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A Foodie’s Guide to Queens

12/08/17

A FOODIE’S GUIDE TO QUEENS

 

Eating well in New York isn’t just easy, it’s become an expectation. With a growing population of foodies, finding food that tastes great and looks even better isn’t difficult in Manhattan, where the culinary culture has long dominated the city.

 

Most visitors have a familiar dining checklist when they come to New York: the classic upper west side deli, the world-renowned chef-named restaurant, the iconic pretzel stand and kebab truck, and whatever might be the current ‘must-try’ hotspot that week. In fact, our dining guide shares some of our nearby favorites. The foodie-fever has also spread through Brooklyn, where some of the most desirable eateries have opened in recent years.

 

Queens, however, remains relatively unseen by food-passionate outsiders. As New York’s largest and most diverse borough, it can be a daunting destination for first-time visitors. But for those lucky enough to know it well, Queens is a culinary world unto itself. With a diverse population of immigrant groups (think Greek, Egyptian, Thai, Mexican, Nepalese, and Indian), Queens is home to some of the richest global cuisine in the city.

 

Blaze, a proud member of the WestHouse staff and current Astoria resident, explains what makes his neighborhood the perfect food frontier: “The rent is far cheaper, which means that the chefs who couldn’t afford to open a restaurant in Manhattan or Brooklyn come here. It’s the ideal breeding ground for up-and-coming chefs.”

 

From fine dining to finger-licking street food, Blaze shares his top picks for eating in Queens.

 

Keeping it Greek

“I wasn’t a big fan of Greek food before moving to Astoria, but now, I love it. Breakfast at Artopolis Bakery is my weekend treat. My typical order is a sweet, phyllo pastry, Greek coffee and a savory cheese bread to take home. I always plan to eat the bread over the next few days, but it’s usually gone by that evening. I just can’t help myself when it comes to baked halloumi. Agnati is probably my go-to for a Greek night out. They do the classics really well, including their meatballs and garlicky potatoes.”

 

From South America to Eastern Europe

“The diversity of food choices really shines in Queens. There are so many different cuisines I just hadn’t tried before moving here. I Love Paraguay is a good example - I mean where else are you going to get Paraguayan comfort food? The Indonesian fried chicken at Awang Kitchen was a also particular revelation, even for this Southern boy.

 

And I remember the first time I tried the khachapuri at the Georgian restaurant Marani - I kept seeing this golden bread all over my Instagram and thought, it’s probably not as good as it looks. It absolutely was.”

 

Street Food Winners

“Some of the best dishes I’ve eaten in New York have been from food trucks and take away counters in Queens. The summer food fair at Masjid Al Hikmah has some of the most delicious and unique food in the city. During the rest of the year I compensate by visiting Lhasa Fast Food for their momo (Tibetan dumplings) and noodle soup.”

 

For the Protein Lovers

“I love my meat and am often hungry for it, so I’ve found some great spots in Queens to satisfy my cravings. The BBQ at Salt and Bone never disappoints, and the pastrami sandwich at Ben’s Best is hands down my favorite deli sandwich in the city. For traditional shawarma I’ll hit up the BZ Grill, and if I’m in a seafood mood I’ll go to Sik Gaek, which is still the only place I can find ‘Korean paella.’”