Best restaurants and bars in Astoria

Meagan Drillinger is a New York City native, who spent more than a decade of her life calling Astoria, Queens home. Find out more

Often the borough of Queens gets overshadowed by Manhattan’s high-end rooftops and Brooklyn’s subterranean speakeasies. But to gloss over Queens, and the Astoria neighborhood in particular, would be a huge mistake. Long left off the tourist trail, Astoria managed to grow a quiet cult following of young professionals and families. These newcomers thrived off the old school neighborhood vibe, blending in seamlessly with its large population of immigrants who have called it home for decades. The result? One of the last strongholds of what made New York so damn cool in the first place — deeply rooted traditions from various old countries infused with youthful energy and style.

Now Astoria is one of the best neighborhoods in New York City. Jam-packed with restaurants that pride themselves on local ingredients and brimming with bars that serve everything from a perfectly pulled pint of Guinness to a gorgeously poured Champagne cocktail — the best restaurants and bars in Astoria are among the finest in the entire city. Probably one of the reasons you’re coming to New York is to eat, so if you’re making your way across the East River from Manhattan — and you absolutely should — here are the bars and restaurants you’re going to want to hit in Astoria, Queens.

Tip: Short on time? For a quick look at Queens, try this Bronx, Queens, and Brooklyn bus tour that leaves from Manhattan.

Table of Contents

Il Bambino

People having breakfast in New York City
People having breakfast in New York City

Casual and unpretentious in design, but next-level in taste, Il Bambino is a local favorite among Astorians. While the interior of the restaurant boasts more of a counter service coffee shop vibe, what people come to Il Bambino for is the backyard patio. Big on the brunch circuit, Il Bambino is known for its plump, charcuterie-filled panini, veggie-packed salads, and cheese plates.

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Comfortland

Speaking of brunch (about which Astorians are passionate), get in line early at Comfortland for one of the best in the city. The brains behind the once-iconic Queens Comfort, which sadly shuttered in 2020, opened this to-go cafe and donut shop, where there are no limits to their culinary creativity. In addition to some of the most extravagant donuts in town (from the Affogato to the Devil Food Cake), you’ll also find overstuffed sandwiches that will barely fit in your fist. The Memphis Honey Gold Chicken Sandwich is a particular crowd pleaser.

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Vesta Trattoria and Wine Bar

Wine and cheese pairing, New York City
Wine and cheese pairing, New York City

Vesta is about as neighborhood as it gets in Astoria. The restaurant has been around for years, and locals flock for dimly lit, romantic dinners or sun-drenched weekend brunches. Cozy up in the intimate, candle-lit dining room – particularly on a chilly winter evening – and tuck into fresh pastas, like the rich Wild Boar Lasagna, or tender Braised Beef Cheeks. Don’t forget to start off with a carafe of wine on tap and one of their signature meat & cheese boards. Tip: New York City is an epicenter of Italian cuisine. You may like this Little Italy Food Tasting Tour, too.

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Aliada

Souvlaki, a Greek traditional dish
Souvlaki, a Greek traditional dish

It would be wrong to come to Astoria and not eat Greek food. Astoria was a predominantly Greek neighborhood for much of the second half of the 20th century. While Astoria now represents dozens of countries around the world, the Greek restaurant scene here is one of the best in the city. Aliada is a family-run, corner Greek restaurant serving traditional dishes that really take you on a journey across the Med. The horiatiki salad and the grilled halloumi start any meal on the right note. The kebab skewers are succulent and lemony, and the octopus is grilled to perfection. No meal is complete without an extra order of pita and tzatziki.

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Compton’s

New Yorkers are nothing if not serious about their delis. Compton’s is a bonafide NYC deli that churns out serious subs, but with some over-the-top twists. Piled high between its fluffy bread loaves are mountains of meaty goodness, from gooey Philly cheesesteaks to the iconic Italian cold cut combos. Need a bacon, egg, and cheese? They’ve got those, too. The Greenpointer comes complete with two eggs, bacon, American cheese, and — wait for it — freshly made latkes.

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Milkflower

Choosing the best pizza in New York is not a fun game to play. It simply cannot be done — there are just too many epic pizza places. In Astoria, however, most locals will tell you that if you’re looking for exceptional wood-fired pizzas, then it has to be Milkflower. In the neighborhood for many years now, this Astoria institution will scratch your itch for high quality neapolitan pizza. We’re partial to the Chico Verde, with kale, lemon, garlic, pangrattato, and chili. But you also can’t go wrong with the Willy Mo, topped with meatballs, tomato, garlic, mozzarella, and bazil.

