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I’ve been going to Duzan for a while now, back before they closed down and remodeled. I’ve been going since then and I keep heading back. Now this is partly due to its proximity to my apartment, in the interest of full disclosure. I mean, there is only one restaurant closer, a halal pizza place, and I’m all for fusion concept food, but I digress.

Duzan is always crazy busy and with good reason. They have great food, reasonably priced, and excellent platter choices. They make shawarma, beef and chicken, and marinated kebabs. What I think really sets them apart though is the fact that they make fresh pita bread on premises, and for this reason I usually opt for the a sandwich in lieu of a platter. I get mine with everything, hummus, pickles, radicchio… the pickled radish ads a nice accent. For some reason the the beef is only available durring dinner service, so if you go for lunch, be warned you’ll have to get a kebab to order, or get the chicken. For sides they have two types of fries to choose from, hand cut or frozen, which is pretty cool, being able to choose for quality. I usually go with the felafel though. Three for a dollar, so for two buck you can get six. Make sure to ask for tahini and the house hot sauce and your “redta” go.

Queens Comfort

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Tried to go here several times over the past couple of years but it was always at max capacity, so we ended up going elsewhere. After revisiting QC here on Yelp I decided it was time to go. The pictures looked so good, and a picture is often worth a thousand words after all.

We went around eight and had the good fortune to be seated right away. Most of the time you’ll have to wait due to this venues popularity, as was the case for the people who came in after us. The vibe is chill, casual, and unpretentious.

After looking at all the great photos, I had a pretty good idea of what I was going to order. The menu is pretty comprehensive, and most of the time that worries me, but here I think it works. There are definitely some unique items, and this place would surely be a place they would visit on dinner driveins and dives (Update, since I wrote this they have been here). I was expecting Guy Fiori to pop up any minute, thank the good lord he never materialized.

We ordered the fried mac and cheese balls with siracha and ranch to start. Pretty good, but I would go another route next time. For the main course we split the Pig Mac and the chicken and waffles. expect large portions, and expect to leave full. The Pic mac is a pork cutlet with pickles chipotle mayo. Really I wanted a similar sandwich, but with pork belly, I had seen some people post photos of, but it was missing from the menu. Add a little Texas Pete and your good to go. Finally, my fav was the Chicken and waffles, tabasco glazed fried boneless chicken, over a Belgian waffle. Tasty, and I liked the fact the chicken was boneless.

Overall a good experience, and will go back because the brunch menu looks awesome. It would be really great if this place was open 24 hours.

Los Portales

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Los Portales is a great Mexican place on Broadway near the train in Astoria. The cemitas and tortas are so good, and if its your first time ordering from here I have to recommend getting the suadero cemita. They marinate the meat for a long time, so its nice and tender. The suadero with avocado, rehydrated peppers and Mexican cheese between a seeded bun makes for a satisfactory sandwich. This is my favorite, but all the sandwiches are delicious.

Taco’s are good to order here as well. They have your typical choices of beef and chicken, but also have some other interesting options as well. You can order Lengua, tongue for non Spanish speakers such as my self, and pig ear are some interesting selections. I like the pig ear taco, and would recommend this to anyone feeling adventurous. Fried plantains are always enjoyable, and they cut them thick. The only thing I’m not a huge fan of would be the burrito, its good, but I think you’ll find the other menu items more to your liking. Beyond this, Los Portales is open well into the night, so its a perfect place to order from after 12.

Sweet Afton

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I’ve been going to Sweet Afton for some time now, and have been meaning to pen a review. Believe the hype, the food is that good, and when I say food I’m really talking about the burger. I’ve searched far and wide for a burger that can compete with the one they server here and nearly all have fallen short.

What makes the burger so great mostly has to do with the locally sourced ingredients. Everything they serve, in fact, is locally sourced. Because of this quality is high. I like to add Irish cheddar to mine but add american, gruyere or nothing at all and its just as savory. On the weekend before four you have the option to add an egg as well.

