Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Ovelia - Brunch Overload--in a Good Way!

Ovelia Psistaria - 34-01 30th Ave, Astoria, NY 11103

N/W Train to 30th Avenue

I'm a bit partial to this more-than-just-a-cafe eatery, owned by Astoria natives--and two sets of brothers--Chris and Peter Giannakas and Elias and Mark Mandilaras. Thanks to them, Ovelia emanates energy and style to the max--and it has the customers to prove it. Although we had to wait more than 40 minutes to be seated for brunch, as always it was well worth it. The place was even busier than usual because they supported Time Out For Hunger where 10% of proceeds went to help relieve hungry New Yorkers.

Modern and welcoming, Ovelia certainly falls out of the 30th Avenue cookie-cutter cafe mold. The decor is eclectic and interesting--and varies depending on where you sit. The front is open and bright with traditional tables, the middle is funky with Picasso-esque art and brass tables and the back is more private with contemporary art and marble tables. So basically, you could choose your setting based on your mood that day--there are plenty of options.

The coolest part of Ovelia in my opinion is the bar--it's made of concrete and subtly shines with fiber optic lights. Yet another non-food piece-de-resistance is the garage door window that opens up on warm, sunny days.

The extensive brunch is what draws in a lot of customers. Ovelia does a great job of mixing traditional Greek cuisine with modern American tastes. Think French toast stuffed with Greek yogurt and honey or pancakes paired with homemade sausage--made from a family recipe. Here are the dishes we enjoyed this past Sunday:

Tiropita Toast - Served with sliced apples, bacon, cream cheese and apple chutney, this is yet another interesting specialty I haven't seen at other Greek joints. What makes the "toast" special is the homemade bread--a flatbread made with what else but Feta cheese. The result is crispy and flavorful and I loved the pairing of sweet (apple) and savory (bacon). The cream cheese melted nicely and the apple chutney was gentle on the tongue, seducing it completely!

Turkey, Mushroom and Bechamel Crepes - I split these with Kimberly and they were truly amazing, my favorite part being the creamy bechamel sauce on top and on the inside. The mushrooms were a lovely surprise in the middle and the dish was light despite its hearty ingredients. You get three huge crepes with this order so be prepared to share with others.

Our other dining compadres were also loving their dishes. Joe ordered poached eggs on English muffins with crispy hash on the side--and his clean plate was proof of his satisfaction. Same went for Maria who stuck with a lunch basic of chicken Caesar Salad and also had an empty plate by meal's end. Shaya got the stuffed French Toast and I heard no complaints--I think she was especially impressed by the homemade sausage.

Service and Cost:
As always, the service here is super quick and efficient. Although our waitress was new, she was competent and friendly--often cracking a smile and offering as much advice as she could. One thing to note is that because we waited so long, we were offered a free round of morning cocktails on the house. This meant a lot to us, and we happily waited another couple of minutes while toasting to a fun get together with our sweet Mimosas.

The prices here are excellent and yet again offer great value. Depending on what you get, brunch will cost you between $10-$13 per person. This includes coffee/tea, an entree and a morning cocktail--good stuff.

3 Mmmms


  1. Ovelia is my favorite brunch joint on 30th Ave (and quite possibly tops in Astoria for me). In addition to the roasted turkey crepes, which I've had several times, I tried Foodista's Triopita toast and it was amazing! I've also ordered the ham-tomato-cheese version, and it too is delish. The mimosas are also substantial--drink with caution! Especially if you plan to go to Mass after brunch!

  2. I eat brunch at Ovelia practically every week. It is soooo good. They also have a killer Bloody Mary mix, fantastic Eggs florentine/benedict, and that Tiropita toast is to die for. Love it.

  3. I do believe you have committed food-blasphemy. Miss Judith, did it take you this long to write about Ovelia?! Oh how I am in love with this place. The beautiful bar, the ambiance, the food. Mmm. I can't get enough. I do think I am due back for a mojito soon.

  4. Hey MZH :)
    I actually wrote about Ovelia in my first post but I clearly did not do it any justice. This is muuuch better. I love it too and can't wait for my next visit.

  5. I have to say the pictures of the food look amazing, would love to come here one weekend in the spring once the weather gets a little warmer and I will even venture out of nyc to try it!

  6. Next time I'm in town I will have to check Ovelia out!

    As for Greek food in general, you might be interested in my Greek food blog:

    Be Well,

    Sam Sotiropoulos

  7. I love your blog Sam. I would definitely like to try some of your recipes. And the pictures are fantastic!

  8. I'm a little late to the game, but this brunch was amazing! And yes, the homemade sausage was superb! And we all really appreciated the complimentary round of mimosas/bloody marys-a lovely gesture.



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