By Flavia Sgoifo
ASTORIA – For those yearning to have a nice “Greek style” coffee and combine it with some of type of traditional pita or pie or some type of pastry from home, Astoria can offer a number of interesting choices.
For starters, Omonia Cafe is the first Greek cafe that opened in Astoria in 1977 and is located at 32-20 Broadway.
The owner, Ioannis Arvanitis, has created a pleasant area that operates as a cafeteria, pastry shop, restaurant and bar with a Greek atmosphere. Once there you can order any type of coffee you desire: from a “heavy” Greek coffee to the shaken frappe, to the American latte, while the main dessert specialty of the store is the Baklava Cheesecake, a fusion of traditional baklava with cheesecake.
Right next door is, appropriately enough, Omonia Next Door. A bakery offering a huge variety of Greek and foreign pastries and sweets. Beyond the quality and variety of Greek delicacies and drinks, Omonia is famous for their My Big Fat Greek Wedding cakes.
For those who prefer a quieter place to enjoy coffee and a tiropita, there is Agnanti Cafe at 19-23 Ditmars Blvd . Maria Stavropoulou, who is also the owner of the restaurant across the street, started operating this boutique style cafe in 2012. It is a small but pleasant space near Astoria Park where one can enjoy frappe, freddo cappuccino, and any other coffee typically found in Greece, along with homemade Greek pies and sweets made fresh daily. It is a great place to relax, read, or play board games.
On a nice day, patrons can take their orders to go, and enjoy them in Astoria Park.
At the Agora Plaza shopping center at 23-18 31st Street is the Artopolis cafe, famous for its savory and sweet delicacies. Owner Vassiliki Katopodis proudly told TNH that all of the recipes come from different parts of Greece. The galaktoboureko (cream custard filo-wrapped pastry) is from Ithaca, the honey-drenched melomakarona are from Lesbos, and the fried strips diples or kserotigana come from Crete. Those three are Artopolis’ top specialties. And there is indoor and outdoor seating, the latter is smoker-friendly.
Boulis at 30-15 31st opened three years ago and is famous for its Greek honey-dipped and cinnamon loukoumades. Of course the entire range for coffee drinks as well as filo- made sweets and homemade pastry.
George Davourtzis offers free delivery for those who wish to have their coffee at home or at the office.
Martha’s Country Bakery at 36-21 Ditmars Blvd is another exceptional cafe- sweet shop where one can find a great variety of Greek coffees and delicacies. In particular, the store is famous for its galaktoboureko, bougatsa (sweet custard and filo pie), ham and cheese pie, and spinach pie. Owner George Stetsions provides ample space for customers to sit in comfort.
Laiko is a small take-out coffee shop at the 29-29 23rd Avenue, exactly adjacent to the Ditmars Boulevard train station, making it ideal to grab a snack or a drink before boarding the train.
Owner Christos Vassios, has been running the business for nearly 20 years and describes his Greek coffee and homemade chicken as “unforgettable.”
For traditional Greek yogurt lovers, there is Fresk’o, located at 31-19 30th Avenue. Owner Gus Prentzas has done a great job, as Fresk’o is one of the few stores in the area offering authentic Greek yogurt, which Greeks are well aware is incomparable to any other kind.
Finally, for those interested in a heartier meal, there is the restaurant-bar Ovelia, located at 34-01 30th Avenue. Whole wheat pancakes, Yiayia’s Omellete, and Saganaki burger are part of the fare.
Astoria is replete with tasty choices for coffee and pastries, reminiscent of the quality and taste found in Greece.