Starting in June, the kitchen for God's Love We Deliver (free food delivered to people with AIDS, cancer & other diseases) is moving for the summer to 37th St. between 36th & 37th Avenues while its permanent kitchen in Manhattan is being renovated. There will be hundreds of volunteers there weekdays from about 6AM to 8PM, many of whom know nothing about the area. I'm trying to put together a list of food suggestions (restaurants, groceries, take out, street carts, whatever) to help people out. (Non-food: they're on their own!) It's really gotta be places in fairly easy walking distance, and reasonably priced is always a plus. Assistance would be greatly appreciated.
As a start, I've copied below some posts from the past year or so -- sincere apologies, most is uncredited and only slightly edited. Any updates/corrections/comments are welcome. Please excuse any duplicates.
El Mariachi 3311 Broadway 718-545-4039
At El Mariachi, both food and service earn high marks, though it might be best to stick to relatively simple dishes. Tacos, huevos rancheros, chilaquiles, and salsa draw praise. Many positives, also
-- hidalgo grocery at 30th ave and 29th street has an adventurous lunch counter and often great tamales on weekends, though they are uneven. the rojas con queso is the best.
-- tulcingo deli iv on broadway imho beats mariachi hands down when it comes to the simple things like tacos.
-- flor de luna has by far the best taco in astoria. the meat though low quality is seasoned wonderfully and the red sauce (chipotle) is absolutely terrific. again, uneven product here. last week i had a carnitas taco that was the best i'd had, really at port chester levels of greatness there.
-- stay away from mexican on astoria blvd. sometimes wretched, other times mediocre, you can't go right there.
La Casa Del Pan aka La Cabana 3320 30th Ave, at 34th St 718-721-7991
& La Casa Del Pan 3802 Broadway 718-726-7946
The two La Casa del Pan locations specialize in coffee and Colombian breakfast treats. *dpw206* recommends pan de bono, especially if you can get a fresh warm one (they also reheat well at home).
Malagueta [Astoria] 25-35 36th Ave 718-937-4821
On Saturday nights they serve the Brazilian national dish of feijoida, which includes "perhaps the best black beans I have ever had, with amazing farofa and crunchy sauteed kale. The yucca fries are great," says *Alan Divack*. But others decry small portions. Fish entrees, particularly red snapper or salmon, are better values.
A new report on Malagueta says it's still putting out tasty Brazilian food. Linguica ("so tasty, almost bacon-y, I could eat that forever...nicely grilled and crisp," says *alithang*) comes with cucumber sauce and yucca. Tomato sauce accompanying crisp fried calamari is especially tasty. Carne guisada was too salty, but sides of mellow red beans and garlicky, almost crunchy collard greens satisfied. Desserts were a high point. "Wow! Coconut mousse, light creamy, not too sweet, real refreshing. The flan, oh the flan! Best ever, dense, silky, sweet, just perfection," writes *alithang*.*Sam B.* suggests corvina com vatapa, with an appetizer of acaraje. Caring owners make the difference here.
Girasol [Astoria] on 28th Ave and (34th?)
Girasol is also Brazilian. Tilefish in red sauce and spit-cooked sirloin are fantastic, says *astoriamira*, also feijoida.
Unspecified Brazilian lunch house, 31 Ave, between 37th and 38th Sts
There's a Brazilian lunch house that has what *astoriaamira* calls "a great deal on very well-prepared food (full plates of food-pork or chicken, rice and beans, veggie for $7-8). Try the beef in yucca patty.
Kebab Cafe 2512 Steinway St 718-728-9858
Kebab Cafe is a perennial Chowhound favorite. Get whatever chef/owner Ali suggests. Veggie appetizers usually shine, as do specials. Ali has a great cheese plate (makes his own soft cheeses) and last time I was there, it was not yet on the menu (so be sure to ask)
Laziza Of New York Pastry 23-78 Steinway St 718-777-7676
Stop off at Laziza Bakery (see also ChowNews #27) for Middle Eastern baked goods to take home or eat at its one table. Coffee and tea, too. [NOTE: don't miss the sensational Palestinian kunefe (koo-NEFF-uh), a very rare specialty - JIM).
Pollos y Mas 30th Ave and 36th St
Peruvian Pollos y Mas, as the name implies, specializes in chicken. Arroz con pollo and plato tipica are good, but even better with green sauce.
Dhaka Jill 35th St at 36th Ave
Dhaka Jill is Bangaladeshi and very inexpensive. Whole fish about $6. Shrimp bhoona. Naan is fresh.
El Farolito 2539 Steinway St 718-204-7711
Argentinian El Farolito sometimes has trouble coordinating dishes for groups, but the owner treats customers like gold and food's great, according to *Jayask*.
Balkh Shish Kebab 2310 31st St 718-721-5020
*ANDYK* reports delicious light ashouk (scallion/herb-stuffed, tortellini-like dumplings in yogurt sauce) and sauteed pumpkin, and very good if slightly oily sabzi (a spinach dish). A lamb kebab was tasty but overcooked, but ground beef kebab was well-seasoned.
Cina Romanian Restaurant 45-17 28th Ave 718-956-0372
Cina's Romanian lunch specials are especially good. A spate of recent reports say Cina is serving very tasty stuffed cabbage and other homey Romanian specialties in elegant surroundings with excellent service, all at very reasonable prices, which makes one wonder why this place is so empty. *john knoessel* says flavors are intense. He recommends mici (kofta-like ground beef and pork sausages served with spicy mustard) and eggplant spreads. Other hounds suggest pork tenderloin with bacon and garlic and tripe soup in a buttery broth with chopped garlic and sour cream.