I would suggest going for brunch on the weekend because they offer really good deals. They have cocktails on special and I believe pints are only four bucks. It’s also not as crowded as the evening which is nice. If your not in the mood for a burger they offer breakfast options of course. No waffles or hotcakes though.

Here is a list of items from the menu that I really like, and would suggest getting:

The Burger, really a must have.
Mac and Cheese, I’ve recently had some sub par mac and cheese, theirs won’t disappoint.
The Chicken Sandwich.
Fried Pickles, can’t just get these anywhere.

Most people like to get the fries, I mean what goes better with a burger. They’re good, not my favorite menu item, but they give you bunch so you can share. Ask for mustard with with them, they have the best mustard here. Its whole seed, its delicious.

Have any of these items and a pint and you’ll leave beaming.


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For a city synonymous with bagels, living here you would think there’d be a lot more shops per capita. Even though bagel joints don’t flourish on every city block, there are still many places where you can find a classic NY bagel. Ess-A is just such a place.

A great place if your looking for the authentic thing. I like how they have the toppings, e.g. sesame seeds, loaded up on one side. This is something I didn’t think I would like originally, but it works. They also have interesting options like the pumpernickle everything in the photo.

Photo by angela n. via Flickr


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Perched on the second floor, above the myriad storefronts that make up Little India in Jackson Heights, is Phayul. Hidden gem, It covers both criteria. I lived down the street from this local, and had no idea it was there. Clueless, maybe, but doesn’t it count for something that I finally made it? And more than once.

Off a side street, under a small awning, and up to the second floor. The décor is simple, there is lots of natural light, and an open kitchen. There is much on offer. And it probably wouldn’t qualify as Himalayan/Nepali if you couldn’t get momo’s. Chicken, beef, and potato either fried or steamed. I’ve sampled all, and they’re all great, but would have to say my favorite are the steamed potato. Enjoy them with the in house chili sauce, but just so you know, its essentially ground chili peppers and water, it packs a lot of heat.

Beyond the momo’s I’ve tried several other dishes here. I had a beef soup, and also a marinated beef dish with bell peppers. I’d say I liked the marinated beef, which I believe is Beef Shak Trak, more. It’s not on the menu at this location, but they had a menu from another location they have, and I ordered sauteed vegetables, which I found pleasing.

The other dish that I’ve tried here I enjoyed quite a bit. The Lhasa Fried Noodle is a noodle dish that is sort of reminiscent of lomein, at least the way it looks. This isn’t the type of fried noodle you’ll find at your neighborhood Chinese food outpost though. The noodles are fresh and chewy and make for a delightful bite. For sure Phayul is the fly dopeness.

Red Top Mountain Restaurant

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Sunday’s are great days for dim sum. The sabbath, and food is religion after all. Headed to flushing for dim sum we collectively decided to try a new place, Red Top Mountain Restaurant. On entering RTMR you’ll be asked what type of tea you would like. This is nice, as you will typically get the same type of tea in most Chinese restaurants, which according to google is often a blend of popular teas. We ordered a fragrant tea, made of whole flowers. It was excellent, and accompanied the small dishes nicely.

We ordered right away as the first cart approached. I was in luck, a native speaker in with us, ordering was no trouble. The first round of dishes included two tripe plates, and shrimp shumai. Out of the three, the tripe marinated in some type of red pepper sauce was my favorite. I personally am not a huge fan of tripe, texture and preparation often the deterrent. I can say this is the best I’ve had it, and would go a step further and say you should try theirs.

As the carts circled we watched, and waited for our next selection. We eventually decided on pork buns, a classic, and these taro root cubes. Coming off a recent visit to Waikiki I wanted to try these, as taro root is featured heavily in Hawaiian cuisine. This was good, but the starchy components of this root vegetable was evident. Interestingly, there were other dishes with taro root on offer. I’m not sure if it was because they happened across a sale at the grocer, or its a staple of their restaurant, but I’m all for it.

More carts roll by, egg tarts, check. Can we have an order of congee, why not. Pigs feat stewed with too much ginger, we’ll take some. Finally, we couldn’t resist and ordered these buns that looked like panda bears. They had a peanut butter-esque filling, not bad, . Really enjoyed the experience here, and the ability to choose your tea only added to it.

