Special Feature: Products Sally Recommends
Best Restaurants in Rhode Island
577 South Main
IN THE BEGINNING. If one restaurant can be credited with bringing national attention to Providence, it would have to be Al Forno, owned by husband-and-wife chefs and artists George Germon and Johanne Killeen. Since 1980, Al Forno has been winning accolades for its original modern Italian cuisine, especially for its positively addictive wood-grilled Pizza Margarita, spicy Clams Al Forno, Dirty Steak, and Baked Pasta in the Pink. Not to be missed are the desserts, especially the rustic fruit tarts. Delightful any time of the year, Al Forno is at its best in warm weather when guests can spend time in the beautiful outdoor courtyard, so reminiscent of a Tuscan villa.
171 Atwells Avenue
Providence (Federal Hill)
RING-A-DING-DING. Step into this Federal Hill restaurant and you're transported back to the 1960s when the Rat Pack reigned supreme. In fact, their photo hangs over the bar at Andino's. Frank Sinatra music is usually playing (rather loudly), and you can still smell the cigarette smoke that used to fill the air. The menu prices also seem stuck in a time warp, especially at lunchtime, when a generous serving of Fettuccine Alfredo is downright cheap. Almost every Italian dish you've ever heard of is on the menu, which never changes. Worth trying: Andino's garlic bread, topped with tomatoes, pepperoni and melted mozzarella cheese. Andino's has its own parking lot, a rarity up on Federal Hill, located diagonally across the street from the restaurant.
ANGELO’S CIVITA FARNESE
141 Atwells Avenue
Providence (Federal Hill)
SOUTHERN ITALIAN SOUL FOOD. Dining at the award-winning Angelo's Civita Farnese is much like traveling through time, back to 1924 when this Federal Hill restaurant opened. Dedicated to providing an Old World dining experience, at bargain prices, Angelo's offers large communal tables where newspaper reporters sit elbow-to-elbow with politicians, construction workers next to lawyers. They are all there for the same thing -- honest, old-fashioned, comforting Italian food (especially the famous Veal Parmigiana grinder). The walls are covered with marinara-splattered photographs, and for 25 cents, you can make the model railroad run along its overhead track through the big, airy dining room.
APSARA ASIAN RESTAURANT
716 Public Street
TAKE A WALK ON THE WILD SIDE. Apsara is considered by many to be the granddaddy of all Asian restaurants in the city. Many say it also happens to offer the best Asian food. Located in South Providence, it certainly lacks atmosphere, but its low prices make it especially appealing to local college students. Apsara specializes in fine Thai, Cambodian, Vietnamese and Chinese dishes and is famous for its many, many soups, spicy natang, nime chow, orange beef, spicy pork with lemon grass, and sautéed chicken over crispy noodles with straw mushrooms, snow peas, broccoli, carrots and bamboo shoots. Apsara has no liquor license, but customers are allowed to BYOB. Free parking is available on the street and in a small parking lot beside the restaurant. Make sure you lock your car -- this isn’t the safest part of the city, but the food does make the trip worthwhile.
THE BLACK PEARL
CALLING ALL CHOWDERHEADS. The Commodore’s Room at the Black Pearl is old Newport at its best. Chef Daniel Knerr has been satisfying his regular customers there for many years with excellent traditional New England fare. Jackets are suggested for the men. On-street parking and local lots are within walking distance to this oh-so-charming waterfront area. Open daily for lunch and dinner, the Black Pearl is not to be missed if you are in Newport on business or pleasure. It is especially known for its clam chowder, as seen recently on The Today Show.
One Citizens Plaza
FOR MOVERS AND SHAKERS. Sleek, sophisticated, a chic outpost where fine art and fine food meet and mingle –- that's Cafe Nuovo. A panoramic view of the city, spectacular at night, is offered at this out-of-the-ordinary restaurant, located on Riverwalk. Executive Chef Timothy J. Kelley's spectacular menu fuses American, European, Asian and Caribbean cuisines. Pasta reigns supreme at Cafe Nuovo, from the lobster-stuffed ravioli that is served with a half lobster tail over wilted spinach in a grappa tomato cream sauce to the baked penne with veal tenderloins. Cafe Nuovo is open for lunch Monday through Friday and for dinner Monday through Thursday from 5 p.m. to closing. This is THE place to be on WaterFire nights.
