NYCReview

photo credit: Anne Cruz

Little Flower Cafe  image
8.5

Little Flower Cafe

AfghanBakery/Cafe

AstoriaQueens

$$$$Perfect For:Coffee & A Light BiteBreakfastLunch
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Astoria is well-known for being a neighborhood where you can get a wide variety of excellent food without having to hop on the subway. The area is full of local spots that maybe don’t get a ton of attention outside of a half-mile radius, but Little Flower Cafe is worth traveling to from any borough. This all-day halal cafe serves exciting food and some of the area’s best coffee in a beautiful space that you’ll want to hang out in all day.

Operated by the same people behind Sami’s Kabab House, a much-loved Astoria destination for Afghan food, Little Flower is like that restaurant's Gen-Z younger sibling. The wood is blonde, the lighting is industrial, the tables are modernist gray slabs. Everything about the space says “this is a cool place to be,” and it is. You could easily have a first date here, stop by for an hours-long catchup with a friend, or park yourself with a book and consume one excellent cup of coffee after another.

Little Flower Cafe  image

photo credit: Devlin Claro and Aniza Iniguez

Little Flower’s food is just as elevated as the space, and all of it pays homage to the cafe’s Afghan roots. The bacon, egg, and cheese, for example, is halal. For the many New Yorkers who don’t eat pork, this sandwich is a beacon. Then there’s a firni doughnut so light you might not realize it’s filled until you break it open and see the ooze of gently-spiced pastry cream. The real star, though, is the gochujang chicken sandwich. It holds the current top spot in the endless battle of fried chicken sandwiches. 

At some cafes with food this good, coffee is an afterthought. But Little Flower uses beans from Sey, a Bushwick-based roaster known for sourcing some of the most exciting coffees you can get in New York. You can’t really go wrong with any coffee order here, but we’re particularly fond of the rose latte. If you’ve had bad experiences with rose-flavored things in the past, let this be your palette cleanser. It brings out the peppery, spicier notes of rose, with just a hint of sweetness and absolutely zero soapy taste. 

Little Flower Cafe  image

photo credit: Anne Cruz

While there’s no shortage of places that try to elevate cafe fare, few are doing such fresh and exciting things with coffee, doughnuts, and sandwiches as the folks at Little Flower. The combination of modern sensibility, deep roots in the neighborhood, and destination-worthy food makes this place an instant classic. 

Food Rundown

Little Flower Cafe  image

photo credit: Anne Cruz

Gochujang Chicken Sandwich

This sandwich is served all day. So yeah, you can have it for breakfast. The chicken is tender and suspiciously crispy given just how much gochujang sauce clings to the exterior. Some gochujang chicken dishes can have one note: fire. This one is more complex, with deeply savory undertones. There are also some tart pickles, slaw, and a creamy mayo, all smashed inside of a pillow-soft bun. The sandwich is $12 and not enormous, so we wouldn’t judge if you order two and refuse to share.

Little Flower Cafe  image

photo credit: Anne Cruz

Firni Doughnut

The other best thing at Little Flower is the firni doughnut. The top is dusted with crushed pistachios, the doughnut is soft and airy, and the interior pastry cream has all kinds of subtle floral and spice flavors going on. You could seduce someone with this pastry.

Little Flower Cafe  image

photo credit: Devlin Claro and Aniza Iniguez

Breakfast Sandwich

The base breakfast sandwich here comes with egg and cheese, with halal bacon available as an add-on. The bun is soft, the eggs are fluffy and flavorful, and overall it’s a very solid savory breakfast option (whether you choose to get the bacon or not). Because it’s essentially beef jerky, the bacon is a bit tough. We prefer the sandwich sans meat, but we understand the appeal.

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FOOD RUNDOWN

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