Balkan folks coming back for more! Their Cevapi is great, and a small plate (of 5 sausage links) should suffice for most. They make their own Pita, and serve some really nice Ajvar on the side. Reasonable and quick, this eatery is definitely worthy of a repeat visit.

Doral Donut Shop, 3116 Broadway [BREAKFAST / CAFE]
– This diner like family run establishment serves up a good cup of joe and a great breakfast, for just a few bucks. Friendly staff and a loyal stream of customers makes for a great neighborhood vibe within.

Enthaice Thai Kitchen, 33-20 31st Ave [THAI]
– A great corner location, on an avenue that is fast becoming a new dining destination in ever changing Astoria! A well designed space, with great service and very good Thai fare, all of it beautifully served and in the right-sized portions. Well priced too! Astoria finally gets a go to Thai eatery!

Il Bambino, 3408 31st Ave [ITALIAN]
– This place warrants a few more visits just for their extensive selection of Paninis, Crostinis, Tapas, and an intriguing brunch menu. Even though I probably tried the most boring Panini (Roast Chicken!) of the lot, it was good! They also have a good selection of Beers, cool interiors, a charming patio at the back, and very attentive service.

Kabab Cafe, 2512 Steinway St [EGYPTIAN]
– The only two tips I would give you is a) go there at lunch and b) expect the unexpected! This is a cramped space with kitshcy interiors and absolutely no menu! Leave it all to Ali however – owner, chef, host and server, all roled into one – and be prepared to experience the most awesome creations of Lamb, every bit of the animal, to be precise 😉 Great veg dishes too, including a melt-in-your-mouth Falafel made out of Fava Beans! Plates are for sharing, so go in a group! No reservations (it also featured on Bourdain’s show by the same name!), cash only, satisfaction guaranteed!

King of Falafel, 30th St & Broadway [MIDDLE EASTERN / FOOD CART]
– Given its location, price and authenticity, this one’s really hard to beat! Their Falafel, Chicken and Beef Kebabs are all fabulous – you will be hard pressed to find anything surpassing this on the food carts of NYC! It’s no wonder then that they picked up the 2010 Vendy award! Big bonus for me – it’s on my block 😉

La Espiguita, 32-44 31st St [MEXICAN]
– This is the second of 2 hole-in-the-wall Taquerias within minutes from my apartment – as authentic as the other, Los Portales – and with a mostly Central American clientele. Their Tacos are equally good, albeit a little more expensive, but also bigger!

Linn, 29-13 Broadway [JAPANESE]
– I’ve walked past this eatery several times and never known what to make of it – until I read a review in Edible Queens i.e.! Finally walked in to this minimalistic space one day and the 3 of us ordered a huge selection of Sushi, Sashimi and Rolls plus their Udon. Everything was fresh and flavourful, made on the spot (and in very little time!) by the chef cum owner who hails from Kyoto. Really enjoyable meal, priced fairly, and the friendly owner only made it more memorable for us!

Locale, 3302 34th Ave [AMERICAN]
– A lovely looking restaurant, with a great corner location in a quiet residential part of Astoria. Plenty of light courtesy of floor to ceiling windows, a variety of seating areas – both indoors and outdoors – and a lovely little bar area. Have only had brunch here, which was very satisfying, with good Coffee to boot. Am told they make a good Bloody Mary too!

Los Portales Taqueria, 25-08A Broadway [MEXICAN]
– Three soft-shell Tacos for less than 5 bucks?! Believe it!! Better still, they are super authentic, super good and come complete with 2 spicy Salsas!

Lots O Bagels, 3005 Broadway [BREAKFAST / DELI]
– Their Oats n Raisin Bagel is reason enough to go there every weekend! Add to that a great selection of hand rolled Bagels and a super nice staff running the show.

