Astoria has a new taverna in its midst – Kopiaste Taverna, on 31st Street a little south of 23rd Ave (GMAP), a couple doors down from the (relatively) huge development that has been under construction for months. We had heard about the new taverna a while back from our friend @tastoriaqueens – the owners of Kopiaste are friends with the owners of Cafe Boulis, home of the best loukoumades in Astoria. The space that Kopiaste Taverna is in used to hold another Cypriot restaurant, Taverna Vraka, and featured dancing and music. They opened in 1981 but closed in the last 5 years or so.
Kopiaste Taverna serves traditional Greek and Cypriot food – you’ll find cold and hot appetizers and a Cyprus mezze meal (made of 20 items), soups and salads, meat, seafood, and vegetarian dishes, and dessert. They also have a lunch menu, too, that features many familiar Greek dishes – tzatziki, halloumi, avgolemono soup, Greek salad, grilled meats on pita or a platter, and hot dishes like patitsio.
A few meaty things on the menu for dinner that caught our eye are the Tavas – small pieces of lamb, rice, artichokes, tomatoes, onions, potatoes, and spices; Stifado Kouneli – rabbit and onion stew in vinegar and spices; and Kolokasi – pork cubes, taro, celery, onions, and spices. The Louvia Me Kolokithi Kai Horta also looks interesting on the vegetarian side – black eyed peas with zucchini and dandelion. Their desserts are also intriguing – along with the familiar baklava and loukoumades they serve a dish made with anari, which is a Cypriot cheese. The dish is called Bourekia with Anari, and consists of the cheese, sugar, cinnamon, and rose water.
Kopiaste Taverna has some serious competition just within a couple of blocks. Both Telly’s Taverna and Stamatis are nearby on 23rd Avenue; Gregory’s 26 Corner Taverna is four blocks away; Elias Corner is a block and a half away. Nearby are both Artopolis and Lefkos Pyrgos for dessert, too. So, the new kid on the block has its work cut out for it. We’ll stop by soon and let you know how it is.
Kopiaste Taverna, 23-15 31st Street, Astoria NY 11105; (718) 932-3220; kopiastetaverna.com