In Astoria, you’ll find everything from Greek and Italian food to sushi, barbecue, and a Brazilian buffet where you can casually enjoy a pile of grilled meats. The next time you're looking for the best food in the area, this guide will point you in the right direction.
Citrico Cafe is the type of restaurant you’ll love if you feel too old for the club. It’s not a party restaurant, exactly, but there’s a bright bar in the center that sets the tone, and everyone’s always having a good time. Focus on the taco menu, and order more than you planned as Happy Hour turns into a Tuesday night out. The filet mignon tacos consist of tender slices of beef in toasted handmade flour tortillas, and Citrico’s take on al pastor comes with a buttery slab of char siu pork belly in a blue-corn tortilla.
Don’t confuse Bellucci’s Pizzeria with Bellucci’s Pizza just a few blocks down the road. Chef Andrew Bellucci left the latter to start his own shop on his own terms, and he took his famous hand-shucked clam pie with him. You’ll have to order 48 hours in advance to try the clam pie, but you can get other pizzas—with dense, fluffy beds of dough sitting atop crispy bottoms—anytime.
Thanks to Sami’s, Astoria can claim some of NYC’s best Afghan food. Their lamb and beef kofta kebabs are worth traveling for, the borani banjan comes covered in yogurt that melts into a bed of fluffy seasoned rice, and the vinegary leek aushak is a must-order. Come for a family or group dinner, get a variety of kebabs, and pretend that you don’t fully intend to bogart multiple orders of Afghan bread.
Vesta Trattoria is restaurant/wine bar in Astoria, and it’s the sort of place where people seem to know one another. This is a neighborhood spot (and it’s kid-friendly), but it’s a little more upscale than a place where you'd eat in your sweats. They make several pastas (including a very good wild boar lasagna), and the menu also has some other things like salmon, chicken, and a burger. If you need a date spot in Astoria, this little place is ideal.
Sugar Freak is a Cajun/Creole restaurant a block off the stretch in Astoria known as Little Egypt, and the big, packed space feels like a New Orleans-themed party. Beads hang from the light fixtures, and the space is typically full of groups sharing things like crawfish boils and jambalaya. With its loud music and strong cocktails, this is a fun spot to come with a big group, and there's plenty of outdoor seating when the weather's nice.
We aren’t going to weigh in on what we think the absolute best Greek place is in Astoria, because it would sort of be like choosing the best pizza in NYC (tough and inevitably controversial). That said, Taverna Kyclades is up there. Everything is served family-style here, and they specialize in seafood. You can get things like stuffed clams, several types of whole fish, and grilled octopus—or you can do some pork kebabs and lamb chops. This place gets busy, but they might pour you some free wine while you wait for your table.
If you're looking for Neapolitan-style pizza in Astoria, go to Milkflower. They make great wood-fired pizzas with toppings like fontina, speck, and cherrystone clams. Stop by for a casual date night, order a bottle of wine, and avoid the pizza topped with truffle oil (because it’ll make your mouth smell like truffle oil). Your date should enjoy the exposed brick and dim lighting.
This classic 24-hour spot underneath the Astoria Boulevard N/W station serves traditional diner food like pancakes and triple decker sandwiches, along with some Greek options like souvlaki. The gigantic menu also includes some family-friendly throwbacks, such as milkshakes and banana split sundaes. This place is a block from Bohemian Beer Garden, so keep it in mind for when you’re craving 2am breakfast food after all those steins of beer.
It might look like something you’d come across in a nice, old strip mall on the fringes of the Tri-State Area, but Trattoria L’incontro is where you’ll find some of the best Italian food in Queens. They make excellent pasta, and there are always many specials that you shouldn’t ignore. Service is friendly, and the walls are covered in paintings of the Italian countryside, so bring a few friends the next time someone has a birthday.
A trip to Astoria Seafood is equal parts meal and activity. At this hybrid seafood market/Greek restaurant, you pick out all your food from a big counter display. You'll find scallops, squid, shrimp, octopus, and many different types of fish, and once you choose what you're having, you hand it over to be cooked in whatever style you want. It gets very busy here, so come earlier if you can, and be sure to bring a bottle of wine. This place is BYOB.
Think of Abuqir as a smaller, less-hectic, Egyptian version of Astoria Seafood. It’s another place where you go to a display and pick out your fish, and, like Astoria Seafood, there isn’t much going on in terms of decor. The chef here will also cook your food however you want, although you should probably just go with their recommendations. A few things you should absolutely get are a whole blackened fish, some fried shrimp, and the baba ganoush. Other than that, go wild. This place is pretty affordable, they serve some of the best seafood you’ll find in the city, and it’s absolutely worth a trip.
Loukoumi is further east than most places on this guide. It’s about halfway between LaGuardia Airport and most of the well-known Greek spots on Ditmars. Despite being off the beaten path, the Greek food here is worth the trip. They serve traditional dishes like souvlaki, but we like some of the lesser-known dishes best. Share the sweetbreads, the fried cheese, and some affordable carafes of wine on the big backyard patio.
Pink Nori serves reasonably priced sushi and Japanese small plates just off Steinway Street, a couple blocks from the Broadway N/W. The all-white space has tables along the wall, a bar up front, and a chef’s counter towards the back. Stop by for a casual dinner and get a bunch of inexpensive sashimi (15 pieces for $24).
