I’ve been to Aliada twice now. Both times, I had a couple dishes I really enjoyed, and a couple I really didn’t. The Greek salad that comes with any entree is always delicious: big, salty chunks of feta, sharp red onions, fresh lettuce, and oil and vinegar. My first time there, I got the Manitaria Krasata (mushrooms cooked in wine) and the Kopanisti (Roasted Red Pepper and Feta dip). The mushrooms were not memorable- I couldn’t taste any wine, or any particular flavor. The dip was a warm orangy-red color but the ingredients were disproportional- it tasted much more of the salty feta than the sweet red pepper. But my friend’s grilled meat platter came with a side of lemon potatoes, which were so tasty. Don’t be deceived by the way they look- which is like shiny boiled potatoes. They are lemony, smooth, and buttery. I also got Charcoaled Halloumi Cheese, which also was not too impressive- tasted like a saltier version of grilled paneer. Eh.
But my second time there, I ordered Charcoaled Zucchini and Eggplant, which came with a side of lemon mashed potatoes. The veggies were great- they were soft and warm inside, and flaky outside, with the burnt taste of the grill. Very pleasing texture. And the mashed potatoes, which I’m usually not a fan of, were again, delicious.
The thing with Aliada is that it has few vegetarian entrees, though a variety of vegetarian appetizers. So for my main course, I had the option of falafel, a grilled veggie sandwich, or Spinach Kanellonia, which are spinach and cheese crepes. To try something new, I ordered the crepes. I was expecting crispy, dosa like crepes (though smaller, obviously, than a dosa), filled with the spinach, dosa, and maybe a sauce, and folded up into a neat triangle. The reason I was expecting this is because of my time working at Sofi’s Crepes, in Baltimore. That’s how I made the crepes there. But the Kanellonia I got at my table resembled lasagna more than a dosa: they had layered two or three crepes on top of each other, covered the dish with an unremarkable tomato sauce and chunks of feta (and by this point, I was getting tired of feta) and baked it. The dish was sad and simply reminded me of why I don’t like lasagna: mushy, mild flavors remind me of baby food.
So, that was Aliada. A hit or miss experience, with a few key dishes. Maybe that’s what eating Greek food is like for vegetarians? I’m not too sure. My parents really enjoy a Greek restaurant in the most abysmal city for restaurants in the world, Framingham. So I thought trying Greek food in a Greek capital, Astoria, would be a guaranteed good choice. But only some of the dishes were enjoyable. However, the ambiance is nice, especially in the summer time: you can sit outside, enjoy piney Greek wine or refreshing Greek beer, and people watch in the warm air.
Aliada is on 29th and Broadway, Astoria, NY.