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disappointing meal at Stamatis! where's the real Greek food in Astoria?

  • m

the greek salad was very ordinary but I enjoyed the grilled octopus appetizer. was I simply misinformed? did I order poorly? where's the best Greek food in Astoria?

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  1. I've only been to the 2nd stamatis though I remember not liking the salad as well - it was very bland, almost like the prepackaged kind.
    I did like their fried cheese appetizer.
    Maybe they're better with the grill and apps than the salads?

    1. give Opa Opa a try. I went a while ago but it was really good. Wish I could tell you the address. It's definitley in Astoria though. And stay away from Uncle George's. That place bites.

      7 Replies
      1. re: mdog

        Opa! is located at 28-44 31st ST.
        Most of their apps are excellent. (it's really stupid that they serve such bad bread with their salads and charge 50 cents for ordinary pita.)
        The grilled meats are the main reason to go. The loukaniko, bifteki, and lamb souvlaki are all excellent as well as the previously mentioned pork souvlaki and gyro. The combination platter is huge and well priced.
        If it's fish you want, you'd do better elsewhere unless thy have maridaki that day.

        1. re: el jefe

          i go to opa-opa sometimes (it's right near my subway stop at 30 Ave) for the chicken kabob. they run a good grill there. but i wouldn't recommend it for fish, and i don't really like greek apps so ask someone else.

        2. re: mdog

          I love Uncle George's, I only order from the BBQ menu though and maybe some appetizers and soups. I've probably ordered 1-2 dishes from outside the BBQ menu, but I have no memory of them. My friend who had recently visited from Greece thought of the food as very authentic. Complete with cheap house wine in kilos. The staff is very friendly too. If anyone goes, kokoretsi (intestines) and bbq lamb are the dishes to order, and I love their peas side.

          BTW, according to my friend, Greek cuisine is very hearty and heavy on oils and fats - she'd totally busted our image of light and healthy mediterranean cuisine. And not too many Greeks eat seafood or fish. Maybe what is perceived as great greek here is not much authentic?..

          1. re: welle
            Astoria Lurker

            I am no expert, but I suspect Greek cuisine is highly variable regionally, just like any other European cuisine. The seafood probably is a specialty of the islands, Cyprus, Crete, the Kyclades etc while lamb, potatoes and other hearty food would be from the large inland regions that are full of mountains. I don't think it's correct to assume that all Greek food is heavy and hearty based on one Greek person's point of view.

            1. re: Astoria Lurker

              good point. all i wanted to say is that greasy and hearty could also be authentic greek.

            2. re: welle

              greek food is NOT all heavy on the oils. some unskilled people and restaurants try to cover up the non-tastiness of their food in oils. I'm greek- trust me-- i know :)

              1. re: welle

                My friend from Greece eats mostly fish at home, I think whole usually.

            3. Taverna Kyclades for seafood, greek salad, app's. -excellent and has outdoor seating.

              Uncle George's for roast meat only.

              Opa for cheap gyro/souvlaki only.

              Opa's bakery next door is excellent.

              I think I used to order really good pastitio delivery from Zenon.

              1. Try S'agapo near Kaufmann Astoria studios on 34th Ave. I've never had a bad meal there.

                1 Reply
                1. We also heard that S'Agapo was closing, yet our friend in Astoria says that it's not.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: robin900

                    last i knew s'agapo was not closed - went there this summer - and yes - it's fabulous food - in a great location overlooking astoria park and near the water in the warm weather - and with a cozy fireplace inside when it gets cold. def. check it out.

                    1. re: breadnchocolate

                      Aren't you talking about Agnanti/Agnandi? It's next to the park on Ditmars and has a fireplace. S'Agapo, while a pleasantly decorated space, isn't near a park or water and has no fireplace that I can remember.

                      1. re: JH Jill

                        yes! you're right. sorry for the confusion. agnanti is fab. and that's the one i'm talking about.

                        1. re: JH Jill

                          +1 for Agnanti. It's really in a nice spot, quiet street and close to the water. The food is very good and I love sitting outside. Taverna Kyklades has been mentioned on Chowhound several times and is always a good choice. Their atherina/gavros fish (the little ones) are delicious. Both of these restaurants will generally satisfy my husband, who is Greek.

                    2. I don't necessarily agree about Opa Opa, and I live right around the corner. It's okay for typical souvlaki type fare, but it's nothing exciting or delightful.

