By Dina Fierro
So, all-knowing Manhattanite, did you know that one of the most diverse neighborhoods in the country is housed a convenient 20 minutes from Midtown? Named for millionaire John Jacob Astor, Astoria today houses a thriving restaurant scene to match its varied population. From the obvious – Greek and Mediterranean – to the unexpected (Brazilian or Czech, anyone?), here are a few of my favorite spots:
It’s not a trip to Astoria without a visit to Athens Café. This European style café/bar is the place for seeing the sights in Astoria, if by ‘the sights,’ you actually mean oh-so-handsome Greek men (which I do). Do expect slow service and non-smokers beware; the outside café is literally in a haze due to cigarette smoke. Don’t fight it. It’s part of the charm. Try the frappe’s, a whipped iced coffee, and the divine Greek desserts. (32-07 30th Avenue, take the N or W to 30th Avenue)
Brick Café also excels in the coffee category – namely the perfect cappuccinos. Bloody Mary’s are also a safe bet and while far from perfect, this Northern Italian’s brunch and dinner fare is a delight. The atmosphere is also quite stylish, particularly at the bar and the al fresco tables, making this spot a sweet spot for a date. (30-95 33rd Street, take the N or W to Broadway)
JJ s Grand Tofu is a secret no longer thanks to a come from behind victory for the “Best Pot Stickers” in New York (in the city, by the magazine, in case that wasn’t clear). It’s a given that the edamame filled treats are a must; they are steamed carefully and served with a dollop of reduced cream and wasabi oil. I also recommend the tuna and apple appetizer. (37-05 31st Avenue, take the N or W to Broadway)
Locale Café Bar is a relative newcomer to the Astoria scene. Stylish yet laidback, the Italian fare is quite uninspired for brunch, yet consistently delicious at dinner. The wine list also offers diversity at a very reasonable price. (33-02 34th Avenue, take the N or W to Broadway)
Do you have a favorite dining destination in Astoria? Well, fair readers, leave a comment below and share your find!