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Jul 18, 2007 10:52 PM

best of queens for outer-borough rookie?

sheepishly i must admit that i've never explored queen's clearly vast culinary offerings, week-old airport sandwiches aside. where should i sow my first seed? train-accessible would be nice, but not necessary. (quality over convenience, of course.) all cuisines, all levels of spice, and almost all questionable animal parts are welcome.

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  1. It's such a broad question so I'm not surprised that you haven't gotten many responses. Queens is the most diverse place on Earth, so maybe you should start by focusing on a few neighborhoods. My suggestion would be to check out Flushing first, then Astoria.

    In Flushing, the level of Chinese cuisine is far above anything available in other parts of NYC. Try out Little Pepper or Spicy and Tasty for Sichuan, Waterfront International for Northern Chinese, A Fan Ti for more exotic organ meats, specifically from lamb and goat. Also the various malls in Flushing can be a source for many meals, explore and report back. I guess the most well known one here, J&L has closed but there are many others.

    In Astoria you can find excellent Italian, Brazilian, Greek, Egyptian, Moroccan, Bosnian and many others. Malagueta and Sabor Tropical are my favorite Brazilian, Kebab Cafe for Egyptian, Trattoria L'Incontro and Piccola Venezia for Italian, Agnanti and BZ Grill for Greek.

    Do a search for any of these places and go check them out and enjoy.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Astoria Lurker

      yes, directionless queries yield few results. thanks for these recommendations. i've heard about the two italian, but spicy and tasty might be my first foray.

    2. My similar request in January wasn't limited to Queens, but I recall there being lots of good suggestions in it:

      1. Take the 7 train, and get off almost anywhere.

        Somewhere there is a classic old post about food along the 7 line stop-by-stop, but I can't seem to find it now. But from the Turkish places in Sunnyside, to the Chinese places in Flushing, and everything in between (Thai, Burmese, Indian, Korean, Mexican, Peruvian, Colombian, various other Hispanic, Philipino, Vietnamese, even Irish, the area under and around 7 train is one of the greatest ethnic food corridors in the world.

        1. So, for the best upscale Italian, hit up Corona for the Parkside. For heros, in Corona, there's this amazing Italian deli called Leo's Latticini aka Mama's. For great diner food, try various Jackson Hole locations or New York Style Eats in Sunnyside, which is amazing. The best Thai food is Erawan on Bell Blvd. in Bayside. Nick's in Forest Hills has great pizza.

          6 Replies
          1. re: skooldya1

            For even better Thai food, and a much easier trip from Manhattan, try Sripraphai on 39th Ave., just north of Roosevelt (the street under the 7 train) in Woodside. Another fine Thai place, in a slightly different style, is Zabb on Roosevelt just past the Brooklyn Queens Expressway (BQE).

            1. re: skooldya1

              I don't think Parkside in Corona comes close to being the best upscale Italian in Queens. It's a decent red sauce joint, that's all.

              1. re: Astoria Lurker

                I happen to really like Parkside, but am curious as to what you think actually are good upscale Italian restaurants in Queens, if Parkside isn't. I agree with skooldya1 about Leo's. The mozzarella is fresh, made in the back. The turkey and pork are fresh -roasted on the premises. And Mam herself sits there in the corner, surveying everyone and everything. Also, try the fresh pasta store nest door, run by the same family. The food at these places is good enough for this Yankee fan to deal with all of the Mets memorabelia around there. FYI, they sell their heroes at Shea, surely better than any other ballpark food.

              2. re: skooldya1

                i respectfully disagree with the post above from skool - there's a lot of superlatives in there that i wholeheartedly disagree with. the only part of this suggestion above that i agree with is nick's pizza.

                i don't think jackson hole or new york style eats are particularly worthwhile trips. sure, i'll go b/c i'm in the area and i want some nondescript diner eggs meal. but, that's about it. you can get that anywhere. if you want some more interesting brunch options, i'd suggest brick cafe, cafe bar, bistro 33, tournesol, cafe henri.

                best thai is certainly NOT erawan. good neighborhood thai? certainly, as that strip of bell blvd doesn't have much chow-ish options. but, far from the best. sripriphai, by far, takes that title before erawan.

                and another person posted about meekong below in the shopping center - i prefer pho's on prince street near sheraton more than mekong. it's a bit grittier than mekong, but pho's is great. the best (though not authentic) viet in queens.

                1. re: skooldya1

                  Also, I can't imagine why anyone who was looking to explore interesting food in Queens would bother with the Jackson Hole diner chain, which if I'm not mistaken originated in Manhattan in any case. They do serve up a nice breakfast, but it's not worth making a special trip for. On the other had, coming to Woodside to have a Phillipino breakfast at Krystal's -- now you're talking! (It's just under the 69th St. stop on the 7.)

                  Also, agree with another poster - while I am fond of Erewan (enjoyed a pleasant meal there just last Saturday night), it's not in the same league as the other Thai restaurants mentioned here.

                  1. re: Helen F

                    Jackson Hole is gross!! I ate at the Bayside branch once and my burger was nearly inedible - the meat was gray, fell apart and tasted like it was boiled. I am not the most critical person either... perhaps a bad day. If you're after a great burger in Queens then Donovans is a solid choice.

                    If I were to suggest a few restaurants for a novice to Queens, I would certainly mention Spicy & Tasty, Sripraphai, Little Pepper and Spicy Mina (Bangladeshi). I'd also recommend dim sum at either Gum Fung (closed till Sep for renovations) or Gala Manor. I think these places are unique and delicious.

                2. anyone know where to find the classic post about food along the 7 line

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: Sambossanova

                    try gourmet magazine, they had an article that was good on the subject right during/after the John Rocker #7 train controversy.......

                      1. re: Sambossanova

                        I just saw this - no idea if its good or not, at least its relevant.....


                        7 Train Eating Tour: Take the Ethnic Eats Express through Queens Course ID: 7TRAIN Duration: 5 hour(s) Tuition: $75
                        The No. 7 subway (aka The International Express) winds its elevated way through the ethnic richness of Queens. Most of the world’s cuisines are represented along the way in dense cultural microcosms. Join gustatory Sherpa (and Saveur Food Editor) Todd Coleman on a “Runaway Train” tour where you’ll shop for Thai and Filipino groceries, sip powerful Panaderia Colombian hot chocolate, munch on Mumbai-style street food, burn your lips on Turkish kebabs, and discover a hidden bi-level Chinese food court, among other stops on his secret succulent subway map. The class meets at 10 AM under the clock in the center of Grand Central Termin