Astoria is basically three mini neighborhoods - maybe even four depending on who you like to argue with. It’s not exactly a good place to wander around aimlessly in search of a place to eat, especially in 90-degree weather. That’s why we put together a list of our favorite places with outdoor seating available right now. A lot of these spots happen to be Greek (due to the fact that Astoria has more excellent Greek food than any other neighborhood), but there’s also everything from an Egyptian fish market to a Thai place with a beautiful backyard or a BBQ spot with the best burnt ends in NYC.
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Right now Abuqir and Astoria Seafood aren’t offering outdoor seating. But if you want to point at a fish and tell someone exactly how you want it cooked, know that this Egyptian restaurant on Ditmars Boulevard is open and ready for you. Go inside to pick out your fish, and then head back to your outdoor table and order from their non-seafood menu. We’d suggest getting the dip appetizer sample, some grilled octopus, and then making a pita sandwich with the tahina, eggplant salad, and thinly-sliced tentacles.
You could probably start an Astoria-specific fight with someone based solely on the next sentence: Duzan is the best Middle Eastern spot in the neighborhood. Come here and order the chicken shawarma, some creamy hummus, and very spicy harissa, and you can join in on the fight. In addition to their seat-yourself sidewalk setup, Duzan in Astoria has one of the most inventive approaches to takeout and customer service we’ve seen: there’s a big poster in front of the restaurant inviting everyone to Facetime with the owner. We didn’t do this because Facetiming strangers gives us social anxiety, but if anyone out there attempts it, please write us an email.
Sugar Freak is a Cajun/Creole restaurant a block off of Little Egypt, and their patio is currently open for dinner and weekend brunch. Get a crawfish boil, some jambalaya, and one of their strong cocktails like the one that’s just fruit juice and a lot of rum.
It’s 2020, so the answer to the question, “do you need dessert” is always going to be yes. Whether you’re in the mood for tiramisu, some very acidic lemon sorbet, or a large slice of cheesecake, the original Martha’s Country Bakery location in Astoria is open for takeout, delivery, and outdoor dining. They have a few first come, first served tables set up on their sidewalk.
Taverna Kyclades has a ton of sidewalk seating available in front of their spot on Ditmars Boulevard. Everything is served family-style here, and they specialize in seafood. You can get things like stuffed clams, several types of whole fish, and grilled octopus - or you can do some pork kebabs and lamb chops. This place gets busy, so arrive early (or try one of the other outdoor spots on Ditmars since there are a ton of options - like Hamido Seafood directly across the street.)
Unlike a lot of Astoria’s outdoor dining options, Pye Boat Noodle has its very own, beautiful backyard that’s hidden away from the street. This Thai restaurant serves some excellent noodle soups, and great appetizers like deep-fried quail eggs and chive pancakes. There’s also a blender behind the bar, and they use that to make tiki drinks (which you should order).
This great Venezulan restaurant recently set up a few tents where you can eat things like a beef patacon, a frozen passion fruit sangria, and an appetizer plate that comes with mini empanadas, arepas, and tequenos. Call 718-937-3835 to place your order ahead of time.
Outdoor dining isn’t a new concept for this Greek restaurant on Broadway - they have it every year. Their patio area is currently open with herb planters and spaced-out tables for you to eat citrusy octopus with tomatoes, capers, and onions on top, and some fried and sweet saganaki triangles that we’d like for our next birthday cake. They’re even taking reservations in case you want to plan ahead.
This counter-service gyro spot on Astoria Boulevard makes one of the crispiest pork gyros we’ve encountered, and they have a few cafe tables and nice yellow chairs set up outside where you can sit and admire it in all of its fat-dripping beauty. Seriously, we’re telling you to get the pork instead of chicken - even if every bone in your body identifies as a chicken person.
Chela & Garnacha makes some of the best Mexican food you’ll find in the area. They specialize in tacos, and they do a bunch of different kinds like shrimp and al pastor - and, for a little bit extra, they’ll wrap any of these ingredients in melted cheese. Their patio set-up has big, sturdy umbrellas that stick out over each of the tables in case it rains randomly for 20 minutes.
Hinomaru is your best option for eating ramen outside in the neighborhood. They do a few different styles like shoyu, miso, and tonkotsu shoyu, as well as cold vegetable ramen in case it’s 91 degrees outside and you don’t want hot liquid pork. Check out their menu or order takeout or delivery through their website here.
This Greek spot near the Broadway N and W subway station makes fantastic lamb chops, as well as an assortment of Greek dips that are adorned with a cucumber wreath. If you’re looking for somewhere to have a dip party with someone you live with, this is a great choice.
