Astoria Favorites -- All Cuisines
I offer my long time faves below. I'd love to hear from others where the best chow is.
-- Elias Corner. Greek seafood, no menus, great atmosphere. Swordfish shish kabob, all items grilled and olive oiled. Get the chopped green salad with dill and feta, the cold marinated octopus, and the fried potatoes/zucchini/eggplant and you won't be sorry. Almost everything is a standout, so bring friends and also order the jumbo shrimp, fried whitebait, calamari, and the porgy. Only drawback: a very limited choice of wines.
-- Zenon Taverna. Also great Greek food, more classy setting, and with a Cypriot twist. We had my husband's 50th birthday party here with a large crowd, and had a wonderful time. We had arranged a reasonably priced spread to be put out, and the food just kept coming. The gracious host was concerned we hadn't eaten to capacity and send out extra treats on the house. My favorite lunch plate is the char-grilled zucchini and eggplant with skordalia.
-- Cevabdzinica Sarajevo. My first Bosnian restaurant and why would I go anywhere else? Everything we've ordered in our many visits has been delicious, even the "hamburger" and liver. Order a scoop of the fantastic cjaymak spread; it's is a cross between butter, cream, and sour cream. Most outstanding: the borek and the mixed grill.
-- Balkh. Best Afghan food in the city. You can eat in the outside garden, inside has rug covered walls. I love the salmon kebab. Under the el on 31st St., between Elias Corner and Ditmars.
-- Sabor Tropical (on Grand Ave). Neighborhood Brazilian. Grilled steak of course, with all the traditional topics and sides. Plus at least one caiparina. A fun family place.
Agnanti up on Ditmars near the Park does great Greek food, as does S'Agapo on 34th Avenue at 35th Street.
Michael's on Broadway is the best dinner, hands down.
Brick Cafe up on 31st Avenue at 33rd Street is higher end, but very nice.
El Sitio II, down on 36th Avenue at 31st Street is a hole-in-the-wall, but well worth the visit. Incredible Cuban food.
Tierras Columbianos- Columbian food- get their Grilled chicken dinner (comes with rice, beans, and plantains.) I'm craving it right now. It's really, really great. Never had anything else on the menu. Probably never will.
I'd second Elias Corner. I'm also partial to Taverna Cyclades on Dimars and 32nd. A relative newcomer thai called Wave Thai on 31st is pretty decent.
I'll agree with you on Sabor Tropical, but I think Malagueta (36th ave) is slightly better overall.
For Greek, my favorite has been Agnanti, but S'Agapo is great as well, if a bit overpriced.
I also enjoy Brick Cafe, a nice simple place for a date or romantic night out. The food is good, but nothing to blow you away.
Trattoria L'Incontro is my favorite place in the neighborhood, excellent and inspired Italian food, but it can be loud and it's often a pain getting seated, even if you have a reservation. It's not a traditional red-sauce place however, so that may deter some people.
Okay, I have to ask. What exactly is so great about Elias Corner for the past 5-7 years? I used to love it in the old days (across the street and when they first moved) but my semi-annual visits have yielded no fresher fish or better selection of fish than Kyclades (for example) with no sides worth even eating (not even the often unavailable chips), no good apps. at all, no bargain prices (actually they cost more than comparable places), no real charm... well, you get the idea.