Astoria restaurant guide: The best places to eat now
Our Astoria restaurant guide points you to the best places to eat in the neighborhood, from trusty favorites to the latest hot spots.
Known for its Greek tavernas and Egyptian eateries, this Queens nabe is increasingly gastronomically diverse. Our Astoria restaurant guide includes a superior Thai spot and a standout café. There are also plenty of cheap eats and select brunch places.
RECOMMENDED: Full guide to Astoria, Queens
- Price band: 1/4
Here’s one for your short list of local (or worth-the-trip) Thai eateries. Arharn is Thai for “food,” and the dishes are as uncomplicated as the name. Ingredients are sliced, diced, wokked, tossed and sauced with rugged confidence. Chicken-coconut soup is thick and meaty, but be prepared: If you ask for it hot, you’ll get it fiery. Crunchy fried chunks of meat are drenched in a gingery lime bath for duck salad. Soft-shell crabs, when available, are sautéed in garlic;
- 32-05 36th Ave, (between 32nd and 33rd Sts), 11106-22
- Rated as: 3/5
- Price band: 2/4
Thirty years ago, a restaurant like the Astor Room might have sizzled like the ’21’ Club, with its live entertainment on a baby grand, a buttoned-up barman pouring stiff drinks, and tables crowded with warm Parker House rolls and complimentary bowls of crisp crudités. As a period piece, that first impression feels right—ragtime on the stereo, tiled walls and Tiffany lamps, a stuffed and posed beaver behind an imposing oak bar. Even the crowd—mostly gray-haired on one
- 34-12 36th St, (at 35th Ave), 11106
- Price band: 2/4
It’s not the simple blue-and-white decor that lure capacity crowds to this Astoria taverna. It’s the glistening display of seafood destined to become dinner that keeps them coming back. Elias’s grilled fish stands out even in a ’hood packed with seafood-centric Greek restaurants. Those in the know order the swordfish kebabs, fired up simply with green peppers, onions and tomatoes. Dessert isn’t served on weekends, but keep an eye peeled for the occasional special of
- 24-02 31st St, (at 24th Ave), 11102
If you don’t feel like splurging at Mombar, head a few doors down to the pint-size Kabab Café. The food is just as delectable, but cheaper and less gussied-up. Cheerful proprietor Ali el-Sayed wants you to be happy; start on your way with velvety baba ghanoush (studded with apples for a sweet twist) and eggeh, a golden-brown egg fritter. Logs of ground lamb and beef kofta are well-spiced, and the classic moussaka is a hearty vegetarian option.
- 25-12 Steinway St, (at 25th Ave), 11103-37
- Critics choice
The Greek banter rising from the back patio ought to tip you off: This sunny spot is one of the more authentic tavernas among Astoria’s Hellenic roster. Crisp calamari, flash-fried sardines and succulent grilled scallops are as fresh and deftly cooked as those you’d find at a seaside spot. Dessert, cinnamon-dusted galaktoboureko (custard), is on the house, a gracious touch that makes this odyssey all the more worthwhile.
- 33-07 Ditmars Blvd, (between 33rd and 35th Sts), 11105
Serious java draws caffeine fiends to this airy café, which also specializes in grilled-cheese sandwiches. While the pedigreed beans—from Tarrytown, New York’s Coffee Labs Roasters—are brewed with Hario V60 drip cones and a La Marzocco Strada espresso machine, there’s no coffee-snob tude here. Of the fancy grilled-cheese choices, the simplest riffs are best: One morning offering features soft egg folded with ricotta, a Gruyère crisp and maple hot sauce between two
- 40-17 Broadway, (between Steinway and 41st Sts), 11103
The faux stone entryway and murals of ancient ruins don’t detract from the Mediterranean charm of this oasis that’s been serving Greek and Cypriot food for more than 200 years. Large wedges of lemon arrive on most dishes, a final squeeze lending a refreshing splash of acidity to meats and fish alike. Generally it works, cutting the fattiness of plump loukaniko (pork sausages), seasoned to the hilt, and balancing the charred taste of incredibly tender grilled octopus. Filling
- 34-10 31st Ave, (at 34th St), 11106-14