My love of all things meat–from the keftedes at Gregory’s 26 Corner Taverna to the cheeseburgers at Petey’s Burger–is well documented. However, I wanted to take a moment to write about a few of my favorite vegetarian sandwiches in Astoria. These sandwiches could hold their own flavor-wise against any meat-filled counterpart (and most of them reflect my all-consuming love of cheese). Enjoy!
The Grilled Haloumi Sandwich at BZ Grillis not only my favorite vegetarian sandwich in Astoria, but quite possibly my favorite sandwich in town. This off-menu item can be ordered in the restaurant or over the phone for delivery (my preference) and I’ve never been disappointed by it. Served in a warmed pita, the grilled Haloumi–a salty Cypriot cheese with a somewhat chewy texture and a high melting point that makes it ideal for grilling and frying–is smothered in fresh lettuce tomato and onion and BZ sauce. The flavor combination is epic and I would recommend this sandwich to herbivores and carnivores alike.
One of the first sandwiches I fell in love with in Astoria was the Falafel, Hummus, Baba Ganoush Pita at Jerusalem Pita House (Pita Hot) on 30th Avenue. While falafel competition in Astoria is fierce, this falafel holds it’s own, and the extra smooth hummus and garlicky, earthy baba ganoush easily stand out in the crowd. Jerusalem Pita House is open until around 3am daily (4am on the weekends), and this is the ideal sandwich to have after a long night out in lieu of a greasy slice. But to be honest, it’s good anytime, so check it out!
The Fontina Panini at Il Bambino is delicious, and it is not for the faint of heart. Fontina cheese, mozzarella, pecorino, and truffle oil pressed between two large, fresh slices of bread is the recipe for one of the most flavorful sandwiches in Astoria. The truffle oil is an intense flavor, but it is also the addictive ingredient that keeps me coming back to this sandwich every time I visit or order in from this great neighborhood spot.
While technically not a sandwich, I would be remiss to not mention the Guayanesa Tropical Arepa from Arepas Cafe. A crispy cornmeal pocket with Guyanese, a soft, salty Venezelan cheese, and stuffed with sweet fried plantains and fresh, buttery avocados, this is one of the most satisfying sandwiches in Astoria. Be sure to add liberal amounts of the green cilantro and the sweet hot pepper sauces!
Also falling under the category of not quite a sandwich, but nonetheless an essential option for Astorians seeking a great vegetarian snack , are the happy hour Veggie Sliders at 5 Napkin Burger. I am obsessed with both the flavor and the price of these perfect little sliders, a mere $2 each during 5 Napkin’s daily happy hour from 4pm to 7pm (including weekends). This delicious, perfectly textured slider made of mostly of beets, grains, red cabbage, lentils, and carrots is served on a soft bun with crunchy pickles and topped with a delicious sauce.
BZ Grill 2702 Astoria Boulevard, Astoria
Jerusalem Pita House (Pita Hot) 25-15 30th Avenue, Astoria
Il Bambino 34-08 31st Avenue, Astoria
Arepas Cafe Arepas Cafe 33-07 36th Avenue, Astoria
5 Napkin Burger 35-01 36th Street, Astoria