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May 4, 2012 03:48 AM

Best Greek restaurant in ASTORIA and bakery too(Greek) for dessert!

Heading there this eve so give me your recs!!!

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    1. Wonder where you ended up. Finally tried Agnanti after ages of planning (it's usually too crowded when we've passed by in the past). Really enjoyed the experience. It was warm enough last evening to sit outside. Service is really friendly and efficient. We had a combination plate of the dips (best skordalia I've ever had -- super garlickly), Greek salad, grilled octopus to start. Then for our entree we shared the house specialty, the rooster with tiny pasta. Really interesting flavor. Never had rooster before -- kind of like dark meat chicken, served as two leg bones. The pasta was really light, airy and homemade (does not weigh you down). The sauce was the most interesting of all -- hints of spices not at all like an Italian pasta dish, I think we tasted cinnamon. Really different kind of dish, and we enjoyed it. They also give you complimentary dessert. We'll definitely be back this summer to enjoy some more good eats. Super pleasant to drink some wine and sit by the park.

      18 Replies
      1. re: queenseats

        Went to early in morning Sunday that most places were closed-but decided to just scope out area for dinner time next week. Did go to Artopolis-very good choice-a little on expensive side but well worth the selection and choices! I was wowed! Did have lunch at the Diner-forgot the name-voted best by Newsday that's located next to expressway and train staion (the one before Ditmas) which was very good-had lamb kebabs and grilled octopus since I was in a Greek state of mind. Keep sending me suggestions for dinner!

        1. re: UES Mayor

          Neptune Diner?
          Glad you liked Artopolis. The coconut baklavah is incredible. So is everything I've had there. Last time I bought the frozen spinach pies and they too are amazing. And the service is great. I'll admit it's a bit pricey but so worth it.

        2. re: queenseats

          Aganti and Stamatis are definitely my favorite Greek restaurants in Astoria. Avoid Taverna Kyclades all hype and no substance.

          Artopolis is the best but Gulluoglu (Turkish) is good for baklava.

          1. re: queenseats

            I'm too lat here, but I just had a pretty excellent meal at Thymari, the new Greek place that replace dPhiloxenia on 34th Ave. in Astoria -- and wanted to share the intel.

            Overall, great quality food; big flavors, and generous portions. I hate to say it, but the food is a world better than the fare at my prior go-to Greek place in this part of Astoria, Zenon Taverna (though the prices are pretty much the same).

            (Disclaimer: We're vegetarian, so no coverage of meat dishes here, though there were some great-looking octopus dishes on the menu...!)

            REVITHOSOUPA: whole chickpeas in a mild broth with bits of carrots and onions and a hearty dose of lemon juice -- good but nothing special.

            THYMARI SALAD: ouzo-soaked barley rusks (similar to Sicilian Friselle perhaps?) topped with pureed tomatoes, crumbled feta cheese and capers -- loved the combo of the tangy tomatoes/feta and salty capers w/the just barely sweet/anise-y ouzo in the rusks. This was really interesting -- apparently their take on a popular/traditional Cretan dish. I think I prefer the less fussy, simpler Sicilian variant, however -- chopped fresh tomatoes, fresh basil leaves, garlic, olive oil over rehydrated friselle.

            PANTZARIA: golden/red marinated beets, red onions and capers with chickpea skordalia -- perfectly tender beets that were well paired with the piquant red onions and salty capers. The chickpea skordalia was spicy and intensely garlicky -- a great way to kick in some added flavor. We loved this!

            PIKILIA: trio of dips w/grilled pita...last night the trio included a roasted eggplant dip, a spicy pureed feta dip, and tzatziki (yogurt + garlic + cuc) -- the tzatziki and feta dips were much better than the norm; distinctly flavored and thick (not watery), but it was the smokey, tangy eggplant dip that really got our attention -- amazingly delicious. I think they put Greek yogurt in there (judging by the color and flavor) -- totally works. The flatbread, however, was a bit dry and flavorless -- eh. But with dips that good, we barely noticed...

            FETA SAGANAKI: pan-fried feta with a crispy sesame crust and sweet berry-based compote -- another hit! The feta was perfectly soft, not too salty or tangy, very mild. Though I was skeptical, it went really well with its sesame seed outer-crust and the mildly sweet berry compote. A good, mild counter-point to the strong, very garlicky flavors in our other dishes.

            Also, great, very attentive service and a very welcoming vibe. We were disappointed to see that the dining room was totally empty at 9pm on a Wed. evening. Hope business will pick up and keep these guys going. This is, in my opinion, the best Greek food in S. Astoria (below Ditmars) and may even give Agnanti a run for its money.

            1. re: queenseats

              Agnanti is the best. It is better than Kyclades , and Telly's Taverna. Kyclades happens to have very good grilled shrimp, it is not all hype, it is a good restaurant. But Agnanti is the best in Astoria.

              1. re: foodwhisperer

                I have to differ with you. I find Kyclades to be by far the best in Astoria. I live in Bay Ridge and have eaten at Agnanti there and in Astoria and find Kyclades heads and shoulders above it.

                1. re: irvingk

                  What do you order at Kyclades because for the life of me I have yet to have a good experience there.

