This is a very tough and challenging time for a number of reasons, and one thing we suggest doing is ordering gift cards (or e-gift cards) from businesses that are partially or fully closed. This is a great and safe way to show your support and care for the people who are being negatively affected.
Welcome to BOAST: Best of Astoria, the essential guide to the best things to eat, drink, do and see in Astoria, Queens.
I was fortunate to be selected for a viewing of Music: Not Impossible. I had no idea what to expect, but I left feeling very moved. Interpreters were faced with the task of translating sounds and music into sign language, which was fascinating to observe. As my friend and I arrived, we were suited with wrist and ankle devices as well as one that went over the chest. These devices vibrated to the sound of the music, which was incredible. I have full hearing, but the added effects were invigorating to experience. The goal was for everyone to experience music in the same way.
The music ranged from a full orchestra to a light show with sound effects. The final segment of the event was a video of a woman dressed in an ethereal outfit and crown, in Times Square, approaching people without sound. As expected, those she interacted with had no clue what was going on and were largely dismissive. Watching that made me a little sad, although I understood that people can be nervous around concepts they don’t understand and being approached by strangers. This segment did also include music, as the woman wandered into an abandoned boat and explored the surroundings. I wondered how much we don’t give people a chance because they are different. The whole show was about an hour, in a small auditorium for around 150 people. The creator of the event, a deaf man, signed how grateful he was for the opportunity. It seemed like an experiment—one I hope they will continue. The event was free to those selected for the two showings. I only went to the first showing and I don’t know if they were the same or not, but I suspect that they were. Congratulations to all those involved for this innovative concert and to MOMI for hosting such a wonderful community event.
Text by Briyah
Photos by Briyah and Dov
Anassa Taverna Astoria is a lovely new addition to the Greek restaurant landscape in Astoria. They take the customer experience seriously. As I walked in someone offered to check my coat. They definitely have a swanky feel. Beautiful sweeping twinkling lights adorn the ceiling of this restaurant on Astoria Boulevard and 28th Street.
Soon after I sat down a small bowl of hummus on a platter with warm bread drizzled with olive oil was delivered to my table. Since I am a vegetarian, I did not partake in the bountiful seafood and other meaty options upon their menu. I thought I would enjoy an appetizer and dessert. Was a little bummed they didn’t have a dessert menu but at the end of your meal they bring you a small piece of cake. It’s called revani. (The waitstaff each spelled it differently when I asked for the spelling for my Instagram post.) It’s a sweet yellow cake in a honey-like sauce.
Speaking of honey, I got an order of cheese saganaki for my meal. It was amazing. I wished I had saved more of my bread to pair with the cheese dish. Oh that bread. I will sing its praises endlessly. The appetizer I ordered was a Greek gruyere fried in honey and lemon. It’s served bubbling hot! It was a lot of cheese for one person so I will be back and bring friends. I enjoyed the cheese and bread with a glass of rosé called Agiorgitiko. Nice meal that’s super close to the Astoria Blvd subway stop. I could see this becoming a new habit!
Anassa Taverna Astoria
28-10 Astoria Blvd
Photos by Emily
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
The BOAST: Best of Astoria Winter Party 2020 is a wrap! Congrats to people who won raffle prizes from Astoria Bier & Cheese, Break Bar & Billiards, Katch Astoria, Museum of the Moving Image, Queen’s Room, Redken Saloon Salon, Rivercrest, Sweet Afton, The Bonnie, The Ditty, The Last Word, The Wolfhound, and Tufino Pizzeria and thank you to those businesses as well. We would also like to thank everyone who came to the party, and to Rivercrest for hosting.
Photos by Dov
I was the first one to arrive to the theater with about twenty minutes to spare. A few others trickled in and Charly Evon Simpson’s Jump, began. The material could be triggering for some, as it’s about intense grief. I don’t want to give anything away, but the story centers around a mysterious bridge where the main characters often converse. The lights often flicker and something seems to have gone awry in Faye’s brain. Played by Kelechi Ezie, Faye is grappling with the recent loss of her mother due to cancer. Her father, played by Dathan B. Williams, isn’t doing much better. He’s an alcoholic and he can’t seem to connect with his daughters (the other played by Natasha Hakata). Faye meets Hopkins, a stranger on the bridge, played by Alex J. Gould. The two strike up an unlikely friendship and realize they have more in common than they thought.
The play is heavy with a few laughs here and there. It makes you think about life and what makes it worth living. The small but mighty cast does a good job bringing their characters to life, especially in heart-breaking scenes.
Jump was a semi-finalist for the Playwrights Realm Writing Fellowship and the inaugural recipient of the David Goldman Fund for New Plays. Astoria Performing Arts Center (APAC)’s production marks Jump’s New York premiere.
Performances of Jump continue during weekends through February 23, 2020 at APAC’s pop-up theater, 28-21 Steinway St, Astoria. You can buy tickets here.
Come to Rivercrest on Sunday, February 23, from 3 – 6pm to celebrate the BOAST: Best of Astoria 2019 winners! (Rivercrest is a 2019 winner for Best New Bar.) Go to boast.nyc/party to reserve your tickets. We’ll provide some snacks, and there will be a cash bar.We will also have a raffle with prizes from Astoria Bier & Cheese, Katch Astoria, Museum of the Moving Image, Queen’s Room, Redken Saloon Salon, Rivercrest, Sweet Afton, The Bonnie, The Ditty, The Last Word, The Wolfhound, and Tufino Pizzeria. If you sign up by Monday, February 17, you will be automatically entered into the raffle. Additional raffle tickets will be available at the event as well. The cover is $15 (+ fee) in advance, and $20 on day of the event at the door. If you have any questions, email firstname.lastname@example.org. You can see all the current winners on boast.nyc, on the EAT, DRINK, and DO & SEE pages.
