Taverna Kyclades: In Search of the Best Greek Restaurant in New York City

Dishin’ It with Alexis: Greek Food Done Right Here in NYC

A dish from Taverna Kyclades

When I traveled to Greece during my junior year of college, I realized my zeal for Greek cuisine. Before that journey around Europe, I didn’t give much thought to feta nor olives, two common elements in many Greek dishes. Exploring the corridors and tucked away streets of Athens, I felt a bit intimidated at first, as a single female traveler.  But diving into the city’s food scene, seemed to make all apprehension subside.  Gyros and kebabs have been common fare here in the States for many years. New York City streets are lined with Mediterranean food spots that serve up these Greek favorites. But in Athens, I experienced the kebab sandwich in a whole new light. The freshness of the pita, the tenderness and succulent flavor of the meat, in addition to the fresh crisp French fries garnishing the top of the sandwich, made the Greek version unique. The seafood was also phenomenal, especially the pickings on the Greek Isles of Mykonos and Santorini.

A dish served at Taverna Kyclades

Since my Greek food encounter in college, I have been actively searching to rekindle that taste bud euphoria back here in the States. The closest I’ve come to this level of efffortless enjoyment was at a small unpretentious restaurant in Astoria, Queens called, Taverna Kyclades. Located on Ditmars Blvd and 33rd street, Taverna Kyclades is an exceptional homage to Greek cooking. Tightly packed tables line this restaurant that is decorated with murals of the white and Aegean-blue landscape of Santorini Island. Diners can also sit in the covered outdoor seating area that stays open year round.

Chef Ardian Skenderi preparing food

A dish served at Taverna Kyclades

Ready for Fresh Greek Food at Taverna Kyclades in NYC?

When it comes tofreshness, Taverna Kyclades’ seafood, brought in every morning from the fish market, is top of the line. Reasonably priced and delicately prepared, either grilled or fried, the seafood is a must have on your visit to this Greek restaurant in Queens. I fell in love with the restaurant’s huge pieces of grilled calamari and the light yet flavorful grilled whiting. Entrees are served with your choice of lemon boiled potatoes or yellow rice. Don’t skimp on the fresh squeezed lemon juice; it only adds to the savory essence of the dishes. The Greek salad at Kyclades jumps off the plate, with fresh crisp veggies and a scrumptious block of creamy salty feta cheese. I have only experienced a few places back here in the States that have superior feta cheese comparable to the feta I tasted in Athens. If you’re not in the mood for seafood, the Greek restaurant also serves traditional chicken kebabs and tender lamb chops, both nicely marinated and grilled.

Two dishes served at Taverna Kyclades

The owner of Taverna Kyclades in NYC, Ardian  Skenderi, a former professional football player, who stands at a whooping six foot six, happens to have a true knack for preparing seafood. Also, Skenderi prides himself on keeping prices reasonable, with most entrees ranging from $10 to $20. To finish off your meal, customers are offered complimentary dessert—a piece of galaktoboureko custard. The custard is very sweet and moist, so be prepared to feel a bit stuffed after this food adventure. If you come on a weekend you may encounter a serious wait at this neighborhood gem that doesn’t take reservations. But many of the Greek restaurant’s frequent diners, who come from all over New York City, say the wait is worth it.

Owner and chef Ardian Skenderi

That’s it for now, but until next time remember, food is life, food is love, food is community. Bon Appétit!

Taverna Kyclades is located at 3307 Ditmars Blvd in Queens, NY.  For reservations or for more information, call (718) 545-8666.

To read more restaurant reviews from Alexis Miller, visit her Dishin With Alexis website.  

Taverna Kyclades on Urbanspoon

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