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"Fancy" in Jackson Heights

I've been searching this board, but most of the recs I've found were for delicious but low-key type places. Where would you go in JH if you wanted to take a loved one out for his birthday??? I'm looking for a special-occasion place.

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  1. I really like Uncle Peter's on Northern Blvd, somewhere around 84th I believe. It doesn't look like much from the outside, but once inside, it's quite a nice atmosphere. The staff is
    attentive and the food is very good. They have good specials, the waiters know their wine. It is cozy and romantic.

    1. Cozy.....romantic.....good food.........that's EXACTLY what I want! Mille grazie...

      1. I second the vote for Uncle Peter's. I was pleasantly surprised at how nice the dining area is considering how plain the facade is outside.

        La Cabana, an Argentine steakhouse, also on Northern at 87th Street is a nice place for a celebration. I find the ambiance appealing and the food pretty good, particulary the Entraña.

        1 Reply
        1. re: sandrina

          I ditto the rec for La Cabana and its Entraña, which by the way is huge. (Is it romantic to share a steak?)

        2. I've been a huge fan of Uncle Peter's Continental since they opened. I have had countless meals there and never once left disappointed and they make fabulous Cocktails. Take a look at the Sunset Special served before 6:30. Awesome value. If you're celebrating a Birthday make certain they know about it. The Salmon with saffron sauce is a favorite. But then everything they serve is good. Waiter's are so incredibly nice and attentive.

          1. Thanks, all - I made the reservation for Uncle Peter's for Saturday, and I'll report back!

            1. Geez. I guess I need to give them another shot. I found Uncle Peter's to be .. eh, okay, but it definitely didn't excite me. Nothing was bad (although nothing great), but the wine we ordered (a cheap bottle) was absolute swill, which obviously shouldn't be on their list. Didn't love the decor as much as everyone else either (what's with those ventilators-turned-lights hanging above every table? Did this place used to be a hibachi restaurant?)

              5 Replies
              1. re: danoots

                I've never been there myself, however friends of ours reported an impression similar to yours. (For a benchmark of their taste, they gave high marks to L'Incontro in Astoria. They also were the ones who introduced us to La Cabana.)

                What do people think of Meson Asturias as an alternative cosy/romantic/good food place? (I'm embarassed to say I've only looked in from the outside, never eaten there.)

                Now that I'm rereading Scribbler's original post, I'm rethinking the whole Jackson Heights as a place for a romantic dinner idea. As much as I love the food in my neighborhood, I'd be less than amused if my girlfriend sprung any of the abovementioned local places as my birthday treat. That said, we've enjoyed a couple of low-key birthday meals at Le Sans Souci in Woodside. I know not everybody loves it, and I haven't actually eaten there since December (my last birthday!), but we do love the feeling of a little trip to France, by and large we've liked the food, and we've generally been lucky with the service.

                1. re: Helen F

                  Check that -- I have eaten there since December, and yes, we still liked it.

                  1. re: Helen F

                    Le Sans Souci is really in Astoria, and I think it's excellent. Definitely a nice little romantic place. For the record though, I do like Tournesol in LIC slightly better. If you are in JH looking for a nearby, romantic place Le Sans Souci is a good bet.

                    1. re: Helen F

                      I'm in agreement with you, re: "fancy dinner" in JH - it's sort of like forcing a square peg into a round hole. The food in the nabe can be really good, but fancy isn't something any restaurants around here really aspire to be.

                      1. re: Helen F

                        You could go to La Flor in Woodside, which is closer to you than Astoria and from JH, you could easily hop on the Q32, which is always kind of fun.
                        While La Flor is not especially romantic (though inadvertently, their lighting is), I think the food (especially the specials) is top notch. Coffee and desserts are delish and it's quirky and off-beat enough to make it more than a regular nite out.
                        I would just call in advance and find out if that guitar player/singer is performing. Unless you want to feel like you're being serenaded by a wedding singer (when you're sitting close), or unless you enjoy wedding top 40 tunes (neil diamond, beatles, etc sung in earnest - no hint of irony there), I would stay away, or dine before or after he arrives (or during his break!). They used to have a really nice horn/harmonica player - no vocals at all - that was the perfect backdrop. I'm not sure why they switched it up.

                    2. Well, it's not really a birthday....it's this thing we do, we take each other out on alternate months to a restaurant that neither of us has been to before. Since we've been looking at coops in JH, I thought I would like to find something there (September is my month), but I didn't want any of the usual Indian or Latin places. Uncle P sounds like it will be fine. But I'm putting Sans Souci and La Cabana on my list for November!

                      1. Aha -- not "birthday", but "birthday-like". Got it.

                        Please let us know how the meal turns out.

                        1. Yup. Out of the neighborhood is the short answer. Basically, most of the places that have decent food (Pio Pio, Mario's etc.) have loud music and lighting and tend to be family places (lots of kids), while the places that have fancier surroundings have food ranging from barely mediocre (Armondo and Cavalier) to okay if you're feeling too lazy to go anyplace else. Would put Uncle Peter's in the latter category, and am a little ticked off at service there, since they kept us waiting about a half hour for a two-top when there were three four-tops open. Good thing was we got fed up and left, and tried Trieste on Northern and 73rd I think. Was pleasantly surprised by the food --old style Italian with adequate wine list. Saltimbocca was pretty good as was the wife's Chicken Marsala. It belongs on the rotation, and could serve as fancy if you really want to stay in the 'hood. Think the Afghan Kebab House on 75th and 37th is actually very good, especially the Fish Tikka. And since it doesn't do a buffet, it feels somewhat fancier than the other Indian places on or around the 74th street strip, and the food is better too. Sapori d'Ischia in Woodside has the best Italian within an extended walk I think--there are other posts about that. More generally, as noted before, if any restarauteurs, current or aspiring are reading this board, JH is very seriously underserved in this category--quiet, fancy, with a subtle bistrosity. I'm pretty certain we have the demographics to support something like Brick Cafe, Sans Souci or Bliss before its unfortunate decline. If you build it, we will come.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: kodiak

                            Had the salmon in saffon sauce at Uncle Peter's the other night. In a word: superb. They do need to get rid of those old hibachi ventilators left over from their Korean-grill predecessor. We sorely need more continental-menu options in Jackson Heights.