Most of my visits to Astoria, Queens over the years have been solely for the purpose of getting good Greek food. This past weekend, we still came for Greek food, but decided to make a whole day of our visit. It was a low key, great day. And there's plenty other stuff worth coming back to Astoria for.
Greek Food is Delicious
While Astoria offers a diverse mix of ethnic cuisines and people, there is undoubtedly a large Greek population in Astoria and they're putting out some of the best Greek food in NYC. Locals and casual fans alike surely have their favorite spots (and again, there's much more to Astoria than just Greek food - case in point, I've been hearing about, and trying to get to, Milkflower since it opened about 5 years ago), and though we've tried a bunch, we usually end up at the ultra popular and generally highly regarded Taverna Kyclades.
Kyclades just gets the job done. It can be crowded and chaotic, but our move is to arrive right at noon when it opens for lunch. Inside is a bit cramped and dingy so we usually visit in the warmer months when their large open air patio is in play. At least at that early hour, Kyclades is filled with families and incredibly kid-friendly.
Kyclades is known for its fresh fish - I think I get the broiled lemon sole every time I go. My husband ordered swordfish kabob this past visit and loved it. Even the chicken souvlaki my parents ordered looked divine. And the Greek salad, taramasalata and lemon potatoes (yum) are also great.
I'll never understand why Greek food isn't more popular. When the craving hits, you could do much worse than heading to Kyclades.
After Lunch, Get a Beer
Astoria is home to one of the larger beer gardens in NYC, Bohemian Hall and Beer Garden. We went years ago when it was fairly new and I remember it being pretty chill and relaxed, again, at least during the daytime hours.
This past trip, we walked a mere 10 minutes from Kyclades to Singlecut Beersmiths, brewers of some of the best IPAs coming out of NYC. The brewery on a Sunday afternoon was fairly relaxed, with at least two other groups having infants in tow.
The space is very modern and clean - resembling more of a restaurant than a brewery. Singlecut offers a full food menu (no outside food allowed) and has plenty of board games on site (our little ones played Grandma and Grandpa in Jenga on our visit). While we were there, Ratatouille was also playing on a large overhead projection screen, albeit with the sound off and captions on.
I fell in love with their Session IPA, 18 Watt and ended up taking a Crowler (hell yes) of it home with me. A Session IPA generally has a similar flavor profile and hoppiness to a true IPA, but always with a lower alcohol count. I'm psyched to get into that Crowler soon.
Then Visit a Museum
Astoria and its neighboring Long Island City are home to some solid museums. In Astoria, check out the Museum of the Moving Image - the only museum in the country dedicated to well, "the moving image." If you have children with you, be sure not to miss the Museum's permanent Jim Henson Exhibition.
On our Sunday visit, we strolled through Socrates Sculpture Park, right on the edge of where Astoria meets LIC. A small, FREE waterfront sculpture park and green space that was previously an industrial wasteland, Socrates is open daily and offers some cool sounding extra programming, particularly on Saturdays.
It was so pleasant to sit under shaded trees while the kids ran around the park. Lots of local families were there picnicking and also relaxing. Though there was not a ton of sculpture to see during our visit, we enjoyed what we saw. And I found the 3-D printed concrete chairs by artist, HANNAH, to be surprisingly comfortable.
A block away from Socrates is the Noguchi Museum, featuring the artwork of late Japanese-American artist, Isamu Noguchi. That museum also includes an outdoor sculpture garden (though unlike Socrates, there is an admission fee of $10 per person ($5 for students and seniors) to visit the museum). From there, MoMA PS1 is just a 10 minute drive away.
Other Stuff For Kids
Our city visits with our kids are always a give and take. For every brewery or adult restaurant we drag them to, we find playgrounds, kid friendly stores or kid-centric events to visit. On this past Astoria trip, we hit up two local playgrounds and a pit stop at Chip, a very popular but IMHO vastly overrated cookie bakery. (PSA: their cookies are virtually raw in the middle!)
I'd say it was a good day for everyone!