5 Memorial Boulevard
IN SHARP CONTRAST. You can't judge a book by its cover nor a restaurant by its outward appearance. The staid, historical Canfield House in Newport is home to some of the most exciting food being offered in that city-by-the-sea. Chef Michael Quattrucci dazzles his guests with "nouveau eclectic cuisine" -- dishes with French, Italian, Asian, and Cajun influences. It's seems like a contradiction in terms to sit in the resplendent lounge with its soaring ceiling and nautical prints on the walls, and at the same time dine on the Rock Crab Cakes with Tomato-Basil-Corn Salad and Habanero Aioli. The history behind the Canfield House and its namesake Richard Canfield is fascinating. From 1897 to 1905, the Canfield House was a highly successful gambling casino, where the Vanderbilt’s are said to have lost millions. Canfield is considered the most famous of American gamblers and is the man who invented the card game known as Solitaire.
One Union Station
STILL THE ONE. Restaurants come and go, but the Capital Grille obviously has staying power. Since 1990, this upscale, classic steakhouse has defied the skeptics and established itself as one of the finest, most successful restaurants in the city. Walk into the cavernous dining room, and the feeling of money and power is palpable. The steak is the thing at Capital Grille, dry-aged to perfection on the premises. Chops and fresh seafood of the highest quality are also available. The award-winning wine list features more than 300 selections. Prepare to be pampered by the well-trained professional wait staff.
177 Atwells Avenue
Providence (Federal Hill)
RED SAUCE AND MORE. Cassarino's is a classic Federal Hill restaurant, popular with college kids on dates and especially with families at graduation, and often busy with busloads of senior citizens visiting Providence for the day. One taste of the veal parmigiana and you understand why. Stir in reasonable prices, and you have this restaurant's recipe for success. But wait there's more -- try the littlenecks steamed in champagne with scallions and prosciutto. Cassarino's is especially appealing on a warm summer evening when the floor-to-ceiling windows open up for a bit of al fresco dining.
14 Imperial Place
TALK ABOUT HIDDEN TREASURES. Without a doubt, CAV is the most magical restaurant in Rhode Island, especially at night when the tiny white lights twinkle and the candlelight glows in the extraordinary dining room. Filled with antiques and artifacts from around the world, CAV offers some of the most intriguing food imaginable. This is fine dining at its best, with an exciting cutting-edge seasonal menu that features contemporary and fusion cuisine. Owner Sylvia Moubayed is devoted to not only satisfying your hunger, but also restoring your spirit as wll. Simply enchanting.
Providence (Federal Hill)
ITALIAN-STYLE ELEGANCE. Without a doubt, Costantino's Ristorante is the most elegant Italian restaurant in Rhode Island. The next time you are there, linger for a moment and note the works of art, big and small, that decorate this two-level dining establishment. And then there's the stunning pink marble bar, imported from Italy, like nothing else in the state. In the summer, you can dine al fresco on the traditional Italian cuisine. In cooler weather, you can go inside, curl up in a beautiful wing chair, and eventually move upstairs for a fine dining experience. All this is the vision of owner Alan Costantino, who doesn't want to be in the spotlight but, in truth, it is time for him to take a bow. Bravo, Alan! Wine lovers will be delighted with the reasonably priced vintages on the wine list. In addition to more than 20 wines available by the glass, you can have a Bellini, the house cocktail, exactly like the one that is served at Harry's Bar in Venice. In the summer, a frozen Bellini is also available.
FIRE + ICE
Providence Place Mall
IMPROV IN PROVIDENCE. Fire + Ice is an "improvisational grill" –- that is, you create your own meal by selecting ingredients from a wide variety of fresh seafood, meat, vegetables, pastas and sauces, all on display at gourmet market stations. Chefs positioned around a 30-foot circular grill prepare your selection in minutes while you watch. Steaming bowls of rice and warm tortillas await you at your table. Salads are also available. They claim you could eat for years at Fire + Ice and never have the same meal twice. There is no set menu at Fire + Ice. The ingredients change because of seasonality and availability. You may create as many meals as you like, returning to the grill as often as your appetite allows. Fire + Ice is a big, sometimes noisy, fun restaurant. The colorful interior design is outlandish. Fire + Ice is open seven days a week for lunch and dinner. This entertaining interactive dining experience is ideal for families and first dates.