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King of Falafel & Shawarma

Astoria die-hards will tell you of the days when the King of Falafel was just a truck parked off the Broadway stop, with a line of hungry patrons always waiting for the award-winning falafel sandwiches. A few years ago the owners upgraded to an actual storefront and never looked back. The menu is simple: falafel, shawarma, and a selection of salads. Order a heaping platter with sides of rice and hummus, or have your favorites stuffed tightly into a fluffy pita.

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Pye Boat Noodle

The white-and-blue storefront with Thai lettering will make you feel like you’re stepping off the streets of Queens and into a river house somewhere on the klongs of Bangkok. Serving up authentic noodle soups and street food, Pye Boat Noodle was a welcome addition to the Astoria food scene when it opened nearly a decade ago. Its signature dishes are, of course, its boat noodle soups, like Tom Yum Bolarn Noodle with spicy chicken and lime broth. The shop has all the classics, too, like pad Thai, pad kee mao, and papaya salad — all fresh and at a price point that will please everyone.

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HinoMaru Ramen

Ramen is still a hot trend in New York, and Astoria is definitely in on the action. HinoMaru opened its doors in 2011 and has been dishing out heaping, steaming bowls of rich, flavorful ramen ever since. All broths are made in house (in fact, they’re boiled for 17 hours for maximum flavor). The result is a heady concoction of succulent soups stuffed with chunks of meat and silky ramen noodles.

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Koyo

Astoria is not the neighborhood for haute cuisine (and the locals prefer it that way), but if you’re craving an elegant dining experience then Koyo is the one to beat. This decadent omakase experience is served in a sleek, minimalist dining room, where the emphasis is always on the senses. The set menu runs for around $165 per person, which, while certainly reasonable compared to other omakase experiences, is considered expensive for Astoria.

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Sweet Afton

Bars in Astoria are a dime a dozen, but the ones that stand the test of time do so for a reason. Sweet Afton was one of the original cocktail bars to open in the neighborhood. Those of us who’ve lived here for more than 10 years remember it back when it was one of the only “trendy” spots to hit. The dimly lit, exposed brick, industrial-chic style watering hole has exposed beams, tufted leather seats, and a small outdoor backyard. Cocktails here are works of art. We’re partial to the Dirty Pickle Martini or The Monarch tequila/mezcal mashup. It also offers really obscure craft beers on tap and a menu of elevated bar bites. The fried pickles and the buffalo brussel sprouts are particularly swoon-worthy.

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Diamond Dogs

Don’t let the no frills decor deceive you, Diamond Dogs is class all the way. Serving up craft cocktails, wine by the glass, and a popular “cans of the week” beer series, Diamond Dogs is one of the best local bars in Astoria. The bar does not serve food but they have no issue if you order in or bring your own. In the summer you may have to fight your way for a spot in the massive backyard.

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Bohemian Hall and Beer Garden

Every Astorian has been here at least once. And if you’ve lived in the neighborhood for a while, then likely two or three times. This is an Astoria rite of passage. Managed and owned by the Bohemian Citizens’ Benevolent Society of Astoria, the beer garden is part of a project to protect and preserve the culture of those with Czech and Slovak ancestry in Astoria. The hall opened in 1910 and today it is a summer hotspot serving beer garden favorites (think grilled sausages, pretzels, and pierogies) and a long list of both Czech, German, and international beers.

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Sek’end Sun

An unassuming storefront on a very busy main avenue protects one of Astoria’s most favorite cocktail bars. Sek’end Sun is another member of the once-ubiquitous “industrial chic” design, but is all about great cocktails with unpretentious service. You can cobble a satisfying meal from its selection of small plates, but it serves larger main dishes, as well. Brunch in the backyard is always popular. The honey butter hot chicken sandwich has people showing up weekend after weekend.

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SingleCut Beersmiths

Brooklyn may have the Brooklyn Brewery, but Astoria has SingleCut Beersmiths. The brewery was founded by a Queens native and brews all of its beers on site. The taproom has live music and outdoor seating and you can even schedule a brewery tour if your love of beer transcends taste alone.

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Mosaic

Step off the Astoria pavement and into a Parisian-style wine bar. Smokey red walls, plush furniture, and copper ceilings set an almost speakeasy vibe. The romantic, subdued atmosphere is only matched by its food and drink, which consists of beautiful cocktails, wines, craft beer, and a really nice charcuterie board, among other snacks. Their Whiskey Wednesday is particularly popular, with $2 off select whiskeys.

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Meagan Drillinger is a New York City native, who spent more than a decade of her life calling Astoria, Queens home. Not only is she passionate about her beloved borough, she is also a world traveler with more than 50 countries under her belt. You can read about her globetrotting adventures and recommendations on her blog drillinjourneys or via her Instagram @drillinjourneys.

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