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Upscale restaurants of Queens

So I was thinking... we must have a few upscale restaurants in Queens worthy of their Manhattan counterparts. I am not an expert in the pricey and upscale dining, but only because our wallet doesn't allow us to indulge. However, I would like to know a few as a backup for those special occasions when you feel like money is of no concern (ok, which is never..) Well, I thought of three, which happen to have quality food and elegant ambiance. Please add some of your nominations.

1. Water's Edge (LIC)
2. Peter Lugars Steakhouse (Great Neck)
3. Piccola Venezia (Astoria)

It's pretty sad how many upscale restaurants I know. :( Help!

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  1. Caffe on the Green (Bay Terrace)

    2 Replies
    1. re: ajs42548

      I thought about that one, but isn't it more of a Catering Hall? The space is great, but considering its size I wasn't sure if it's adequate for a satisfactory gourmet experience. Am I being assumptive?

      1. re: Inthemood

        While there are many affairs there, it's mostly a restaurant. You need a reservation on weekends if not during the week.

    2. I think you're looking for something like Eleven Madison Park or Gramercy Tavern to which a counterpart in Queens is tough if not impossible to find. So the problem isn't necessarily not knowing the upscale restaurants, there are just so few. For whatever reason (and I could think of many) we just don't have those types of restaurants in Queens.

      But along these lines I would suggest DB Wine Bar for thoughtful and well-prepared new/modern American with some Italian, French and Spanish accents. The atmosphere is much like what you would find in Manhattan or Brooklyn and they take their food seriously. It's a standout in the neighborhood. The prices aren't break the bank either (dinner for 2, including a few drinks is about $125 all in).

      3 Replies
      1. re: pellegrino31

        I know that everyone is wild about DB and it's pretty much in my neighborhood, but I am going to be the only one to complain (just a little). The tables are way to close to one another and the noise level is a little annoying on the weekend. If the space was slightly bigger, perhaps I would visit the place more often. I don't know what has become of me, but I don't care for elbowing others and some people have peculiar habits of listening in on other people's conversations. And don't let me get started on Dee's, something about the construction makes the place just painfully loud. At times it feels like a gigantic cafeteria, that's why we hardly ever go there, although perhaps it'll change when we decide to start a family.

        How about My Kitchen, still haven't been there. But it does have an outdoor garden. Wait, we were discussing upscale restaurants in Queens...

        So I guess except for Water's Edge there are none. By the way, I am really not all that keen on PV decor, it's a little tacky. Park Side looks a little better but their menu is a little boring. Would Park Side qualify as a semi-upscale restaurant? I guess I want Carroll Gardens/Manhattan restaurants.

        1. re: Inthemood

          Interesting comments on DB. I never felt like I was cramped or worried about being too close to other people's tables, but then again many restaurants in NYC are like that (except at the higher echelons where they can afford to have a bigger space but less tables) so I guess I just accept it. I've been to a bunch of Carroll Gardens restaurants and can't think of one that has a lot of space and no cramped seating. Even some of their higher end restaurants like the Grocery is tiny.

          I also don't really notice the sound at DB - I think it's a fun level of noise without being too hectic. Most other FH restaurants have a really boring atmosphere. At least at DB the crowd is modern and interested in good food.

          1. re: pellegrino31

            Actually only recently we dined at Taverna Kyclades which we love for its' fantastic seafood and lemony potatoes, however the space!!! We sat right next to a couple of guys who were more interested in listening to our conversation rather than making one with each other. And yes, we touched elbows. As far as our conversation went, well...I had to kind of yell things out to be heard. I guess I don't mind so much, but my parents...never in a million years. Uvarara has a perfect atmosphere for me, interesting decor and interesting food.

            I do agree with you about FH and the boring atmosphere. The crowd is interesting at DB and the decor is pretty good, Mood has good food and good atmosphere as well. I suppose I am a quite kinda gal.

      2. Great Neck is in Nassau County, so we can strike Peter Lugar's off the list. For fine dining, it's slim pickins' in Queens.

        21 Replies
        1. re: Angela Roberta

          We can just cheat a little and pretend that LI is an extension of Queens, otherwise this is going to be a depressing and self destructive thread. :)

          1. re: Inthemood

            i would put tournesol in LIC on that list. it's not upscale, like EMP, but it's still much "fancier" food than what is often found in queens.
            and oysters next door at domaine qualify as upscale to me. i never leave that place with a tab under $100, but it's always worth it. i don't know anywhere else in this part of queens to get oysters on the 1/2.....

              1. re: Yaxpac

                I've never been. I did read a few reviews which discuss the higher than comfortable noise level and a very crowded space.

                1. re: Yaxpac

                  Way overrated. The menu is as long as the QB Bridge...you can't make everything good.

                  1. re: Yaxpac

                    I was just there recently and I would not recommend it. Overpriced (1 person with no dessert and 1 Glass of house wine) with lunch costing me $63 total! Food is mediocre at best and simply not worth going there.

