Tucked back on the quiet north side of Addison Circle, there is a little corner sidewalk cafe. By the size of it, I expected a simple coffee and snack place, so I was surprised when I saw Astoria’s menu. There are 10 pages of wines by the bottle and glass, 28 beers, and 2 pages of specialty coffee drinks (with optional liquor shots).The food list is also quite long. Breakfast is served all day, from paninis to the Mortadella Breakfast, featuring grilled mortadella, eggs, bufala, tomatoes and balsamic glaze. There are teas (with pots, mind you), Italian sodas, cheesecakes and a healthy selection of meats and cheeses to build a platter. Salads, paninis, soups, and a long list of appetizers round out the menu.
Then there are the cigars, the happy hour wine specials, and the atmosphere. Cozy leather chairs and high-tops fill the inside, and umbrellaed tables dot the corner outside. There is a nook in the back with an electric fireplace, and the music is mellow and unobtrusive. A few seats dot the impressively-stocked bar and the waitstaff is very friendly. This would make a nice spot for a date night, boozy brunch, or Saturday morning book reading session.
We tried the Tuxedo, Milky Way, and Turtle coffee drinks, both iced and hot. We preferred them iced, but both ways are balanced and definitely rich. No, we did not ask about the calories.Skip the spinach dip. It’s bland and milky. But the tzaziki was so fresh I ended up finishing it with a spoon, and the dolmas were flavorful, if way too mushy. Don’t neglect the Prosciutto Spinach Salad or the Astoria Club Panini – the meats and cheeses here are spot-on. Next time, I’ll pass on the appetizers and get a breakfast platter. But the humble atmosphere, the wine and the espresso are what you’ll want to come back for.
The kitchen stays open until close, which is midnight during the week and 2 AM Thursday through Saturday.
Bottom line: Astoria has the casual feel and unassuming air that you want in a great neighborhood coffee shop, but with as much to offer as a restaurant twice its size.