MexiQ, 37-11 30th Ave [MEXICAN / BBQ]
– This place is buzzing on most week nights and the reasons are quite obvious once you’re inside – almost 50 Beers on tap, excellent service, reasonable prices and some mouth-wateringly good BBQ with a Mexican twist! Their Beef Brisket literally melts in your mouth, their spicy Wings come with 3 dipping sauces, and their Goat Cheese Jalapeno Cornbread and Mango Harbanero Rice is the dope!! Leave space for the Tres Leches if you can 😉

Milkflower, 34-12 31st Ave [PIZZERIA]
– Another jewel on 31st Ave (fast becoming my favorite avenue to eat on in Astoria!), the recently opened Milkflower easily serves up the best thin crust Pies in all of Astoria! A well done-up, airy space, with plenty of wood, old signs (carried over from its previous use, a laundromat!), and even a patio at the back. Friendly service, reasonable prices and a well curated Beer list. Their Brussel Sprouts Pizza (with cracked pepper, sunny side up egg and truffle oil) is just great, with some excellent house-made Mozzarella providing the base and a perfect chewy crust. Next up for me is their Spicy Soppressata!

Monikas Cafe Bar, 3290 36th St [CAFE / BRUNCH]
– Monikas Cafe Bar, with its neon sign, great corner location and plenty of sidewalk seating has become as much of a landmark as Kaufman Astoria Studios, which sits right across from it! This is a weekend favourite in Astoria serving a hearty brunch with a cocktail included! Kitschy interiors, friendly service and a laid back vibe contribute immensely to its popularity!

Mosaic, 25-19 24th Ave [BAR / LOUNGE]
– Possibly one of the nicest spaces amongst Astoria’s many watering holes. From the soothing colours to the ceiling, from the light fixtures to the panels and trim – its all very tasteful here. A lovely bar area too, with an excellent selection of Beers, and Wines, all well priced, and friendly, resourceful barkeeps to help you cut through the clutter. Equally conducive to large groups as it is to dates.

MP Taverna, 31-29 Ditmars Blvd [GREEK]
– The legendary Taverna Kyclades finally has competition, and it happens to be just a few doors down from it! A modern take on a traditional Taverna, MP’s seems to have got it all right, from the decor and ambience (two levels of it!) to the service and quality of food. Grandma’s MeatBalls, Cypriot Sausage and Scallops, just some of the things we tried and pretty much all of them blew us away – even the quality of their Pita! The stuff here is as fresh as it gets so don’t be surprised if they’re out of their ever popular Octopus Salad! A massive selection of Whiskies, and a well curated Beer list are added bonuses here.

Mundo Astoria, 3118 Broadway [TURKISH]
– This Turkish run eatery with a South American inspired menu is a real gem, hidden on a side street just off Broadway. The space is small, they’re closed Wednesdays (like Sripraphai!!) and they only serve dinner but that’s probably what sets them apart! Simple as their menu is, it is as eclectic as the neighbourhood it represents. Their signature Tapas ‘Red Sonja’ are a must have, their dips are fantastic, and their Ottoman Dumplings (Turkish style Pasta) are amazing!

Ovelia, 34-01 30th Ave [GREEK]
– Their hot and cold Meze dishes are great – especially the Tzatziki, Saganaki and Kalamari (grilled). The Lamb dishes are good to. Helpings are enormous and most dishes are good for two!

Pachanga Patterson 33-17 31st Ave [MEXICAN]
– Lively interiors, an inviting bar area and an awesome looking patio at the back! Once you’ve settled in, get the Ancho battered Pollack – they’re some of the best Fish Tacos I’ve eaten! Their house Salsas are good too, as are there Deserts! A simple menu, reasonable prices and good service are added bonuses to hitting up this place!

Pao De Queijo, 31-90 30th St [BRAZILIAN]
– This tiny eatery, with a recently expanded seating area, sits just off Broadway, and the next door over from local favorite Aliada. It serves excellent Brazilian-style sandwiches, which despite their humongous size hold up exceptionally well, and taste great! They also have a fine selection of juices, most of them made with fruits from Brazil, including the ever-popular Açaí. Light on the pocket, and a friendly staff to boot.

Parisi Bros Bakery, 3017 Broadway [BAKERY]
– This Astoria institution has been around for over 4 decades, still baking fresh Bread, every day, on their premises! They offer a huge selection of traditional Italian Cookies, Pastries, Cakes & Pies, and their extensive selection of Bread is all hand rolled! Everything I’ve tried here so far has been spot on, and very reasonably priced too!

Point Brazil, 38-03 31st Ave [BRAZILIAN]
– This family run restaurant in a corner location on 31st Ave offers an extremely reasonable Brazilian style buffet, with the option to add grilled meats, courtesy of a compact little Churasco on the side! The quality of everything on offer is excellent and their Sirloin is some of the leanest I’ve had. They also have a great selection of local deserts, a hot sauce on the side (for those like me who might require it) and very friendly service.

