32-07 34th Avenue (32ndSt), Astoria
Philoxenia recently re-opened in a beautiful new space on 34th Avenue. The old tiny space on 23rd Avenue had closed about 3 years earlier. When we first moved to Astoria we tried the old Philoxenia and found it fine, but not quite in line with the great press it received. Of course at that point we were Greek food newbies and couldn’t tell you the difference between a gyro and souvlaki, and thought there was only one variety of feta. But times have changed, and so has Philoxenia.
We loved everything about the new restaurant. Philoxenia means hospitality in Greek, and the friendly service and warmth of the room were evident immediately. The old locale was an authentic hole-in-the-wall, the new a rustic home feeling with exposed brick walls and wooden beams along the ceiling, and a romantic vibe. The prices are comparable to the neighborhood and much better than Manhattan. And the food was some of the best that I have had in Astoria. I must qualify that statement by saying that the choices we made were my favorites, and while Spud liked them very much, but was not quite moaning in ecstasy like I was. We had succulent grilled octopus, marvelously light meatballs, and a tender, flavorful pork and veal stew. Of course we also had the sampling of dips to start. We generally like to have a sampling of small dishes, rather than two big mains, especially when we aren’t familiar with the menu. The quality and flavors were top notch in every dish. Dessert is no longer free, but after an amazing meal like that, we were quite satisfied. This is my new favorite for Greek in Astoria.