194 Washington Street
AMAZING GRACE. Gracie's is the kind of restaurant we're always looking for, the romantic corner eatery you might frequent several times a week. Owner Ellen Gracyalny wants to make her guests feel welcome, and Chef Joseph Hafner's food keeps everyone coming back for more. His diverse seasonal menu offers Italian and French influences with a new American twist. Highly recommended is the foie gras appetizer, truly a dish to die for. You'll see stars when you dine at Gracie's, which is open for dinner only. Located in the theater district, it’s where celebrities dine when they come to town to perform.
1303 North Main Street
A SLICE OF AMERICANA. Pure comfort food –- that's what Gregg's is all about. The menu is huge, the booths are big and comfy, and the food is American home-style. The award-winning desserts are considered among the best in New England. Gregg's menu is awesome with page after page of tempting food items. All the basics are covered, from Buffalo wings to Caesar salad to New York-style deli sandwiches to New England boiled dinner. Gregg's is open seven days a week for lunch and dinner. In some ways, Gregg's is a modern-day diner with classic diner meals such as roast turkey with all the fixings, baked Virginia ham, liver and onions and grilled ham steak. The Mile-High Meatloaf Dinner is memorable –- it's served on extra-thick multi-grain bread, smothered with mashed potatoes and gravy, and topped with onion rings. And then there are those desserts -– huge slabs of cakes, including Death by Chocolate; home-style pies; rich and creamy cheesecakes; and old-time favorites, such as éclairs, cream puffs, and hot apple crisp.
HEMENWAY'S SEAFOOD GRILL & OYSTER BAR
One Providence Washington Place
ATTENTION SEAFOOD LOVERS. Hemenway's –- a riverfront seafood restaurant especially popular with the city's younger crowd –- is famous for its fresh seafood and raw bar. The menu changes at least once a year. In the annual "Best of Rhode Island" awards, Hemenway's has taken top honors for its chowders and lobster bisque. The menu lists where today's fresh catch is from –- Arctic char from Iceland, catfish from Mississippi, scrod from New Bedford, swordfish from Canada, tuna from Point Judith, scallops from Cape Cod, rainbow trout from Idaho, halibut from Nova Scotia, grouper and snapper from Florida, and so on. For landlubbers, there are steaks and chicken dishes, including a citrus-grilled chicken. Hemenway's is open for lunch and dinner. Reservations are a must. Especially on weekends, an hour's wait for a table is not unusual.
JOE MARZILLI'S OLD CANTEEN
120 Atwells Avenue
Providence (Federal Hill)
IN THE PINK. The first restaurant you see upon entering Federal Hill in Providence is Joe Marzilli's Old Canteen, which has been in operation since 1956, making it one of the most famous restaurants in Rhode Island. The all-Italian menu seems to go on forever, with 15 spaghetti dishes, 21 veal entrees, chicken prepared 14 different ways, and so much more. Filled with Old World charm, the Old Canteen is also known for steaks and chops. One waiter, Andy, has been there for 25 years. He highly recommends the complete seven-course dinners. But don't ask him to rush -- they cook to order at the Old Canteen.
FUNKY, UNUSUAL, UNIQUE. Get the picture? That's what Julian's is all about. There's nothing ordinary here, whether it's the creative food, the wacky decor, the bohemian staff, or the quirky customers. The imaginative menu, which changes daily, offers New American Cuisine, including true vegetarian options. A small neighborhood restaurant, Julian's is quite popular with college students and artists. In warm weather, al fresco dining is offered on the sidewalk and on the brick patio in the rear, just past the cafe's award-winning bathroom (not to be missed). Intrigued? You should be, but Julian's hours are tricky so it's wise to call ahead.
