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S'Agapo: Best Authentic Greek Cuisine in Astoria

e
EarnestEpicureNY Jan 16, 2007 12:25 PM

I have read various postings about S'Agapo in Astoria ranging fom the maginificent to the awful. As someone who has done extensive world travelling and has spend considerable time researching the history of food I have only one thing to say about S'Agapo: It is the closest thing to authentic Greek cuisine you will get not only in Astoria, but on this side of the Atlantic!

Of course dining out also involves good service and atmosphere (both of which I have been more than satisfied with every time I have visited S'Agapo),but most importantly it's about the FOOD!
If TOURISTY 'souvlaki' or fatty foods dowsed in oil are what you want, then S'Agapo is NOT for you. Your better off at one of the fast-food greek eateries on Broadway or Ditmars.
BUT if you are SERIOUSLY looking for AUTHENTICITY & an extremely LARGE SELECTION of healthy VEGETARIAN dishes prepared like any 95-year-old grandma still prepares it in the healthy hills of Crete, then you MUST VISIT S'Agapo.
Ordering a selection of "appetizers" or "meze" and sharing them with friends in place of 1 main course is how Greeks actually eat. This place has so many to try that you would be hard pressed to get in a main course afterwards.
Many have mentioned the dips (they are excellent!) But also try the cretan cheese dumplings (kaltsounia), the grilled quail, the plate of tiny fried fish (atherina), and the yellow-split pea salad (fava)! THEY ARE TRULY FANATSTIC and indeed my favorites.
And did I mention that the meats and chicken here are organic? (that explains the prices)...

  1. k
    Kamari May 25, 2008 08:56 AM

    Agnanti!!! For great Greek food, nice atmosphere, great wait staff...and reasonable prices....with a nice "parking" spot overlooking the city/water for a date. This place is a winner! I routinely drive from New Haven CT to Astoria, just to get to this place...its that good! Their grilled whole red snapper done Greek style is fab.!

    1. l
      ladymurasaki Jan 16, 2007 08:01 PM

      I really love S'Apagop.

      Favorite dishes are the Pikilia Orektikon, a selection of dips, and the Arhontiki salad.

      1. Astoria Lurker Jan 16, 2007 05:19 PM

        I like Agnanti better than S'Agapo, especially due to the prices at S'Agapo. I didn't notice anything about all organic meat anywhere on the menu...

        4 Replies
        1. re: Astoria Lurker
          k
          kickingchicken Jan 16, 2007 09:33 PM

          I went to Agnanti with my family a few weeks ago. Overall, we were not impressed. I had called ahead for reservations for 5 people, and we were seated all the way in the back right by the bathroom, where there's a little seat nook and a little table. It was cute and quaint -- until the food started coming. We had nowhere to put the onslaught of plates. I ended up eating with my plate resting on a glass. It was stressful for us to always have to figure out a way to stack the plates, or hurry to finish a dish to get it off our table.

          The grilled octopus was chewy with little more than a burnt taste. It took a long time for our waitress to tell us that they were out of tomatokeftedes. The rooster pasta was okay, as were the grilled salmon, married sardeles, and veggie platter. The stuffed kalamari, mussels in white wine, and dips and yogurts were pretty good. Nothing really stood out as being amazing. In terms of environment, it was lively, which is good, but it was apparent that there weren't enough waitstaff. We felt bad for them having to run around so much, clearly overtaxed on a Sunday night.

          My family is used to restaurants that are lively, crowded, with relatively unattentive/overly busy waitstaff, but we felt that Agnanti was too claustrophobic and stressful, especially since the meal isn't cheap. I wouldn't mind going back to try it again under better circumstances, but I'm not going to go out of my way to seek it out again, either.

          1. re: kickingchicken
            y
            yt28 Jul 1, 2008 11:03 AM

            I was at Agnanti last night and was also unimpressed. Firstly our white wine came really warm. The server had to get us a bucket of cold water to put the wine in. We shared the grilled octopus, the roasted eggplant and garlic spread, shrimp with feta and tomatoes, and a grilled red snapper. Appetizers were uninspired and the roasted eggplant spread virtually tasteless. The octopus was rubbery. Fish was fresh but again, nothing amazing. It was disappointing, especially for the prices.

            1. re: yt28
              Astoria Lurker Jul 1, 2008 11:29 AM

              After visiting Philoxenia, I can definitively say that it is far better than either S'Agapo or Agnanti. I suggest all those seeking authentic Greek cuisine check it out.

              1. re: Astoria Lurker
                m
                MarcInSunnysideGardens Jul 1, 2008 02:01 PM

                I've been to Philoxenia 3 times since they opened at the new location.
                I've been to S'Agapo 4 times in the last year.
                And I've been to Agnanti perhaps 10 times in the last few years, but not in the last 6 months, until 10 days ago.

                Agnanti is definitely my favorite of the three.

                Agnanti's is the most interesting menu, whereas I find most of the S'Agapo or Philoxenia menu available elsewhere in Astoria. Philoxenia's food is...tame. It's fine. The thing I love about the best Astoria Greek food is it's a serious flavor explosion. It's over the top. Philoxenia is never over the top. It is restrained. Even those meatballs they are famous for... they are restrained.

                The skordalia at Agnanti (it's not offered on the menu, but ask for it) is the best dip at any of these restaurants. I lived in Astoria for 10 years and the most addictive dip I've had at any Astoria Greek? Agnanti's skordalia.

                Ya know, I think the service can be dicey at Agnanti. For sure. Especially when they're busy. And it's possible that the food declines a bit when they are swamped. But Agnanti at 5:30 on a Friday night? Man, it was almost empty, the food was fabulous; it was close to perfection.

                In similar circumstances, I don't think Philoxenia or S'Agapo match it. Good places, but just not as good as Agnanti at its best.

        2. c
          CornflakeGirl Jan 16, 2007 04:03 PM

          Are the cheese dumplings the ones that are fried and drizzled with honey?

          I caught an episode of NY Eats or Cool in Your Code that featured S'Agapo. I thought that was one of the dishes they showed the chef making. They looked delicious.

          I've been meaning to check it out as well as Agnanti.

          1. m
            MarcInSunnysideGardens Jan 16, 2007 03:37 PM

            I've been to S'Agapo (though not in 2 years) and I've been to Agnanti, and I prefer the latter. Earnie, have you been to Agnanti? Just looking for some context to your "The Best" claim...

            1 Reply
            1. re: MarcInSunnysideGardens
              e
              EarnestEpicureNY Jan 18, 2007 10:04 AM

              I have been to Agnanti (refering to MarcInSunnyside). While I found the atmosphere a bit more "Greeky" than S'Agapo I still prefer the food at S'Agapo. Don't get me wrong, by saying that I see one restaurant as "the best" doesn't mean that there aren't other good ones. S'agapo gets a hats off for me because its been doing its thing really well for the past 10 years that I've been going there. And it introduced Greek foods to New Yorkers that I had ONLY tried at locals' houses in Greece prior to that. S'Agapo basically raised the bar for greek food in Astoria when it first opened and many others have thankfully followed suit. As such, they get TOP marks from me.

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