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Sep 5, 2008 08:09 AM

Astoria Suggestions for Group

Hi All,

I've eaten at tons of places in Astoria but never really tried to go out with a large group (12+). Any ideas for a crowd pleasing place that can accommodate that type of group on short notice? All my favorites are either too small (Malagueta, Bistro 33 etc) or likely to be too crowded (Agnanti, L'Incontro etc). We'd be eating after leaving the Beer Garden so proximity to there is a plus and would be looking to spend around $25 pp (no drinks).


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  1. What about eating at the Beer Garden? Otherwise, try Zenon Taverna on 31st Ave and 34th Street is a good bet. Balkh Shishkabab (Afghani food, no alcohol) on 31st Street and 23rd Ave is also good. There are so many options in Astoria! I'll let others put in their 2 cents.

    1 Reply
    1. re: megc

      The beer garden's food served outside is pretty gross. The regular menu inside is good enough, but I think Zlata Praha is better and from what I understand, Koliba is much better than both.

      A group of 12 might be tough anyplace good on a weekend without a reservation, nu? Maybe at least call an hour or two ahead.

      Greek might be a really good way to go for a group like that in any case; you could order a bunch of meze and maybe a couple of whole grilled fish and just graze without worrying about whether the kitchen can bring out twelve entrees at the same time, which would be likely to end in disaster at all but the biggest places.

      Oh! And Pasha, the very good 3-month-old Bosnian place related to Bosna Express in Ridgewood, just moved into the larger space that was a coffee shop on the same block. IMO a strong second-best Bosnian in the neighborhood and the closest to the beer garden-- it's on 31st St. a block above 30th Ave. Since they apparently inherited some diner cooking implements along with the space, they've also added some nice healthy sandwiches on their excellent, chewy lepinje; we tried one involving olives, eggs and veggies that reminded me of some Israeli sandwiches I've had. ordering a bunch of dishes for the table and grazing would work pretty well here too.

      Not sure what a vegan would eat there, but looser varieties of vegetarian (lacto-, ovo- et al) will find surprising choices compared to the other Bosnian places in the area.

      If it turns out they don't serve any beer or wine (I'm not sure), it's just a few doors up from Grand Ave. Liquor, the best such shop in the nabe.

      Oh.. because you mention the rather far-from-the-beer-garden Malagueta, what about calling ahead at Il Bambino? It's smallish but roomy; depending on the hour if you call ahead they may be able to pull a few tables together. Order a bunch of things, have 'em cut the panini into 4-6 pieces, and enjoy. I'm pretty sure it's still BYO, which they accomodate well.

      And only because (1) it's big, (2) it's never busy and (3) I'd be completely bereft if it were to close or even compromise its menu, I've gotta plug Poodam's, the Isaan Thai place way out on Broadway in the mid-40s. It's nowhere near the beer garden, but as long as its open you can be sure they can handle a large group without a reservation, and the food (apart from the likes of pad thai) is wondrous.

    2. Hi there Astoria-

      2 places i've had great success with with big-ish groups are "L'incontro" if you make a reservation (half the people in there are part of a big group anyhow) I did a group of 18 there- even set the menu before hand and it was just fantastic. For less $$ I've brought about 10 to Stamati's on Broadway- I believe they'll take reservations, and sharing a bunch of stuff makes for a great night- what about one of the new brazilian places-- you could go to Favela if you've got a bunch of meat eaters-- the doubled in size and would take good care of you-- there's also live music some nights.

      5 Replies
      1. re: quentinC

        How does Favela compare to Malagueta and Sabor Tropical? I've always been meaning to try it but haven't had a chance. I think L'Incontro is out of the budget though it probably would be my first choice if we had more to spend. I thought about eating at the Beer Garden but other than the grilled food I haven't been that impressed.

        1. re: Astoria Lurker

          Favela is lovely but less "fancy" than Malagueta, though I haven't been to Favela in over a year.

          For Czech food, I hear wonderful things about Koliba on 23rd Ave near 31st Street.

          I've had great food at Jour et Nuit on Steinway (Moroccan food). There's Mombar (Egyptian), too. I attended a great event there for like 20 people. The food was fab.

          1. re: megc

            also favela is really a "meat" place- but not the "we bring out a lot of meat on a skewer" like sabor or more refined dishes and more variety like Malagueta... Mombar's a great suggestion too

        2. re: quentinC

          QuentinC, when you had a group at L'Incontro, did you have the option of a private room? Did you have to do a set menu or was it just easier that way? I'm planning a holiday lunch for 12-15 friends and was thinking of trying L'Incontro this time but usually like a private room because we tend to get loud w/toasts, etc, but I'd like everyone to have a selection of the entire menu (yes, specials and all).

          1. re: esyle

            Hello- sorry it took me so long to see your post. I think they would be amenable to anything-- there is at least one private room-- I set the menu to keep things simpler- but we certainly could have ordered off the menu, and I chose to have us in the main room. I would book soon if you haven't already. Hope this helps-- loud is NOT a problem at L'incontro

        3. Thanks for all the excellent suggestions. We ended up with 8 people and went to Favela. I called about an hour ahead and they saved a table for us so we had no problem. The food was excellent, I had the picanha and a side of yucca fries, both of which were as good as I've had anywhere else. The service was a bit uneven, but given how packed it was, and the late notice we gave them, it certainly was forgivable. We had live music for most of the night, which added to the festive atmosphere. I definitely will be back to explore the menu more.