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Celebrating Queens’ women-owned culinary gems

Chef of restaurant cooking fresh vegetable salad from green and red vegs (Getty)

Mar. 22, 2024 By Staff Report

In light of International Women’s Day on March 8, it’s a fitting time to spotlight some of the top women-owned dining gems in western Queens.

Queens boasts the most diverse culinary landscape in New York City, a distinction that shines through in the array of women-led restaurants peppered across the borough.

These establishments, spanning from traditional Greek to authentic African cuisine, underscore the rich tapestry of flavors offered in the borough.


Here’s a look at some standout spots that have captured our taste buds and hearts:

Telly’s Taverna, 28-13 23rd Ave., Astoria (Greek)

An Astoria staple since 1990, Telly’s Taverna specializes in authentic Greek fare, including delicious grilled fish such as sea bass, snapper, and spearings.

Owner Dianna Loiselle has been providing the Astoria community with Greek favorites for over three decades, including saganaki (Greek appetizer made using fried cheese) and taramosalata (a traditional Greek spread made from cod, carp, or grey mullet).

The restaurant additionally boasts a delightful outdoor space, making it a prime destination during the summer months.

Lucia Cruz, Owner Beija Flor

Beija Flor, 38-02 29th St., Long Island City (Brazilian)

Owner Lucia Cruz has created a hugely exciting Brazilian bar and restaurant experience in Long Island City.

Beija Flor offers a variety of modern dishes that capture authentic Brazilian flavors, including its “picanha na chapa” (grilled sirloin steak served with rice and beans) and its fricassé de frango (shredded chicken with corn, potato sticks, and cheese).

It also offers a selection of authentic Brazilian appetizers, including páo de quejo (traditional Brazilian cheese bread) and isca de peixe (crispy breaded fish).

Furthermore, Beija Flor has captured an authentic Brazilian atmosphere, with frequent live music performances and happy hour specials contributing to an upbeat vibe.

Carla, 25-03 40th Ave., Long Island City (Mexican)

Boasting colorful foliage and tropical flowers, Carla is a unique dining experience in the heart of Long Island City.

Opened by owner Barbie Cheung in 2021, Carla has been providing the neighborhood with delicious food and specially-crafted drinks over the past three years.

Carla offers guests an eclectic choice of food, from tacos and burgers to salads and even Vietnamese dishes.

Sotto La Luna, 34-39 31st St., Astoria (Italian)

Co-owned by Gina Mastrovito, Sotta La Luna is an authentic Italian culinary experience operating on the border of Astoria and Long Island City.

The restaurant provides a mouthwatering range of authentic Italian antipastis, pastas, pizzas and desserts, including its delicious orecchiette salsiccia broccoli e rabe (a delectable combination of ear-shaped pasta, Italian sausage and broccoli rabe).

Sotto La Luna additionally boasts a delightful choice of Italian-inspired desserts – perfect for any guests with a sweet tooth.

The restaurant’s traditional Italian desserts such as its tiramisu and panna cotta are exquisite, but it is the traditional Sicilian cannoli that it is the true star of the show where desserts are concerned.

Beatrice Ajaero, Owner Nneji

Nneji, 32-20 34th Ave., Astoria (West African)

Serving West African staples such as red stew and jollof rice, Nneji is an absolute must-visit in western Queens.

Owner Beatrice Ajaero, a Roosevelt Island native with Nigerian roots, has been providing Astoria with West African home-style cooking since June 2020.

Ajaero has also championed sustainable practices at her delicious restaurant, implementing small-batch preparation and opting for products that have multiple uses.

Her restaurant not only serves up West African delicacies but also immerses western Queens in a rich cultural experience, setting it apart as one of the neighborhood’s most distinctive dining destinations.

Sandra Munoz, Owner Pollos Napoles

Pollos Napoles, 45-13 34th Ave., Astoria (Colombian)

Colombian chicken restaurant Pollos Napoles has quietly built a reputation as one of the go-to locations for chicken in western Queens.

Owner Sandra Munoz has created a delightful and inexpensive menu, providing the local community with delicious Latin American dishes.

Its pollo ajiaco soup (a traditional Colombian chicken and potato soup made with corn on the cob) is a particularly popular dish, while its selection of whole and half chickens are sure to make guests salivate.

*This story first published in the March issue of BORO Magazine.

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