5 dinners in Astoria area for the family - hoping for feedback :-)
This is a long and specific question :-) I have done my internet research and am now hoping to get some direct local insight!
We are visiting NYC with our two boys - aged 11 and 14 - for 5 nights next month. We are from the Toronto area and visited New York last summer - did all the 'iconic tourist things' and voted unanimously to come back again this summer. Last year we stayed in Chelsea, and this year we are staying at the Country Inn and Suites not too far from the Queensboro plaza. To be honest, the primary reason we chose to stay there was that we could get a bigger room with bigger beds, free breakfast and wifi, for almost half the price of Manhattan. We also got a tiny taste of the outer boroughs when we visted 5 Pointz last time - on a tip from our walking tour guide - and wanted to try and be a bit more 'off the beaten track' this time.
Our general plan is to be out and about during the day, then come 'home' around dinner time to chill for a couple of hours before heading out to a Broadway show (4 of the 5 nights). I am looking for places either close by for a quick and casual dinner; getting takeout or delivery so they guys can just hang out for a breather; places we can 'overshoot the hotel' on the way back from Manhattan to takeout and bring back to the hotel.
Food preferences: I personally will try - and probably enjoy - anything (except for velveeta and spam). The guys are not quite as adventurous, but are generally open to any cultures 'meat and starch' offering (schwarma, tacos, gyros, deli sandwiches, jerk chicken and rice etc). We find that our options for Latin American / mexican are limited and inferior in Canada :-) so eager for those options. 11 yr old and I love cheese; 14 yr old and hubby don't like cheese. Not really interested in getting pizza.
So here is what I have mapped out so far based on my research here and elsewhere on the web - eager for any feedback... this is still a work in progress
Friday - Arepas cafe (any particular menu suggestions?)
Saturday - Tu Casa (I thought take out a roast chicken and some ceviche - any don't miss items?)
Sunday - Diner food? BBQ? somewhere with a good cobb salad? pasta?
Monday - Tortilleria Nixtamal (no Broadway show that night so going further afield)
Tuesday - Deli sandwich - my eldest is intrigued by the Bomb at Sal, Kris & Charlies; I really want to find a great sandwich made with fresh mozzarella
Welcoming any thoughts or suggestions :-)
Gregory's Corner. The octopus, the lamb, the lemon potatoes....sigh. http://www.villagevoice.com/2011-12-2...
Also, I don't know if they'll be in town (or if you have time) but a Mets game might be fun with 2 boys that age. Theres good stadium food(shake shack) or you could hit up Flushing!
Love your idea to stay further afield, and try non-touristy food. However, as an Astorian who works on Broadway, I would caution not to be overly ambitious (especially with kids in tow) about eating dinner in Astoria, resting at the hotel in LIC, and then going to see a Broadway show. I would leave your hotel by 7:15 to guarantee you get to the theatre district in time to find your theatre, get your tickets, use the bathroom, etc. I worry that the hotel is not as convenient as it looks. (I walk by it all the time, so know the location well.)
Most of the eating options you mention are a few subway stops from your hotel, and the hotel is a good 8 minute walk from Queensboro Plaza. How early do you eat dinner? I think you're going to want to wrap up your sighseeing around 4 (depending on where you end up), get back to Astoria/LIC around 5. Too bad John Brown is closing on Sunday -- that would have been very near your hotel.
I've never been to Tu Casa, but it's quite a hike from the hotel. There is not really a convenient train connection. You could hop on the subway (R,M) and go directly to Times Square on the R after dinner, though.
Diner food? I would go into Manhattan for that, if I was a tourist. For pre-theatre diner food --- check out the Edison Cafe or the Westway Diner. Those are places I personally go to eat before shows (both better and more convenient than similar Astoria options).
You can get great inexpensive Mexican fare at Los Portales on Broadway (near Crescent). Alternatively, check out Pachanga Patterson, for more upscale Mexican on 31st Ave (longer walk from the subway).
Re: Taverna Kyclades. There is frequently an hour-plus wait for a table, and it's 15-20 minutes from your hotel, realistically. I would suggest placing this in your Sunday evening (post matinee) slot.
Not for dinner but awesome- Artopolis Bakery
John Brown is very, very overrated- If you want soemthing different, try Copacabana Pizza and Grill- They have good cheap Brazillian BBQ.
Loukoumi Taverna-Off the beaten track but really good.
My daughter and her husband just moved to Astoria from SF. They are real foodies. That being said I would highly recommend Cafe Triskell. I believe it's on 35th Ave, but check. It's a tiny french place where the chef and owner puts so much love an pride in the food. Everything is amazing and prices are reasonable. The french onion soup is one of the best I ever ate, not oily. The chicken corden bleu, the lamb terrine, the pastas, the mussels, the duck all were excellent. And you will flip when you taste his incredibly light dessert crepes, especially the lemon and sugar one OMG! They deliver also. After all the meals they have had so far, this one wowed us all.
thanks again - adding Queens comfort and Tavern
One thing... having slotted John Browns Smokehouse in on Sunday, I went on yelp to get ideas of good menu items and saw a post for today that said the following:
"For all the customers who have enjoyed there time in JBS or the ones who want to, we are letting you know that Sat June 30 is our last day open at 37th Ave. We will be reopening in Mid July at 10-43 44th Dr"
It doesn't say this on their official website - does anyone know if this is correct (and I should probably find a different Sunday?)
This place is consistently good for Greek and it's at the last stop of the N train (which you can get at Queens Plaza). It's about a five minute ride. After dinner, you can take the N train to Times Square for your show. They open at noon and serve throughout the day.
THanks very much for your replies :-)
1st - will definitely investigate the concern re: the hotel (have a back up in the same area so I will dig into it :-) )
Sounds like John Brown Smokehouse is a really strong reccommendation that would fit the bill. By calling ahead, does that mean we could pre-order something to be picked up (or delivered) at a certain time i.e. order in the morning to be delivered at dinner time?
I've added Demole to my list of potential candidates.
yussdov - what is your concern about Arepa Cafe?
John Brown Smokehouse for BBQ. Close to your hotel. Just check their Facebook page/call them the day you're going to make sure they haven't run out of stuff you want.
My favorite arepas at Arepas Cafe are the Pabellon and the more simpler Guyanesa Tropical.
Haven't tried Tu Casa in Astoria but you may wish to venture a bit further along Northern Blvd to Pio Pio for excellent Peruvian rotisserie chicken.
I really like Sal, Kris and Charlies but you may do just as well with a hero from Sorriso's.
You're also close to Sunnyside and Woodside. Check out some excellent spots for Turkish along Queens Blvd. Also Salt and Fat.