There are some single block stretches of our neighborhood that are so jam-packed with outstanding food, that I like to refer to them as Astoria Power Blocks. The first one I want to highlight is located on Broadway between 38th Street and Steinway Street. You may have passed these places I write about below many times, but do yourself a favor and head inside next time you’re walking by.
La Sabrosura, 38-02 Broadway
Most Queens residents know that Jackson Heights is your best bet for finding a great Colombian bakery. But Astoria’s La Sabrosura is an excellent option for getting your Pandebono (cheese bread), Buñuelo (fried cheese fritter), Arepa de Choclo (sweet corn arepa filled with cheese), and empanada fix close to home. The line that stretches out the door on the weekends, as well as the weekday morning commuter bustle, is a clear indication of La Sabrosura’s quality. A second location up on 30th Avenue ensures that this small bakery chain is Astoria’s go-to for Colombian food, both sweet and savory.
Politos Pizza, 38-12 Broadway
Astoria’s overarching pizza narrative seems to be that there are a lot of newer places making decent Neapolitan-style offerings, but nowhere to get a good, classic New York slice. Polito’s plain slice is probably the closest you’ll get to a classic street slice in Astoria, and it gets almost everything right: the visible sheen of grease that will run down your arm if you try to eat it on the go, and a well-flavored crust that has both a crisp and a chew. And for a mere $2.75 it will keep you full for hours. So the next time someone bemoans the lack of a classic New York slice in Astoria, point them toward Politos, a neighborhood institution since 1981.
Cronin and Phelan’s, 38-14 Broadway
As a Broadway resident, I have walked past Cronin and Phelan’s innumerable times without ever stopping in to eat. All that changed when I sidled up to the bar this weekend and ordered one of their Irish specialties, the Bangers and Mash. This was an outstanding plate (one I will be back for soon), and their other Irish specialties like the Shepherds Pie as well as their American-style pub food got high marks from the food loving Astorians I talked to. Bonus points for the bartender’s offer of two different Brown Sauces to go with my Bangers and Mash (HP and Chef Sauce). Like a good pub with Irish roots, the bartender said they had a preference for the Chef Sauce, which I then enthusiastically used to douse my platter.
Ravens Head Public House, 38-04 Broadway
Part drinker’s bar, part sports bar, with a nice ambiance and somewhat better than average pub grub (get the nachos!), Raven’s Head is one of those rare bars that is satisfactory to almost everyone. While this might sound at first like faint praise, it’s next to impossible to find a bar that almost everyone you know would agree on in Astoria. I like to drop in here for a Six Point Bengali Tiger or Sweet Action and watch a game now and then, and would encourage anyone to do the same. Cheers, Astoria!