Lunch Yums at Taverna Kyclades

by Meg Cotner on March 1, 2012

taverna kyclades

I’m currently in the middle of a giant project – happily, it’s food-related – so I’ve taken an unexpected baby break from the blog. Once the project is done, I’ll talk a little more about it. Right now, though, I want to tell you about a recent meal I had here in Astoria, at Taverna Kyclades.

Taverna Kyclades is a staple Greek restaurant here in the neighborhood that is extremely popular with locals and tourists alike – in the evenings, you’ll see lines to get in, snaking down the block; we ate there at 1pm and were seated right away. It’s very close to my apartment, and after this meal I just had I’m kicking myself for not eating there sooner. The food was fantastic – so fresh and clean tasting. I had heard rumors that the use of olive oil was excessive, but I thought they used the perfect touch for everything.

The meal was shared among three of us, which means we got to taste a variety of dishes. We ordered two appetizers and two main dishes. The appetizers were a platter of dips – taramasalata, tzatziki, and skordalia – and grilled octopus. We chose grilled calamari and fried sardines for our main dishes, and they came with a side of horta and a side of lemon potatoes. Everything was excellent. My favorite dish of the whole meal, though, was the octopus. I didn’t expect to love it as much as I did.

grilled octopus at taverna kyclades

The octopus was tender yet meaty, a texture I did not expect. Wonderful! There was a little olive oil, which added nice flavor. The meat itself was very mild but not devoid of flavor. I would eat this again in a heartbeat.

The spreads were also lovely. We all remarked that the taramasalata was light, not heavy and gloppy like it can be. I loved the salty little roe present in the spread. The tzatziki was more cucumber than yogurt, and the skordalia, a garlicky potato spread, was smooth and perfectly garlicky.

taramasalata, tzatziki, skordalia at taverna kyclades

We ate it with some semolina bread, which was no doubt baked nearby.

The grilled calamari was gorgeous – I loved the char it acquired. It was served in large tubular pieces, not the little rings you get when it’s fried. The calamari was toothsome yet not really rubbery, like it can get. I liked it a lot.

grilled calamari at taverna kyclades

We also ordered fried sardines, which came whole – gutted and no heads – and fried so that there was a very thin crispy outer coat. We scraped the meat and skin off the skeleton – I ended up eating some of the bones but they didn’t cause me any discomfort. The tails were nice and crispy, yum yum.

fried sardines at taverna kyclades

We were given four big lemon slices and we used them all – lemon is so perfect on sea food.

Along with the main dishes, we had a choice of horta (dandelion), lemon potatoes, or rice. We chose the horta and lemon potatoes. Excellent choices. The lemon potatoes were savory and lemony, and some had a beautiful crust on them. The horta was great – not bitter at all like you might imagine dandelion greens to be. Great also with lemon.

horta at taverna kycladeslemon potatoes at taverna kyclades

 Other lunch menu items include fried whiting, chicken and pork kabobs, and saganaki. Broiled or fried filet (of which fish I do not know) is also available for lunch. Dessert is not served at lunch. So, if you find yourself in Astoria and you are looking for some excellent Greek food, look no further than Taverna Kyclades!

Taverna Kyclades
33-07 Ditmars Blvd
Astoria, NY 11105
(718) 545-8666

http://www.tavernakyclades.com/

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