The Greatest Gastronomic Outdoor Dining: Scenic, Sweet & Savory
By Bonnie Ellman
As the weather finally warms up in Queens, outdoor dining will no longer be something that we are forced to do because of COVID-19. Still pandemic-friendly, of course, these quaint spots in the heart of Astoria offer beautiful atmospheres to accompany your equally beautiful dish. At these locations, you can enjoy a wide variety of hearty, ethnic food with surroundings comparable to a fairytale. Nothing welcomes the long-awaited, warmer weather more than indulging in these truly unique dining experiences.
For a full Mediterranean dining experience, Victory Garden Cafe is the place to go. In addition to offering both indoor and outdoor dining, Victory features a European style garden, a full cafe and liquor menu and even has a bakery where you can indulge in delicacies like homemade Greek cookies and pastries, Spanakopita, Tsoureki and holiday breads. Victory comes highly recommended as a wedding venue by TheKnot.com and WeddingWire.com and is noted as one of TripSavvy’s best bistros and cafes. But you don’t have to be on your way to the altar to enjoy this lovely locale; stop in for a lunch portion of Chicken Balsamico plate, complete with grilled chicken in balsamic vinegar with your choice of fries, lemon potatoes or Greek rice and salad. Or for you seafood lovers out there, delight in their Crabmeat Stuffed Shrimp!
Vegetarian diners can enjoy dessert like FAGE yogurt served with mint and baklava and wash it down with one of their unique chocolate drinks like Cioccolata Fondente (creamy and dark) or Cioccolata Nocciola (hazelnut).
2169 Steinway St. | 718.274.2087 | victorysweetshop.com | @victorygardencafe
Ever wanted to feel like royalty and dine in a mansion? Well if you thought that was only a dream, think again. Make your dream come true at The Mansion Supper Club, where four different choices of atmosphere can quickly transport you from a tropical island, to a Miami club, to your classic NYC bar to an episode of The Crown.
Their outdoor seating features tropical and Caribbean vibes and can also become enclosed and heated for the chillier days, so you can enjoy your handcrafted cocktail with an exotic view no matter the weather. The menu boasts appetizers like tacos and other Latin delicacies and a range of specialty drinks as well. Some of their greatest hits are Pollo en Champinones: chicken, white rice and creamy mushroom sauce or Picado Colombiana with Papa Criola and Arepa. Accompany your entrée with drinks like the Matador, complete with Tequila Blanco, vanilla essence and lava salt or the Garden’s Blue Coconut Royal with dark and light rum and pineapple juice.
4611 Broadway | 917.410.7043 | mansionny.com | @mansionsupperclub
Dubbed one of Astoria’s best beer and burger spots, Sweet Afton is one of the neighborhood’s gems that delivers both good food and a vibrant and elegant atmosphere; the perfect place for a first date or special occasion. Sweet Afton’s outdoor, verdant garden offers a luxurious dining setting inspired by the old-world Georgian gardens. In the summer months, the garden completely warms up, but can convert to an enclosed greenhouse space when needed so diners can have that outdoor feel even in the colder weather.
Their menu is extensive, offering delicious, shareable appetizers like Artichoke and Kale Ricotta Dip, which comes with artichoke hearts, sautéed kale, pimentos and Crostini, and Zucchini Fritters which are served with fried aoli. For all the carnivores out there, we recommend the signature Sweet Afton Burger or their Fried Chicken Sandwich, but on the flip side, vegetarians can delight in macaroni and cheese, which is served with gruyere cheese, smoked cheddar, Muenster and scallions. Sweet Afton also has a full-service bar with drinks like the Pinball Wizard: a combination of Milagro Reposado and Montenegro Amarado, or a Hot Pickle Martini, served with Tito’s vodka and McClure’s spicy pickle juice.
39-09 34th St. | 718.777.2570 | sweetaftonbar.com | @sweetaftonbar