Best restaurants in Forest Hills
I moved to forest hills recently and I would love to know which are your favorite restaurants in the area. I heard that Italian place on Metropolitan Ave "La Vigna" is good, a bit pricey, also I heard about Alberto that is very good too.
What is your top five list?
I don't have a Top 5 because FH spots just don't grab me. Despite the variety of cuisines, many of the restaurants fall short of the mark.
That said, I like Mickey's Place for sushi on Qns. Blvd. at 102 St. The fish is always fresh and the staff couldn't be friendlier. Never been to La Vigna, but I did hear some folks talking favorably about it, while I was enjoying a sundae at Eddie's Sweet Shop (105-29 Metropolitan Ave.) Eddie's is a mandatory stop on Metro. I'm too young to have enjoyed a sundae at a soda fountain, but it seems to me that Eddie's has preserved everything from the flavor to the feel.
One place on Metro that I need to explore more is Danny Brown's (104-02 Metropolitan Ave.)I had a glass of wine and some grilled calamari recently. Pls. report back and let us know what you find.
Keep on smokin',
Joey beat me to the punch with Mickey's - which is decent - and Eddie's, which, despite the presence of a few too many teddy bears and porcelain dolls for my taste, deserves its' status as a neighborhood legend.
I live in FH, and, with respect to the restaurant scene, I'm glad that I am close enough to Rego Park to be able to hit places such as Istanbul (up on Queens Blvd, near 63rd), Shalom and Salut (both on 108th). I also dig the Bialys at Hot Bialys, which is on QB, edge of Kew Gardens. The highly touted East Ocean Palace, on QB across from PC Richard, I find to be hit or miss, the hits being good but nothing to jump up and down about.
Suffice to say that, when it comes to the immediate neighborhood, I would much rather hop the train and head elsewhere for really good eats. That said, and, not knowing your tastes, I think it only fair to recommend that you do a search of this board for Forest Hills. A number of posters have sung the praises of Rouge, which is a bistro on Austin. Nick's Pizza, on Ascan a few paces away from Austin, is very well-known and often makes it to 10-best lists around the city. This mystifies me personally, but, if you like pizza, you should go see for yourself.
It depends on what you're looking for. What Forest Hills doesn't have is cheap, delicious ethnic food, except for Bukharian (central asian kosher). I agree with the above posts, but would add Jade, in Station Square for fun atmosphere. Five Burros for tasty, if not overly authentic Mexican, especially for lunch. Corfu for cheap, utilitarian Greek. Danny Brown's for a great wine list, small plates, and a few well chosen entrees.
Welcome to Forest Hills! I actually just moved there in Sept. I'm basically echoing what a few have already posted but the places I like most in Forest Hills are 5 Burro, Luncheonette (great burgers and wheat blueberry pancakes), Nick's - and if you want an alternative to Nick's then Dee's Pizza on Metropolitan. I've eaten at Cubana once and while the food was decent, I thought it was overpriced for the neighborhood. Hot Bialy's has the greatest bagels. And I'm definitely in the pro-East Ocean Palace camp - especially for their shrimp with black bean sauce and beef pan fried noodles.
All in all, I haven't been that impressed with FH restaurants but these fit the bill if I want to eat right in the 'hood.
Most of the places around Austin Street are not that good and pricey to boot--though Nick's is great for pizza. East Ocean Palace has a crazy and fun dim sum scene on weekends (definitely Sunday, not sure about Saturday). But I think the best place in the neighborhood by far is DB (Danny Brown) wine bar on Metropolitan. The place is fairly new, so there are occasional lapses in consistency, but the food overall is a huge step up from places like Rouge and Cabana. It's mostly Italian, but not faithfully--there are French and Spanish touches to the menu, and the wine list has stuff from all over. The employees are knowledgeable, enthusiastic and really believe in the place.
I've just been there once for dim sum. We didn't pace ourselves and pretty much nabbed everything that rolled on by--mostly dumplings filled with various things, all of which we liked. Well, that was completely unhelpful, but I know there's a thread about it on Chowhound somewhere . . .
I'm looking at East Ocean Palace out my window right now. I never much liked it, but maybe that's because Chinese has never been one of my favorite cuisines. I kept hearing about how authentic it was, and then I went and found that everything was undercooked. But recently, a friend was raving to me about the authenticity of a Chinese place in Manhattan -- and lo and behold, everything was undercooked there, too! So maybe authentic Chinese food is undercooked. If that's the case, I'm going to have to run the risk of being culturally insensitive and say I now like it even less.
