Excellent Choices for DINNER in ASTORIA, Queens
When searching for a place to enjoy dinner Astoria offers excellent choices. Highly-regarded as a DINNER spot that features innovative and delicious cuisine is The Highwater. Situated at 34-20 Broadway, The Highwater is a small restaurant and tiki bar featuring Hawaiian and New American cooking. With the proviso that this restaurant is best suited to small groups, and there may be a wait for a table during busy times, a wonderful dining experience awaits. The first feature to greet you will be the unique drink selection that includes tropical and Hawaiian flavors in marvelous combinations. As an example, the “Chuck Norris” is made with bourbon, Montenegro, ginger syrup, lemon juice, and strawberry and served in a glass smoked with hickory wood.
In keeping with the twist on Hawaiian food, one of the featured staples at The Highwater are the taro fries, which many choose to spice up with the sriracha aioli drizzled over them. Some of the entrees will vary according to the seasonal menu, but there are always choices for meat lovers and vegetarian/vegan diners. Specialties include pork-belly tacos and the chicken karage (“car-ee-ah-gee”) marinated in a “secret” sauce and then fried. Traditional Hawaiian tuna poke is enhanced to make a light, sweet dish that even features an edible flower.
George’s takes its name from George S. Kaufman, the founder of Kaufman Astoria Studios. The site of George’s restaurant was known as The Astor Room and served as the commissary at Paramount Pictures beginning nearly 100 years ago. Remodeled to provide an expansive space that is reached by descending a marble staircase, George’s restaurant offers quality food and live jazz in the evenings.
DINNER here is comfortable and welcoming to larger parties and to single diners. A full bar provides an array of standard drinks and creative cocktails. The DINNER menu is of high quality while offering some novelties worthy of the grand scale of the silver screen. Valentino’s Pasta is made with six-foot-long strands of fresh pasta made by Bronx-based Borgatti’s. This homage to the great star of the silent picture era, Rudolph Valentino, incorporates Italian sausage, mushrooms, and a sauce made from Valentino’s own recipe.
Expert in their preparation of seafood dishes, George’s boasts a crusted Halibut in lemon-basil sauce and prepares “collassal” lump crab cakes. Coca-cola marinated pork chop is one of the inventive takes on mixing sweet and savory elements. Two chicken dishes are available and for those whose DINNER palate favors traditional pub food, two variations on the burger are offered. Mouthwatering desserts include a lavender infused crème brûlée.
For a fine DINNER in an intimate setting, Vesta may be ASTORIA’s top choice. The decor was completely done by local craftspeople and upholsterers. An Italian trattoria and wine bar, located at 21-02 30th Avenue, Vesta features DINNER options ranging from creatively named, and prepared, pizza (the “quaker” is topped with duck), to wild boar lasagna for those with a more eclectic palate. Operating with a “farm-to-table” approach to the freshest ingredients, featured dishes may change often, so it’s best to call ahead if looking for a given specialty. Drinks are available and a full array of wines. A highlight on Vesta’s dessert list is “La Torta del Piccolo Bambino Gesu Cristo,” which translates as “Little Baby Jesus Cake.”
One of the perks of living and/or dining in contemporary ASTORIA is the proliferation of quality restaurants offering foods that were previously very limited in the area. Pink Nori prepares highest-quality sushi and another Japanese-fusion fare. At 36-30 30th Avenue, the restaurant space allows diners to enjoy its artistic and open decor. The bar features tasty drinks like the lychee mimosas and Japanese beers are available.
A Japanese soda is on the menu for those looking for something different. Sushi preparations include such delicacies as the “Sexy Pink Lady Roll,” described on their menu as “Spicy salmon & cucumber with the crunch on the inside, salmon and mango on the outside, topped w. spicy mayonnaise, sweet wasabi & eel sauce; it is so sexy.” Non-sushi entrees comprise such dishes as a balsamic marinated boneless roast duck served with seasonal vegetables and a salmon and shrimp teriyaki. Tofu teriyaki and other meatless dishes are available.
No matter what changes come to ASTORIA, Queens, an ethnic and culinary mainstay is the Greek community and its food. Taverna Kyclades represents one of the best DINNER spots to experience authentic Hellenic cooking, with an emphasis on great seafood.
Quite a few rave reviews on Yelp not only laud the entrees, but openers such as grilled octopus, Greek salad, and dolmadakia (stuffed grape leaves). Main courses feature such unique dishes as swordfish kabobs and Greek style shrimps with feta, Ouzo, and tomato.
Calamari (squid) is served either grilled or fried and garners much praise. An array of meat dishes is available. The location is 3307 Ditmars Boulevard, just off 33rd Street. Be aware that the restaurant does not take reservations, so you may want to keep that in mind if time restrictions are important.