This restaurant was a complete surprise favorite. Mundo Cafe and Restaurant is just off Broadway at 32nd St. in Astoria. I've walked by it dozens of times (yes, I just moved here, but I've been to the neighborhood before) and I always thought the place looked odd and honestly, kind of uninviting and scuzzy. But last week I walked by and picked up a copy of the menu to peruse and it looked fantastic, and not too expensive.

We dined there just a few days later and had a wonderful meal. The place is tiny, with enough seats for maybe 25 people. The atmosphere is nice with art for sale on the walls. When you're walking by outside you can see into a window into the kitchen, and it too is tiny - not much bigger that the kitchen in my apartment. There were just two servers for the whole place. The were very helpful and friendly.

There was a lot we wanted to try off of the menu. We ended up going with the Cheese & Spinach Dip, the Ottoman Dumplings and the Crab meat Burger. Everything was good though a little different than I expected. The dip was very spinachy with cheese melted on top. I had expected it to be more blended or creamy. We ate it with little pita wedges, which there weren't enough of. The dumplings were smaller than I expected, about the size of grapes, each with a little piece of ground beef inside. The yogurt sauce was mellow and tasty. The burger was great, with huge chunks of crab and great herb-seasoned fries on the side.

We definitely liked the place and will be back - there's a lot more to try!

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