My FH top five:
1. DB Wine Bar: Easily the best in town. I went about a month ago, and the crowd was healthy but the place wasn't completely packed. Went back this weekend, and it was bursting at the seams. We waited for 15 minutes at the bar, where we ate olives and the bartender told us we could sample anything on the wine list if we didn't know what we wanted -- which kind of shocked me. Sadly a long walk from my place, but so worth it, especially on a nice day.
2. Q Thai Bistro: With so many Thai places around, I like their upscale, not-really-Thai take on Thai.
3. Five Burro: Authentic Mexican? No, but you gotta remember that middle-American Tex-Mex is a cuisine in and of itself and they do it pretty well. Fun, too. My teetotaling mom went (she works in Kew Gardens) and reports that she got drunk on one of their margaritas, if that means anything. This is probably the Forest Hills restaurant I have a sudden, irrational impulse to visit most frequently.
4. Narita: I do love sushi, and I think this is the best I've had in the area. It's on the Restaurant Row just west of 71st/Continental, so you can check out the other restaurants while you're there. (They're all worth trying, but my take: Rouge has great brunch and mediocre dinners, Cabana is way overpriced, Peking Duck has, well, great Peking duck, Bangkok Cuisine is about the same as other area Thais with slightly higher prices and much nicer decor, UJ's Luncheonette is a good bet for breakfast, Santa Fe Steakhouse has a surprisingly decent prix fixe. Can't speak for Uno's. Am I forgetting anything?)
5. Just Like Mother's: I gotta throw them in there for a really great breakfast. People are inevitably grossed out when I order the sauerkraut-and-mushroom omelet, but trust me. It's on Queens Boulevard near Ascan.
I moved from Manhattan to Forest Hills to avoid the psycho rent while still having the conveniences of Manhattan. I'd say that the best restaurants are Q, Dee's, DB Wine Bar (speaking of wine, the Forest Hills wine shop on 69th on the edge of the Gardens is awesome), Rouge. The new Thai place off Austin, Bangkok Cuisine, is pretty good too. It needs a trendy new name though, to match the interior.
Also, if you're new to the area I have this online map you can check out (www.communitywalk.com/map/22654). It's not done by any stretch, but if you're wondering where something is, maybe it'll be there. Enjoy the neighborhood.
Forest Hills, for all the restaurants, isn't a real gastronome paradise, unfortunately... That said, here are some real consistent venues:
1) Nick's Pizza. Maybe not the best I ever had, but we return, and that's the best you can say about any restaurant. Especially important because most of the slice places in Forest Hills are mediocre or worse.
2) Andre's Hungarian Bakery. The cheesecake that they cut with a string is some of the most ethereal, delicious stuff you'll ever put in your mouth. Shames alot of "brand name" New York cheesecakes
3) La Vigna... very dependable Italian. For taste AND price we prefer the not-too-far-away La Tavernetta, but La Vigna is plenty acceptable.
4) 5 Burros. Not great, but decent enough for an average Tex-Mex Jones.
5) Piu Bello. Not the best gelato in New York, but good enough to return.
Of the above, only Andres really is in the "best of Queens" or "best of New York" category, IMO.
Here's my 2 cents on restaurants in the neighborhood.
1) Cabana-I really like this restaurant for lunch. The prices are very reasonable in comparison to the city. I usually get the churassco (spelling??) skirt steak and my husband always gets the shrimp with garlic sauce which is only available at dinner.
2) East Ocean Palace-I used to go the the Chinese restuarant that was in this location prior to this one. I wasn't too happy the first time I went here for dinner when they just opened. I found the portions small compared to before and the prices were higher and not worth the money. I found this to be true for dim sum as well. But, recently they've been more generous with the portions and I guess I'm paying for the new remodeled restaurant thru the prices of the food.
3) Dee's-I noticed this restaurant on the way to Stop and Shop one day and I told my husband that we have to try it. We went there on a Friday nite. There was a wait, but it wasn't terribly long. I enjoyed our dinner of thin crust pizza and hummus as the appetizer. The atmosphere was also very nice.
4)Nick's-When we just moved to the neighborhood, everyone was raving about this joint so we had to try it. My husband and I really like garlic powder on our pizza and they didn't have it. We weren't too crazy about the pizza and we've never been back since. We prefer to go to AJ's.
5)AJ's-This is probably one of the best slice pizza I've ever tried.
6)5 burros-Not too crazy about the food, but they definitely have some killer frozen margaritas.
7) Thai Austin-We actually just tried Thai Austin recently and I think it's definitely better than Q and Bangkok Cuisine(way over priced) and Bhan Thai. My husband likes the shrimp with Basil. For cheap and delicious Thai, it's better to just go to Woodside.
