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Apr 12, 2005 01:00 PM

HELP!! In Forest Hills

  • k

We have lived in Queens for 6 months and are struggling to find a really great meal... We are not being snobbish, but are sincerely disturbed by the lack of edible options in the Forest Hills area. We have lived (and have eaten very well) in Brooklyn, Manhattan and other parts of Queens. Are we missing something?! The only place we have found worth returning to is Dee's on Metropolitan Ave, but we need a few more options... Help!!

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  1. Nick's pizza is great in Forest Hills on Ascan, and 5 Burro Cafe can be good also, the Greek Place Corfu on Austin upstairs in the space past Ann Taylor is good as well. Cabana is noisy, but okay for a few things. The Mexican place which is the same as the one in Roslyn long Island, used to be better when it first opened, but portions shrunk and it's not too good anymore. Other than that, every other place, I don't care for. There is a decent Sushi place called Mickey's ignore the weird decor, on QB near to 67th ave------For Thai head to Srip in Woodside, for Chinese, head to Spicy and Tasty in Flushing, for Peruvian, head to Pio either on Woodhaven in Rego Park or Jackson Heights, for Cuban head to Rincon Criolo in Jackson Heights area, for Eclectic Mexican and great tarts head to La Flor in Woodside or Viko's Cafe in Corona--hope this helps a bit...yes, it's a shame there aren't better choices in Forest Hills---there are also the Bukharian places in Rego Park, and in Kew Garden Hills, if you like Israeli, check out Hapisgah on Union Turnpike-------or for Persian, Colbeh on Main Street.

    16 Replies
    1. re: Janie

      I think it would be fair to say that Corfu is 'okay' - but I think the only reason people think it's great is that there's really nothing else. I've lived here for 25 years & watched the place become a mall without a roof. We don't even have a Jewish deli anymore. How is that possible in this neighborhood? The only answer is that it's not a neighborhood anymore.

      Oops...unintended rant...

      1. re: kiwi

        I wish there were more good food too :-(

        Corfu is good for the neighborhood.
        At the risk of repeating myself ad infinitum:

        I've had good food at Nick's Pizza, Golden Pond, Sato, 5 Burros. I also like to shop at Cheese of the World. And for a super-cheap option I like the Chinese/Japanese/French sandwich/noodle shop on QB or a panini at Munch on Yellowstone.

        I've had horrendous food at Rouge, Peking Duck, and that absolutely horrible Italian place on Austin with Pasta in the name. The Tower Diner also seemed seriously nasty to me. And the last time I ate at Howard Zhou's it was awful. Ugh.

        1. re: Kerry

          I like Mardi Gras, 5 Burro, Chalet Alpina, Nicks and Simply Thai (on Queens Blvd off Union Tpke.)

          It is ridiculous that an upscale nabe like FH has such pathetic food options. I have a car and eat most of my meals on LI. :(

          1. re: KK

            I know! why is the food so bad? Oh well. Next time I walk down Austin St. I'll think of you happily driving away in your car towards LI ;-)

            1. re: Kerry

              I think it's real estate and the above-average age of the population. I'm not very young, but there are a great number of seniors here - and I think that explains the continued existence of Austin House, Just Like Mothers, and that crappy pasta place. The mall factor explains the rest. But if there were more room for a younger pop. - like in Bklyn. (where I think the pop. was older, died, & made room for the influx of younger people), there would be more great food. Although it doesn't explain why - HOW we could possibly NOT - have our own Jewish deli!

              There's also what I call the Pinnacle effect. When that building came, advertised as Fifth Ave. on Queens Blvd., it looked like the commercial rents went up right along with the damn building: there was a spate of old businesses disappearing & the chains appearing. It looked like someone - the landlords - really believed that 5th Ave. stuff.

              Just my opinions thrown into the mix, and a bit of rant.

              1. re: kiwi

                I think you're right on, Kiwi.

                I used to have *one* favorite place on Austin, but it morphed into an awful, loud cheesy bar. It used to be a decent sandwich/dessert shop (right next to 5 Burros) that was open late.

                Sometimes I think that people with a passion for good food (like the family that owns Cheese of the World) are a rarity (except for Chowhounders).

                1. re: Kerry

                  Am I the idiot?
                  I LIKE Forest Hills food.
                  I like Corfu, Bann Thai, Nick's. I LOVE Narita. Pizza at Portofino'll do in a pinch.
                  But I agree -- Krispy Kreme donuts could not survive here because the oldsters were too scared to cross Queen Bouley to get to it. And on a fixed income, a Krispy Creme is impractical. But I think young folk are making their way over here.

                  1. re:

                    How true about KKs. I'm kinda glad it didnt last as I must have gained 10 lbs in the year it was there.

                    I grew up in Queens and don't ever remember going to FH for a really good meal. But at least there was a bakery!! As a teen we used to go to Beefsteak Charlie's in the Forest Hills Inn and Cooky's Steakhouse on QB where the MRI place shaped like a castle is now.