Pollos A La Brasa Mario, 40-19 Broadway [COLOMBIAN]
– Their Steaks are great, their Pork Chops are great, their Chicharron is great (if you can digest it!), and so are their Rice and Beans! As you’ve probably guessed by now, I love this place! Friendly service, enormous portions and reasonable prices! It’s where the ‘locals’ eat!

Queens Comfort, 4009 30th Ave [AMERICAN]
– The exterior and interior of this eatery have as laid back a feel as one would expect while imbibing comfort food! A lazy looking bar area, old school lighting, a projector playing a silent film and such! We missed the last order of Fried Chicken and Waffles, which teased us with it’s awesome aroma on an adjacent table, and instead got the Pulled Pork Sandwich and the Chicken & Eggo (a first sampling for me!). Both were very good, as were the home fries that accopanied the sandwich. To finish up, we ordered the Peanut Ice Cream, which was superb! BYOB gets this place another thumbs up from me!

Rèst-âü-Ránt, 30-01 35th Ave [TAPAS BAR]
– A great neighbourhood spot, off the beaten path, Rest-au-rant advertises itself as a Wine – Beer – Cheese place and that’s precisely what they do and are seemingly very good at! Warm interiors with copious amounts of wood are most inviting, as is their well curated Wine and Beer list, including a good selection on tap. Next trip there, am going to try one of their Fondue plates 😉

Sanfords, 30-13, Broadway [AMERICAN]
– This is one of the more popular brunch spots in Astoria and I was lucky to snag a seat at the bar one weekend! Despite the hectic scene inside, the service is very attentive, your food arrives quickly, and I can at least vouch for the Steak skillet being good! It was very filling, well priced and came with an excellent cup of Coffee! The complimentary cocktail – I got the Bloody Mary – was so so! All told, this place certainly warrants the buzz but could do with more natural light and a lower volume of music.

SingleCut Beersmiths, 19-33 37th St [BREWERY / TAPROOM]
– Its a bit of trek getting here – even for a walkable neighborhood such as Astoria – but definitely worth it. The borough’s third or fourth brewery (on last count), this is definitely the most accessible, featuring a cavernous tap room and a rotating, seasonal line up. I can already vouch for their IPA and seasonal Ale. So far, they’re only open Thursday and Friday nights and on weekends. Live music is an added bonus!

Sparrow Tavern, 24-01 29th St [BAR / BRUNCH]
– A rustic tavern-like space, with a well-stocked bar featuring local brews, good service and great music. In terms of food, their Brunch Burger is great – didn’t miss the Cheese at all! The Fries that accompany it are awesome too! And they do serve a good cup of Coffee as well. Overall, a great neighborhood bar and a good alternative on those crazy summer days when the Biergarten across gets hopelessly crowded!

Stari Most, 28-52 42nd St [BALKAN]
– Step in and you’d be excused for thinking you’ve entered a living room somewhere in Eastern Europe! That isn’t far from the truth actually, especially so when you’ve tasted the authentic food on offer! Try their Cevapi and Sarajevo Burger for sure! Finish up with some awesome Bosnian Coffee.

Stove, 45-17 28th Ave [IRISH]
– They’re only open for dinner six days of the week and brunch on Sundays. I went there specifically for the latter and ordered the Irish breakfast. It was an ample serving, delivered piping hot, and really hit the spot! Get the home fries along with it – you won’t regret it! Brunch includes a cocktail and they make a pretty darn good Bloody Mary! Comfortable, living-room style space, with a patio at the back, and good service all around. I’ll probably return for breakfast but am tempted to head there for dinner too, maybe try their Shepherds Pie or Fish & Chips?!

Studio Square, 35-33 36th St [BEER GARDEN]
– The upstart, as far as Beer Gardens in the city go! Opened last summer, it may not have as much character as Bohemanian Hall does but it still manages to hold its own. A well designed space with loads of outdoor seating, circulation areas and a huge indoor bar, such that it never feels to crowded. Good selections of Beers on tap and a decent Grill too.