                    1. re: bohdand

                      bohdand, I am curious as to how your lunch bill came to $63. I had dinner there this past Sunday night; four adults, glasses of wine, appetizers, salads, entrees... Came to $160 plus tip. Service and food were outstanding all around and I would definitely recommend the place for a special occasion. Yes, it was a bit noisy, but I liked how lively the place was on a Sunday after 9:00pm.

                      Trattoria L'Incontro
                      21-76 31st St, Queens, NY 11105

                  2. re: tracyk

                    Tournesol is pretty good, wouldn't say that it's that upscale but it is certainly tasty. I'll take Gascogne (manhat) and Jolie (Carroll G) any day over Tournesol. Although considering lack of French restaurants in Queens, Tournesol is a great choice.

                  3. re: Inthemood

                    I find it hard to believe people are moaning about the lack of "upscale" dining in Queens. If you want the "upscale" that is a dime a dozen in Manhattan then eat in Manhattan. Queens is not Manhattan and that is why I love it. I eat out in Manhattan maybe once or twice a year and I eat out in Queens about once a week, yet I never feel my dining experience is less refined and nuanced than Manhattan.

                    To name a few, places like Malagueta, Tournesol, Trattoria L'Incontro, Arcos, La Vuelta, Manducatis, Sripraphai, and De Mole certainly do not leave me wishing "if only I had the extra $$$ to spend on a really great restaurant..." Maybe they don't all have white linens (though many do), or excellent service (though many do) but they have one intangible that Manhattan and even some Brooklyn restaurants lack: soul.

                    Of course, we don't have any place like Per Se or Del Posto but I don't really see that as a problem. If I win the lottery and want a place like that, I'll sit on the subway for 20 minutes to go there.

                    1. re: Astoria Lurker

                      It does seem a rather strange complaint given the treasure trove of culinary riches that Queens offers, and that no place, not even Manhattan, can really match. But the economics, demographics, and history of Queens does mean fewer big fancy dining experiences, almost no food on wherever the gourmet culinary front lines are these days, and many more places where good to great to incredible soulful food can be had at reasonable, and sometimes unbelievable, prices.

                      In fact, upon reflection about this question, beyond the places already named the finest dining in Queens in terms of the OP's intent may just be some of the Chinese palaces in Flushing or some of the more upscale Korean places out Northern Blvd. Truly fine dining.

                      Otherwise, I agree with the Lurker. That's what the subway is for.

                      1. re: Woodside Al

                        Al and Lurker,
                        I think you guys are being kind of defensive here. The original post from IntheMood barely even qualifies as criticism of the borough, and subsequent posts aren't much worse.

                        Moreover, the complaint is apt. Heck yes, there is fantastic eating to be had in the borough, and, heck yes, it's fair to acknowledge that it also lacks spectacular "high end" restaurants. It's... the truth! Especially if recent reviews of The Water's Edge are true--way downhill from its peak, even if the view is nice.

                        That said, I think there is something about your pushback which I do sympathize with. Inthemood seems to be wishing for Queens to be something that it isn't, and there is the strong sense that you can't have it all, and we wish Inthemood would just accept this. Piccola V is an awesome special occasion restaurant, IMO--actually underrated by some 'Hounds. But of course, many of the so-called "upscale" restaurants in the borough are lacking when compared to their Manhattan counterparts (IMO, it's absurd to implicitly compare a wonderful but entirely casual bistro like Tournesol to the best French restaurants in Manhattan). So, yeah, you just head to Manhattan. And you realize that with all of the value (culinary and otherwise) one gets from living in Queens, there is an upside: you can actually afford an expensive dinner out in Manhattan on occasion!

                        1. re: MarcInSunnysideGardens

                          Geez you folks make it seem like living in Queens = poverty

                          1. re: MarcInSunnysideGardens

                            I got defensive due to the "this is going to be a depressing and self destructive thread" comment. I don't find the dining scene in Queens to be anywhere near depressing and I don't think I am in the minority.

                            1. re: Astoria Lurker

                              It's the old argument of decor and service over food. For me, no contest. Food wins over all. Every time no matter what.

                              1. re: NYJewboy

                                Lurker, I agree "depressing" is a comment I disagree with as well. Perhaps IntheMood would like to take it back?

                                Maybe I'm otherwise reading too little into Inthemood's comments, but in my case it's not the argument of decor and service over food. In a wide variety of categories, Queens has more delicious restaurants than Manhattan. But there's absolutely nothing wrong with acknowledging that, of course, we don't have food like Per Se's or Babbo's or Daniel's or wherever, and if one is seeking high-end wallop, you're going to do better in Manhattan (or Brooklyn, for that matter) than Manhattan. Manhattan is OF COURSE going to be much better at high end temples like this--and while you pay for the decor and service at these places, the food is absolutely spectacular. And that's a wonderful thing about Manhattan. I see no reason to deny that. We just have many great things about Queens, too.

                                1. re: MarcInSunnysideGardens

                                  I just took Inthemood's post for what it was -- he's just looking for some upscale restaurants in Queens. I don't think he was bashing Queens restaurants at all. And I think this "depressing" comment had more to do with more of an affordability issue than the fact that it was sad that there are so few upscale restaurants in Queens.

