An Ode to Astoria, By a Former Astorian
By Ilija Sekulovski
I’m not really a foodie or a beer snob, but I love them both together and I like to have them frequently. They both make me very happy. Now, I understand that I can just take the subway to Astoria from Forest Hills and I’ll be back, but a little part of me knows it won’t be the same. So, here’s to you Astoria. I thoroughly enjoyed being inside of you….. teehee
My own opinions in no particular order ( I hate Yelp so sue me):
1. Queens Comfort (4009 30th Ave)
One of the most entertaining breakfasts I will ever have thanks to the atmosphere and creative food. Place opens at 10 AM but be prepared to wait; die hards will be lining up before then. Wait moves quickly because you are being entertained by the guy at the door ( or literally one of the best hosts at a restaurant I have ever encountered, wish I knew his name). If you have been waiting for a while, he’ll tell you a spicy or mild joke, depends on your preference. Be prepared! he will ask you a question and will announce your answer when you are called to your table. I know being funny and creative so early on a saturday morning is hard, but the chuckles from the crowd when they hear your answer will be worth it. Also this place is cash only and BYOB!
Fave Eats: Disco Tots, Brunch Burrito
2. Arepas Cafe (33–07 36th Ave)
There are two locations but I always went to this one since it was so close to my apartment. Will literally become a staple in your “eat out” routine. I have heard that they have really great brunch as well!
Fave Drink: Passion Fruit Sangria ( get the pitcher, sharing is caring)
Fave Eats: Mami Arepa, Reina Arepa ( don’t forget the green sauce, which I don’t know the proper name for)
3. Il Bambino (34–08 31st Ave)
Anyone who has visited me in Astoria has probably ended up at this place because I dragged them, and they leave the restaurant a fan because it’s just too darn good. The best panini I have ever had. Not a place for vegetarians; there is an actual map of a pig and it’s parts painted on the wall when you first walk in, a glossary of those parts is then provided on the menu. Eat in the outdoor area if it’s nice out!
Fave Eats: Baby string beans, Fried Eggplant Panini, Speck Panini, Berkshire Smoked Ham Panini
4. Mad Donkey (3207 36th Ave)
Looking for that perfect hole in the wall bar where everyone knows your name? Looking for a bar that will encourage you to drink all their taps and take a picture of you to put on their wall once you have completed this task? Mad Donkey is that bar. This place felt like an extension of home. I came here most Thursdays with my roomie and we would shoot the shit. I would tell you their awesome special on Thursdays but I encourage you to just go in and find out.
Fave Drink: Blue Point Summer ( sorry, I drank nothing else).
5. Brooklyn Bagel ( 35–05 Broadway, 36–14 30th Ave, and 35–09 Ditmars Blvd)
I listed all three locations so there is no excuse not to go! Just go on a saturday morning. Hungover or not hungover you will enoy their bagels immensely. Key word: Immense. Their bagels are huge. Save one half for dinner or something.
Fave Eats: Bacon Maple Cream Cheese, Bacon Scallion Cream Cheese
6. Snowdonia (34–55 32nd St)
The first time I came here they were playing Young Frankenstein, the second time Mad Max, the third Mad Max Road Warrior. I mean come on, doesn’t this place already sound awesome? Tiny space, but never that busy, Snowdonia has a unique food selection and a pretty good canned beer menu.
Fave Eats: Hummus Fries
Fave Drink: Pork Slap Pale Ale
7. The Strand (25–27 Broadway)
If you are looking to eat BBQ in a place that reminds you of the south, this is the place. When I say the south I mean a trendy hipster restaurant that has a bluegrass band playing on a stage, hosts trivia nights, and is right by the subway. They have awesome deals when the weather gets nice, and a huge outdoor patio in the back. Brunch is really good here as well.
Fave Food: One pound of Pulled pork and mac and cheese
Fave Drink: They always have something good on tap, but definitely try the Dickle shot!
8. Single Cut Beersmiths (19–33 37th St)
I have only been to this place once, but it’s pretty cool. Pretty sure they have live music on Friday nights. Games to play on all nights to keep you entertained. Free snack bags of chips. Get the beer flight. If I recall correctly you can pick five out of ten beers to try and they give you a hefty pour.
Fave Drink: Sorry, was too drunk to remember.
9. Studio Square (35–33 36th St)
Okay so there are two big beer gardens in Astoria. Studio Square and Bohemian. Bohemian takes after it’s name and is the more relaxed beer garden, while Studio Square is totally the opposite and can be construed as… how do I put this…more of a “D- bag” bar, then an actual beer garden. Now honestly I have had a great time at both, get a large table for a ll of your friends and play that Heads up Game, you’ll have a good time no matter what. Although some will disagree with me on this, I think that Studio Square is the better of the two. I think part of the reason, well maybe most of the reason, why I like it so much is because it was just so close to my apartment. I mean who can argue with that reasoning.
Fave Eats: Big Pretzel, Cheese Nachos
Fave Drink: Not necessarily relevant, because they are really big on serving domestic beers
10. Katch (31–19 Newtown Ave)
Katch is a great sports bar. I have never sat down to eat there but I have hung out at the bar many times. They have a very large beer selection which I appreciate. Tons of TVs and a chill atmosphere. The first time I went there was in November. I remember they had a great special, almost like a beer cocktail. It was pumpkin beer and a shot of vanilla vodka. I love pumpkin beer but I hate vanilla vodka, but the combination was like the ultimate fall drink.
Fave Eats: Tater tots with three different aioli dipping sauces