2016-12-21 / Restaurant of the Week

TELLY’S TAVERNA

Celebrate life and all its joy at Telly’s Taverna, where even on a rainy evening, groups of families, friends, and couples on dates came out to convene and enjoy consistently delicious Greek cuisine, served with pride. Indeed, Telly’s Taverna has been a fixture on 23rd Avenue in Astoria for 27 years, led by “Nana” who ran the show with style and her magnetic personality. Now, her lovely daughter Diana is at the helm, maintaining the same culinary traditions that made Telly’s Taverna so popular, while updating the sunny interior to create a light and airy environment in which to enjoy this fabulous Greek cuisine. In warm weather the back patio is a favorite local spot. Best of all, a meal at Telly’s Taverna is affordable and more than worth it, considering the quality of the food served.

Have a drink at the cozy, marble-topped bar, offering wines, cocktails, and ice cold Mythos beer from Greece, along with a selection of dips and warm bread while you chat with friends. There are Happy Hour specials so come early.

There are no pretenses here at Telly’s,….only honest Greek cuisine made from the freshest ingredients. Our friendly, helpful server Katerina took excellent care of us, suggesting we start with Telly’s ever-popular grilled octopus. It was sublimely delicious with its simple marinade of olive oil and wine vinegar. Grilled calamari is equally delicious and the generous servings allow the whole table to share. We loved the zucchini croquettes, crisp on the outside and full of tender zucchini inside, adorned with fluffy tzatziki yogurt sauce ($14). Why not sample a platter of their savory dips ($6-10) which includes tzatziki yogurt dip, skordalia, which is a puree of potato and garlic, taramosalata (caviar) and creamy feta cheese dip with hot pepper. Handmade grilled sausage, called loukaniko, or Greek style meatballs called keftedes 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. Telly’s Taverna’s avgolemono soup is so good, it was featured on Fox 5 News, and a bowl of this soothing soup is perfect on a cold night.

Any Greek meal should include a salad. There are a few options here such as the 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. Fresh beets or dandelion greens called horta make a great side dish, or can be a meal for a vegetarian, along with a rice and spinach dish called spanakorizo. Speaking of spinach, the house made spinach pie is so good, you’ll want to take a slice home for lunch. A carafe of the house red or white is a great accompaniment to any meal here, or choose your favorite vintage from the wine list.

The chefs at Telly’s Taverna do a great job with both fish and meat and chicken dishes, so choose from their refrigerated case of ocean-fresh fish and seafood, and juicy steaks, chops and kebabs. The fish of the day was a pink snapper a bit firmer than red snapper while my charming companion devoured his perfectly cooked porgy, basted in lemon and olive oil. You’ll also find branzino, black sea bass, swordfish and salmon, as well as a meaty swordfish kebab, all prepared on the spot. Try prawns, shrimp scampi or baked shrimp with feta cheese and tomatoes. Entrées are served with their famous lemon potatoes, handmade fried potatoes or rice.

Tender baby lamb chops (paidakia) are succulent and juicy after a quick pass over the coals. Rib-eye or T-bone steaks, and Greek style hamburgers are juicy and delicious, served sizzling hot, with their famous hand-sliced French fried potatoes. Stop in for lunch when the chicken souvlaki, skewered with peppers, onions and tomatoes hits the spot. There are Greek style burgers and salads too for lunch and the service is friendly and fast.

If you’ve been to Telly’s before, you know you can’t resist their sweet, homemade loukoumades, tender balls of fried dough, similar to zeppoles, but drizzled with honey and a dusting of cinnamon for a taste made for the gods. In addition, a selection of Greek pastries such as baklava and galaktoboureko is also available, along with coffee, espresso, cappuccino, or frappe whipped coffee drink.

Telly’s Taverna is open seven days a week for lunch and dinner from 11:30am to 12:30am. They are conveniently located, just half a block from the Ditmars Blvd. train station. Bring your date, your family, and your friends to Telly’s Taverna, a neighborhood gem serving authentic Greek cuisine in a comfortable, casual setting. Yasoo!

28-13 23rd Avenue
Astoria, NY  718.728.9056

www.tellystaverna.com

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