8) Rouge-Only tried the brunch and we did not enjoy it.
9) Japanese-go to this fish market on Yellowstone. It's truly a hidden gem. We just went there today and it's SO fresh.
10) Mardi Gras-I've had dinner here and it's pretty decent.
11) Peking Duck-too expensive
I always like trying new places and I thank everyone for their recommendations. I'm definitely going to try the following places DB, LA Vigna, LA Tavernetta and Hot Bialy's.
Also, I'm trying to plan a baby shower. Has anyone ever tried Tango on QB?
Hmmm, a baby shower with Tango dancing.
I'm not sure steaks and tango are the right atmosphere for a baby shower.
Most evenings they do a tango demonstration/show. Assuming your baby shower is in the afternoon, it should be pretty quiet. But they still specialize in steaks. If your group doesn't want big steaks for lunch I'd suggestyou try somewhere else. And even if you want Argentinean style steaks, Boca Junior on QB in Elmhurst is better, imho.
Well, I just made my second trip to DB Wine Bar this weekend, and I have to say it is definitely putting out some really good food. It has to get my nod for best in FH. I normally don't order chicken, but I order their chicken under a brick, which was perfectly cooked, moist chicken with crispy well seasoned skin. The items that had some issues on the last visit were prepared much better this time. Fish that was somewhat dry on our last visit was cooked just right. The calamari appetizer was also improved over my first visit. I could have skipped the chocolate cake our table ordered for dessert and stuck with just the cheese plate that we also ordered. Good wines by the glass. Good service.
Other top spots:
East Ocean Palace - went back for a 4th visit this past sunday night. The food quality was much better than the previous two visits and on par with our first visit which had my wife and I very excited. Service is pretty poor though.
Nicks for Pies and AJs for slices.
5 Burro and Cabana, while not amazing, are good off night stand bys.
Q is not bad (haven't yet hit most of the other spots, Thai Austin/Bann Thai).
Other than that, I try to get out of the hood for dining goodness. And I never order Pasta in FH, although I will give it a shot at DB. Two words that don't seem to penetrate within a few block radius of Austin street: al dente.
1) 5 Burro - I really, really treasure this place. Their steak anything (tacos, quesadillas, enchiladas) are fantastic. I also love their chicken dishes (usually with garlic and olive oil). They have great chili and a hearty chicken soup. And the margaritas are great too. The atmosphere is tight and crowded but usually lots of fun.
2) Nick's. Bottom line is that I love their pizza. Excellent crust and tomato sauce, high quality toppings. Nice, relaxed atmosphere.
3) Dee's. Not as crazy about the atmosphere but love their pizza. Their entrees are good too. I had salmon there once that was delicious but overpriced ($25!).
4) U.J.'s luncheonette. Solid diner that does almost everything well.
5) East Ocean Palace. Really enjoy this place, especially their beef and shrimp dishes.
And...that's about it. Otherwise, I've found every other restaurant to be inconsistent, mediocre and/or overpriced. There are plenty of Thai restaurants that are mediocre and twice the price of Thai places elsewhere that are much better.
Aside from restaurants, FH is also fortunate enough to have a great bakery (Bonnelle), cheese shop (Cheeses of the World), seafood shop (Forest Hills Fishery), good grocery store (the Natural) and butcher (Metro Meats on Metropolitan).
Forest Hills has ZERO bars worth patronizing IMO. Dirty Pierre's (71st and Burns) comes closest but is tiny and doesn't have a beer selection I can live with (nor any tap beer).
On the plus side, you'll always 17 minutes from Manhattan on the LIRR....
I agree that Dirty Pierre's isn't much of a bar scene (and all of their beers are bottled, nothing on tap). But they do a pretty good burger, and on I believe Tuesday nights they have all you can eat mussels and french fries. And even though it's tiny, we've never not been able to get a table when we've gone for dinner.
I agree that U.J.'s is pretty solid, but the service can sometimes be excruciatingly slow. (I do enjoy their patty melt however.)
I could go on at length about what restaurants are good or bad in the neighborhood, having tried to go to as many as humanly possible. But one place that always gets good reviews is the Greek place, Corfu. Chowhound users seem to love the place. Don't ask me why. I personally thought it was pretty bad. Maybe I went on an off-day.
I've already posted about Sushi Yasu, a sushi bar/fish market on Yellowstone, but it worth mentioning again. It's easy to miss this place off the beaten paths of Austin, Metropolitan and QB, but you shouldn't since it's some of the best sushi in Queens and a real hidden jem.
My other post: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/362341