                    Regents Row in Kew Gardens was a place my family used to visit on a regular basis. Boy did that place hop on the weekends.....2 hour waits for tables!

                    And of course the lack of Jewish deli in FH has been a 'problem' since the '70s. I can't recall the last Jewish deli. Bens Best in Rego Park is mediocre but fills the bill in a pinch for pastrami.

                    1. re:

                      You're not an idiot :-)
                      We just disagree! LOL
                      I think most Forest Hills food is atrocious. I'll grant you that Nick's has excellent pizza, and I enjoy the Bonelle Bakery next door. But I find Bann Thai mediocre. And I've had execrable meals at Peking Duck, Pasta Del Giorno, and Rouge. Yuk!

                      1. re:

                        I agree, there are some very good options in Forest Hills. Bann Thai has very good food and decor. Mardi Gras and Cabana are solid places to eat. Portofino is also very good, whoever said it is an old folk place has not been there is a while. Pinang is pretty good, Narita is solid for Japanese. I like Santa Fe for the Mexican. Corfu is good because it is unique for the area. The Family Restaurant is too cramped, I like Pasta Lovers. The Thai place Q I habe never eaten at, it is very small and quite expensive.

                        1. re:
                          nicole friedman

                          You're not an idiot! While I go to NYC often to eat, I stay home just as much- malaysian, thai, italian, japanese, greek, indian- while I do detest the chains, the ethnic places FH has are pretty good- all we're missing are some good vietnamese, korean and south indian places and I'd be in heaven! (throw in an ethiopian?)

                          1. re:

                            I disagree about the old people being the reason for the bad restaurants. The old people eat in T Bone Diner. Places like TJ Friday,Pizzaria Uno, Johnny Rockets, and the like are frequented by young people from out of the neighborhood. In fact it seems that most of the people who eat in FH restaurants are from other locales. Otherwise they would be walking.

                        2. re: kiwi

                          In answer to the no jewish deli comment, the character of the neighborhood has changed quite a bit and it's no longer strictly jewish as it was before. Not saying this is a jewish deli but the closest thing is the knish knosh place in queens boulevard by 67th avenue (which is still technically forest hills)

                          1. re: maria_nyc

                            Go to Ben's Best in Rego Park...Qns Blvd near 63rd Drive.

                    2. re: Kerry

                      Must "agree to disagree" about Rouge. I eat there about once a month and find the food excellent- particularly their version of Coquilles St. Jacques and the absolutley yummy dark chocolate mousse. The specials tend to be great choices also. I will say the Sunday brunch is considerably less than stellar...

                      1. re: Kerry

                        Peking Duck is only good for the namesake dish, nothing much beyond that.

                        5 Burros is good? Hmmm first time I hear good and 5 Burros in the same sentence.

                        I like Cabana in that little restaurant row, but that's pretty much it.
                        If you are willing to walk to Metropolitan Avenue (which is still Forest Hills) you can try Danny Brown's place at 104-02 Metropolitan Avenue.

                  2. s
                    Spock's Brain

                    Sorry to say, but you're SOL!

                    I've lived in FH for close to 4 years now and I'm still amazed at how poor the selection of food is out here. The line out the door at Boston Market every night should be a dead giveaway that the situation in this hood' is beyond hopeless.

                    I have only a few suggestions. Get supplies often from the Natural Market and Fresh Direct & cook often. Purchase a Metrocard and explore other areas in Queens for far superior cuisine.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Spock's Brain

                      re: Boston Market, LOL, so true!

                    2. What type of food and how far are you willing to travel? Walking distance? Public Transport? Car? Queens is ground zero for the best food on the East Coast. My buddy lives in Forest Hills / Rego Park and he is always telling me about all the fantastic places he finds and dragging me off to the best places within a 5 minute drive.

                      1. We have lived in Forest Hills since dinosaurs frolicked here, and agree that restaurant options are miserable. We usually go further afield when we eat out, but agree with the options listed by the other posters. A few additional recs are Luna Sur on Metropolitan for Italian, Q Thai for inaunthentic but pleasant sort of Thai food, and Cabana for Latin fare. I have always figured that the rents are so high that a reasonably priced restaurant serving decent food can't make it here. I was sorry to see Soup's On go. Austin Street has turned into an open air mall with chain everything. Too bad, but thats the way America seems to be going.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Suzanne

                          Soupson has a Marshall's notice on the door. "Closed for operating without a permit".
                          The inside has been gutted.
                          Sooo.... another Starbucks? (affectionally known as Fourbucks in my househould)
                          God I hope not.

                        2. Thank you all for the suggestions, and the affirmation that I am not insane... I do not have a car, but we have bikes, so we are pretty mobile. I will try some of the places mentioned in Rego Park and Kew Gardens. Other areas are doable by subway only...

