Unlike, say, Midtown or Fidi, Astoria is predominantly residential - and this means lots of food. Here, you’ll find everything from Greek and Italian to sushi, barbecue, and burgers with French toast buns. Just be aware that this is a very large neighborhood, and if you wander aimlessly, you might get tired and pass out in someone’s yard. So use this guide. It’ll show you where all the best food is.
Vesta Trattoria is restaurant/wine bar in Astoria, and it’s the sort of place where people seem to know one another. It’s a neighborhood spot (and it’s kid-friendly), but it’s also just a little more upscale than a place where you want to eat in your sweats. They make several pastas (including a very good wild boar lasagna), and they also serve other things like osso buco, chicken, and a burger. If you need a dinner-date spot in Astoria, this little place is ideal - and you should also know that there’s a great weekday happy hour from 5-7pm.
Sugar Freak is a Cajun/Creole restaurant a block off the stretch in Astoria known as Little Egypt, but the big, packed space feels like a New Orleans-themed party. Beads hang from the light fixtures, and the big, packed space is full of groups sharing things like crawfish boils and jambalaya. They play loud music and pour strong draft cocktails, like the one that’s just fruit juice and a lot of rum. This is a fun spot to come with a big group for boozy brunch or a kind of rowdy night out. They also have plenty of outdoor seating during nice weather.
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.
Astoria doesn’t have a Roberta’s or a Speedy Romeo - but it does have Milkflower. This is where you should be eating wood-fired pizzas in this neighborhood, and they also have pasta, small plates, and salad. Come for weeknight dinner or 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 like milkshakes and banana split sundaes. It’s also a block from Bohemian Beer Garden, so keep it in mind if you’re craving some 2am breakfast food after all those steins of beer.
It might look like something you’d find 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 an excellent spaghetti & meatballs (in addition to many other pastas), and there many specials that you shouldn’t ignore. Service is friendly and the walls are covered in paintings of the Italian countryside, and you should bring a few friends the next time someone has a birthday or graduates from school.
A trip to Astoria Seafood is about equal parts meal and activity. It’s both a seafood market and a Greek restaurant, and you pick out all your food from a big counter display. There are scallops, squid, shrimp, octopus, and many different types of fish, and you just make your selections, put them in plastic bags, and hand them over to be cooked (in whatever style you want). Then you wait for a table. It gets very busy here, so come earlier if you can, and be aware that it’s 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 crazy. This place is very 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 and would come back again just for the sweetbreads. Share the sweetbreads and fried cheese and some affordable carafes of wine on the big backyard patio.
Pink Nori serves affordable 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. You can do full dinner here and get a bunch of inexpensive sashimi (15 pieces for $18), but Pink Nori may be best for a few rolls during happy hour, when beers and sake are $3.
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 set it apart from the other counter-service Middle Eastern spots in the area. We recommend the chicken shawarma and some creamy hummus, and make 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 they do some of the best Mexican food you’ll find in the area. They specialize in tacos, and they do a bunch of different kinds like shrimp and al pastor - and, for a little bit extra, they’ll wrap any of these ingredients in 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. It’s 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 place is great for something relatively quick and affordable, and, if you stop by on a weekend, you can expect this place to be packed with people from the neighborhood.
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, uni, and vegetarian options. There are also a bunch of optional toppings, and, whatever you do, you should 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 Greece. 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. They’re little chunks of charred brisket, and they’re both sweet and salty - and we would 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, but we wouldn’t say it’s the best in the area (that would probably be Salt & Bone). As for the space itself, it sort of feels like a Southern-themed restaurant you’d find in a nice airport.
The Strand Smokehouse is enormous. It’s kind of like a big garage with a bar, a bunch of picnic tables, and a barbecue station in the back corner. So if you need a place to hang with a group in Astoria, this is a great option. The barbecue here is very good, and you should probably devote most your attention to the several kinds of ribs. A whole rack will run you around $20, and it will last you several days if you get lost in a snowstorm.
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, there’s a great backyard for when it’s warm out, and we like the fact that they put a bottle of fish sauce and several different spicy condiments on every table. There are also a bunch of dishes besides boat noodles, for anyone who just wants something like pad Thai.
SVL Bar is a fast-casual Greek spot specializing in souvlaki and gyros of chicken, pork, beef, and lamb. The move here is the mini gyros - you get four mini pitas with each of the different meats. This is enough food for two people, but it also comes with 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 stop or takeout on your way home.