The 5 Most Legit Greek Restaurants in Astoria
Everyone who lives in New York knows that if you want the best, most authentic food—of any cuisine, really—you have to go to Queens. That’s definitely true for Greek, and the best spots can be found in Astoria, a historically Greek neighborhood thanks to an influx of immigrants in the ’60s and ’70s. Each of the restaurants on this list has all the mezes, seafood, phyllo-wrapped pastries and other specialties you’ve been dreaming of since your last trip to the Mediterranean (whether that trip was IRL or on your Pinterest travel inspo board). In fact, we were so serious about getting this right that we even had it vetted by a few local Greeks.
Telly’s is somewhat of an institution, so if you didn’t know, now you know. The authentic Greek grub and the way the staff treats every customer like family have had people lining up for some three decades. One Yelper says you feel like you’ve walked into Greece upon entering its doors, and she’s not wrong. Menu highlights include pick-your-fish seafood dishes that are beyond fresh, and all the shareable apps that are one of our favorite things about a Greek meal— saganaki, tzatziki, taramosalata and kafterie—reign supreme here.
This Greek joint has a lot going for it no matter what time of year you visit. It’s especially lovely in warm weather, when the calm, alfresco dining overlooking Astoria Park will instantly transport you to the Mediterranean. In winter months, a fireplace keeps the taverna feeling all kinds of warm and cozy, and around the holidays, the dining room is all-out festive with decorations. The chicken souvlaki here will ruin you for all other iterations of the dish, and you’ll find quite a few Turkish-influenced specialties on the menu too (like crispy, cheese-stuffed bourek). Don’t even get us started on that halva politiko dessert—described on the menu as “warm spoon cake with semolina, butter and orange syrup.” Um, pass us a spoon, stat.
19-06 Ditmars Blvd., Astoria; agnantimeze.com
Ovelia gets high marks for its brunch, which includes fried feta cubes, halloumi nuggets, baklava pancakes and huevos griegos, a Greek twist on huevos rancheros, made with gigante beans and wild rice. The contemporary spot’s Greek salad will also keep you coming back on the regular, as will its grilled meats. Ovelia excels at simple classics like octopus and lamb, and we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the baked kasseri cheese and shrimp dish that will instantly convince you to follow the restaurant on the ’Gram.
34-01 30th Ave., Astoria; ovelianyc.com
Steps from the 30th Avenue N/Q stop, you’ll find a Greek restaurant that’s worth visiting for the pita alone, never mind all the goodness you’ll find on your main-course plate. Exposed brick walls and hanging lights frame a handsome bar that serves up a namesake cocktail—made with tsipouro (Greek grappa) and a house cinnamon-and-clove infusion—as well as three cocktails that use the Greek liqueur mastika and even two Greek beers. The restaurant’s banquette seating is a great place to cozy up with your favorite people and enjoy seafood specialties by chefNicholas Poulmentis (a Chopped winner), which include traditionally prepared whole fishes and a not-to-be-missed seafood tower. Pro tip: The desserts here—like karydopita (walnut cake) and portokalopita, an orange phyllo cake—are all house-made must-orders.
29-20 30th Ave., Astoria; akrotiritaverna.com
This is as old-school Greek as Astoria gets. Not a dive but not super fancy either, Taverna Kyclades—which also has outposts in the East Village and Bayside—is where you come for a quality meal at quality prices. [[what are "quality prices"? expensive, inexpensive, or in the middle, reasonable?]] Did we mention it’s family-style? The tzatziki here could take home awards, the calamari is nuts and the Greek salad is topped off with an entire block of feta cheese. We wanted to keep this place a secret…we just couldn’t bring ourselves to do it.
33-07 Ditmars Blvd., Astoria; tavernakyclades.com