Astoria Eats: The Best Restaurants in Astoria, Queens
New York is known for its cultural and artistic diversity all over the world, and is often associated with the culinary attractions of Manhattan. Recently, there has been an uproar in the masses flocking towards Astoria, Queens to get a bite to eat. With diverse cultural representation in restaurants spanning from Ditmars to 30th Avenue,and since the area is a couple stops from Manhattan, many tourists and locals are dining in this once private area, making it a staple for eating out. As a foodie and Astorian myself, I have made my rounds looking for the best of the best places to get the most amazing meals at any time of the day. I have documented my experiences on my instagram blog, Plating and Planting, and feel as though I have eaten enough to know my culinary favorites worth recommending Here is my personal list of the top 10 best restaurants to check out in Astoria, Queens.
The Top 10 Best Restaurants in Astoria, Queens (2020)
10.The Pomeroy (Ditmars Blvd)
The Pomeroy on Ditmars, owned by Lady Gaga’s personal chef, is amazing for classic American food with more of a gourmet twist. With a well rounded menu and interesting appetizers, I highly recommend it for higher end American dining. The place has a welcoming and romantic ambience that adds some flare to the environment, along with an accessible bar area for a change in scenery. My personal favorites from the menu are the Frickles (Fried Pickles), The Pomeroy Burger and the Halloumi and Grilled Vegetable Sandwich.
9. HinoMaru (Ditmars Blvd)
HinoMaru is a small, casual ramen joint on Ditmars that has an amazingly extensive menu containing an insane amount of various asian-fusion dishes. The accessibility of this place for a quick lunch alone to even a dinner with a group is what makes the environment so comfortable. You always feel welcomed to eat no matter how big or small the party or the time of day. The Spicy Miso Ramen and the signature HinoMaru Ramen are my two recurring orders, and were the determining factors that lead me to deem HinoMaru as serving the best ramen that I have tried in all of Queens. I stand by this statement despite many having favorites on Flushing, Main Street, but nothing tops it.
8. Tufino Pizzeria Napoletana (Ditmars Blvd)
Tufino Pizzeria Napoletana is a casual Italian food option on Ditmars that specializes in brick oven pizza and classic pasta. There are over ten types of pizza combinations available to order as well as an amazing assortment of delicious italian appetizers, my personal favorite being the Polenta Fries and Burrata. Tufino is the ideal place to enjoy quality, authentic food without a high class environment along with live music performed by local artists. Overall, Tufino is one of the best daytime Italian restaurants in Astoria with something to fit everyones’ taste, and I haven’t found another place like it.
7. Watawa (Ditmars Blvd)
Watawa is an upscale sushi restaurant and bar right in Astoria, Queens on Ditmars. It has a luxurious feel with exotic sushi combinations presented on an extensive menu containing tons of Japanese classics. Watawa is one of those restaurants that everyone goes to at least once no matter where you’re from in the city. I first tried sushi at Watawa at the age of 10, where I ordered the Spicy Crab Roll and Rock Shrimp, which remains my consistent order to this day when I don’t feel like experimenting.
6. Rosatoro (Ditmars Blvd)
Rosatoro is a newly established Peruvian restaurant on Ditmars and I couldn’t wait to try it. Since I went a couple months ago I’ve returned five times after that. The authentic peruvian cuisine at Rosatoro is astounding, especially any dish containing chicken. The interior is decorated in foliage and the glass walls make it the perfect place to stop in for a late lunch or dinner when there is live music. The Pollo Sliders and Aji De Gallina are a must try for the best classic Peruvian chicken experience.
5. Zenon Taverna (30th Avenue)
As a Greek in Astoria, I have tried almost every Greek restaurant comparing it to my grandma’s cooking. Zenon Taverna on 30th Avenue has come close by serving the most genuine Greek and Cypriot cuisine of all the Greek owned restaurants here in Queens. The interior reminds me of a classic greek home, which is a common good sign when you are about to eat at any Greek restaurant. Zenon uses original Greek and Cypriot recipes that have a homemade taste and are displayed in a family style dining arrangement, similar to the classic way of eating in town eateries on Greek islands. Saganaki, Pasticho and Octopus at Zenon Taverna are dishes that are some of the finest I’ve had at any Medditeranian restaurant.
4. The Thirsty Koala (Ditmars Blvd)
The Thirsty Koala is a gluten-free Australian restaurant that is known for the use of organic ingredients and whole foods located on Ditmars. With interesting menu items and capability and providing healthier dining options, The Thirsty Koala easily makes a top five spot on this list. Head Chef Katherine Fuchs, most known from her appearance on the Food Network reality show, Chopped, brings Australian classics to fit an American style making many menu items unique and hard to find anywhere else. Some known favorites from The Thirsty Koala included the Halloumi Fries, Chicken Marsala and the Australian Burger with the Lot, which are only some of many other great menu items.
3. Sugar Freak (30th Avenue)
Sugar Freak is a New Orleans inspired Cajun restaurant known for its southern feel and amazing menu. I am a regular at Sugar Freak due to my love for oysters, which is a staple item in the menu that is served in many forms. Oysters Rockefeller are a southern classic that are not often seen, or done well, in the Northeast. However, Sugar Freak perfected this recipe as well as many other definitive types of oysters. The insane themed Mardi Gras decor and the homey southern hospitality feel of the place make you feel as if you are eating in a home in Louisiana, which is a nice escape from New York City. I suggest you stop in for Jambalaya or a Fried Oyster Po’Boy and enjoy a southern escape.
2. Ill Bambino (30th Avenue)
Ill Bambino is a restaurant on 30th avenue that specializes in the simple concept of soups and sandwiches. The entire menu is filled with endless panini combinations ranging from breakfast to dinner. The concept of Ill Bambino is so simple yet so well done, and has easily become one of my favorite hidden spots of all time. Panini’s are a food that can be eaten at any time of day making Ill Bambino a convenient spot when you’re hungry. The truffle aioli and the use of homemade sauces overall is what makes Ill Bambino paninis’ so different from any other standard panini I have ever tried. The environment is relaxed and perfect for one on one conversations or even solo dining, with recipes from the menu covering the walls as wallpaper making for inviting decor. The Notorious P.I.G. Brunch Panini with Tomato Soup and a Nutella Hot Chocolate for dessert is a frequent meal that I would eat everyday if I could.
1. Trattoria L’incontro (Ditmars Blvd)
Lastly, Trattoria L’incontro is an upscale Italian restaurant on Ditmars that has the best food I have tried, arguably, in all of New York City. Trattoria L’incontro is an experience more than it is a standard restaurant, and is a once and a while treat to go. The menu is simple consisting of pastas, meats and appetizers but the execution of these classic items, lead by head chef and owner Rocco Sacramone, are anything but simple. The waiters come out and recite a long list of specials prepared by the chef day by day and there is always something new to try when having dinner at Trattoria L’incontro. Italian cuisine at Trattoria L’incontro is truly authentic and paired with a sizable wine list, which is recommended based off of your prefered meal. Now Michellen starred and one of the most notable restaurants for occasion dining, this restaurant is no doubt a favorite of many beyond Astoria, Queens. Burrata, Black Parpadelle with Seafood and Lemon Sauce, Lasagna and Apple Ravioli in a Mascarpone are a small portion of the exquisite menu items and specials presented at Trattoria L’incontro.
– by Andriana Kourkoumelis ’20
Photos provided by Yelp.com, The Michelin Guide, OpenTable, platingandplanting on Instagram