TAVERN VRAKA RESTAURANT:
23-15 31st St., Astoria; 721-3007
CUISINE: Greek with a delicate touch from Cyprus
HOURS: Closed Monday & Tuesday. Open 5 days a week for
dinner from 5 until 12 p.m.
PARKING: Metered until 7 p.m. Valet on weekends.
CATERING: Yes, especially Sunday afternoons.
MUSIC: On weekends from bandstand with bousouki orchestra and
piano music on Thursdays.
CREDIT CARDS: All major cards
Taverna Vraka is celebrating its 20th anniversary of serving fine food
in Astoria. The restaurant is large, tranquil, tastefully decorated and has an expert wait
From the bar, we had Ouzo on the rocks, the popular licorice flavored
drink. This is a recommended aperitif, but the bar also has a nice selection of liquors
and imported wines (by the glass or bottle).
The evening we visited, one of the interesting appetizers was lightly
spiced, fried zucchini patties. We also enjoyed the lightest Taramosalata ($7.75) we have
ever tasted a real palate treat on warm pita bread. This was followed by one of our
favorite Greek specialties, Halloumi Scharas- broiled Cyprus goat cheese ($9.75).
For the multi-course diner, the next course could well be one of the
nicely presented salads from the menu; including, of course, the classic Greek Salad.
Chris, our attentive server, listed the evenings specials
including Sautéed Shrimp in Vodka Sauce ($19.95). We chose the Lamb Stuffed with Spinach
and Feta Cheese ($18.75), an interesting layered combination of textures. It was
accompanied by steamed carrots and lemon-flavored boiled potato wedges.
From the lengthy dinner menu we chose the chefs grilled pride,
Paidakia Arnissia ($21.50), three perfect lamb chops grilled with the chefs special
spicing. These were also accompanied by the fresh vegetables. Other interesting offerings
on the menu include Sautéed Chicken with Mushrooms and finished with Ouzo, Rack of Lamb
for Two and Garides Akamas (grilled shrimp in olive oil, lemon, garlic and parsley
Fish on the menu includes Swordfish as well as Fish Platter a la Vraka
with mussels, clams, shrimps and kalamari sautéed in a light red sauce ($24.95).
The homemade Greek pastries are rich and satisfying. Enjoy the
Loukoumades, a Cyprus specialty of delicious, fluffy pastry puffs dripping in honey, and
the custody Ghalaktobursko along with your choice of coffees.