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Philoxenia on 34th Ave.

There has been a renovation to an empty restaurant space going on 34th Ave between 32nd and 33rd streets for a while now. I rode by today and there is a sign saying PHILOXENIA COMING SOON. I hope its the same people from Philoxenia up near Ditmars, that place was great and I was sorry to see it go.

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  1. Oh that would be pretty sweet!

    1. i stopped by today. it's the same owners and they said they should be opening "in a couple of weeks."

      3 Replies
      1. re: joekarten

        Yay! Couldn't be happier about that. The one really good Greek place in Astoria returns.

        1. re: dagnabbit

          Any updates on this? Has it reopened yet?

          1. re: alex m

            Drove by on Saturday night and it was still closed. That location worries me as a string of Mexican restaurants/bars had inhabited the space and none of them lasted longer than a couple of months. The area may be ripe for change with Locale doing well over there, but once a location has had multiple restaurants tank it's hard for anything to survive there.

            I sincerely hope Philoxenia does well because it was one of the best greek meals I've had in Astoria.

      2. According to the issue of New York Magazine that just hit the streets today, it is scheduled to open on December 12. http://nymag.com/restaurants/openings...

        You can swing by or phone the restaurant to check:

        32-07 34th Ave., Astoria; 718-626-2000

        1. Ate at Philoxenia this week and it seems they are picking right up from where they left off. Standouts were the dip sampler for an appetizer (though be sure sure to ask for pita), and the meatball entree in tomato sauce with onions and peppers. The room is beautiful and really comfortable with the fireplace on a cold night. I think its worth checking out and hope to hear some other opinions. Its a nice addition to the area, and I hope they get supported.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Rufo

            Thanks for posting. I'm calling to see if they open for lunch.

            1. re: Mike V

              ate at philoxenia over the weekend. glad to report that it's just as good as it used to be. maybe even better. the food is absolutely wonderful. every dish was fantastic and some, like the grilled octopus and the grilled loup and the taramosalata, were the best versions i've ever had in astoria. the dining room is much larger, but really beautiful and cozy. the prices seem a bit more than the old place, but i guess that's part of life. the owners are gracious and very professional. the only complaint that we had is that the wait staff is not yet quite as polished as they used to be. but it's only been open a few days, so there's plenty of time for them to improve. but, in general, the wait staff was a bit scattered and there was only one bus boy for the whole room. everyone was super, super friendly, but it'd be nice if the wait staff was a bit more relaxed, which i assume will come with time. they tended to repeatedly forget a few small things (bread refills, drink refills etc.) and they tended to be a bit over-talkative, offering more conversation than we really wanted to have with the waitstaff, always assuming we needed explanations for every dish, which we really didn't need, and they were getting a bit flustered and impatient explaining the fish specials/pricing. but, hopefully, the waiters will relax with time and learn to find the right amount of chit-chat with the customers. otherwise, it's once again our favorite restaurant in astoria. we're so glad they are open again. i hope people support them. they deserve the business.

              1. re: joekarten

                i made the mistake of expecting philoxenia to be how it was at its last location and went against my friends who told me they did not enjoy it ... i went with my dad who knows his stuff, especially when it comes to food and quality.

                First impression: very nice atmosphere and I love the brick wall look!!!! They have a hostess and it is relatively large. Mostly smiling faces. I wrote about the food then the service. It is long but I like details. Drinks: my dad had beer and I wanted some wine by the glass, they only had 2 options, one red one white- I settled for the white. I was good but I like choices. The menu is two pages, plus another page explaining what philoxenia means.

                since when does putting feta on everything make it greek???
                we ordered Green salad, feta on the side, tirokafteri (which i love to death) which is the spicy feta spread, i forgot teh name but it was on the bottom of the app list- meat in red sauce (which had feta sprinkled on) kolokithokeftedes which are the zuccini meatballs, and beefteki stuffed with cheese and peppers.
                The salad was fine but the feta on teh side no taste. if you know about feta, you know its supposed to be salty. The feta spread was the most dissapointing ive ever had. no taste no spicy nothing. just tasted liek something cold on teh garlic bread they serve. we tried to fix it with some olive oil and whatnot but still nothing. the reason: CHEAP FETA! i was so upset!!! i mean if your going to put feta on everything, at least use the good kind. on to the rest.... The meat in the red sauce was good, nice flavor but again there was feta on it, which was neither necessary nor did it add anything to the dish. all this was brought out together, dont know why and the rest came out about half an hour or so later, even though i said whenever its ready bring it out.... the zuccini balls HAD FETA IN THEM!!! i have never seen or tasted this and i dont want to ever again. the feta killed the taste. i mean they were good except for something that tasted off- it was the feta! im all for adding a littel twist to traditional dishes but thats not a twist that’s murder. The beefteki- you are probably wondering why we ordered this. In Greece this past summer I had stuffed beefteki and it was amazing it was the first time I had it so I figured they probably made it a similar way. I was soo wrong. To me the meat smelled, my dad said it didn’t but I stick by it. There was absolutely no seasoning, as if they just ground it and cooked it like that; no salt no pepper no nothing. It was cut in half, three small balls of feta with 2 or 3 slices of pepper were inside and it was completely dry. I guess I’m only going to get the good stuff in Greece.

