Alpha Astoria

2 german girls review greek cafes in Astoria Queens

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Kolonaki Cafe -- Broadway and 33rd St

Dreams really do come true. Just three days ago we wished extra hard and with all our might to be at Kolonaki Café and here we are. This is proof that if you believe in your dreams you will make them happen.

Kolonaki is cute – it has a second story with adorable balconies that look out on to Broadway and 33rd which makes for great people watching. The décor inside is nice if a bit garish – the huge scepter-like sconces were a bit daunting, especially since the scuff marks on the wall seem to indicate that they occasionally fall down and impale people (talk about good people watching!). The tables were, again, very close together – perhaps to make non-Europeans feel chubby, squeezing into a seat is an exercise in sucking it in. The lobby area has a collection of Greek themed gifts for sale – most of the items were Easter based today (Greek Easter in t-minus 4 days!) but they also had “got frappe” shirts for all your milk ad campaign parody needs. As an extra bonus, there is live Jazz on Monday nights.

The service at Kolonaki is… casual. We met at the café and kind of hung around in the lobby-like area until a cute waitress walked by – we asked if we could sit upstairs and she seemed to not fully understand why we would think that waitressing duties include the seating of patrons. We sat at one of the tables overlooking Omonia (memories…) but the table was broken and dangerously wobbly so we immediately moved to another table. The joint was pretty empty – just us, a smoking woman (unfortunately for us and the law we mean smoking in the cigarette way not that hubba hubba way) and… a sleeping, possibly homeless guy. We had been kind of surprised that there was no smoking in Athens or Omonia what with how much the Greeks seem to enjoy chain smoking, but Kolonaki finally lived up to our hazy room stereotypes -- our waitress followed us upstairs and immediately offered us an ashtray. By the time we left the restaurant there were 6 other tables (including the now awake and smoldering (again, not in the good way) homeless guy) and only 2 were living on the right side of the New York Smoking laws.

The menu at Kolonaki was noticeably smaller than that of the other cafes that we’ve reviewed. As seems to be the norm, the offering was very dessert heavy – however it was close to dinner time and Brianna had heard that the “real” food at Kolonaki was pretty good so we decided to forgo the sugar rush. Brianna ordered another frappe ($3.50) and was educated by the waitress on the frappe options – medium (milk and two sugars) or sweet (milk and four sugars). Four sugars sounded like a lot so she went with the medium… Amy ordered an iced coffee ($3.25, strangely, hot coffee is only $1.95 – that ice has to be shipped all the way from Antarctica I guess). The waitress had a really hard time grasping the concept of “bring us our drinks and then we’ll order food” and refused to let us keep both menus but eventually we convinced her to go get the coffees.

Brianna found the “medium” frappe a little bitter, three sugars seems like it would be a happy medium. The ice coffee was… weird. I guess for the extra buck they felt obligated to jazz it up a bit. The result was Guinness-like—foamy on top and black on the bottom. It *looks* like it has steamed milk on the top but… foamy milk stirs into coffee, right? The coffee tasted fine but Amy wasn’t given any milk (outside of the possibly dairy based foam) so she felt the need to add extra sugar (8 instead of 4) to compensate.

For dinner Brianna decided on the European tuna salad sandwich (“fat-free” even though it has a ton of olive oil in it… I… don’t know.) ($6.95). Amy ordered the Caesar salad sans chicken which the waitress was surprisingly un-confused about... maybe there are Greek vegetarians after all ($5.95). Our food arrived fairly quickly, in comparison to the other cafes. The tuna salad sandwich, on pita bread, was accompanied by potato-chips (making the “European” food more American friendly one assumes), and the Caesar salad had pita on the side. Brianna’s fare was very good- the tuna salad had high-quality (aka tasty) capers. Amy’s salad was also quite yummy. The “homemade croutons” were crunchy and cheese-covered, and it was swimming in salad dressing. For other people this may be considered a negative, but Amy’s tendency towards excess is not limited to too much sugar in her beverages. After taking a nibble of Amy’s salad, Brianna suspected that it was drenched in Italian dressing (Whatever. Caesar was totally Roman).

And for the highlight of the review… the bathrooms were pretty basic, and on the second floor (ruining our basement-bathroom trend) and better equipped overall than those at Omonia. There were two single-person bathrooms (Our more adventurous readers could probably squeeze two (or more?) in there… *wink wink nudge nudge…*) with plenty of soap, toilet paper and paper towels for all. Speaking of trends, Mega-touch machines by the bathroom? We’ll be keeping you guys updated on that one.

Awesome Astoria Activities:

Broadway seems surprisingly devoid of fun activities that are not food-oriented (we assume that after leaving the café, you are full of caffeine goodness). You could get your hair done I suppose, or go to the dentist again. But we suggest walking off some of your calories with a trip to Steinway where you can also exercise your credit card at one of the many Payless Shoe Stores (do we really need *two* sources for plastic shoes within a block of each other???)

Food: 4
Service: 2
Ambiance: 3
Average Attractiveness of Staff: 2.5
Average Attractiveness of Patrons: 1.5 (hard to see them through the smoke, and the possibly homeless guy really dragged the numbers down)


  • At 12:26 AM, Blogger Geoff G. said…

    the huge scepter-like scones were a bit daunting, especially since the scuff marks on the wall seem to indicate that they occasionally fall down and impale people

    I assume you kids mean "sconces," but the image of scones falling on old men's heads while they sip nescafe is priceless. Ahhh, Queens!

  • At 11:01 AM, Blogger amy said…

    damn typos that spell-check misses and my real-world hungry eyes glaze over... thanks Geoff... I'll fix that now. Scones often aren't too intimidating, and I don't think they were even on the menu.

  • At 12:49 AM, Blogger balakumar said…

    Vooow greek roads and foods look soooooo coool... :)

    Balakumar Muthu

  • At 9:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Your RSS feed is broken!

  • At 3:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I am curious whether the reviewer was happy that the waitress gave them an ashtray. New York is one of the few places in the world that finally introduced a smoking ban in all public places and some people want to stay in their own world...

  • At 2:36 PM, Blogger Jennifer said…

    They have done away with the outdoor seating and the smoking, for those interested.


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