Astoria has a new taco shop and it’s not like the others. “It’s as if a Mexican fell in Greece,” says executive chef, Sebastian Royo, of Astoriana Diosa del Taco. We were greeted warmly at the new space, which recently had its soft opening. We proceeded to try a great selection of tacos, including Roasted Lamb with tzatziki, Chicken, Shrimp Tempura, Carne Asada and their newest, Al Pastor (marinated pork with pineapple). The tacos came beautifully presented, with pickled orchids as a garnish. All the tacos were very tasty and served with a variety of salsas, ranging from mild to hot. The Carne Asada was served with seared cheese, a new take on the classic Mexican dish. I asked for no cilantro since I have an aversion to it, and Royo teased us in a playful way, but he did oblige. The establishment also serves Mahi Mahi and seared Ahi Tuna as part of their Tacos Marineros, served with Napa cabbage, tartar sauce and pickled leeks. We drank delicious, cooling Agua Frescas—creamy Horchata and tart Hibiscus Flower. For an appetizer, we were served Quecas, or corn empanadas, filled with mushrooms and also with short rib. They were a favorite. The flavors were so good, with the crunch of the corn exterior and the tangy sauce. The menu is fairly extensive and we look forward to trying the Shishi-Lotes—baby corn and shishito peppers, tossed with tangy aoli and cotija cheese—a unique take on classic Mexican street food, Elotes. The vibe is relaxed, with music playing in the background and there is a long communal table as well as a few for 2–3 people. The space used to be QNS Café and the owners haven’t changed it too much, except to spruce it up and add a mural representing their vision. You can order at the bar/counter and the food will be brought to your table. The prices are average for the area, with tacos costing between $3.25 for 4″ street tacos and $6.50–$7 for more filling 6″ tacos. Vegetarians can choose from appetizers like grain bowls as well as cauliflower and Hibiscus flower tacos. We wish Astoriana much success. Welcome to the neighborhood!
Astoriana Diosa del Taco
22-35 31st St