                  The horta is overcooked to a grey-green mush, the lemon potatoes aggressively acidic, the fried squid was chewy, the Greek salad nondescript and lacking flavor, various fishes have been overcooked, scallops large and plump but a little overcooked and lacking a hard sear. The portions are generous, and dessert is included if they still have any, beyond that I don't have anything positive to say about Kyclades and I've given it more trips/chances than it deserves. The waiters inexplicably rude and unfriendly. The wait times are extravagant. What do you like about Kyclades?

                  Agnanti on the other hand has been wonderful, as has Stamatis without 1-2 hour waits. Service at both has been friendly, especially at Agnanti.

                  1. re: Pookipichu

                    Each to his own. You are entitled to your opinion. People dont wait on line at Kyclades because the food is bad.

                    1. re: irvingk

                      People wait on long lines at Cheesecake Factory, PF Chang's, Olive Garden, or even to see Justin Bieber... it's not an indication of excellence to have a long wait. Waited for over an hour in Providence, RI to eat at a Cheesecake Factory because my nieces like it.

                      I asked you seriously what you like about Taverna because I honestly have no idea what people like about it. There are restaurants that have been panned by other Chowhounders that I've had good meals at so I'm not doubting, perhaps I am ordering incorrectly.

                      1. re: Pookipichu

                        Everything you dislike I like. I like the Greek salad and I think the fish is really good. Obviouly you and I have different tastes. Thats about it. You bring up Olive Garden and Cheesecake Factory. Obviously some people like them. I am not one of them. Each to his own.

                        1. re: irvingk

                          Thought I'd chime in here. It's pretty funny that every post for Greek food in Astoria turns out to be a bashing/defending back and forth re Taverna Kyclades. I, for one, am a supporter of Taverna. I've been going there for years with my family. Never had a bad meal once. I really enjoy their whole fish, saganaki, grilled octopus, sardines, dips. Had the quail as well, which was good, but I'd say their strength is in the fish/seafood department. The wait can be annoying, but I think it's worth it. It can be a rather affordable meal if you go with a group and share everything (otherwise, if you each order an entree and share a couple of apps, it can easily become a very pricey meal -- but this is no different from most Greek restaurants I've been to in Astoria).

                          As I mentioned above, I was really impressed by Agnanti. I loved Philoxenia, but it closed and has since been replaced by Thymari, which I have not yet tried. Whenever I pass it, it is empty, so not sure what kind of sign that is. I fear that their location is simply poor.

                          Another standby is Zenon. I had my wedding rehearsal dinner there. It will not blow you away, but it is consistently good and very affordable (particularly the mezze meals). I personally think that their meat dishes are stronger than their fish but they are Cypriot and I believe that Cypriot specialities are more meat based.

                          On the other hand, I detested Stamatis the couple of times I've been there. Very oily, greasy, sub-par and pricey. My family used to go to Elias Corner all the time back in the 90s but I haven't been there in over 6 years, so I have no idea if it's still good.

                          Summary: for simple, grilled fish/seafood Kyclades is a solid option. Have not explored enough of the menu at Agnanti to make a thorough assessment, but I plan to return often to do so. My first impression was very positive. Looking forward to trying Thymari if it thrives.

                          1. re: queenseats

                            It is all personal taste like i said. I dont knock anybodys opinion, just give mine. Certain people love certain restaurants and go back to them. I go back to the restaurants that I like also. I also enjoy Kyclades fish very much. Have been to Milos in Manhattan with very inflated prices and find it no better than the Greek places in Astoria.

                            1. re: queenseats

                              I had the exact opposite experience, the food at Stamatis was excellently prepared, the fried calamari was tender, crisp and was not greasy as opposed to sub par calamari at Kyclades. I haven't had anything at Stamatis that I've felt was greasy.

                              Kyclades probably evokes strong feelings because if you're going to wait 1-2 hours for a restaurant and you have bad experiences, you're going to vehemently recommend against it so that others don't get burned. If there was no wait or short waits, I'd be more lenient towards Kyclades as a neighborhood restaurant with OK but not great food. As a hyped destination restaurant, I find it appalling.

                              1. re: Pookipichu

                                None of these places mentioned are as good as Mediterranean Grill in Whitestone in my opinion, their greek food is excellent--and of high quality.

                                1. re: Pookipichu

                                  I'm always amazed at what I read. I thought I discovered Kyclades. I was previously going always to Uncle George and Telly's. I didn't realize Kyclades was a hyped spot. As a matter of fact I have never had to wait more than 5 minutes to sit down. however, I have never gone to Astoria on a weekend to eat. maybe that is why. And for lunch, there is never a wait at any of the good places. The grilled shrimp at Kyclades is very good. i will try the Meditaranean Grill in Whitestone that someone recommended. But Agnanti is the best place in my opinion. Several Greek people in the restaurant business , have also recommended Agnanti to me. Maybe because Agnanti is their client , but I think because the food is like real home cooking.

                                  1. re: foodwhisperer

                                    "Beware of Greeks bearing restaurant recommendations"
                                    If you like grilled octopus you have to try Med Grill.

                                    1. re: johnk

                                      the grilled calamari is excellent as husband likes it over the salad--and their spinach pie is a close second to mine..and that's a very high compliment coming from my husband, as my spinach pie is a very guarded secret! What's nice about Med Grill is that it's not in chaotic Astoria--it's so mellow over there..and who can resist a pit stop at Utopia bagels to stock the freezer?

                                      1. re: janie

                                        The chicken doners at Nikita's on Utopia have been real tasty lately also...
                                        Their moussaka is nice also.