KABOB AND CURRY
261 Thayer Street
THE MAGIC OF INDIA. The highly traditional Indian food at Kabob and Curry is simply superb. The Vegetarian Appetizer Platter allows you to sample Samosas, Pakoras and Potato Tikki. Here the Indian bread called nann is kicked up a notch and stuffed. The nann that's stuffed with chopped garlic and cilantro is positively addictive. The boneless chunks of lamb in the Lamb Curry, cooked with onions, ginger, garlic and tomatoes in a curry sauce, are incredibly tender. The Keshmi Kabob is served on a sizzling hot platter. Both dishes are served with aromatic basmati rice. The authentic rice pilaf is prepared with saffron and cumin. The desserts are unusual, especially Badami Kheer, or rice pudding with almonds and cashews, flavored with cardamom and served chilled. Kabob and Curry is open for lunch and dinner. Chef-owner Sanjiv Dhar does not hesitate to say his restaurant is simply, without a doubt, the best Indian restaurant in Providence. He just might be right about that. If you like Kabob and Curry, you might want to try their sister operation, Rasoi in nearby Pawtucket.
627 East Avenue
EAT IT AND BEAT IT. Don't go calling Bernie Watson a chef. He's a pitmaster and proud of it. Along with his wife Linda, he owns L.J.'s Barbecue, one of the most fun restaurants in the state. Located just over the Providence line, L.J.'s is especially popular with local restaurant chefs, and that says a lot when it comes to what's good in town. Offering authentic Southern-style barbecue, L.J.'s smokes its dry-rubbed meats up to 12 hours over a blend of apple and hickory hardwoods. The side dishes are worth a mention, especially the "ooey-gooey" macaroni and cheese. The last time Elton John came to Rhode Island, he dined on L.J.’s pure comfort food.
673 Thames Street
JUST ASK TONY SOPRANO. When jazz musicians come to Newport, the only restaurant they ever want to go to is Mamma Luisa’s. Maybe it’s because it feels like you’re eating in someone’s house, or maybe it’s the service which is friendly, never intrusive. Maybe it’s the great wine list, but most likely it is the food. The owners are from Bologna, second-generation restaurant people, and their food is as fresh and authentic as it gets. Mamma Luisa is a great place to stop by on a winter night --- James Gandolfini, aka Tony Soprano, did just that this past January. But in the summer, you better reserve well in advance.
134 Atwells Avenue
Providence (Federal Hill)
SEX IN THE CITY. Mediterraneo is the only restaurant in the state to have won the coveted AAA Four Diamond award for four consecutive years for its food, service and atmosphere. This is one of those rare and special restaurants that does everything right. The menu offers authentic Italian cuisine with a modern twist. The wine list is simply stellar. The service is friendly yet professional. And then there’s the ambiance --- sexy and sophisticated, casual and cosmopolitan. Don’t be surprised if you see a celebrity or two there. That’s where those in the know head when they come to town.
101 North Main Street
THE BOLD AND THE BEAUTIFUL. The Providence restaurant scene was rocked when Mill's Tavern opened in 2002, and overnight it became the city's new hot spot. The most positive reviews imaginable started to roll in, and nearly everyone fell in love with this big and bold, warm and vibrant restaurant, owned by the visionary Jaime D'Oliveira. This is honest food we're talking about, the kind that raises your level of expectation. Highly recommended is the house sandwich, foie gras and duck confit on a black currant biscuit with tea-braised figs on the side. It simply does not get any better than this. Even the bathrooms are exquisitely appointed.
NAPA VALLEY GRILLE
Providence Place Mall
CALIFORNIA DREAMING. Napa Valley Grille is a casual fine dining restaurant featuring Wine Country cuisine and ambiance, and emphasizing seasonal ingredients and an impressive selection of wines from the Napa Valley and other premium California wine-growing regions. It is open for lunch and dinner. The dinner menu at Napa Valley Grille features exciting first courses, such as a Wine Country harvest platter, a warm leek confit and portobello tart, clams steamed in Chardonnay, an oxtail, fingerling potato and leek terrine, and a wood-fired quail salad. Entrees include crab-crusted Maine cod, cinnamon-smoked duck, and olive-crusted rack of lamb. To go with all this superb food is a massive wine list, more than 400 bottles from which to choose. Many are also sold by the glass. So much wine, so little time.
