Taverna Kyclades – 33-07 Ditmars Boulevard, Astoria, NY
I’ve long heard that Taverna Kyclades is the go-to place for Greek food in Astoria – a place I couldn’t pass up.
Taverna Kyclades does not take reservations and on a weekend, you will often be waiting in line for the next available table. I was there on a weekday and at around 7 p.m. there luckily wasn’t much of a wait and within a few minutes my party (there were five of us) was seated in a prized corner table in the outdoor seating area on the sidewalk.
The food at Taverna Kyclades is served “family style” as sharing is highly encouraged. Looking to try a little bit of everything, we ordered:
- Grilled Octopus (two orders)
- Grilled Quails
- Kyclades Special: stuffed clams, stuffed shrimp, lobster tail, fillet of sole and scallops (two orders)
First off, the amount of food we ordered was perfect for five people. We were not overly stuffed but very satisfied.
Before our food came out, we were given some incredible tasting bread. It came soaked in olive oil and other spices and was the perfect thing to hold me over until our food. Once the food started arriving I was ready to dig in. The highlights of this meal were definitely the grilled octopus and dessert (I’ll get to that in a minute). The other two dishes (quail and Kyclades special) were good, but I was expecting to be blown out of the water by the best Greek food in Astoria. These dishes failed to do that and specifically, the fish was run of the mill seafood that I think I could have gotten at any other restaurant in the surrounding area. Everyone in our group was disappointed by the quail. It lacked any real flavor and was something I would discourage anyone from ordering.
Onto the highlights… the grilled octopus was delicious. It came out chopped in small bite-sized pieces and had an incredible grilled charcoal flavor blended with cucumber and other flavors. It was a big hit among everyone I was with and I know we all would have easily eaten a couple more orders. The dessert was also one of the best part of the meals. At Taverna Kyclades dessert is on the house (until they run out each night). They give everyone at the table an order of a Greek pastry. I can’t remember what it was called (it wasn’t baklava) but it has an incredible sweet, rich flavor to it with a nice fluffiness provided by some sort of custard or cream. It was delicious and the perfect end to the meal.
Taverna Kyclades is good, it’s just not great. If this is billed by many as the best Greek food in Astoria, there is definitely room for improvement. The atmosphere was relaxing, the waitstaff was helpful and fun to interact with, but the entrees were average quality. I would immediately go back for some grilled octopus and dessert, but I’ll pass on the entrees.