                On to the service: the busboy’s were great! Every 5 minutes or so one would pass by and help you if you needed. Our waiter on the other hand was the complete opposite. When he wasn’t MIA he was sitting by the bathrooms. We saw him maybe 4 times in our 2 hour stay. We knew a table sitting on the other side so we told him to bring a round of drinks on us. Our waiter told the other waiter which sent the busboy, who just left it on the table. Not one word that it was from us. After 45 minutes when our waiter made his appearance, we asked if he had brought it and whether they told them it was from us. The initial reaction if someone is told a round of drinks is from another table is a thank you and we knew these guys weren’t jerks to not say thank you. So the waiter says of course and goes to the back to ask the other waiter whether he told them. He comes and tells us that the other waiter did indeed tell them and if we wanted them to tell them again. If it was said once there was no need for it again. So now me and my father are watching the other waiter slowly make his way to their table to tell them the wine was from us and we cant help but laugh. Bottom line of this story: our waiter was horrible! In the end he told us that he had a cold and wasn’t all there. He didn’t ask us how everything was and not one word about why we barely touched the beefteki. Just made the busboy take it. The dessert was good.

                It seemed like the busboys and the one lady waitress were the only ones in there who knew what they were doing. Will I go back? I will just because I believe it is possible for a place to have a bad night. But I am definitely not ordering the same thing.

          2. Ate there with 4 people last weekend, bill was $100 with wine, and we stuffed ourselves with every meze we fancied. I thought it was great cheap Greek, perfect for a chowhounder not out for a transcendent experience but a fun and tasty one. Service and atmosphere very good, a nice discussion in Greek (one of us spoke a little) with the owner plus some free sweet wine at the end. Definitely recommended.

            1. I recently ate at Philoxenia and was very happy with the expeience. Great food, great atmosphere and very earnest service.

              1 Reply
              1. re: bongobella

                returned to philoxenia a bit more than a month after their re-opening and i'm psyched to say that they've worked out all the kinks. the food was great and the service was perfect. my favorite greek place in astoria, hands down.

              2. any word if they're open on mondays?

                3 Replies
                1. re: Widmark

                  nymag listing says they open at 5pm on Mondays.
                  We've been twice in the last month for dinner.
                  It's a big room, and it hasn't been drawing a big crowd, from what I've seen. Kinda seems like it hasn't quite caught on in the new location yet.
                  As others have noted, it's a nice environment, very welcoming. A really comfortable place to eat.
                  I think Chowbeth has it just right above--tasty but not transcendent. Agnanti, near the park? Agnanti, I've had some transcendent food there in the last couple years. Not always but often enough. Philoxenia's aims seem a bit more modest. It's still good, and we'll go back, but there's not a serious wow factor, at least for the first couple trips.

                  1. re: MarcInSunnysideGardens

                    Four of us went to Philoxenia last night, a Saturday evening, and I thought a brief update was in order. We had a very good meal and want to return. Was it the best Greek food we've ever had? No. But its certainly very good and, over time, will likely get better.

                    At about 7 p.m. they were not yet full and the room, as mentioned, is well done and inviting. Service was mixed. The waiters were a bit out to lunch but the busboys were indeed on the ball. Ironically, and one of my complaints, is that early on a Saturday evening they "were out of" a number of dishes. What is up with that? If its on the menu, and its early in the evening - then where did these ingredients go? Of course, one or two might be understandable but there were a number of items they just didn't have, like the famous meatballs (they had a different special plate of meatballs), some grilled cheese, a few fishes and the grape jelly type marmalade they pour on top of their yogurt dessert.

                    For starters the mezze plate was very, very good. The fried calamari was excellent. I don't know why but, a good Greek restaurant makes their calamari so soft that its unlike calamari in some other spots. We had grilled/broiled feta cheese and that was Ok. For mains the grilled fish was very good. Yet, while I ordered loup de mer, when the check came the waiter had written branzino. That might have been an error but, I think we actually got branzino. I'm not such a fisherman that I can tell the difference. What we received was a medium sized fish, relatively thin flesh. It was deboned but served whole. One fish for two was a nice size, maybe one pound total, though both of us could've eaten more of the fish. The scordalia vegetable was also good, but a bit bland. We had a platter of that night's "special meatballs" and they were excellent. Light as a feather. Their fries with cheese and oregano were also good, but the waiter messed up that part of the order too, at first. The wine list contains only Greek wines, a common theme in Astoria - yet they are still something I'm not that fond of. Desserts were great. They have a flan like dessert, with a thin parchment-like crust and cinnamon dusting. Just terrific. And, the yogurt with Greek honey and nuts was also great. Greek coffee was well done and piping hot. Total check for the four of us was $100 - though it wasn't a huge amount of food. We will return with friends and try some other dishes. The lamb looked good as did some other fish dishes and some of the beautiful salads also looked great.

                    1. re: comiendosiempre

                      Thanks for jogging my memory that I ate here last week and meant to post but forgot.

                      Anyway, I went often to the old location, but hadn't yet made it to the new one. Liked the new room, though it seemed noisy despite the fact that it was half empty the night I was there.

                      We had three appetizers that were specials: a meatball dish (very good), fried whiting (I loved it, though I'm a sucker for small fried fish, but I should say that one of my companions thought the whiting didn't taste super fresh), and a spinach pie (not very good). We also had the taramasalata which was pleasant but a tiny bit bland for our tastes. We shared a grilled fish for the main course which was perfectly grilled. The horta (greens) on the side were fine but not great.

                      So, overall, a nice meal, if not the best Philoxenia meal I've ever had. I will definitely be back, though.

                      PS Fish names are such a mess, but loup de mer and branzino should be different names (French and Italian) for the same fish, a.k.a. Mediterranean sea bass.