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Aug 27, 2009 10:22 AM

Astoria Greek Style Food

Any news concerning Greek Style Food in Astoria and surrounding area(s)?
Since Frank Bruni wrote about Taverna Kyklades in April, "The server mentioned that right up the block was a Dunkin’ Donuts, and that it was still open.", I haven't heard much going on.
Other than the Butcher shop "Ta Vlahika", what is happening in Astoria?
I visit rarely and look forward to trying the news. A Pita Pan, a new cafe - "Avenue", "Grand", a Stamatis that isn't so overly high priced, maybe even a simple "seasoned with great restraint" place like Kyklades....

Anything worth mentioning might be worth trying...?

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    1. The Greeks don't do much new in August. Vacation time, you know.

      I can report that the stores on each side of Kyklades are now vacant. (One, a very good greengrocer, closed due to a large increase in rent. The other, a barber, moved one storefront East.) There's some speculation that Kyklades may expand.

      Other than that, I can't think of anything new in Greek food in Astoria recently...

      11 Replies
      1. re: Harlan

        I'd recommend a search of this board for recent threads on Greek food in Astoria (there are several). Perhaps that is why you're not getting much feedback. One recent change (that I am very sad about) is that S'Agapo was recently changed to Sofia with new ownership. I have not tried them yet, but have read some blog reviews which do not look good. If that's the case, it's a big loss for Astoria.

        1. re: queenseats

          I've checked the board for recent threads. All are a rehash of the same-old, same-old. Besides, it's looking more and more like Astoria and the surrounding areas are not producing much Greek food these days. I can't afford Stamatis anymore for the quality and quantity (not to mention the surly service).
          I shy away from the “simple” grilled offerings of Kyklades. Nothing really Greek there at all.
          S’Agapo never did anything for me and to hear it has been sold isn’t surprising. The fact that the reviews have been bad thus far isn’t surprising either. I’ll wait and see what more have to say.
          Agnanti has the right feel and nothing else. Re-heated food. Blech…
          I still haven’t had the pleasure of Zenon. Been abysmal every visit.
          The Monday special at Aliada is black eyed peas. Very good, but not something I need to travel to Astoria for, especially on a Monday…
          The souvlaki places are getting sad. Pita Pan is not what it was when it first opened. The rest are lettuce stuffed pitas with pork fat and gristle.
          It’s OK. I will just wait and see if the Greeks are leaving Astoria for good or will someone open a place worth dining.
          Thanks for any posts!

          1. re: Gastronomos

            Have you tried Akti? I haven't but have heard some good's about a year old I think.

            1. re: queenseats

              I liked Akti when i went there -- though I think the whole write on the menu shtick is kind of silly. Everything was well prepared.

              However, I don't think it's destination worthy. Although there are many Greeks, I don't think it's worth the schlep to Astoria just for Greek food anymore -- there are too many places in Manhattan putting out comparable food -- and it's not like the Astoria places are super cheap, either.

              Fighting words, I know ...

              1. re: John_Keenan

                "it's not like the Astoria places are super cheap, either."
                John Keenan, none of them are cheap AT ALL. I have yet to find a place in Astoria that is worth the money.
                I actually don't WANT super cheap, but when faced with the options....
                Stamatis, for example, is SUPER EXPENSIVE!!!! for what you get.
                I haven't had a plate there worth a cent over $10.00. (a compliment)
                Even if some of the food IS fresh and hot, made THAT DAY, and not ice cold in the is STILL a maximum $10.00 dish. I would be glad to skip the wait staff, grab a tray, order at the counter and carry it to a table, cafeteria style. Stamatis isn’t worth anything more than that at all, ever.
                I guess this is why people cram in on a place like Taverna Kyclades, for that simple grilled piece of protein. Nothing Greek here at all, not even the owner.
                Astoria Greek Style food establishments and even the hundreds of fly-by-night-ers seem to think that if the Diner can charge a ridiculous sum for THAT, then so can they. My many conversations with Astoria Greek Style food establishment owners seems to have a similar theme, most of them think that Manhattan isn’t giving you anything better than they are. Perhaps in their world, they’re right…
                Still, being of Greek decent, and having to travel to Astoria a couple of times a year, it would be nice to sit and eat a Greek Style dish, without the hassle and bother of non-existent service and high prices for subpar food.
                Should you find a prepared dish, not necessarily the whole menu, but a dish or perhaps two that is a prepared dish, not the grilled fish or the broiled lamb chops or the fried meatballs and, please, not the fried calamari, in a Greek Style food establishment in Astoria or surrounding areas that’s worth trying because you find it delicious, please let me know. Thanks.

              2. re: queenseats

                You heard good things. Sounds promising. Is it just grilled fish? What did you hear that was good? Any suggestions welcome. I may actually try Akti this time around. Thanks.

                1. re: Gastronomos

                  Things I've read about Akti have focused on the grilled fish/seafood. What kinds of dishes do you have in mind when you mentioned "prepared dishes"? Guess I'm more familiar with the standard grilled fish, mezes, cheese options. I'm a fan of Philoxenia. Have you tried?

                  1. re: queenseats

                    Perhaps I am looking for something that Astoria doesn't do anymore. No steam tables, no grilled protein. I know that I can find something like it at Kefi in Manhattan, but I don't care much for the place. I guess I'll do the "Greek" salad with lettuce, a bunch of spreads for the bread basket and a simple grilled protein. Maybe I'll find it someday...

                    Thanks for the rec on Akti. I will try it next in Astoria.

              3. re: Gastronomos

                The pork gyro @ BZ Grill on 27th @ Astoria Blvd. is outstanding.

                1. re: johnk

                  BZ Grill. I entered at lunch last winter. I ordered a souvlaki sandwich. Waited a LONG while and it finally came. I tried to get it down while listening to the three people "working" in the joint complain about how there are too many non-Greek places serving variations on the same theme. They named a kebob place on Steinway as being very busy and one of them dismissed it as "Americans won't go there". I guess they don't go to BZ Grill either, as I mentioned, it was empty.

            2. re: Harlan

              Kyclades the other day for lunch. "No fresh fish.” we were told by the indifferent waiter. “Want fries with that?” It was Tuesday after Labor Day. The “fresh” fish arrived by van as we were awaiting our order to come from the kitchen.
              Grilled clams in oil/lemon and a touch of butter. Boring, but my dining partner ate all of them never the less, leaving the pool of dressing behind. And a comment of, "I like to grill these at home with a decent dressing..."
              "Greek Salad", ice cold green hard tomatoes. Refrigerated cold I would expect, maybe. But these were near freezing temperature. Isn't this the height of tomato season???
              Fried Whiting. Never a favorite, but very crispy and a lunch special of four Very Large for $10.95. Side of undercooked, tough, plain dandelion greens.
              Grilled Swordfish. My dining partner shuddered at the size and then, later, the price, $24.95. A small spoonful of rice on plate. Side of same undercooked tough plain greens.
              I guess if you like plain, this is the place. Grilled or fried? “Want fries with that?”