145 Washington Street
SASHIMI AND SAKE. New Japan is an authentic Japanese restaurant located in the heart of Providence within walking distance of Trinity Repertory Theater. With only 30 seats, New Japan offers an intimate dining experience. It is open for lunch and dinner. The dinner menu lists nine appetizers including sashimi, an assortment of ocean-fresh raw fish, for which Japanese restaurants are so famous. Two soups and nine entrees round out the menu. Rice and salad accompany every dinner item. One of the more unusual menu items is the Foil Yaki Dinner in which fish, shrimp, chicken and vegetables are seasoned with soy sauce and butter, then wrapped in foil for roasting in the oven. The foil packet is cut open, placed on a large platter and served piping hot. A complete line of sake is available. This Japanese alcoholic drink made from fermented rice is often served hot, but the high-end very expensive sakes (as much as $80 a bottle) are made to be served chilled. Japanese beer, plum wine and tea are also available to complete your authentic Japanese dining experience.
7 Steeple Street
A TINY JEWEL. New Rivers –- one of the finest, most understated restaurants in the city of Providence –- is known for its simple yet robust food and colorful bistro-style presentations. The menu celebrates the cuisine of various ethnic groups which have given the city a rich culinary heritage. Customers with special dietary needs are always accommodated. Open for dinner only, New Rivers is located at the foot of College Hill, near Brown University and Rhode Island School of Design, just steps away from Riverwalk and within walking distance of the downtown hotels. Chef-owner Bruce Tillinghast describes his food as "multi-cultural," and his menu changes with every season. The availability of fresh local produce helps him create his new menu items. New Rivers is famous for its half-pound burger, arguably the best in the city, served on a Portuguese sweet roll. New Rivers soars in the dessert department. The huckleberry ice cream is refreshingly different, as is the praline ice cream with fudge sauce and cookies. The lemon tartlet is garnished with seasonal fruit, and there is always something rich and chocolaty available.
NICKS ON BROADWAY
IN THE NICK OF TIME. Derek Wagner has been wowing local foodies for years, first at the Agora restaurant in the Westin Hotel and now at Nicks on Broadway, a modern-day diner that's open for breakfast and lunch, with dinner served Wednesday through Saturday nights. Nicks is also available for private dinner parties where you can have Chef Wagner and his staff all to yourself. In addition to typical diner fare, their menu also offers highly innovative dishes such as pan-seared yellowfin tuna with black olives, roasted peppers and goat cheese. They have an original concept -- any of the lunch preparations can be served as a sandwich, wrap or salad. Nicks is a real neighborhood restaurant where people become acquainted with one another while they dine on Wagner's creative cuisine. Best bet: any of the wonderful soups on the seasonal menu, and the American burger is outstanding.
PANE E VINO
365 Atwells Avenue
Providence (Federal Hill)
A LOAF OF BREAD, A JUG OF WINE, AND THOU. Pane e Vino is one of the newer restaurants on Federal Hill, but its Old World atmosphere makes you think it's been in business for years. Warm and cozy, this Italian wine bar serves hearty peasant-style food in a rustic Mediterranean setting. Pane e Vino, which means "bread and wine," focuses on the simple basic things in life. The cuisine is regional Italian, with an emphasis on the Campagnia region near Naples. The reasonably priced menu features authentic dishes which may be new to your palate. The wine list is exclusively Italian, with more than 20 wines available by the glass. The decor at Pane e Vino is just gorgeous and so appealing, from the earthy colors to the miniature Tiffany lamps to the handsome mural that hangs behind the chef's table. The best tables, especially on cold wintry nights, are near the brick fireplace at the back of the restaurant.
PARKSIDE ROTISSERIE & BAR
78 South Main Street
GLOBAL CUISINE. Parkside offers its customers the best seat in the house when it comes to viewing WaterFire along the Providence River. Outside dining at lunch and dinner is available in warm weather. Mediterranean, South Pacific and French influences are apparent on the Parkside menu, which is simple yet satisfying. The South Main Salad is brimming with imported Italian meats, marinated white beans, provolone cheese, tuna and Roma tomatoes on a bed of romaine lettuce drizzled with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. In addition to sandwiches and pasta dishes, the menu offers rotisserie entrees: flame-roasted chicken with a zippy green herb sauce, chicken marinated in olive oil, balsamic vinegar and fresh herbs, and chicken stuffed with roasted garlic, fresh lemon and herbs. All are spit-roasted and served with a side salad and hand-cut French fries made from sweet and russet potatoes. The rotisserie is a work of art, imported from France.