                          To broaden the discussion: We had some burnt lamb at Corfu that gave me a sore throat the next day...won't be going back...

                          Munch has a good sandwich "the munch club", otherwise it is touch and go...

                          Tried 5 burros once for take-out.

                          Had OK appetizers at the wine bar near 5 burros.

                          Someone could have an amazing business if they can bring a good meal to the neighborhood!! any other thoughts, please write...


                          12 Replies
                          1. re: KR

                            My wife and I don't own a car either, but we bike to Corona, Elmhurst, Jackson Heights, and Woodside 3 or 4 times a week. Sripraphai is only 20 minutes away by bike, with no time wasted looking for a parking spot. Speaking of Thai, there's Ban Yai on Queens Blvd near 65th Road. It's no Sripraphai, but it's infinitely better than the many other Thai restaurants in Rego Park and Forest Hills.

                            1. re: el jefe

                              well, then I suggest you ride that bike to corona and get thee to Tony's Pizzeria at 4518 104th St, Flushing, NY 718-779-1707. Start with their tangy salad, then maybe doa little fried calamari. I do the pasta with the shrimp and marinara sauce. Husband likes the scungili.

                            2. re: KR

                              I agree, pretty miserable choices.
                              My top five:
                              Five Burro's
                              Just Like Mothers (they deliver, so you wont have to feel like you are in a morgue, and they do great breakfasts)
                              Family Restaurant (take out and catering)
                              Bonelle Bakery (okay, six... sue me)

                              My rant: I hate the fact that so many restaurants have to be so brightly lit, just so the elderly can see.

                              One thing... the new SuperStop&Shop on Union Tpke make cooking less expensive. I've cut $120/week at the SS Natural by ALOT !!!

                              1. re: Dagmar

                                Where is that bakery?
                                I went to 'mothers' for breakfast, not stellar, but not bad... what do you recommend from their menu?

                                Also, everyone is talking about Corfu, but I found it to be pretty foul... maybe I did not order the right thing. What do you recommend???


                                1. re: KR

                                  Mothers delivers if you live close by (and the dishwasher shows up). We like the fresh berry pancakes, omlettes, the challah french toast, perogis and blintzes. Just tell them to forget the "jelly" (purple goo that comes with breakfasts). For dinner the stuffed peppers, meatloaf and Polish beers. If only the ambiance was better.

                                  1. re: Dagmar

                                    Corfu: I like the chicken kebab platter: comes with rice pilaf and lemon potato AND a GORGEOUS greek salad. They use the good feta there. Oooo -- and their SKORDALIA is wonderful.

                                2. re: Dagmar

                                  Just Like Mothers no longer delivers - they use one of those pay services, and considering that most of their food is barely average...well, you get my drift. There's also the sullen face and attitude factor - a charming combination. And 5 Burro is a kiddie hang-out, with all that goes with that. Nick's is okay, and the bakery is half okay - the half of the time without the wicked witch sister.

                                  And could Austin house be the worst neighborhood diner ever? What did we do to deserve that place?

                                  1. re: kiwi
                                    long time forest hill resident

                                    don't you just feel so sorry for Rahita - the good sister who is also the owner - her sister just screws things up for her business so badly.

                                    They have some really amazing things but the surly service from the bad witch sister - as you so appropriately put it- really turns customers away - at least I know I don't bother much anymore.

                                    my favorite thing at nicks is their watercress and arugula salad with honey mustard vinaigrette (which doesnt describe the dressing - it's a homemade unusual recipe that rocks) roasted peppers and sundried tomato.

                                    1. re: long time forest hill resident

                                      Are the sisters twins?
                                      I have experienced some schizophrenic-like episodes from the owner? in that bakery so that would explain a lot.

                                3. re: KR
                                  nicole friedman

                                  Actually, I would have to disagree strongly (no offense here!)- I've lived in the FH area my whole life. While there are many restaurants that I choose to stay away from (Fridays [blech], Jimmy Rockets [screaming teens anyone?], etc), there are many great ethnic choices. Pot Thai just opened on 68th Drive and Queens Blvd- small, but VERY good. Penang, while it is decorated very kitchy, also has very good malaysian (around 76th). Baluchis, although a chain restaurant, also has good Northern Indian fare around there. For sushi, try Tako Sushi- it's downstairs around 70th and austin- less pricy and snobbish than Narita, and quite good- usually we get complementary plum wine at the end. And the Mexican place upstairs (I forget the name for the moment) has excellent chicken mole.

                                  1. re: nicole friedman

                                    I agree about Pinang, it's good (although not every dish in there is great.)
                                    Same with Baluchis, it's decent. Is it the best Indian food in nyc? No.
                                    However, it's pretty consistent and quite OK if you don't want to travel to the city. Their weekend brunch special is also a good buy.

                                    1. re: nicole friedman

                                      Speaking of burgers, has anyone tried the new burger joint on QB (by 72nd?) Is it any good?