Restaurants have always been a vital part of any New York City neighborhood. One of the greatest perks of being a New Yorker is the vast array of places we have to eat on any given night, even during a global pandemic--but during 2020, they did even more, banding together to feed those in need in their community and sending countless meals to frontline workers during COVID's darkest days here last spring.
Even though winter weather is inevitably forcing us to gather less frequently outdoors at our familiar spots, through Seamless we can keep the feeling alive with a great meal, made with love, delivered directly to our home. The choices of cuisine are staggering. The ordering couldn't be easier. And it's definitely the most delicious way to support your local favorites, or try something new, and help ensure they'll all still be around when springtime comes again. When you donate the change on your Seamless order, it supports restaurants, drivers and communities in need through the Seamless Community Relief Fund.
Gothamist and Seamless have teamed up to celebrate amazing restaurants over the next few weeks that, whether they’re two blocks from your apartment or a bike ride away, are NYC favorites that we think you’ll love too. If you haven’t yet, be sure to check out our previous installments, the food lovers guide to the Lower East Side , Williamsburg & Bushwick, and Park Slope and stay tuned for upcoming guides coming at you in the next few weeks. Next up: Long Island City and Astoria.
The adjoining neighborhoods of Long Island City and Astoria cover a vast swath of western Queens and contain a wide array of different-feeling communities therein, from the glassy towers lining Gantry State Park to the bustle under the elevated along 31st Street. One thing that runs through the whole area though: an astonishing variety of local restaurants, still open despite the pandemic and eager to satisfy just about every imaginable type of food craving you might have. Like everywhere, COVID has not been kind to these legions of small, family-owned businesses, and winter will be more difficult still, so even if al fresco dining it's really your thing when the temperatures hit the 30s, ordering pick up and delivery via Seamless is a terrific way to support your favorite spots, or those places you've always wanted to try. Here's an extremely short list of just some of our "usuals" throughout the neighborhoods
The pandemic forced Donnie D'Alessio and his sister Montana D'Alessio Barbier (aka @donutdiva) to close their beloved brunch spot Queens Comfort back in October, but the family's slightly insane (and definitely insanely delicious) creations live on at the nearby Comfortland, where you can get a variety of sandwiches and such as well as all the donuts of your dreams. The menu features such hits as a Hot Pastrami Po' Boy, a monster of a breakfast sandwich called the Vegan Bonecrusher, and their famous Atomic Fireballs, or spicy fried mac-and-cheese. The list of donuts and other pastries are constantly changing, but on a recent visit they were serving things like Chocolate Snoballs, Baby Babkas, and that amazing Holiday Glazed Cannoli Donut pictured above. Stream your favorite mix of R&B classics while you eat at home for the full Comfortland effect. For other sweet treats in the area, check out the original Astoria location of Chip City on 34th Street, or the newer Chip outpost in LIC on Crescent Street, home to some of the best cookies in town.
This stretch of Steinway Street, known as Little Egypt for obvious reasons, is crowded with little counter spots and hookah lounges serving all manner of terrific Middle Eastern food, but over the years Duzan has emerged as one of our favorites. True, it's aesthetic is more "American restaurant chain" than "old world charm," but the juicy Chicken Shawarma, the funky Kafta Kabab, and the well-seasoned Falafel Pitas are consistently delicious, and the people who run things unfailingly friendly. And what other restaurant has a big banner begging you to FaceTime them? Say hi from the comfort of your home during your delivery dinner! A neighborhood treasure. For more top notch Mediterranean fare around here, check out Zyara about a block away on Steinway (they also have a location on the Lower East Side), or King of Falafel down on Broadway.
Located on highway-like Thomson Avenue, which feels even more desolate than usual now that LaGuardia Community College across the street has gone almost entirely remote, Roni Mazumdar's "unapologetically Indian" restaurant Adda is holding it down with some sidewalk seating and a whole lot of delivery via Seamless. Everything chef Chintan Pandya makes is magnificent, from the creamy Saag Panner and vegetarian Tandoori Gobi (basically: spicy cauliflower) to the fiery goat curry Junglee Mass and spectacular Lamb Biryani. This is one of my favorite restaurants in all of New York City. Blast some Bollywood pop with your pandemic pod and have an at-home feast. Another excellent choice for Indian food in this part of town is Seva up on 34th Street.
New York City's glorious old standalone diners were already endangered when the pandemic hit, and the loss of indoor dining (and 24-hour-dining) has really been tough on these neighborhood institutions. We all have our favorites, those places that served as late-night gathering spots, wolfing down pancakes or cheeseburger deluxes during our formative years, but if you've lived in western Queens for any length of time, you've probably been to the 30-year-old Neptune Diner, located hard by the elevated on Astoria Boulevard and slinging the usual massive array of classic Greek and American diner dishes. And diner delivery via Seamless is perfect for those weekend mornings/early afternoons when you really need a big plate of greasy meats, eggs and carbs, but also really don't want to get out of bed. Other similar spots in the area that we hope can hang in there include Bel Aire Diner down on 21st heading toward the river, and Court Square Diner on 23rd Street in LIC.
Neptune Diner is located 31-05 Astoria Boulevard at the corner of 31st Street (718-278-4853) - Order Now
This tiny takeout-only shop on 33rd Street serves some of the city's best West African soups and stews, a menu of warming, hearty dishes that's perfect for winter. Nneji Astoria is owned by Beatrice Ajaero, and because everything's prepared with takeout in mind it's all just as good via delivery by Seamless if you don't feel like leaving your home. Personal favorites here include the Edikang Ikong Soup, thick with chunks of tender beef, cow foot, dried fish, greens, and an attention-getting number of hot peppers; the Egusi Soup, with spinach and melon seed; and the tomato-based Red Stew. The latter two come with your choice of meat (usually salmon, lamb, beef, or chicken) and grain (either the powdery fonino or the dense and sticky garri), and make for a complete meal. Great stuff. More good food from the African continent can be had at Ghaya Oliveira' terrific Tunisian counter-service spot in the new Jacx&Co food court on Jackson Avenue.
Nneji Astoria is located at 32-20 34th Avenue, just east of 33rd Street (917-832-7338) - Order Now
For years Howie Jeon, Jeff Fann, and Chris Yu were slinging top-notch dumplings all over Queens from their well-regarded Yumpling food truck, but now that the amiable trio have a permanent brick-and-mortar location on Vernon Boulevard, they've been able to expand their menu to include other Taiwanese delights as well. Go for a rich bowl of Taiwan's iconic Beef Noodle Soup; or one of several varieties of Bian Dang, or rice bowls, including a beautiful Basil Eggplant; or Yumpling's lively Fried Chicken Sandwich. There are also a half-dozen different Bubble Teas, if you really want to bring the party home. Other satisfying comfort food on the strip include the first-rate burgers, fries, and shakes at Petey's (which also has an outpost on 30th Avenue in Astoria), and classic NYC pies and folds from Slice Pizzeria.
By ordering our favorite meals or branching out to explore new spots with Seamless, New Yorkers can support the institutions that have been there for us throughout the ups and downs of the past year. As we continue to celebrate these restaurants in 2021, consider supporting a neighborhood business and treat yourself to some delicious food delivered right to your door.
This post is a sponsored collaboration between Seamless and Gothamist staff.