Restaurants have always been beacons for immigrant communities, so every four years, the World Cup electrifies a new round of international enclaves in New York City. Last week, the tournament locked in the final four contenders: Morocco, Croatia, Argentina, and France. In Astoria, where 37 percent of its residents are immigrants, the Moroccan and Croatian communities found solace in the hopes and losses of their soccer teams this week.
It was a particularly loaded game for Morocco, with more than the World Cup riding on its shoulders. Morocco was the first African country — and the biggest underdog — to progress to the semi-finals. For followers of the tournament, the game also meant a reversal of colonial history, and solidarity for Africans, Arabs, and Muslims in the face of America’s own racism and intolerance.
Scroll ahead to see how the World Cup screening parties unfolded at two Astoria restaurants — Dar Yemma, an acclaimed Moroccan-Algerian restaurant, and Selo, a local favorite, Croatian Serbian spot — and celebrations spilled out onto Steinway Street afterward.
Dar Yemma: 25-21 Steinway Street, near 25th Avenue
Selo: 3305 Broadway, near 33rd Street
Caroline Shin is a Queens-raised food journalist and founder of the Cooking with Granny YouTube and workshop series spotlighting immigrant grandmothers. Follow her on Instagram @CookingWGranny.