Sugarfreak, 3618 30th Ave [SOUTHERN / COMFORT]
Have only been here for brunch so far but certainly plan on visiting again for dinner! Some of the coolest, quaintest interiors in all of Astoria – especially the bar area! Service is great, Coffee is anything but weak, they conjure up a stinging Bloody Mary, and their brunch is pretty gratifying too! The real clincher though was the desert (you have to ask for them – surprinsgly, they don’t feature on the menu!), a Baileys-infused Bread Pudding!!

Sweet Afton, 30-09 34th St [GASTROPUB]
– Lovely warm interiors, efficient service, good selection of Beers on tap and an enticing menu! Their Burger is one of the best I’ve had – so well made that you don’t miss the Cheese at all! Great Pickles on the side as well. Cosy little courtyard at the back is a bonus too! Next up, I’m due to try their brunch..

Tamashii Ramen, 29-05 Broadway [JAPANESE]
– A Ramen-ya in your immediate hood – always a good thing to have! I’m still to try the more storied HinoMaru on Ditmars, but suffice to say Tamashii does a sound job of their broth, especially their cold Kara Tsukemen! The noodles are great too, as are their sides, particularly the Tabe Rayu-Don, a Donburi dish. Servings are plentiful (for a couple of bucks more you can get an additional serving of noodles to mop up any broth that’s left over), prices are reasonable, the space is neat and clean, and the service excellent.

Taverna Kyclades, 33-07 Ditmars Blvd [GREEK]
– If you’re craving good Mediterranean seafood, this is probably your best bet in the 5 boroughs! We went in a large group and ordered a ton of dishes – every one of them was outstanding! Save room for their dessert if you can – not only does it come gratis but its also extremely good! A word of caution, this place is almost always packed and does not take reservations!

The Queens Kickshaw, 4017 Broadway [CAFE / PUB]
– Quite definitively THE best toasted Cheese sandwiches in the city, a superb selection of mostly local Beers, and some exceptional Coffee. Nice neighbourhood vibe to it, friendly service, cool decor, and the chance of seeing a live Jazz band play on a weeknight!

The Strand Smokehouse, 25-27 Broadway [BBQ / BEER]
– One of the newest entrants to the hood’s food scene, I’ve already visited this establishment twice, and have come away impressed in each instance. Their brunch pricing is a little off, and there self-serve system for the evening BBQ still baffles me a bit, but otherwise there isn’t much to fret about! First off, the space (formerly a Blockbuster store) is just great. It is expansive, airy, and the all glass facade (front and back) ensures plenty of natural light during the day. The reclaimed wooden tables, exposed wood beams, the whisky barrels behind the bar, and the mason jars (for drinking in) and the water-bearing Whisky bottles, add immensely to the overall ambience. At brunch, the Smoked Salmon Benedict I ordered was excellent. At dinner, both the Pulled Pork and BBQ Chicken were good, as were the sides of Corn Bread and Baked Beans. They have a great selection of local Beers, including two Kombucha Ales from Astoria. This will be a space to watch in the warmer months – what with a patio out front, and a much larger one at the back! For now though, I can’t wait to try their Duck Pastrami 😉

Thymari, 32-07 34th Ave [GREEK]
– Have only had brunch here but it was good enough to want to try this place for dinner someday. First off, the service is impeccable here! The brunch menu is well priced and everything arrives quickly enough. I ordered the French Toast, which comes with an amazing home-made concoction, Honey Goat Cheese spread – addictive! They serve a decent cup of Coffee and make a pretty mean Bloody Mary too. The area by the bar is nice and cozy and there’s a cavernous seating area at the back, complete with large Wine rack full of Greek Wines. Nice decor overall.

William Hallet, 36-10 30th Ave [BAR / CAFE]
– I have to admit, I was drawn to this place by the name initially (most Astorians should know who Hallet was), but also by the cosy neighborhood feel it had. It doesn’t disappoint on the latter. I’ve only been for brunch so far and came away pretty impressed. The Hallet Benedict is what I got, a Crispy Poached Egg, done just right! The accompanying Coffee and Bloody Mary was pretty good too. It gets fairly busy here during brunch, but scoring a seat at the bar shouldn’t be a problem. It’s also a good vantage point from which to appreciate the warm interiors, the buzz, and the bar itself, which is set against an exposed brick wall.

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