2011-02-09 / Restaurant of the Week

TELLY’S TAVERNA

Telly's Taverna is the perfect place to warm up and enjoy the cuisine from the sunny isles of Greece while you escape the winter doldrums. One of the sunnier personalities you'll find is its celebrated owner, Nana Loiselle, who greets you at the door and welcomes you with a heartfelt kali spera!. It's no wonder that for the past 20 years, Telly's Taverna has been the favorite restaurant of families, friends and businesses, eating and celebrating life's occasions, or making any night an occasion to celebrate.

The menu is pure Mediterranean and one of the healthiest and tastiest around. Here you'll enjoy nature's bounty of fresh fish, meat, vegetables, cheeses, verdant olive oil and delicious bread to soak it all up with. Meals are served family style in generous portions by a friendly staff. The dining room is painted in subtle tones with country style wooden tables covered in crisp white linens. Enjoy the warm, comfortable atmosphere and allow yourself to linger between courses, something I really appreciate.

Share and savor a delicious lunch or dinner at Telly's Taverna beginning with their tempting appetizers ($6-$12). Grilled octopus is a house specialty and we dove right in to these tender morsels while dipping warm, crusty bread into its delicious marinade or olive oil and wine vinegar. Grilled calamari is equally delicious and the generous servings allow the whole table to share. You might want to try a platter of their savory dips which includes tzatziki yogurt dip, skordalia, taramosalata and creamy feta cheese dip with hot pepper. Handmade grilled sausage called loukaniko or Greek style meatballs with delicate herbs are also popular here. Gigantes are giant lima beans, oven baked to a buttery texture with a sauce of tomato and dill. Order a classic Greek salad or the generously sized "Nana" salad composed of tossed finely chopped lettuces and fresh dill with a light, lemony dressing and bits of creamy feta cheese. The tomato and cucumber salad has lots of red onion, juicy olives, oil and vinegar. A carafe of the house red or white wine is a great accompaniment to any meal here, or choose your favorite vintage from the wine list.

Fish is nearly synonymous with Telly's, where only the freshest ocean-fresh fish is served. The bilingual menu at Telly's Taverna, adorned with a drawing of a fish bone, describes all your tempting choices, though the wait staff will be happy to help you decide. Choose among red snapper, porgy, pink snapper, and black sea bass served whole and cooked on the charcoal grill with just a touch of olive oil and lemon. My dining companion and I devoured a whole red snapper, cooked to perfection and filleted by our server. Swordfish kebobs and shrimp kebobs are delicious, and all fish dishes are served with their famous lemon potatoes, handmade fried potatoes or rice.

The grill sizzles at Telly's Taverna with the freshest cuts of meat. Tender baby lamb chops melt in your mouth after a quick pass over the coals. Rib-eye steaks, hefty veal chops, calves liver, and Greek style hamburgers are juicy and delicious, served sizzling hot with their famous hand-sliced French fried potatoes. Wait until you try the house "French fries", which are absolutely addictive, sprinkled with salt and oregano. Chicken or lamb souvlaki, laced with peppers, onions and tomatoes make a great lunch or dinner.

Just when you think you can't eat another bite, complimentary pastries called loukoumades arrive at your table, every night except Saturdays. These delicate balls of fried dough are tender, golden, and drizzled with Greek honey…ambrosia for the gods. In addition, a selection of Greek pastries is also available, along with coffee.

Beat the winter blues with a visit to Telly's Taverna, open seven days a week for lunch and dinner. From Monday to Thursday, they're open from 11am to midnight, and on the weekends, they remain open until 1:00 am. Credit cards are accepted and there's outdoor seating in warm weather. Reservations are highly recommended for Saturday nights, due to the popularity of Telly's Taverna. Celebrate life with family, friends or go and make any night special. Yasoo!

TELLY’S TAVERNA

28-13 23rd Avenue Astoria, NY  718.728.9056

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