What are your top five Queens restaurants?
My list changed from the time you posted this when I learned El Coyote in Jamaica had closed its doors. Sigh. I'll be a little different and go with best value / food quality combo with a couple honorable mentions for places I go to frequently where I work (LIC) and live (NE Queens):
* Salut, Rego Park (love the kebabs, hummus, lagman soup, bread, cucumber/tomato salad- the service isn't super friendly and the atmosphere is a bit old school but for some strange reason that enhances the experience for me)
* Pio Pio, Jackson Heights. If only my local Boston Market would close down so I wouldn't have to go so far for Pio Pio's chicken.
* Avli, Baysde- if only for their stuffed chicken special (it's not always on the menu but they make it if you request it)
* Joe's Shanghai, Flushing- crab/pork soup dumplings, shanghai noodles (w/chicken), and young chow fried rice. Then walk over to Sago for some bubble tea (strawberry black, peach, and passion are all excellent).
* Tortilleria Nixtamal. It's not a full menu but everything they have is excellent and super inexpensive.
Honorable mention: Utopia Bagels, Stork's Bakery, Tony's Beechhurst Deli, La Vuelta, Bella Via, Court Square Diner (as judged against other diners), De Mole, Turkish Grill
Good to see Tony's Beechhurst Deli get an honorable mention. I think it's one of the most underrated places in the city. As much as I like Leo's/Mama's in Corona, I like Tony's better. Plus, the staff is a very classy, nice, friendly crew. On the other end of the friendly spectrum, Salut's waitstaff can be ice cold. That said, I also dig the food and the overall vibe; haven't been there in quite some time, though. I've only had the souvlaki sandwich at Avli - liked it very much.
Avli (Greek in Bayside)
Mundo (Turkish fusion in Astoria)
De Mole (Mexican in Sunnyside)
Bonne Saison (Thai/French in Bayside)
Happy Buddha (Chinese vegetarian in Flushing)
Slice from Polito's
Spanakopita from Avli
Red Sonja from Mundo
Vegetarian duck w/red curry from Bonne Saison
Any combo meal from Veggie Castle II
Dim Sum: Jade Asian (Flushing)
Italian/American Bistro: Vesta (Astoria)
Brazilian: Malagueta (Astoria)
Lebanese: Wafa's (Forest Hills)
Venezuelan Arepas: Arepas Cafe (Astoria)
Some favorite dishes:
Biryani at Southern Spice
Lamb Sandwich at Xian
Any soup at Vesta
Green bean salad at Il Bambino
Guyanesa Tropical arepa at Arepas Cafe