                      Agnanti is, for me, the best Greek in Astoria - and I'm Greek. My first visit there, I'd already been living in Astoria for 4 years and despaired of ever getting good Greek. It was packed with Greeks on a Saturday night which is a pretty good bet.

                      All the dishes I've had are good, but the saganaki and the pastistio are to DIE for.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: krissa_cavouras

                        Yeah, Opa Opa is souvlaki type. But Stamatis on 23rd Ave (as opposed to 'downtown') is good momma's cookinng style. Then there's the former hunting club down the avenue called Philoxenia. Get the meatball special (special, not the oenes on menu). Going just a block further there's '21' for a glass
                        of wine on a warm evening and nice food, cheap.

                        1. re: zemilideias

                          Have you been to Astoria lately? Philoxenia has been closed for about a year.

                          1. re: el jefe

                            Philoxenia has now re-opened on 34th Avenue at 32nd Street.

                      2. Going out to eat "Greek" in Astoria or elsewhere in the US is very difficult. You have several things working against you.

                        Keeping this discussion focused on your search for Astoria Greek, I can only say that a single place does not make a full meal worthy of a label, but rather a single place may make a dish, or perhaps two, that are fit to be called "Greek Style".

                        Keeping this in mind, a stop at Agnandi at Astoria Park will give you a feel for Greek cuisine from the North East of Greece. Mostly premade stuff heated to order and a few of the old standbys like grilled lamb chops.

                        A short drive up Ditmars will bring you to Taverna Kyklades. Here simple grilled fish is the only thing you will find. Fresh and simple. Nothing really Greek going on here, just simple grilled fish. If you want a hint of Greek flavor request a side of "sauce" called Latholemono, an emulsion of Lemon juice and Olive oil, to pour over your fish, like the steakhouses do with sauces like béarnaise. Otherwise before you even get yourself to a table the wait staff has already placed a bowl of sliced lemons on the table for your use with the cruets of oil and vinegar and shakers of salt and pepper. The high turnover here keeps the seafood fresh, and the incredibly picky customer base keeps the food simple, hence the ensemble of condiments on the table for you to work with.

                        I haven’t had the pleasure of Zenon’s famous Greek Cuisine from the island of Cyprus as each time I dine at Zenon the wait staff is either so indifferent to my presence or they inform me that, once again, the owner, Mr. Zenon, is “not in the kitchen today.”

                        Aliada is a better stop for that Cyprus food craving.

                        Although it is just a short drive into Manhattan, it isn’t Astoria, but very much worth mentioning. Please visit ONERA. It is billed by the chef/owner as “Greek Inspired”.
                        MOST restaurant reviewers rate it favorably, with only one, to my knowledge, that paints it black with verses about Crete and “feta cheese foam” or other nonsense like that.
                        My meals there have been exceptional and some of the best in NY.

                        1. The BEST greek food in Astoria is Taverna Kyclades. They have the best food. Their Greek Food beats some of the more expensive ones in Manhattan. Remember Greek food is not meant to look like an art form like some foods you see on TV. THe portions are great and its full of taste. I am Greek and this is as close as it gets. Everything is good there. You dont have to order a meal, order a bunch of appetizers. They fill you up and they taste amazing. A lot of greeks don't really order meals in greek restaurants, they order many different appetizers, put them in the middle of the table and the feast begins. If we are still hungry will order more. I don't have a favorite appetizer, I love them all.

                          Some of the above postings stated a restaurant called Zenon. This restaurant is NOT GREEK, its Cypriot. The food is similar but it is not as tasty as Greek food.

                          Anyway here is the website for Taverna Kyclades http://www.tavernakyclades.com/

                          Make sure you visit them, you will never eat anywhere else again. They are very busy so either make a reservation or expect to wait a few minutes, don't worry its worth the wait.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: nick the greek

                            I agree with Teverna Kyclades. Very inexpensive and very good.

                          2. Agnanti up on Ditmars by the Park is very good. S'Agapo on 34th Avenue is also a good choice - it's definitely still open, I live a block away and walked by it last night.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: astorian

                              Everyone raves about Agnanti. I had some goreat appetizers there in like 2004 but since then I've been 3 times and have been disappoinnted by the food and the rudeness of the new owner (her mother did a much better job, was nice, and maybe that's why I just havent liked the food lately...)