                                  I grew up in Queens but have lived in Manhattan for a while. Queens does have some terrific restaurants. But you're right that you're not going to find something like Per Se or Daniel in Queens. Luckily, NYC has a great subway system and one need not be deprived of something like A Fan Ti or Per Se. You can have both. But I can also understand how you sometimes want something right in your hood.

                            2. re: MarcInSunnysideGardens


                              Thanks for defending me from the defenses of others, however I can't help but chuckle at last part of your post which expresses a certain level of disdain for my inquiry. Talk about constructive criticism.

                            3. re: Woodside Al

                              No one is questioning the "culinary riches that Queens offers," at least I'm not. It seems I've struck a cord with many who perhaps at one time also questioned the availability of fine dining in Queens.

                              1. re: Astoria Lurker

                                Well dear Lurker, I appreciate the passion with which you defend Queens, although frankly the "defense" is not really needed in this thread since I wasn't attacking the borough in any way. If my writing, in any way, hinted at an attack I apologize.

                                I am fully aware of the fact that Manhattan is the mecca of "posh" and "upscale." However, my question addressed Queens specifically. One of the advantages of having an upscale restaurant in Queens is the traffic, parking, space and slightly lower prices (due to slightly lower rent). I don't see why it would be so terrible/offensive to wish for a few upscale restaurants with a view of a some park or perhaps the waterfront.

                                20 minutes on the subway is possible for some who live in Astoria but not for others who live in Kew Gardens. Lucky you.

                            4. Does any one think Sapori d'Ischia would fit into this (maybe not too elegant though), but I think the food is amazing (and expensive for the neighborhood ... just like Manhattan!).

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: mepm231

                                I'm totally a fan, it's a really good place, but not in league with Manhattan's best upscale Italians. Which is fine!

                              2. Ok, instead of addressing each and every poster I am just going to state everything in the following post.

                                First of all, I am glad that everyone had such a passionate reaction, because it demonstrates true love for food and not just a desire to be part of the "in crowd" which goes after "the scene." However, some of you ended up getting a little uptight about the post and lost their sense of humor (perhaps some of you were really hungry).

                                The post was light hearted, and pretty straight forward. The "depressing" comment was a joke which should have been interpreted as such, considering the little smiling face which followed the comment. Perhaps it wasn't a "ha-ha" joke but it wasn't a serious jab at those who are such loyal residents and lovers of Queens.

                                The real intention of my post was to get some good ideas for picking an elegant restaurant for my in-laws, who are not New Yorkers. They are an older couple, set in their ways and pretty particular about their food and atmosphere. The don't like the fancy Asian restaurants, the food is too exotic for them. They don't care to for the adventurous pursuits of complex and novel flavors of different cultures. They are from Mid-West, they like their steak, their American and Italian food. They don't like crowed settings and don't care so much for the "hip" New York vibe, but they do like more upscale and quiet settings. Before you start getting into your mode of "then get your ass to Manhattan," they don't want to travel that far from Queens. Sounds like a very complicated situation, leaving me with just a few choices..

                                The above is pretty unnecessary to state, instead I asked a simple questions. I hope that some of you can stop pouting and needlessly defending Queens. I just wanted some ideas, because I was frankly in need of more than just a couple of choices.

                                And thanks to Miss Needle for being the most understanding one, and not needling me as others did. :)

                                19 Replies
                                1. re: Inthemood

                                  Seriously, though, upscale (in the best sense of the word) and quiet? In our borough? It ain't happening.

                                  1. re: Inthemood

                                    You're welcome. I think some of the defensiveness may come from the fact that a lot of Queens folks (myself included) have been the butt of jokes for years. : )

                                    Queens really is a wonderful place to live.

                                    1. re: Miss Needle

                                      Oh I understand...Most people who visit NY hardly ever think about seeing Queens. Brooklyn...yes...because it's so bohemian and romantic and featured in many movies, yeah yeah. I love Queens because it's not "trendy," it's "exclusive." :)

                                      I love old Forest Hills with the beautiful lawns and trees and elegant houses/mansions. I love Kew Gardens, because it still maintains its old charm of Dutch architecture and I love Astoria for its hustle and bustle. In fact every neighborhood has a unique character, unlike Brooklyn which has only a few interesting neighborhood and the rest is quite grimy and often dangerous.

                                      1. re: Inthemood

                                        I love those neighborhoods as well for the same reasons. When I suggested to DH that we move to Astoria instead of living in Manhattan because we can get a LOT more space, he looked like he was about to have a heart attack. Those two neighborhoods are kind of equidistant to Manhattan and a lot of the Queens eating.

                                        1. re: Miss Needle

                                          Yes, I guess to each his/her own and according to age or phase. In my early twenties I wanted to be in the city, in the middle of it all. Life seemed so exciting there.

                                          Now I love visiting the city, because it's almost like a getaway vacation. We only have to travel about 40 minutes and we are in a completely different world, the kind that is considered to be an international sensation. After an exciting day/night ends we head back to our quiet, tree lined block where we can sigh and say "We are home!" where the rooms are spacious, where we can hear the crickets in the summer and the prices of food are reasonable. It's good to have access to both worlds.