762 Hope Street
MOONSTRUCK. For more than a decade, Pizzico has been pleasing people who truly appreciate authentic regional Italian food. Where else can you order Strozzapreti, "priest stranglers" with grilled spicy lamb sausage? Co-owner Steve Harris trained under the legendary Normand Leclair at the Red Rooster Tavern. His co-chef, Warley Araujo, insists on using only the freshest ingredients. Their intriguing menu changes with the seasons. This Italian ristorante, which has a superb award-winning wine list, has become a landmark on the East Side of Providence. Tiny white lights and a greenhouse atmosphere beckon people to come in for lunch and dinner.
Pizzico offers entree salads, featuring chicken, veal, duck, salmon and pasta as toppings, which are wonderful when you want to eat light.
1 Union Station
ARTISTS AT WORK. One of the most sophisticated restaurants in Providence, Raphael Bar-Risto offers progressive Italian cuisine in understated minimalist/modern surroundings. You might almost think you are in a Manhattan art gallery when you take in the fluid sculpture at the entrance and the oversized works of art on the walls. The kitchen is big and wide open for all to see. The bar, known as the Tunnel Lounge, is a happening place, especially after business hours. All this is the successful vision of Ralph Conte. He's the creative executive chef and owner. Fans say he’s created the perfect city restaurant.
RUE DE L'ESPOIR
99 Hope Street
LIVING OFF HOPE. A fashionable restaurant that has stood the test of time, Rue De L'Espoir has a menu that changes every season. The style of cooking is a combination of New American Cuisine, regional and bistro cooking with French, Italian and Asian influences. Typical menu items include sun-dried tomato pesto stuffed mushrooms, rosemary shrimp with remoulade sauce, chicken cashew spring rolls with orange hoisin sauce, Thai crab cakes with tomato chili oil, and grilled shrimp in an oyster brie sauce served over fettuccine. It seems as if the Rue, as it is called by locals, is almost always open, for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Be prepared to stand in line for a table if you go there for the wonderful Sunday brunch.
CHANGES IN LATITUDE. This has got to be the wackiest restaurant in the state, from the tiki bar in the rear to the Asian pagoda-style dining room in the middle, to the cool retro cocktail lounge at the front entrance. The global cuisine on the Salvation Cafe's well-worn menu is just as adventuresome, offering dishes from exotic ports of call. Jamaica, Cuba, Mexico and Thailand, to name just some of the stops we have made on our visits there. If you're in need of a vacation but can't get away, just check into the Salvation Cafe for a couple of hours -- it will surely remind you of that other wacky spot on earth, Key West.
30 Memorial Boulevard
SCENES FROM AN ITALIAN RESTAURANT. It's a beautiful summer night, and you're sitting on the patio at Sardella's, sipping a glass of Pinot Grigio. Six months later, it's snowing but you're cozy and warm by the fire in the Fireplace Dining Room. No matter what time of year it is, Sardella's is an appealing, family-style restaurant, a year-round favorite with local residents and popular as well with visitors to trendy Newport. Generous portions of Italian food are offered in a relaxed atmosphere by a friendly wait staff, who treats everyone like "regular" customers. Bring on the lasagna.
TEN PRIME STEAK & SUSHI
55 Pine Street
PRIME TIME. Outrageous...exciting...high-energy... all that and more describes Ten Prime Steak & Sushi, a Providence restaurant owned by the highly creative team of John Elkhay, Rick and Cheryl Bready (who also brought you XO Steakhouse). Nicholas Rabar is the impressive young chef in the kitchen at Ten, which has been described as a 21st-century steakhouse that also offers fresh sushi. Rabar says he offers "a twist of the typical steakhouse menu, focusing on New American Cuisine with a classic French attitude." His best dish? The Steak au Poivre with Port-Stilton Sauce. It never fails to make the customers rave. The rest rooms at Ten Prime Steak & Sushi have actually won an award for their bizarre sound effects, everything from a clickety-clack roller coaster to nighttime in the jungle. Best loo in town.