Woodside Cafe

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Siting near a precipice along the Brooklyn Queens Expressway seems a fitting place for a Nepalese restaurant, culturally acclimated to such sheer drops. I had stumbled upon this place many months ago and was transfixed when I gazed at the crowded space, and noticed the disconnect between the sign and what was on patrons plates. I bookmarked it in my yelp app and went back to my urban exploration.

However accidental my first encounter with Woodside Cafe was, walking through the door a month or two later was decidedly deliberate. I was in my apartment when my friend tapped me on the shoulder and held up the dining section of the New York Times. “We should go here” she said. I looked at the article, by Ligaya Mishan, and to my surprise and amusement it was about the very spot I had puzzled over. It was settled, I would go.

Food here is a textural experience. What one might feel when staring up at the Himilayas, but in this case more stomach, less eyes. Woodside Cafe predominantly serves traditional Nepali fare, with the addition of some fusion dishes. Signage, reading “pasta, pizza…” , suggests casual Italian. Though I did not see either option, it could be from a prior life. However, if so, its a good fit when taking into account the chefs execution of dishes with roots in both locals.

We based our order heavily on the New York Times article, and definitely ordered more than we were able to put away. To start we had the woh, a cake of lentils which you can choose to top with egg or meat. We decided to try it with beef, sauteed. We also had the Musya Palu, a simple snack food of soybeans roasted in mustard oil. This was the foray the meal took to the crunchier side of the spectrum, which I enjoyed.

For the main course we decided to share two dishes. We had the Momos in a pink cream sauce, Italian inspired momos. This is a very pleasant and successful dish, definitely lives up to its promising name. I would strongly recommend this. The second dish we ordered was a traditional Nepali dish, Chula Baji. Here too you are given the choice of chicken or beef, and we chose the sauteed beef. The beef in this dish is almost identical to the beef that came atop the woh. For this reason you might want to opt for chicken. The star of this dish though is the beaten rice. I’ve never had beaten rice before and was happy to discover it. For the those, like me, who aren’t in the know, beaten rice is rice that has been flattened. I thought it was raw, but after doing some research it seems that it is first roasted, then flattened. How its flattened here I won’t venture to guess. Think the puffed rice, but instead of expanding, imploding. The beaten rice is great, and provides a nice textural contrast when mixed with the other elements on the plate. This won’t be my last visit.


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Kababish is a great takeout place, and easy on the wallet. I’ve been on many occasions, but just recently stopped over to try out the gola kebab. It was good, but I was expecting it to be spicier. I usually get their chicken kebabs, and they’re just as spicy. They are a good deal less expensive too. I order two of these and nan, it’s a giant piece, see above. Nan comes in your typical varieties, but they also have a sesame one that’s nice.  I’ve sampled some of the other items, but this is my go to. Everything else looks good though.

It gets busy around 7pm, you’d be better off going earlier.

Farid Kebab

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This is my favorite food cart in Astoria, in a crowded great place for street food. Halal half chicken, chicken and beef kababs, cooked year round over charcoal. Absolutely delicious, and though the other reviewer felt the platters weren’t a good value, I have to say I disagree. Platters are amazing, if you get the half chicken, it comes with two soups typically(depending on supply) and a salad. Its served over two types of rice, and though I usually get this platter for myself, the meal could easily be shared between two people. At ten bucks, well worth it. This is my favorite dish here, though the kabab sandwiches are great, reasonably priced, and served on toasted bread with the dough pulled out.

A couple of tips here, Sundays and dinner time hours you’ll find yourself waiting for a long time, so be prepared to wait. It takes at least ten minutes even when there isn’t a long wait. Though it says they deliver, I don’t think that they do. I think they’re overwhelmed with orders, and won’t answer the number listed. I’ve tried, on several occasions, to call ahead for pickup without any luck. The last thing would mention is to ask for tahini. They used to only serve tahini and hot sause, but with the popularity of the ubiquitous white sauce, think they caved because everyone asks for it.

Really great charcoal grilled food here.