                                    2. re: Inthemood

                                      Based on this new info, I'm thinking Sapori D'ischia might just fit your bill. I shared a steak there a couple of weeks ago and it was just amazing. I think the fettucini in the cheese wheel would be entertaining. Consider taking them on Thursday opera night if you think they would like it. Trattoria L'Incontro would also be a good choice. And although a lot more casual, I think Uvarara in Middle Village has a lot to offer.

                                      And if they are from out of town, dare I suggest you take them to Brooklyn, and let them think it's still Queens? No shortage of elegant fare there and it is not very far.

                                      1. re: Val55

                                        "And if they are from out of town, dare I suggest you take them to Brooklyn, and let them think it's still Queens? No shortage of elegant fare there and it is not very far."

                                        You make a good point. As long as you're not crossing the Pulaski Bridge, who's to know where Queens ends and Brooklyn begins?

                                        1. re: Val55

                                          It's such a beautiful plan Val, but they are not huge opera buffs (unfortunately for me, any excuse to see one!) I am not sure about Trattoria L'Incontro, from what I hear it's very noisy and busy on weekends.

                                          Hmm....good idea, however I don't really think it would work. Both my husband and sister-in-law have lived in Brooklyn Heights and Carroll Gardens. Despite my love (more of family attachment kind of love) for Queens (I grew up in KG basically), my true love is Carroll Gardens (my husband feels the other way around). I wanted to live there, but the rents are frightening, so we ended up in Queens, or should I say that he ended up Queens.

                                          So you see, we are competing with the culinary mecca of "hip" Brooklyn. I don't want to take them to Brooklyn Heights, because I want to show them that Queens is cool too! So here I am, jumping on the wagon with everyone else and acknowledging my tiny insecurity about Queens. Does everyone understand now, that in my own way I am actually trying to defend Queens as well? :)

                                          This is turning into a quite dramatic thread isn't it?

                                          1. re: Inthemood

                                            I've lived in Queens my whole life, as has my husband, and I was actually a fourth generation Astorian before he moved me to the quiet suburbs of Bayside. ;) When we have guests from out of town, they love the neighborhood feel of the bars or restaurants we take them to. They always say they can find high priced, white linen service anywhere, but you can't get that local, neighborhood feeling just anyplace.

                                            1. re: irishnyc

                                              But have they seen Brooklyn Heights or Carroll Gardens? That's what I have to compete with. :( If my in-laws hadn't seen that area, they would have fallen in love with Queens. And although they say it's nice, I know they find that area of Brooklyn more charming. How can you compete with the numerous restaurants of Carroll Gardens?

                                              The funny thing is that I was trying to plan a day of activities in Queens, to show them the cool side of our domain. However there isn't that much to do in Queens, unfortunately. And the Museum of Moving Image is closed. I worry too much, that's my problem.

                                              1. re: Inthemood

                                                There are tons of things to do and see in Queens - Queens Museum of Art is wonderful with no crowds and great installations by contemporary artists, not counting the gigantic model of NYC. Then there are Noguchi museum/garden, Sculpture Museum in LIC, Socrates park, PS1 (a must), Louis Armstrong museum, Quaker house, Fort Totten just to name few. Talia Spanish Theater. Jamaica wildlife refuge - awesome birding. Forest Park and Alley Pond park have great hiking. Rockaway beach for miles and miles of white sand and Atlantic Ocean. There are other beaches in NYC, but only in Queens, you have one directly on the ocean (maybe SI has one don't know, but accessible directly by subway/mta bus is only Rockaway). If you have a car, drive to the southernmost point for the dunes teeming with wildlife and majestic waves.

                                            2. re: Inthemood

                                              Because of my fondness for sapori, I'm going to repeat my recommendation. Just go on any night besides thursday. They usually have music, but opera is only on thursday. Let me also throw at riverview in lic. It's not fabulous, but I had some nice meals there.

                                              1. re: Val55

                                                Oooh they have opera on Thursday?!! I thought you meant to go to the city! Now I must go! Is it any good?

                                                Can Sapori accommodate a party of 7? I checked the website and I really like the decor.

                                                1. re: Inthemood

                                                  Yes they can absolutely accommodate a party of seven. I've seen semi-large groups there. They have two opera singers on Thursdays and it's great fun. The singers take requests and are charming. The food is great. The fettucini in the cheese wheel is to die for, but I suggest that you share it, because it is very rich. Just so you are not surprised, it is also a grocery store, so there are freezer cases in the back. Also, they do not offer tap water, only bottled and I belive only olive oil, no butter. They don't charge much for the bottled water, so I do not have an issue with it.

                                            3. re: Val55

                                              My husband and I dined at Sapori a little while ago, based on your (and other chow members) recommendation. We loved it! Starting from their ten commandments (very cute) to their bottled water, their arugula salad, gnocci with truffle oil and their fresh pasta! Fantastic! Quite expensive, but worth the experience.

                                              Next visit is to Parkside and Joe Abbracciamento.