Seeing someone shaving roasting spits of meat with an electric saw into pitas and platters is pretty common in this part of Astoria (Little Egypt). But the quality of the shawarma and kebabs at Duzan sets this place apart from the other counter-service Middle Eastern spots in the area. We recommend the chicken shawarma and creamy hummus—and you should be sure to try all of the different sauces, like the very spicy harissa.
Chela & Garnacha is just a small, wood-paneled room with some cactuses and green tables, and it's where you'll find some of the best Mexican food in the area. They specialize in tacos, and they do a bunch of different kinds like shrimp and al pastor. For a little bit extra, you can get any of these tacos with melted cheese. You should, of course, do this, and you should also get a hibiscus margarita, as well as the masa cakes with shredded chicken.
Next door to Chela & Garnacha, you’ll find Arepas Cafe, a casual Venezuelan place where you can get an arepa stuffed with cheese, avocado, and whatever kind of meat you want. They also have pitchers of sangria, and you should probably order the appetizer sampler that comes with multiple types of fried things such as yuca and empanadas. This spot is great for something relatively quick, and, if you stop by on a weekend, you can expect a crowd.
If you’re in Astoria, and you want a bowl of ramen, Hinomaru is your best option. They do a few different regional styles (like shoyu, miso, and tonkotsu shoyu), and there are also chicken, seafood, and vegetarian options. Whatever you do, make sure that there’s some chashu in your bowl. Theirs is great, and it’s what you want to be eating with your noodles after a long day. Just stop by after work, and grab a stool at one of the little wooden tables.
Gregory’s Corner Taverna both looks and feels like a little house in the Greek countryside. There are paintings of Greece on the walls, the tables have red-checkered tablecloths, and there’s a lighting fixture made from the steering wheel of a boat. The food is very good in a home-cooked sort of way, and you should definitely be eating some kind of grilled meat and/or seafood here.
You go to Butcher Bar for the burnt ends. Those little chunks of charred brisket are both sweet and salty—and we'd eat a whole bucket of them if we knew for certain that it wouldn’t adversely affect our health. There’s also a bunch of other barbecue here, and the space sort of feels like a Southern-themed restaurant you’d find in a nice airport. It's charming.
The thing to get at Pye Boat Noodle is, unsurprisingly, boat noodles. You can get them with beef or pork, and, either way, they’ll come in a bowl of broth with meatballs and pork rinds on top. Supplement with an order of the cubed-shaped chive pancakes and a tropical cocktail, and you’ll have yourself a very good meal. This is an ideal spot for a weeknight, the backyard is great, and we like the fact that they put a bottle of fish sauce and several different spicy condiments on every table.
SVL Bar is a fast-casual Greek spot specializing in souvlaki and gyros with chicken, pork, beef, and lamb. The move here is the mini gyros. You'll get four mini pitas stuffed with different meats as well as a big portion of nicely spiced fries. SVL Bar is located right by the entrance to the N and W trains at Astoria Boulevard, so it works well for a quick sit-down meal or takeout on your way home.
Villa Brazil Café Grill
Villa Brazil is a cafeteria-style buffet complete with sneeze guards and tiled floors, and all of the food here is sold by the pound. But unlike your typical buffet, this Astoria spot has amazing homestyle cooking and a dedicated Meat Guy. After you’ve piled your plate with freshly-made Brazilian hot dishes and salad, go to the churrasco window where the Meat Guy (who's also the head chef) will offer you the day’s selection of grilled meats. This is one of our favorite homestyle Brazilian spots in the neighborhood, and the quality of the food is on par with what you'll find on higher-end à la carte menus.
Kal is one of the few Korean spots in Astoria, but it’s not just a solid option for Korean favorites in the neighborhood. The food here is just as good as anything you'll find in Koreatown. They have an extensive menu with staples like japchae and bibimbap, and we especially like the galbi jjim, spicy rice cakes with extra cheese, and boneless KFC that’s up to par with the best in the city. Come by for a cozy meal with super friendly staff and a fun K-Drama playlist, and check their Instagram for specials like free soju shots.
Chef Sabry knows his seafood. If you have any doubts, he’ll likely be standing by at his namesake Astoria seafood house to help you pick a fresh fish right off the ice before whisking it away to the kitchen and returning with your new favorite plate of seafood. Go big and get the seafood combo for two, or order a whole grilled sea bass or branzino. No one does a whole fish like Sabry’s. The fish will arrive at your table flaky and charred, and all you'll need to do is squeeze a generous amount of lemon onto it and pretend you don’t notice a proud Sabry checking to see your reaction from across the room.
Salvatoria Kitchen & Bar
Salvatoria is a restaurant with a super lively bar scene, and it's a go-to spot for Salvadoran food in Astoria. Mostly, they're known for their variety of pupusas. Amongst the 18 options on the menu are the more standard queso y frijol and espinaca—but if you're looking for something different, try the Pupusaroni with cheese and pepperoni or the Pupusa Loca with shrimp, chicken, cheese, chicharrón, and beans. Stop by with a big group for weekend brunch, and order homemade sangria for the table.