In the Balkans…

Even the most casual visitor is greeted with a sweet and a drink on arrival. It’s a centuries-old tradition.

At Golden Festival…

We have our own traditions. One is to communally prepare and serve a tasting of the cuisines from the Mediterranean and Balkans.

Be prepared for long lines!

  • If you or your kids require an earlier snack or a sit-down hot meal, support our local Astoria neighbors by patronizing the many restaurants and eateries in walking distance of the hall. 

  • If you leave the Hall for a meal or coffee, your wristband will allow you to return to the festival afterwards.

Friday Meze

Gold Room, 2nd floor

  • 8:30pm – 12:00am: Complimentary Meze Tasting 
  • 10:30pm: Sweets & Confections
  • Tables for seating will be available in the Grand Ballroom

Cash Bar

  • Friday in the Cornicello Room
  • Saturday in the Imperial Room and the Cornicello Room
  • Alcoholic beverages: Local craft beers, Balkan & Greek wines, šljivovica (plum brandy), raki and ouzo, & standard beverages 
  • Hot beverages: Ethically-sourced and locally-roasted coffee and ethnic tea selection
  • Non-alco refreshers: Fruit juices, Bakan soft drinks, & local craft non-alco beers
  • Free water fillers are available on every floor. Single-use bottles will not be sold at the bars. 
  • Please recycle cans in the containers provided
  • Bring your own water bottles and containers! Thank you!

Saturday Meze

Regency Room, 1st floor

  • 8:30pm – 12:00am: Complimentary Meze Tasting 
  • 10:30pm: Sweets & Confections
  • Tables for seating will be available throughout the event

NOTE: Our insurance and rental contract prohibit bringing outside alcoholic beverages to Astoria World Manor. Thank you for your cooperation.

Everything, from imported bonbons at the door to our meze tasting buffet, is provided by local caterers (representing over a dozen ethnic communities in NJ and NYC), sourced from Europe and the Near East, or prepared and cooked by our volunteer Golden Fest Kitchen Staff.

We regret that traditional cuisines contain many allergens. If you have any questions about ingredients, ask a host or server to contact the Golden Fest Staff kitchen manager on duty.

If you are interested in ingredients, vendors or sources of the foods we serve, please contact the Golden Fest Kitchen Manager (ask any of the servers to direct you).

About Balkan Cuisine

The foods of the Balkan Peninsula and surrounding islands, like its music, are regionally varied.  Native plants and the outdoor lifestyles of shepherds and migratory peoples are the basis of this cuisine. Salting, pickling, smoking and culturing milk were developed to preserve these products for the winter and travel, and form the most characteristic flavor profiles of Balkan cuisine.  

Other elements were adopted from afar — rice and spices from Asia via the Silk Route; coffee and meze traditions from the Arab world. Tomatoes, potatoes, cornmeal, chocolate and chili peppers arrived from the Western Hemisphere. Ottoman, Austro-Hungarian, Italian urban cuisine, and Mediterranean maritime culture, also contribute flavors and cooking techniques.

We encourage you to feast first!

If you are looking for a more substantial, sit-down meal before the festival or a place to gather with friends, Astoria has numerous options. We recommend making reservations, especially near the festival venue.

Read on for some of our local favorites!

Featured Restaurants

You can sample specialties from Selo and Djerdan at our festival’s meze tastings!

Djerdan – New York’s famous Bosnian burek café, now in its second generation specializing in savory Balkan pies, grilled beef cevapi, and Sarajevo-style café desserts. An immigrant success story, this  family-owned business now ships their pies nationwide.

Show your Golden Fest e-ticket for 10% off food purchases all weekend, including all day Sunday. Visit them at their Astoria or Bensonhurst locations. We love options!

Selo RestaurantSelo means village, and the Tominović family is in the kitchen, preparing dishes from their family’s Croatian and Serbian repertoire: meze; grilled and stuffed meat specialties; Istrian pastas and seafood. Bar with extensive Balkan wine and rakija menu. Saturday nights are “Serbian Nights” with live music, so you’ll have to come back on a non-festival Saturday!

