2017-11-22 / Restaurant of the Week

Bahari Estiatorio

Bahari Estiatorio is one of the reasons why I live in Astoria and love Astoria. Walk through the doors past the array of fresh fish and meat on display near the open kitchen and you’ll start to salivate at once from the tantalizing aromas emanating from the kitchen. If you’re lucky, the gracious owner, Anna Kommatas will greet you with a big, hug or at least a warm welcome, as she has treated all of her customers like family. Anna loves to see people enjoying their meals and she’s been at the helm for the last 18 years.

Every visit to Bahari is a treat. Whether a weeknight or weekend, the peaceful dining room will transport you to a traditional taverna in Greece where you’re enveloped with whitewashed walls, exposed brick walls and wood plank ceiling surrounding comfortable tables dressed in starched white linens. A second dining room, just a few steps up, is peaceful, softly lit and ideal for group dining for your next special occasion or family dinner. What’s more, the service is fantastic and so friendly, delivered by the gregarious Sakis, who is eager to please you.

Bahari Estiatorio serves traditional cuisine with an emphasis on fresh, healthy ingredients. Everything is made from scratch and the fish and meat are supremely fresh. Order a carafe of house Greek red or white wine or order a bottle of organic red wine from Anna’s village in Greece called Goumenissa and taste the warm, Mediterranean sun in every sip. Hot appetizers include their famously tender, grilled, marinated octopus that is so good, you’ll be back for more. The same is true for the grilled calamari, so tender and tasty and perfect for sharing ($11). Saganaki is lightly battered, pan-fried kefalograviera cheese that is addictively good, with a squeeze of lemon. Feta ceramica a slab of feta cheese with tomato and peppers baked in a ceramic dish and served hot and bubbly at your table ($13). Fried calamari are light and crispy, as are the fried slices of zucchini and eggplant, served with skordalia for dipping. Grilled Greek sausage called loukaniko round out the tempting appetizers, along with classic avgolemono soup.

Cold appetizers include assorted dips that are perfect for sharing, such as creamy taramosalata (caviar), melitzanosalata (eggplant), skordalia (potato and garlic), and tzatziki (yogurt cucumber). Order a salad for the table with chunks of feta cheese, stuffed grape leaves and tomato, or try the ‘Prasini’ salad with chopped Romaine lettuce, scallions, feta cheese, Kalamata olives, and fresh dill. The baby beet salad marinated in a light vinaigrette is a light and refreshing.

No one does fish quite like

Bahari. We shared a whole Branzino grilled to perfection, basted in lemon and olive oil, and served on a gleaming white platter with wedges of lemon. The white, flaky fish was so fresh, it melts in your mouth. Plump shrimp are simply grilled, or sautéed with tomato and feta cheese. Choose a whole snapper, grouper, or porgy, or whatever is the catch of the day. The salmon steak is a great choice, drizzled with fine olive oil and sprinkled with herbs. Pan fried codfish and fried smelts are Greek delicacies, meant to be shared. If you feel like meat, order the aged T-bone or ribeye steaks, or the tender pork chops all cooked to order. Sizzling baby lamb chops called ‘paidakia’ needed no more than a pass on the grill and a squeeze of lemon to show off the tenderness and flavor of these delectable chops. Hand-made bifteki beef meatballs are mildly seasoned and so tasty. All meat and fish entrees are served with French fries, rice, or their famous lemon potatoes.

Traditional baked Greek dishes such as the stuffed tomatoes and peppers filled with rice and herbs, pastitsio baked pasta, and moussaka with delicious layers of eggplant, ground meat, potatoes, and béchamel are perfect cold weather dishes.

Sweeten your palate with flaky baklava, dripping with honey, and galaktoboureki with a creamy custard filling that pairs well with the chilled dessert wine from Samos for a perfect finish.

Bahari Estiatorio is consistently superb for its fresh fish and meat, great service, and warm atmosphere. Weekend reservations are strongly recommended as Bahari fills up with loyal customers like me. Bahari Estiatorio is open seven days a week for lunch and dinner from 12:00pm to midnight and, conveniently located just a few steps from the Broadway N train. Yasoo for celebrating 18 years in Astoria!

31-14 Broadway, Astoria


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