                                            4. re: Inthemood

                                              Inthemodd, I don't see anything wrong with wanting something more upscale in Queens, esp. in light of your situation with your in-laws. Having lived in Queens for half of my life (though currently a Manhattan resident), there were times when I wish I didn't have to trek it by subway to Manhattan just to dine somewhere more upscale. There does seem to be some "defensiveness" issue on the part of many Queens residents, which might be a result of what Miss N. wrote about Queens being the butt of many a jokes (I know--I have probably heard all of them!).

                                              Here's the thing though. Having lived in Manhattan now for over a decade, I often miss the wonderful culinary delights of Queens. I miss not being able to walk out of my house and wander into the local Indian/Chinese/Middle Eastern/ Korean/ Greek/Mexican, etc., etc. restaurants, knowning I can get a great, authentic meal at a fraction of the cost in Manhattan.

                                              The grass is always greener, as they say!

                                              1. re: gloriousfood

                                                Oh, I wholeheartedly agree with the culinary delights aspect, but not everyone is a foodie like the chowhound crowd. My in-laws, thought I love them very much, are quite plain when it comes to food (that's their only flaw). And they always start with "Oh don't worry about us, we are easy! Really!" Yeah, aha, their list of food is restricted to 3 choices, easy for some, a scientific puzzle for me.

                                              2. re: Inthemood

                                                But see, I wouldnt take your in-laws to a place like Del Posto or Eleven Madison Park either.

                                                1. re: ConOrama

                                                  And why is that? Although Eleven Madison Park will be a little too complicated for them.

                                              3. Uncle Jacks Steak House, Bayside. Not sure if you can consider it up scale, prices are!

                                                2 Replies
                                                1. re: Jim P

                                                  christos steakhouse in astoria.

                                                  1. re: joekarten

                                                    I've been checking it out for a while, but never got around to trying it. It looks impressive enough and has valet parking (I think), the menu looks great, perhaps that's not a bad idea? Would a party of 7 people be comfortable there? How is the steak?

                                                2. Parkside for Italian in Corona and you can hit the Lemon Ice King across the street. They got Valet Parking.

                                                  4 Replies
                                                  1. re: designerboy01

                                                    That's another one, I like the decor better at Parkside vs. Piccola V. Which one is better in the food and noise department?

                                                    1. re: Inthemood

                                                      The food was good at Parkside and I've eaten in Italy before. It was effortless to talk even though that place is packed on a weekend night. But it was more packed by the doorway. I liked the restaurant and would go back again.

                                                      I can't say anything about Piccola V as I've never been there.

                                                      1. re: designerboy01

                                                        I wish you could compare Parkside , PV and Joe Abbracciamento.

                                                    2. re: designerboy01

                                                      Another vote for Parkside. The food is a solid B to B+ and the decor certainly says "special occasion." Great for people watching as well.



                                                    3. There are certainly places that serve really good food in Queens, food that would be considered good 2nd-tier cuisine in Manhattan. I'm thinking of places like Bistro 33 here in Astoria. But they're not "upscale", they're more "gastropub." The service at even the fancier places in Queens (e.g., Piccola Venezia) is several steps down in elegance from what you would get at a top-tier Manhattan French restaurant. That service seems to me to be the main difference. (Until you get to Per Se or Le Bernedin levels of food, of course...)

                                                      3 Replies
                                                      1. re: Harlan

                                                        Agreed, I don't think that most restaurants around the world cannot compete with some of the Manhattan establishments. But I want to try to find some in queens.

                                                        I haven't been to Per Se or Le Bernedin (oh how I wish) but I think I would probably visit Petrossian's first, just for the caviar champagne and oysters.

                                                        1. re: Inthemood

                                                          I apologize for my defensiveness earlier, I misinterpreted your "depressing" comment. Anyway, a few suggestions.
                                                          1) Trattoria L'Incontro, but only if you go on an off night and get a good table, otherwise it is noisy. The food is amazing though.

                                                          2) Manducatis, not as good as L'Incontro but good and much quieter and more old-school. Their ricotta gnocchi are amazing

                                                          3) Arcos, Portuguese in Astoria, I haven't heard it mentioned much here and its not too "upscale" but it is a white tablecloth, white napkin place with excellent service and excellent food. I had their roast suckling pig, and was blown away. It's only served Friday and Saturday night though. I just was really impressed by this place.

                                                          4) Malagueta, not really upscale but a nice cozy place with good service and really great food, also Brasilian food sounds really exotic but a lot of the flavors (their steak and duck are great) will be accessible to more conservative eaters

                                                          5) S'Agapo, I wasn't overly impressed and thought the food was better at Agnanti but it is the most upscale of the Astoria Greeks and has good food

                                                          Anyway, those are my thoughts on the topic, good luck!

                                                          1. re: Astoria Lurker

                                                            Apology accepted and thanks for spending so much time trying to help.

                                                            1. Trattoia L'Incontro, I am still not sure. It's going to be 7 people and only on the weekend.

                                                            2. Can Manducatis accomodate 7 people?
                                                            3. There is no way I can convince them to eat Portuguese, no matter how familiar the dishes are.
                                                            4. Malagueta same as # 3.
                                                            5. Sagapo has a nice outdoor sitting area, but too many have negative reviews of the place.

