As I was updating my list of Places I've Eaten Recently and Places Where I'd Like to Eat (see the right column), I realized I haven't been to all that many new restaurants lately. Instead, I've gone for seconds at places I've really enjoyed, like Taverna Kyclades. I can't say enough about the seafood there. Everything is done simply and cleanly, letting the true flavors and textures of the different fishes shine through. The value is outstanding, too.
I wish more visitors and tourists to New York knew about some of the different neighborhoods in Queens where they can get a real authentic New York experience for a much lower price than in Manhattan. Taverna Kyclades is one of the top places I'd recommend, as its close to the subway, in a more scenic part of Astoria, and has excellent outdoor seating in the warmer months. They serve food continuously between lunch and dinner, so there's no waiting until after 5 to grab a table, which is good for travelers who can take advantage of the smaller crowds between 2:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.
Another place I've been to twice now is Cafe Fiorello, which doesn't boast as much value, but is superb in other ways. The menu is long, and although that's often a turn-off to me, here it's appreciated. I could read on and on about what's in the antipasti display—marinated artichoke hearts, squid and octopus salad, fresh mozzarella di buffalo, roasted baby eggplants—but eyeing the display is even more fun. Upon entering the restaurant, the enormous bar confronts you. The service is also commendable, if a touch theatrical.
I suppose the reason I've returned to these and other restaurants rather than seeking out a new one every time I eat out is because I want to appreciate what I have and what I know. I still have a list of places I haven't tried yet and want to try, but I don't want to race on so quickly that I can't appreciate all the nuances of a great restaurant that only become evident upon repeat visits and ordering a few different things from the menu.