186 Fountain Street
IN HEAVEN, THERE IS NO BEER. Honest food, beer, great prices, beer, dining on the deck, beer, a downstairs pub with a pool table and darts, beer, live music with no cover, beer, validated parking, and yes, beer –- Trinity Brewhouse has it all. It is an eclectic pub with a menu that changes seasonally. A good way to sample all that award-winning beer is with the tasting tray that consists of six small glasses of different beers, all made on the premises. Every Tuesday at 5:30 p.m., a behind-the-scenes tour of the microbrewery and a tasting take place. Reservations are recommended. The menu is global. There's everything from a chili dog to a falafel to jerk chicken to pulled pork BBQ to a burrito. Entrees run the gamut as well – fish and chips, grilled sausage platter, grilled chicken breast with brie, shepherd's pie, chicken parmigiano, pork chops and steak. Open for lunch and dinner, Trinity is famous for its chocolate bread pudding, served in a pool of crème anglaise with a spicy brown ale sauce and vanilla ice cream.
265 Atwells Avenue
Providence (Federal Hill)
NOW THAT'S ITALIAN. You can shop here and there in Providence, but if you want the real thing when it comes to Italian products, at very reasonable prices, there's only one place to go -- Venda Ravioli. This gourmet shop is simply dazzling, from the gourmet-to-go section to the deli to the fabulous selection of imported olives and cheeses. And then there are the refrigerator cases filled with every kind of fresh pasta and various sauces. Stop for a few minutes and enjoy a savory lunch or a leisurely cappuccino, maybe with a bit of authentic gelato. Make sure you get some bread before it sells out. Ah, Venda Ravioli -- a little bit of Italy right there in Providence, Rhode Island. Venda Ravioli also offers an incredible line of gourmet gadgets and beautiful Italian ceramics, everything you will ever need to entertain graciously, as they do in Italy.
WES' RIB HOUSE
38 Dike Street
NORTH AND SOUTH. If you build it, they will come –- no matter how hard it is to find. But finding this Rhode Island institution is worth the effort, whether it’s for lunch or dinner. Award-winning Missouri-style barbecue is on the lengthy menu. All kinds of Southern foods are offered, including a legendary chili. Wes' Munchie Platter includes Buffalo wings, mozzarella sticks, beer-battered onion rings and Wes' famous BBQ chips. The restaurant is famous for these BBQ chips –- they are what French fries want to be when they grow up. The Show Me Platter does just that –- it's what Missouri-style barbecue is all about with a choice of four meats such as ribs, chicken, chopped BBQ and ham, along with coleslaw and BBQ beans. Other dinners, including sirloin steak with a baked potato, are available as well as the Back Woods Burger and other sandwiches. Cornbread comes with many of the meals. This is not your mother's cornbread. It is moist and heavy and almost chewy -– one of the best parts of the Wes' Rib House dining experience. Some people enjoy it as their dessert. The regular desserts include apple or peach cobbler and sweet potato pie.
One Waites Wharf
IN THE ROUGH. When you finally find the West Deck, off the far end of Thames Street in Newport, don't let its ramshackle exterior scare you off. Within this waterfront restaurant, wildly popular in the summer, is a chef, who really knows how to cook. His fusion cuisine is done right, with restraint. The Caribbean Cod Cakes are served with a corn and black bean salsa. The bar scene is simply a blast, with some of the best bartenders around. The West Deck might seem a bit rough around the edges, but like many an oyster, it's worth investigating.
WHAT A CATCH. One of the best-kept secrets in Newport is the Windward Grille, the restaurant located in the Hyatt Regency at Goat Island. Chef Robert Daugherty is a force to be reckoned with on the Rhode Island culinary scene. His contemporary American menu is geared toward healthy cooking techniques (most of the time) with the abundant use of fruits and vegetables. For his American seafood grille, Daugherty focuses on finding the best fish available and preparing it in a simple fashion, yet with a twist. For example, the Oysters Rockefeller includes a hint of chorizo. Before your visit to the Windward Grille, stop in at Pineapples on the Bay, located near the hotel's salt water pool, for drinks and a spectacular view, especially at sunset.
28 Washington Square
$$ for Yesterday’s
$$$ for The Place
DOUBLE YOUR PLEASURE. This two-in-one restaurant is rather unusual. For a casual lunch or informal dinner, you bear to the left and enter Yesterday's, a dark and friendly pub with really good grub. If you're more in the mood for upscale dining, then stay to your right and dine at The Place, where fine wines accompany truly inspired dinners. Alex Daglis is the remarkable chef for both restaurants, and his contemporary American food is just wonderful. His Grilled Tuna Sandwich with Wasabi Mayo showcases his affinity for Asian cuisine. Definitely one of Newport's best places to dine.