                                                            In spite of the above response, I will definitely take your suggestions and visit those places with my husband. Thanks!

                                                      2. With everyones suggestions I thought I should retype the list. The following are selected based on great decor, food, service and conventional food (not too exotic, not too adventurous, grandparents will be happy). Basically your standard fare with good ambiance. (God, that sounds so boring!)

                                                        1. Water's Edge (LIC)
                                                        2. PIccola Venezia (Astoria)
                                                        3. Caffe on the Green (Bay Terrace)
                                                        4. Parkside (Corona)
                                                        5. Trattoria L'Incontro
                                                        6. Sapori D'Ischia
                                                        7. Christos Hasapo Taverna (Astoria)
                                                        8. Joe Abbracciamento's (Woodhaven)
                                                        9. Uncle Jack's Steakhouse (Bayside)
                                                        10. Uncle George's (Astoria)

                                                        Let me know if I should add or cross anything off the list.

                                                        10 Replies
                                                        1. re: Inthemood

                                                          one caveat--being from the midwest, they might have a hard time with Sapori d'Ischia's "bottled water only" policy.

                                                          1. re: kenito799

                                                            Ha! It's seems that it's a major gripe among members of the Chowboard. I don't think it will be a problem for us, since all of us like bottled water. I really don't like the taste of the NY tap water, I don't care if it's the cleanest water in the world.

                                                            Besides, after what I saw when they temporarily turned the water in our building and turned it back on.... Let's just say that I never thought that water can have such "earthy-toned" colors... The water changed from brown to rusty red to yellow to transparent, mind you the water was brown for good 30 minutes, we had to let it run. Our super explained that sometimes the pipes aren't "maintained" properly and "foreign" matter accumulates. Anyway, water that looks like that at any stage is not going to make its way into my system, I don't care how "healthy" the government says it is.

                                                            The same goes for the recycling program. The government encourages people to recycle, but according to many sources (sanitation workers and non-profit organizations) most of the garbage (regardless of its category) mostly ends up in the same landfill.

                                                            1. re: Inthemood

                                                              "I don't think it will be a problem for us, since all of us like bottled water."

                                                              That's good, then. Some members of my midwestern family would be uncomfortable in an environment where conventions like bread and butter on the table (maybe S d'I does that), salad first included in the price of the entree, and constantly refilled complementary icewater are not part of the dining experience. If it's hot and they want to chug a lot of water when they sit down, they would feel bad saddling the table with lots of extra charges for bottles of water. I wouldn't mind, of course, but then I would have to hear yet more comments about how crazy expensive it is to live in NYC, I can't believe how much you pay for everything. etc etc, yes I am WELL AWARE :)

                                                          2. re: Inthemood

                                                            1. Take Caffe On The Green(Bayside) off that list asap. When it first became a restaurant it was excellent and then it began a slow and steady decline. It is a catering hall and the food is of that quality. Over a decade ago I went there regularly for small family occasions as I have close relatives that live just a few blocks away, nowadays you could not pay me to eat there. The original house was a beautiful landmark, it is a crime what they did to that place.
                                                            2. Skip Uncle Jack's, Luger's is an easy drive 10 minutes away and is so much better then Uncle Jack's I hate to put the two in the same sentence. Luger's is less then one mile from the Queens County line so add it to your list instead of Jack's.
                                                            3. I like P.V. and Parkside very much. I think P.V. has a bigger, better and more diverse menu. Parkside serves great "red sauce Italian" and on a nice evening nothing is better then sitting in the park watching a bocce game and enjoying something from Lemon Ice King.

                                                            1. re: stuartlafonda

                                                              Listing Uncle George"s as one of the top ten in Queens is difficult to understand. For the past ten years they seem to be on everyone's down hilll list. From the vinyl table covers to ordinary food (much of which is prepared in advance) they should not be considered as part of the Queens top restaurants. The portions are large and the prices are low and the service is mediocre.

                                                              1. re: E.Kantro

                                                                Uncle George's is a 24 hour diner with mostly sub-par Greek food and some fairly decent grilled meats. It does NOT belong on a list of upscale restaurants in Queens at all.

                                                                1. re: E.Kantro

                                                                  Uncle George was their for the shock effect (a la Bertolucci). Caffe On the Green is off the list.

                                                                  Parkside is going to be another place we try before making the final decision. P.V. is a just a little too stuffy for us, although I remember the food being good.

                                                                  Christos Taverna looks promising, but it's in a very weird area and the service looks questionable.

                                                                  1. re: E.Kantro

                                                                    I agree. Uncle George's is overrated. Resting on its grape leaves.

                                                                2. re: Inthemood

                                                                  DB Wine Bar MUST be on the list. Cafe on the Green? Oh God, please, say it ain't so.

