As one of America’s colonial rum capitals, Newport has a rich, exciting and colourful history that makes it a stand-out city in Rhode Island. The city has gained recognition as a ‘Summer White House’ city and has one of the highest remaining numbers of colonial homes in the country, especially within the Newport Historic District. This guide to dining in Newport presents ten of the best cultural restaurants in the city.
The White Horse Tavern
As the USA’s oldest tavern, and the tenth oldest restaurant in the world, The White Horse Tavern is regarded as a national treasure. Placed on the National Historic Register, the property was built in 1652, but not converted to a barn until 1673. Diners can enjoy their meals immersed in rustic surroundings, with wooden beam ceilings and open fireplaces. The rooms have been restored to their colonial glory and meals are accompanied by candles, enhancing the traditional and romantic feel of the venue. The cuisine includes a delicious number of artisan cheeses, and a sweet selection of honey, tasty prime meat cuts and locally caught fish. This 17th century venue is a must see for foodies and history enthusiasts alike!
Muse by Jonathan Cartwright
This stylish restaurant, located in the vicinity of the Touro Synagogue, America’s oldest synagogue, is housed within one of the luxury boutique Grace hotels. Each hotel in the group is distinctive, and Muse by Jonathan Cartwright restaurant at the Rhode Island Vanderbilt Grace is a beautiful example of serenity and elegance. Muse is a quintessential fine dining restaurant that has won numerous awards and has been recognised as one of Newport’s top restaurants since it opened in 2011. The cuisine is contemporary American and French in style, courtesy of Chef Jonathan Cartwright, and the extensive wine list offers a number of exquisite bottles.
Described as a taste of ‘Real Newport’, Salvation Cafe is well known throughout the local community, and is a firm family favourite. The restaurant proudly claims to be ‘keeping Newport Weird since 1993’; and indeed, it is an explosive visual feast, with bright, bold colours, and a hint of Alice in Wonderland. The decor fuses a variety of different styles, and the food is equally vibrant: contrasting flavours are combined to create exciting arrangements to set the tongue tingling. Diners can expect the likes of a chicken liver and strawberry habanero jelly sandwich, salmon belly and ginger dumplings or buttermilk brick chicken. The restaurant also prepares delicious Sunday brunches, all thanks to Chef Todd Coonan and his dedicated team.
Salvation Cafe, 140 Broadway, Newport, Rhode Island, USA, +1 401 847 2620
Housed within the beautiful The Chanler at Cliff Walk hotel, this restaurant’s visitors can enjoy an open-air kitchen, an impressive fireplace and Atlantic Ocean views, plus a vista over the romantic Easton’s Beach. The cuisine at Spiced Pear focuses on the local New England style, with continental options also appearing on the menu. The dishes on offer are regularly refreshed, but diners can expect to see such delights as roasted ‘Archer Angus’ bone marrow, Nova Scotia halibut, and Berkshire pork chop, all prepared using seasonal and local ingredients. At this notably romantic venue jazz is played on Friday nights to accompany and elevate the intimate dining experience.
Castle Hill Inn
Established in 1875, the Castle Hill Inn offers diners local fish, regional meat and fresh seasonal produce in their award-winning contemporary American kitchen. Visitors can enjoy the beautiful environment within which the Inn is placed, with scenic views and a relaxing atmosphere in one of the four dining rooms available to guests. In winter, the views of Newport Harbor and Narragansett Bay from the heated Sunset Terrace Bar are truly beautiful, while in warmer moments diners can enjoy the outdoor New England dining experience on The Lawn.
Castle Hill Inn, 590 Ocean Avenue, Newport, Rhode Island, USA, +1 401 849 3800
Rosemary & Thyme Cafe
This small cafe/boulangerie specialises in HYPERLINK “http://theculturetrip.com/europe/” European food and coffee, with a seasonally changing menu. The Rosemary & Thyme Cafe provides a selection of fresh, daily baked produce, including inspired sandwiches, soups and salads, and their artisan baked delights include such continental delicacies as muffins, scones, baguettes, croissants and natural farm-style bread. The sandwiches and salads here, many of which are vegetarian, are prepared using fresh, local and organic produce, and the café’s commitment to ecologically friendly living can also be seen in its use of reclaimed building materials to decorate the interior and display their produce.
Rosemary & Thyme Cafe, 382 Spring Street, Newport, Rhode Island, USA, +1 401 619 3338
Tallulah on Thames
This wonderfully named restaurant sources seasonal market ingredients to produce authentic, flavoursome cuisine, and to support local farmers and artisans. Describing itself as ‘modern, fresh, local’, Tallulah on Thames is very keen on supporting the local community, and delivering delicious cuisine. The restaurant successfully blends contemporary American, Italian and classical French flavours to produce culinary arrangements that are stunningly sophisticated in their presentation, innovative and inspired by tradition at the same time. In addition to its four- and six-course set menus, between November and April the restaurant hosts a Pop-Up Burger Night on Wednesday evenings, and a delectable Sunday brunch menu.
Tallulah on Thames, 464 Thames Street, Newport, Rhode Island, USA, +1 401 849 2433
This inn and restaurant offers some of the best French cuisine to be found in Rhode Island. Bouchard has been delivering artistic cuisine for over 20 years, where elegant presentation and sophistication during the preparation process go hand in hand. The haute cuisine delights here offer a slice of France, in addition to representing Rhode Island’s fishing culture. The duck breast sautéed with a coffee crust and sprinkled with a Brandy balsamic sauce, or the restuffed roasted lobster with a pinch of truffle and Gruyere cheese make for fantastic mains and guarantee the highest quality of ingredients, as well as meticulous care. Award-winning Bouchard is perfectly situated in the centre of Newport, making it a great ease-of-access culinary venue.
Bouchard, 505 Thames Street, Newport, Rhode Island, USA, +1 401 846 0123
The Canfield House
Considered to be one of the most romantic restaurants in the city, The Canfield House is perfect for intimate dinners. There is a cosy fireplace, live music and dancing involved, making this the perfect place to go to relax and soak up the ‘days-gone-by’ atmosphere, surrounded by superb traditional decor. Highlights on the menu include pasta dishes, filet mignon with lobster tail and chocolate creme brulee. The Canfield House is a cigar-friendly, former casino-style building, where the guestrooms are restored card rooms from the era. There is a timeless, classic vibe about this venue, which as one of Newport’s historic landmarks, has been restored to its original 1890s architecture.
The Canfield House, 5 Memorial Boulevard, Newport, Rhode Island, USA, +1 401 847 0416
Brick Alley Pub & Restaurant
Known as one of the best Pub & Restaurants in New England, the Brick Alley Pub & Restaurant has been a local and tourist favourite in Newport for over 30 years. It is an exciting mix of ethnicities and tastes, all bound together with the element of fun. The emphasis is on diners having a convivial experience, contemporary rather than traditional. The restaurant has a fantastic fireplace where visitors can warm themselves in winter, and the cuisine encompasses seasonal dishes, plus a selection of succulent steaks, fresh fish and plentiful pasta. Brick Alley can be found in the vicinity of the Museum of Newport History and the 1762 Brick Market, and has won notable reviews from both local and national publications.
By James Norman