33-07 Ditmars Blvd.
Astoria, Queens, NY
Should you try? Definitely for some authentic Greek food
You always hear Manhattanites talk about the beer garden in Astoria, but it’s also known for its diverse population. And what comes with a diverse population? Eclectic and authentic cuisine. I’ve lived in Manhattan for several years now, and I have to admit, I’ve never been to Astoria. We finally decided to take a trip out there (only 30-40 min from Midtown Manhattan) and stopped at the infamous Bohemian Hall & Beer Garden. I’ll definitely be going back to Astoria, possibly for the beer garden but definitely for the food.
For my first time out there, I wanted to make sure I tried the best of the best. After some research online and asking friends, I settled on Taverna Kyclades. I’ve heard waits can be over an hour, but I guess we were lucky because we sat down right away (went on a Sunday at 2pm). Strangely enough, the line was longer after we finished eating around 3pm.
Walk in and you see a bunch of Greek families eating, a sign the food is good and authentic. To start, we tried the grilled octopus, fried calamari, pan-fried Greek cheese and Greek salad. All were pretty delicious.
The Grilled Octopus ($12.95) was served above a thin layer of oil and red vinegar and was cooked perfectly, not overcooked and rubbery.
The Fried Calamari ($9.95) was probably up there with the best I’ve had. The breading is well-seasoned and you get a hint of lemon. It was good enough to eat on its own, unlike others that have to rely on the marinara sauce to add flavor.
The Pan-Fried Greek Cheese ($6.95) had a thin layer of breading, and the cheese oozed out as you cut into it. Meanwhile, the Greek Salad (Large – $10.95; shown above) was enough to share between the four of us and had amazingly fresh and tasty feta.
For our entrees, we ordered family style and went with the Branzino (Mediterranean Sea Bass) with a side of Horta (steamed dandelion) (MP; $28 for us) and Roasted Lemon Potatoes ($5.75). They brought out the entire fish (skin, bones and all) and you can either cut it up yourself or they will do it for you. If you’re looking for a fresh fish, this is for you. The fish was cooked well and I enjoyed it, but it wasn’t the most flavorful.
The roasted lemon potatoes were solid and a good choice for a side. However, I wouldn’t get the Horta again. It tasted like steamed spinach, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but when you have the option to get rice, fried potatoes, beets or lemon potatoes instead, I would go for one of the other options.
One last thing to top off this feast – Greek dessert on the house, similar to a flan with filo dough (I obviously don’t know what it was, but it was delicious).