                                                                  1. re: Inthemood

                                                                    When did uncle georges go upscale ? After they raised the price of a Budweiser to 3 bucks ? If you can do without the white tablecloths I would reccomend that you take the in-laws there. Order the saganaki for the in-laws and i bet they make yummy noises. It's fried cheese so they should find it recognizable.Get a large greek salad w/ feta and Parisi breadtoo. Follow that w/ a 1/2 chicken and lemon potatoes. Go across the street and down the block to Amonia for a nice pastry and coffee for desert. After desert you can take them for a drink at McLaughlin's down broadway short of 31st. That's what I do w/ alot of my out of town guests.For 7 people I estimate the cost/ person to be :

                                                                    App's ( order 2 lg greek salads w/ feta, 2 saganaki, 1 mixed dip plate ) $4/person; Entree's ( 1/2 chicken or souvlaki platter $7, pork chops no applesauce $11) lets say $10/person; Drinks ( the house retsina and beer ) @ $6/ person (assuming 2 each of beer, soda or retsina). Tip @20% is 28. Subtotal = $168

                                                                    Amonia :
                                                                    Coffee and Cake $9/ person. Tip $12 adds $75 to bring us to $243.


                                                                    2 drinks at $5 for 7 is $70 so with a 15 dollar tip your total is $ 328 or less than $ 47/ person for apps, entrees, dinner-drinks, coffee, dessert and a few nightcaps. As a bonus you get a few nice strolls, varied atmospheres, lively company, maybe some live music and a chance to show your people the real Queens.

                                                                  2. Not totally upscale but a nice place to go is Sidetracks.

                                                                    7 Replies
                                                                    1. re: deborah24

                                                                      What is up with this list? What about 718 in Astoria? Island? Deluge in Flushing? Plum in Bayside? Uncle Jack's, but NOT Uncle George's--Not upscale in the least!

                                                                      1. re: GreekGddss

                                                                        Oh, talk about Deluge. Ive always been curious but have only seen one or 2 posts about it.

                                                                        1. re: GreekGddss

                                                                          Wow, these look like great additions to the list.

                                                                          We chose Water's Edge and I have to say that my in-laws were more than impressed. The weather, outdoor seating, service and the skyline took their breath away. The food (in my opinion) is alright, nothing that wowed my taste buds, but they seem to be very satisfied. I think that if you are planning to impress anyone from out of town, this will be an excellent place. You do go there for the view not for the food, not that the food is awful.

                                                                          So here is the new list:

                                                                          1. Water's Edge (LIC)
                                                                          2. Piccola Venezia (Astoria)
                                                                          3. Parkside (Corona)
                                                                          4. Trattoria L'Incontro (Astoria)
                                                                          5. Sapori D'Ischia (Woodside)
                                                                          6. Christos Hasapo Taverna (Astoria)
                                                                          7. Joe Abbracciamento's (Woodhaven)
                                                                          8. Uncle Jack's Steakhouse (Bayside)
                                                                          9. Danny Brown's (Forest Hills)
                                                                          10. 718 (Astoria)
                                                                          11. Deluge (Flushing)
                                                                          12. Plum (Bayside)

                                                                          GreekGddss, what can you say about the last three places? Island may not be the best place to take your parents to.

                                                                          I still have to try Trattoria, Christos, Joe A, Parkside and Uncle Jacks, not including the newest 3 restaurants on the list.

                                                                          So far the place that really blew our socks off (food wise) is Sapori D. Thanks so much to all who have given such great recommendations.

                                                                          1. re: Inthemood

                                                                            We ate at Trattoria L'Incontro again last night. Yes, it's noisy. Service may not always be totally top notch, as the runners may not know exactly who gets what, but they are usually quite good. However ever, we came home last night saying that we have never been anywhere so many times that no matter what we or any of the others at our table order, no dish ever disappoints. Last night I had a fig and proscuitto salad, a taste of papardelle with veal ragu that we split for the whole table, and pagli e fino with shrimp and mushrooms. It was all great. I was happy that with the papardelle, I was able to bring home half of my pagli e fino for lunch today. Not to mention that the chocolate pizza with hazelnut gelato is great and something that no one else makes.

                                                                          2. re: GreekGddss

                                                                            Deluge is a smart move away from Asian-American stuff the Sheraton in Flushing served for about 20 years. The heavily Asian clientele could do better at a dozen restaurants within 100 meters. So in the posh but dim and cavernous space with a waterfall they now feature an assortment of "tapas" and complicated sounding international plates. The food is OK, the service tries (But tries too hard pushing alcohol. I hate that!) A good choice for non-Asian in Flushing. Website helpful. GeoJack

                                                                            1. re: GeoJack

                                                                              Deluge sucks. I went there on V-day for some dumb reason and even though my reservation was at 8 we were seated at 9:20 and they had run out of the lobster bisque. They felt bad so they gave us free drinks but the place is small and way over their head when they get crowded. The waitress actually said while apologising, "i'm sorry but as long as ive worked here theres never been more than 3 groups of people at the same time". This place is a joke in my oppinion.

                                                                          3. re: deborah24

                                                                            I second the nomination for Sidetracks on Queens Boulevard in Sunnyside. It's not exactly "fine dining", but it definitely seems to be on the upper tier for Queens. The food is pretty decent and creative, service is good, and the decor is, for lack of a better word, hip. And they're certainly aiming for Manhattan levels in their prices ;-)

                                                                          4. Uncle Jack's steakhouse in Bayside on Bell Blvd. may fit what you are looking for.

                                                                            1. I have come rather late to this thread, but I can't resist throwing out a suggestion for others with the same issues. For a nice meal with older folks who don't want their palates challenged, you can't beat London Lenny's. The seafood is fresh, the service is good, the atmosphere is civilized, if not hip. The menu is boring, but what they do they do well.