You can come to this Welsh spot for dishes like stuffies, rarebit, and glamorgans, plus soul food staples like crispy cod and shrimp po’ boys, smoked chicken, and more. They vary their hours for outdoor seating, so make sure to call them first at 347-730-5783 to check that they’re open. You can also place your delivery order using their website.
Ovelia on 30th Avenue is serving their Greek dishes for dinner every day and brunch on weekend mornings. We especially like the Greek-inspired brunch dishes here, like bacon egg and cheese on pita and a very good stack of baklava pancakes (made with whole wheat flour, walnuts, and a lot of honey). At dinner, the menu is a bit more traditional, with dips, salads, and massive entrees. Get the monastiraki bifteki - it comes with fries and kebabs with ground lamb, beef, and pork.
Another great Greek option in the neighborhood is Gregory’s Corner Taverna on 23rd Avenue. They have their typical red-checkered tablecloth outdoor seating available every day for lunch and dinner. If you need some guidance with the large menu, just stick to any grilled seafood or meat that briefly distracts you from the happenings of the world.
Butcher Bar makes some of our favorite burnt ends in the city, and that’s exactly what you should be ordering here when you stop by for outdoor dining. They’re little chunks of charred brisket that are both sweet and salty - and we would eat a whole bucket of them if we knew for certain that it wouldn’t adversely affect our health. Butcher Bar also has slushies available for pick-up, delivery, or outdoor dining. Just something to think about.
Vesta Trattoria is a kid-friendly restaurant and wine bar on 30th Avenue that’s just a little more upscale than a place where you want to eat in your sweats (which is good news because you’ve been wearing sweats for months). They make a very good wild boar lasagna and other Italian-inspired dishes like osso buco. If you need an outdoor date spot in Astoria right now, the sidewalk seating at this place is ideal - they have a brand new mural and Vesta sangria for your enjoyment.
Telly’s has some nice sidewalk seating in front of their spot on 23rd Avenue. They also have about as many options for grilled whole fish as there are birthday cards in CVS categorized as “funny birthday.” Pick your fish and then get some grilled or fried vegetables and spanakopita. This is some of the best Greek food in Astoria - which, as you’ll notice from this guide, is saying something.
Milkflower is where you should be eating wood-fired pizzas outside in this neighborhood. Come for weeknight dinner or stop by for a casual date night and order a bottle of wine.
Akrotiri’s patio seating is perfect if you’re looking for an upscale place where you can make a reservation. The menu here has a bunch of things like lobster pasta, truffled squid ink taramasalata, and a saganaki with quinoa and tiger shrimp. But we prefer the more traditional Greek dishes like the various types of whole fish, the sliced octopus over black eyed peas, and the grilled Greek sausage that’s just about perfect once you squeeze some lemon over it.
Another upscale option is this Italian spot with a ton of outdoor seating set up in their parking lane on 31st Avenue. They make excellent spaghetti and meatballs (in addition to many other pastas). If you’re looking for a place to eat with your family after everyone has gotten sick of each other’s cooking, come here.
Pink Nori has about a half dozen tables set up in front of their space on 30th Avenue. This restaurant serves affordable sushi and Japanese small plates, including a sashimi combo platter that comes with 15 pieces for $22. They’re also running some lunch specials, as well as Happy Hour when beers and sake are $3.
This Greek restaurant on Ditmars Boulevard serves some of the best grilled octopus in the neighborhood, as well as some moussaka that you’ll lie awake thinking about quarantining with. Since this spot is so close to Astoria Park, you could always take your food to-go and have a picnic.
Portobello is serving their full menu of classic Italian-American dishes and Neapolitan pizza outdoors on the big brick walkway in front of their restaurant on Ditmars Boulevard. They’re open every day from 11am to 10pm, and they also have their own app if you want to order pick-up or delivery.
Not only is The Bonnie’s big backyard with picnic tables and umbrellas open for outdoor service, but they’ve also set up a boardwalk area in front of the restaurant. You can go to their website to make a reservation ahead of time, and follow them on Instagram here for specials like homemade choco tacos.
Both the Broadway and Ditmars Boulevard locations of this beer spot are open with outdoor seating and some new sandwiches on their menu like a scallion potato bun with jowl bacon, spicy cheddar, caramelized ham, and onion jam. You can stop by from noon to 8pm every day.
This Greek-Cypriot restaurant is open for outdoor dining, delivery, and takeout every day but Monday and Tuesday. They have a special “summer grill box” that costs $120 and comes with about twelve different meats, dips, and vegetables. If you’re ordering the grill box for takeout, you can request that they cook it or not. And make sure to follow them on Instagram for other specials here.
Basil Astoria Boulevard set up some nice turf and flowers right in their parking lane. You can stop by for Neapolitan pizzas, salad, and seafood pasta or call 718-204-1205 for a reservation ahead of time.