Show your Golden Fest e-ticket for 10% off food purchases all weekend, including Balkan Sunday Brunch. Please reserve in advance (it’s Mother’s Day weekend after all).

Right down the block:

Anassa Taverna – The flagship of three New York estiatoria of that name, with classic Greek taverna meze, raw bar, fresh seafood and prime meats, and bar. Family-style brunch starts at 11:30 am Sunday. 

Argjiro’s Corner Food Market – Sells all the basics, plus Balkan and E. Euro groceries, fresh byrek and coffee, artisanal Albanian products, and deli specialties. Carry out or eat on their sidewalk terrace.

Basil Brick Oven – White tablecloth Italian pizzeria, Roman and Neapolitan style pies and pasta from the “other side” of the Adriatic.  

BZ Grill – Casual grill, popular with locals, with Greek and Cypriot meat specialties, sandwiches, salads and a veggie option or two. A few tables; good option for carry-out. 

10-20 minute walk from
Astoria World Manor:

Bohemian Hall – Founded in 1910, it is New York’s oldest surviving beer garden.   Established as a fraternal hall for early 20th century Czech and Slovak immigrants, it still serves up Central European comfort food and Czech brews, American pub grub, and live music.

Eli’s Cafe & Creperie Brand new (3 week old!) coffee shop on 31st St. specializing in crepesknown as petulla in Albanian, and palacinke elsewhere in the Balkansplus bureks, croissants and wonderful coffee drinks.  Open at 7 am – 6 pm on weekends, for your after-party breakfast, afternoon pick-me-up or pre-festival snack. 

LaganoModern Balkan cuisine means an eclectic menu centered on Balkan grill specialties, charcuterie, and seafood but with international influences. Vegetarians can choose from a rainbow of mezes, salads, sides & pizzas.  Weekend brunch from 11 am.  Live music evenings (not necessarily Balkan). 

Mimoza Lounge & Restaurant – Montenegrin and other specialties reflect the cuisine of the western Balkans. An extensive Balkan wine list, and contemporary cocktails.

Truva Café & Grill – Notably, Truva serves up a full Anatolian tea breakfast, with all the trimmings (from 10:00 am), regional egg dishes, a variety of homemade breads, and samovar tea.  The rest of the day, the menu features Mediterranean meze and entrees.  Options for vegetarians and vegans.   Patio dining.

Greek eateries galore!

From souvlaki trucks to zaharoplastia (pastry shops with the all-important Greek coffee) to rustic fish tavernas, to white-tablecloth estiatoria, to late-night Greek-American diners. Hellenic eateries are too numerous and widespread to mention, so we’ll let you do your own research!

Diverse Arabic cuisine!

Including Egyptian, Palestinian, Syrian, Yemeni and Moroccan options and clustered in the neighborhood around Steinway St, between Astoria Blvd. and 30th Ave.   Some serve up late night hookah and entertainment. Again, research and explore!

Many Thanks!  Ευχαριστώ! Faleminderit!  Hvala! Teşekkürler! Фала! شكرًا!  Хвала! ¡Gracias!  

Golden Festival Kitchen is grateful to our friends (and heros!) at the following businesses. They’ve helped us to stock the meze tables and bars for our first year in Astoria, and also provided discounts and publicity. Kudos as well to our all-volunteer Kitchen Crew!

Alb-USA, Bronx 

Argjiro’s Corner, Astoria

Balkan Bites

Big Dawg Party Rental, Brooklyn

Brian’s/Eternatea, Paterson

Brothers Produce of NJ, Paterson 

Burlap & Barrel Single Origin Spices, Queens, NY

Cedar’s Foods, East Rutherford, NJ

Djerdan Burek, Astoria/Brooklyn/South Hackensack

Fifth Hammer Brewing Co., Long Island City

FoodTown, Astoria

The Greek Store, Kenilworth NJ

Hudson Valley Farmhouse Cider/Breezy Hill + Stone Ridge Orchards

Kontos, Paterson 

Mighty Oak Roasters, Astoria

Nouri’s, Paterson 

Selo Restaurant, Astoria

Stellar Importing Co., Whitestone NY

Taşkın Bakery, Paterson 

Wines of Illyria, CT

Zio Pepe’s Pizzeria, Queens