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Chef friends in town - Need Great, but inexpensive rec's!

lisaclunie May 22, 2007 11:33 AM

Hi hounders. I'm looking for some outer borough recs for authentic, outstanding and moderately priced restaurants to take a few foodie friends while they're visiting.
I'm thinking Sripraphai for Thai and Totonnos for pizza.

Can you recommend an amazing Italian dinner maybe around Arthur avenue? What about Greek?

Thanks so much!

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  1. j
    jennsch RE: lisaclunie May 22, 2007 01:49 PM

    How about Burmese Cafe in Jackson Heights? I had a group of out-of-town food-devoted friends in recently and they all went ga-ga over it. The place never fails to delight. Oh--while most people recommend that you get the tea leaf salad there, I also really recommend the ginger salad--so freakin' good.

    1 Reply
    1. re: jennsch
      lisaclunie RE: jennsch May 23, 2007 04:35 AM

      Thanks! That sounds delicious...

    2. bobjbkln RE: lisaclunie May 22, 2007 08:24 PM

      Roberto's is clearly the best place in the Arthur Ave. neighborhood. Great food, but it is more moderate than inexpensive. Figure about $75 pp with tax and tip for a full dinner with a low end wine.

      2 Replies
      1. re: bobjbkln
        lisaclunie RE: bobjbkln May 23, 2007 04:35 AM

        That's fine, actually, as long as we can go a bit cheaper on other days. Do you need a rez for Robertos?

        1. re: lisaclunie
          bobjbkln RE: lisaclunie May 23, 2007 08:35 AM

          Unfortunately, Roberto's does not take reservations, so there can be quite a wait if you go in the busy times. Best to get there within the first hour after they open at 4PM on Saturday (I think they are closed on Sunday) or to go for lunch or 5:00-6:30 on Monday-Thursday.

      2. JH Jill RE: lisaclunie May 23, 2007 09:34 AM

        You might want to try Kabab Cafe though it's Egyptian, not Greek. I recommend it not only because the food will be good but because Ali is such an erudite and garrulous chef and he's thrilled to talk to chefs and foodies. It's like being in his kitchen and being fed while you visit. The price is moderate, more than we usually spend for a dinner, but that's eating and often sharing a number of dishes. I usually spend about $35 per person without wine. He has some Algerian wine that's good, but I don't know the price. It's a tiny place, like a glorified broom closet, but if you go on a weekday, it's a great experience. It's on Steinway in Astoria, almost to Astoria Blvd and the Grand Central Expressway, behind a bus stop. It's easy to miss. At the end of the meal, you can eat his desserts or go down the block to Laziza, a much-loved Egyptian pastry shop.

        Of course, Spicy Mina's, which is a bit less expensive, on Broadway in Woodside near Jackson Heights, is another chef-propelled restaurant with food that differs from day to day. Mina isn't so talkative, though she's a nice presence. It's Bengali/Bangladeshi food. There's no atmosphere, but it's not uncomfortable.

        Keep in mind that neither of these places is 100% foolproof since the chefs make what they feel like making. However, I think they would be inspired by other chefs and turn out something really tasty.

        2 Replies
        1. re: JH Jill
          hatless RE: JH Jill May 23, 2007 09:37 AM

          N.B.: The Kabab Cafe may still be closed if Ali isn't back from his vacation.

          1. re: hatless
            destroyer RE: hatless May 24, 2007 07:26 PM

            Walked by today. Still closed.

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