S'Agapo Taverna Ouzeri 3421 34th Ave 718-626-0303
There's still plenty of Greek, too, in Astoria. S'Agapo has delicious dips, especially the grape leaf dip, and gets praise for fish, especially striped bass.
Kolonaki 3302 Broadway 718-932-8222 &
Omonia 3220 Broadway 718-274-6650
Kolomaki and Omonia are Greek cafes good for a quick bite. Get spinach pie at Kolomaki and eggs at Omonia.
Christos Hasapo Taverna 4106 23rd Ave 718-726-5195
Christos Hasapo-Taverna is the place to go for steaks.
Romano's 3221 Broadway 718-626-5292
Romano's is known for souvlaki platter, lamb, tzatziki, french fries, individual pizzas, and good diner-style burgers. Mixed reports on Greek salad. Also excellent chicken souvlaki sandwiches (4/04 update).
Djerdan on 31st Ave. and 34th St. for amazingly delicious and cheap bureks.
Arepas Pues, 32-20 34th Ave., Astoria (or LIC for all you "broadway is the dividing line" purists)between 33rd and 32nd st.
Yet again, Astoria has offered the world another delicious incredibly cheap eatery. This time the menu is Columbian and consists mostly of arepas (delicious arepas, that is). Now, I'm no arepa authenticity scholar--but whatever they are, they were wonderful. For $5 you get a lovely disk of corn flour smothered in fresh gaucamole, plantains and heaps of chorizo and chicharron. Two of us had a dinner of hearty homey plaintain soup and pork chops as well as two arepas, and have enough left over for another two meals tonight. The price? With a generous tip, $23. By the way, on top of all of this, the place is incredibly pleasant-looking and the owner/waiter was one of the nicest restaurant people I've interacted with in a long time. A truly great experience. I'm curious to hear others' opinions.
Halal food cart
Broadway & 30th, outside the supermarket (across from the Japanese place, Family Market)
The chicken pita sandwiches from Astoria's Halal food cart are made with fresh, tender chicken, great sauce, great pita. For only four dollars, you can also get chicken and rice (yellow or basmati), salad, a selection of random pickled items, and a piece of falafel with white sauce and a devilishly spicy hot sauce. In addition, the guys there are friendly and keep you coming back.
There's another good cart nearby at Steinway around 34th Ave.
Rudar Social Club
Has anyone been to this place? It is near 36th Ave and 45th St. in Astoria. It is a Croatian Club on the order of the Istrian Soccer Club. A colleague of Croatian extraction told me about it and said that it was very good.
There's not a huge selection out there for istrian, but i typically go to istria club or rudar club (both previously discussed on this site-how the chow hounds fell across these places really tickles me-i'm a member of both clubs and i always regarded these places as my own personal secrets for istrian food cravings-it makes me happy that most of the reviews were positive).
I love the mexican food served at the counter in Hidalgo Grocery. It's on 29th Street and 30th Ave on the left hand side. The one with the green awning (not on the corner), just down from the cafe. It's purely take out and cheap as can be. Everything I have had there has been great but the tamales with cheese and chili are my favorite. Go check it out!
Other neighborhood favorites of mine:
Gandhi on 30th Ave & 34th Street (Indian)
Thai Pavilion on 30th Ave (closer to Steinway - maybe around 36th St?)
Bai Sushi - Broadway and 37th Street - their spicy California rolls are great!
Sunswik - Good burgers in bar atmosphere - 35th Street and 35th Ave
Try Agnandi on Ditmars across from Astoria Park.
Start with sautéed zucchini and aubergine, served with a dollop of skordalia.
Lamb chops are really good and the fish is nice.
I second Agnandi too, as well as their lamb chops. I just posted somewhere else too that I think their tzatziki is amazing--thick yogurt, lots of cucumber and a nice amount of garlic. I also really like their horta. From a different post, I get the feeling that Ian knows authentic greek so I would love to hear from him regarding his opinion on the horta and the tzatziki
Taverna Kyclades is terrific--it's my favorite of the Greek places, hospitable & affordable. Also I like Agnandi--it's a bit of a walk down Ditmars to 19th st. (one block from the east river) but has great food, outdoor seating, and is steps from Astoria Park. Other Greek favorites are Telly's Taverna and Stamatis on 23rd Avenue. Or, for Italian (a little pricier, but really good IMHO), Trattoria L'Incontro.
(Finally ...) Pizza:
Romanos Famous Pizza on 33rd and Broadway. The best.
Polito's, between Steinway St and 38th St, on Broadway is very popular for its hearty slices.
Tony's, on Broadway and 44th street has decent pizza, and a homey dining room in the back for basic homemade Italan food.
Rizzo's, on Steinway between 31st and 30th avenues has famous square pan pizza.
Grand Avenue Pizza, on 30th Ave and 35th St has smallish slices, but the sauce is above average.
Pamela's on Steinway St, between 30th and 28th avenues has an unusual Greek style pizza, really a deep dish pizza. Avoid if you can't stand oil or greasy dough.
Sac's is my favorite, on Broadway and 29th St, three blocks past the N and W Broadway Station. Great topping, great dough.