                            2. I guess I'll throw my two cents in here but a few have already stated similarly: Agnanti is the best Greek in Astoria that I've experienced so far. Meaning the best as far as having different types of Greek dishes that are not grilled seafood. They have a seperate section of the menu devoted to dishes that are specialties of Constantinople (Sp?) I have not even tried those. But I've seen dishes such as stewed yellow split peas which I had never heard of in Greek cuisine. I've since read online that it IS a popular Greek thing. I can't remember offhand all of what I've ordered there but I was not disappointed with anything. Their Saganaki was good but different than the style to which I'm accustomed and prefer (dredged in flour and flash fried in butter, to be eaten with fresh lemon squezzed over top)) The waiter explained this to us. It was still good though. Also their grilled Octopus was better than what I'd get at Telly's. The dressing was lemon, oil and oregano, where as Telly's just slops some vinegar on it. I have not tried the grilled fish but have seen it coming out to other tables and it looks good. Similarly, the roasted lamb going to another table almost didn't make it to it's destination:)

                              Telly's on the other hand has better dips: Tzastiki, Eggplant and especially their Skordalia dips are all better than Agnanti's. They also do the Saganaki fried in butter, and their grilled porgy is out of this world. For dessert they offer one thing: a Greek version of Zeppole (I forgot the Greek name) Fried dough balls that are as light as feathers and better than Zeppole (and I'm Italian :) They're served hot, drenched in honey and sprinkled with Cinnamom, and as if that weren't enough they are FREE!!!!And who cannot love the old Greek lady standing in front (the owner)and sometimes seating people. While stealing a smoke barely outside clenching that Cigarette in her mouth? :) Oh and if you order Greek salad at either place you get huge chunks of tomatoes, celery peppers etc. Most people know to order either a "Green salad" or Country Salad, to get the romaine with feta and dill.
                              Both restaurants are good at what they seemingly specialize in. Agnanti has a bit of a cozier atmosphere, what I'd imagine a Taverna in Greece to look like. But Telly's is OK as well. If anything I'd have to say that Agnanti was a bit less expensive. Depending on what you order you can't go wrong in either place

                              1. We just moved to Astoria and had a very nice meal at Agnanti. We sat outside, which was nice, and had an assortment of mezzes and entrees. Among these were "standard" type things (tzatziki, Greek salad, cheese in phyllo dough, etc.) - with the exception of the tzatziki, these didn't strike us as particularly exceptional or interesting. But all three of the seafood dishes that we ordered (bacalao croquettes, swordfish kebabs, and fried brabounia [mullets, if I'm not mistaken]) were outstanding. There was also a sardine special that unfornately they ran out of, but it sounded great. They also gave us an on-the-house dessert of baklava, some other kind of Greek pastry, and Greek yogurt (the real thing).

                                Also, for very casual/inexpensive taverna fare, we had a halfway decent meal at the Corner Taverna at 26th st. and 23rd Ave. It was nothing super-special, but the mezzes were cheap and portions were quite big. It was sort of greasy-spoon-esque, but there's definitely a time and place for it.

                                1 Reply
                                1. I enjoy Agnanti. Great place for a date, too...cosy atmosphere, good food, good wait staff...and its located right on the park, so you can stroll or "park" and enjoy the water and great views of Manhattan.

                                  As for the dough balls that poster Chas talked about, they are called loukoumades. They are kind of heavy...but if you share them and only have a few, they are soooo good.

                                  1. S'Agapo on 34th Avenue at 35th Street is, in my opinion, the best Greek in Astoria. They use high quality meats and the keftedes (meatballs) and tzatziki are amazing. Great staff and lots of specials.

                                    1. The consensus here is good: Agnanti, Philoxenia, S'Agapo, Kyclades. Philoxenia is my favorite of the bunch, but that's just personal preference. You can always ask the server what's best--they'll know what the restaurant specializes in, so you're not ordering a seafood dish from a restaurant where the meat really shines, for example.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: plumerai

                                        yeah, philoxenia is the tastiest of the bunch. agnanti the nicest outdorr

                                      2. If you want good seafood, go to Kyklades. If you want good gyro ro souvlaki, go to Romano's on Broadway.

                                        1. Taverna Kyclades- really fresh and simple seafood

                                          1. I had a really great meal at Aegaen Cove