We look forward to seeing you at the party!
—The BOAST Team
Not everything from the BOAST: Best of Astoria 2019 survey made it onto the site. There were some great write-ups of places that were not winners, and some categories did not have clear winners so they were left off the site entirely. So here they are, the extras from the survey.
In both the Best Happy Hour and Best Date Spot categories, there were no clear winners. The notable places for Best Happy Hour were Katch Astoria, Daly’s Pub, Chanos, Victory Garden Cafe, Sek’end Sun, Blend, Tacuba and Sanfords. Some places written in for Best Date Spot included Blend, Judy & Punch, Vite, The Last Word, Q.E.D., Sanfords, Aliada, Bohemian Hall & Beer Garden, Sweet Afton, DiWine, The Bonnie, and Sek’end Sun. The category for Best Pet-friendly Establishment didn’t have enough variance, but place with the most responses was Château le Woof.
And here are some write-ups for places that didn’t have enough votes to be BOAST winners.
For Best American Restaurant, Arcadia Bar & Kitchen: “Arcadia Bar & Kitchen is both restaurant and bar. With a lovely outdoor seating area and indoors bar, you will find American classics like grilled cheese sticks and mac and cheese melt in your mouth.”
Also for Best American Restaurant, The Pomeroy: “This New American eatery is relaxed and simply has incredible food. Add the homey vibe with great cocktails and you have a win!”
For Best Bagels, Bagel House: “Great bagels, with all the fixins’, and not a hipster in sight. Just regular old-school Astorians. ;-)”
For Best Brunch, The Thirsty Koala: “Experience a solid brunch with the classics — including friendly staff and Aussie ambience. Fried haloumi and honey ups the ante for sure!”
For Best Budget Dining, Ukus: “This Balkan (Montenegrin) spot makes a magnificent chopped salad with Bulgarian feta (the Ukus Salada), and spectacular bureks (savory pies). Meat eaters apparently love their cevapi, the gulas (goulash) and their Bosnian soup.”
For Best Burger, Halsey’s Tavern: “Their black bean burger (a vegetarian burger) is the best black bean burger I’ve ever had. The fries were good too.”
For Best Dessert, Jujube Tree: “The (vegan) pumpkin cheesecake is yum yum yum … and yum!”
For Best Pizza, Rose & Joe’s Italian Bakery: “Step to the far back counter of Rose and Joe’s old-school Italian bakery, and you find their pizza counter and oven, somehow producing unusually tasty slices. Long may they bake!”
For Best Coffee and Tea, Mighty Oak: “Worth spending a little more to buy my coffee beans here.”
For Best Activity, Movies in Hunters Point South: “Best lawn for an outdoor movie and the whole view of the east side of Manhattan.”
For Best Place for a Haircut, Nikos and Tasoula: “An affordable, nice mom-and-pop shop that gives a good haircut. With lots of bouzoukis and other musical instruments on the wall!”
The BOAST: Best of Astoria 2019 winners have been posted to this website and you can see them on the EAT, DRINK, and DO & SEE pages. You can also find them on a map organized by location on the LOCATION page. Thank you to those who filled out the survey, and you may see your write-ups throughout the site. We also have new images on those pages, as well as with the Featured BOAST Locations on the sidebars. If you want to see all the winners in one list, we put them on a post here. There were a lot of winners this year, with one of the reasons being that we had a Best of the Decade category in each section. You can see the winners By the Numbers in this post here. It’s clear that Astoria has TONS of great places to eat, and in 2019 the hottest spots were 30th Ave (N/W) and Ditmars Blvd (N/W), with Broadway (N/W) not far behind.
Save the Date for the BOAST: Best of Astoria Winter Party 2020, where we’ll celebrate the 2019 winners. It’ll happen on Sunday, Feb. 23, in the late afternoon, with more details to come soon. But we can tell you that there will be a raffle for prizes from places including Tufino Pizzeria, The Ditty, Astoria Bier & Cheese, Rivercrest, The Wolfhound, Queen’s Room, Katch Astoria, Astoria Performing Arts Center, Redken Saloon Salon, The Bonnie, Sweet Afton, and Museum of the Moving Image.
Hope your new year is off to a great start.
Here are the numbers for the BOAST: Best of Astoria 2019 Winners
Number of Categories
DO & SEE: 13
Number of Winners
DO & SEE: 42
Winners by Location
36th Ave (N/W): 7
Broadway (N/W): 28
31st Ave: 10
30th Ave (N/W): 33
Astoria Blvd (N/W): 4
Astoria-Ditmars Blvd (N/W): 33
Steinway St (M/R): 17
Long Island City: 6
Businesses with the most wins in different categories
3 – Gossip Coffee (1st: 3)
3 – Sek’end Sun (1st: 2, 3rd: 1)
3 – Museum of the Moving Image (1st: 1, 2nd: 2)
3 – New York City Bagel & Coffee House (2nd: 2, 3rd: 1)
2 – Jujube Tree (1st: 2)
2 – Q.E.D. (1st: 2)
2 – Sal, Kris and Charlie’s Del (1st: 2)
2 – Sanfords Restaurant (1st: 2)
2 – Astoria Park (1st: 1, 3rd: 1)
2 – The Shillelagh Tavern (1st: 1, 3rd: 1)
2 – Omonia Café (2nd: 2)
2 – The Bonnie (2nd: 1, 3rd: 1)
2 – Diamond Dogs (2nd: 1, 3rd: 1)
2 – Queens Comfort (2nd: 1, 3rd: 1)