Couple of comments and questions about the 30th Ave. part of Astoria.
1) Avenue Cafe at 36th st and 30th ave.
Shared a light dinner there tonight - veggie pizza and a greek salad. My wife got a dacquiri, I got a Keo. They really did everything right with this place. Has a warm inviting Med. atmosphere, and the food (everything we had) was honest and fresh, and absolutely as good as it needed to be given great environment. The place is clearly hit - it's always mobbed (Athens Cafe East?) in the eves. No better place to while away the hours with a coffee in the morning when it's less jammed.
2) Athens Cafe at 32nd at 30th
I think they get an unnecessarily harsh rap. The sweets - by my estimation - are mostly no good. The coffee drinks are excellent, although sometimes overpriced ($5 seems too steep for a frozen cappucino, but even still I can't resist). The grilled haloumi sandwich is PERFECT. And the SCENE...something about it warms my heart. Alive, thriving, boisterous, happy...
3) Dacine Cafe (or something like it)
at 34th (or 35th) st. and 30th Ave.
Just opened. Peeked at the menu today and it looks a bit suspect - too many ethnicities represented...no clear identity. Haven't tried it, and nothing's pulling me in.
4) Santorini Cafe
at Steinway St. and 28th Ave.
Finally they've gotten a sidewalk permit, which is a good thing cuz I'd never want to go in (for one thing, people are ALWAYS fragrantly violating the NYC smoking laws). Haven't tried them since the new owners came in about a year ago, but it looks like they might serve some decent grub. Nice place to get the sidewalk cafe vibe with a little less SCENE. Any reports? (I bet their coffee is good)
5) Frank's Bakery
at 36th and 30th, across from Avenue
They're now selling a very good, salty, peppery, sourdoughy olive bread. Fresh, delicious, but $4.95 seems too expensive to me (it's not all that big). They don't have it every day, so check back if it ain't there.
Just some thoughts.