                                                                              5 Replies
                                                                              1. re: SuzyP

                                                                                I've always heard that about them. What is best there?

                                                                                1. re: janie

                                                                                  Their clams and oysters are always impeccably fresh...and they usually have about 5-6 different oysters. Just about everything they do is good, and is always incredibly fresh. Lobster isn't their strong point...stick to the fish...and during the summer, they frequently serve fried "Ipswich" soft clams.....grab it if they have it.

                                                                                2. re: SuzyP

                                                                                  I don't mind challenges to my palate, but I also have a soft spot for old-school places like this, so I appreciate the reminder.

                                                                                  London Lennie's
                                                                                  63-88 Woodhaven Blvd, Queens, NY 11374

                                                                                  1. re: squid kun

                                                                                    I'll be going to London Lennie's for my birthday since hiking to Manhattan with a baby and toddler is out. I'll be dreaming of the raw bar tonight. Thanks for the reminder Squid.

                                                                                    Dare I mention the newly renovated Donovan's in Bayside to be "upscale". It looks expensive (rumor has it they spend over a million dollar renovating). The food is standard, but if all they want is steak and burger, they are decent with that. The price certainly is upscale. Uncle Jack has Kobe beef last time I ate there. I couldn't tell it was Kobe except for the ridiculous price.

                                                                                    1. re: PaMa

                                                                                      This thread has been very helpful, as I'm looking for a quiet place with good service to celebrate my second wedding anniversary. We tried Uncle Jack's in Bayside and I don't recommend it. We were stuck right next to the servers' bar, which would have been all right, except that they stood around talking to each other there throughout most of our meal. Also, my steak was disappointing. Too tough. I had ordered a smaller cut (I can't eat too much) and my husband ordered a larger cut and he said his was good. Must one order the biggest steak in order for it to be cooked properly? If others recommend this place, I WILL try it again but I'm wary.

                                                                                      We are thinking about trying Water's Edge, since it's getting nice reviews here. Anyone have negative experiences there?

                                                                                      I have a comment about the use of the word "hip" on food boards. Can I assume this means noisy and crowded? I think when I go out to eat, the service has to be as good as the food. I'm not as picky about "atmosphere," but I do feel that when you crowded in right next to other diners, it's not enjoyable. I get tense and can't relax and have a normal conversation with my husband. Must one settle for crowding if he or she wants good food?

                                                                                3. Re: the discussion below.

                                                                                  Queens rocks, in food above all else. Not swank, but tasty. It's food: that's what matters. Queenzers need to stop being insecure about the borough.

                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: stellamarie

                                                                                    >>Queenzers need to stop being insecure<<

                                                                                    Where did this happen?

                                                                                    1. re: ConOrama

                                                                                      Yeah I don't really understand that comment either.

                                                                                      To stellamarie, I think we all know and agree that Queens is very strong in certain aspects when it comes to food. But I don't think it's above criticism when it comes to the fact that it offers few options in the way of fine or modern dining. It just doesn't. Perhaps you can't have it all, but I think it stinks because it's nice to be able to stay in your own backyard so to speak instead of having to always go into Manhattan or Brooklyn for that kind of experience. I don't think it's an insecurity but a honesty about what Queens offers and what it doesn't. For many reasons, it just doesn't have many places to offer up a more elegant experience. Some people in Queens don't look for that, but there some of us that do and for the latter group the borough falls short.

                                                                                      I want good food, but atmosphere makes a big difference to the experience. Will I prioritize atmosphere over food - no. For instance I love the burger at Mood in Kew Gardens but honestly sitting in that empty restaurant at lunchtime sucks. So instead I go elsewhere because there are plenty of other places that have both.

                                                                                  2. Il Toscano in Douglaston

                                                                                    1. La Baraka (Little Neck)
                                                                                      Manducatis Rustica

                                                                                      1. I have to agree with the last 2 posters: La Baraka, and Il Toscano are two excellent restaurants in Queens, and they qualify as upscale. While it is true that there are no Per Se/Ducasse/Jean Georges/Daniel style places in Queens, there are some fabulous high-end restaurants that do exceptional cooking and provide service to match. Many are listed in all of your replies. La Baraka is a very cozy little place that does French/North African, and has an excellent Cous Cous Royale. Il Toscano is far from a traditional Italian restaurant, universally has a delicious seared Foie Gras appetizer with some interesting complimentary sauce, and I highly recommend getting their signature lobster dish, which is not on the menu.

                                                                                        Any other places I should be seeking out?

                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                        1. re: rosenn

                                                                                          Check out Fino Tapas on Bell Blvd in Bayside, things may have been rocky when they started up last year but they have had a new chef for several months now and the food has been stellar. The chef was a sous for Bobby Flay on Iron Chef America and does great riffs on Spanish cuisine. Great wine list with lots of good values.