The buzzing capital of Rhode Island, Providence, lives up to its name: having once been seen as a ‘haven’ for founder Roger Williams and his followers, named in honour of ‘God’s Merciful Providence’, it is now a haven for artisan cuisine and culture. Expanding upon our earlier take on the 10 Best Restaurants in the region, we have another look at 10 restaurants both defining and redefining gastronomical prowess in Providence.
East Side Pocket
East Side Pocket, the predominantly ‘to-go’ institution in the heart of Providence, is now so formidably popular in the area – due to its delicious, melt-in-the-mouth, fresh Middle Eastern cuisine, it has become one of the most popular places to eat in Rhode Island. Choose to dine in, or scurry off with a handful of sumptuous flavours, such as the locally renowned falafel, made from ground chickpeas, garlic, vegetables and a bespoke, organic and traditional spice mix, served with homemade hummus, yogurt sauce and Syrian bread. Otherwise opt for one of their titular pockets, loaded with grilled chicken tenders marinated in olive oil, fresh garlic, oregano and a generous helping of organic spice. For something a little lighter, try one of the house salads, such as chicken kabob dipped in hot buffalo sauce over crisp lettuce, tomatoes and onions, drizzled with a blue cheese dressing.
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Gracie’s aims to educate its visitors in the art of flavour, constantly evolving and renovating the menu to ensure the dining experience is original, unique, memorable and befitting of its Four Diamond Culinary Award. This tireless effort to place the diner centre stage creates a first-class culinary experience, demonstrated and enhanced by the tasting menu. Dishes are expertly paired with the best and most applicable beer, wine or spirit the city has to offer. The commitment to using the very finest local and organic ingredients has resulted in Gracie’s establishing its own rooftop garden, so vegetables and herbs are sourced from the restaurant’s very own premises. Try the five- or seven-course tasting menu, paired with wine, and enjoy dishes as diverse as smoked potato soup with clams, bacon, tomatoes and garden basil, and Berkshire pork chop with ricotta fritters, Swiss chard and roasted cherries.
The busy, bustling Café Nuovo offers mouth-watering food in a spacious and light environment on the Gondola Landing at Providence’s famous Riverwalk. Sunlight streams across the tables through the floor to ceiling windows, through which you can peruse the activity of the WaterFire. Enjoy the veal chop with duck-fat roasted potatoes, broccoli and black truffle butter, the ever-popular filet mignon or the succulent Scottish salmon. Desserts are a particular speciality at Café Nuovo, with everything from pot of mousse to lemon cheesecake, finished off with a richly flavoured coffee and complimentary, handmade rock candy.
As the flagship and original venue in the Capital Grill chain, Capital Grill Providence represents the company ethos perfectly, with its crisp, linear interior, high ceilings, statement artwork and overall feeling of luxury pervading the relaxed, fine dining ambiance. Begin with the lobster and crab cakes, or steak tartar with truffle devilled egg, before progressing to a dry-aged Porterhouse steak, or succulent Chilean sea bass with heirloom tomatoes and saffron tomato broth. Finish the evening with a coconut cream pie, bound in a vanilla crust, or a decadent, flourless chocolate espresso cake topped with berries and whipped cream – the perfect accompaniment to a rich coffee or after-dinner liqueur.
Hemenway’s Seafood Grill
Hemenway’s Seafood Grill and Oyster Bar offers time-honoured seafood dishes that have delighted diners for over twenty years. The beautiful, stylish restaurant space, with its monochrome tiled flooring, wall of windows, and high ceilings, is the perfect backdrop for a bowl of salty mussels in white wine, or a fillet of flaky, fresh fish. Head to the raw bar for their signature oysters or a shellfish tower with Alaskan king crab legs, before moving to a sumptuous selection of top neck clams simmered with white wine, Granny Smith apples, caramelised onions, smoked bacon, garlic and gorgonzola. Meat-eaters can enjoy porcini-rubbed, 14oz certified Angus New York strip steak with gorgonzola butter, or the very finest surf and turf available.
The fun-loving, high-energy ambiance and sumptuous flavours of South American cuisine have justifiably earned Los Andes a fantastic local and international reputation. Sourcing inspiration from the Los Andes mountain stretch of South America, covering Argentina, Columbia, Bolivia, Peru and Ecuador, the food is ambitious, flavoursome and diverse – offering the best taste combinations from each of these regions, and creating experimental fusion. Enjoy the popular ceviche martini, comprising fresh diced tilapia, squid, shrimp and Prince Edward Island mussels, all tossed with a cilantro, roccoto and garlic leche de tigre, and garnished with cancha and choclo, or opt for something a little more daring in the form of the Anticuchos, featuring a garlic marinated-beef heart, skewered and grilled, served with grilled potatoes and arocoto cream sauce.
Nick’s on Broadway
Established in 1969, Nick’s on Broadway was originally a traditional American diner run by Nick Sammartino, offering breakfast, lunch and dinner. Nick passed the baton to Derek, who now oversees the running of the restaurant. The venue has gone from strength to strength. In the colourful restaurant space, Derek and his team operate with only the very freshest ingredients. With all dishes prepared specifically to order, offering a tasting menu for adventurous diners, on which feature dishes range from zucchini soup with sweetcorn and fire roasted peppers, to chargrilled Blackbird Farm pork with Rhode Island mushrooms, house-smoked bacon, grains, greens, herbs and a black pepper-red wine jus.
Tucked away behind Broadway sits North, a jewel in the crown of Providence. Plated up on their beautiful, intricately designed crockery, begin with speciality oysters, served simply with kimchi vinegar, or dry spiced eggplant with whipped avocado, pickled green beans and dill. Perhaps opt for something to share, sampling generous bowls and platters of pan-roasted scallops with radish, pear and tomato and cumin vinaigrette, or a heap of Dandan noodles with goat, squid, fermented chilli and piles of cracked black pepper. For a true feast, go for the delicious, almost-boneless fried chicken for four people, served with wedges of bread, herb salad and grapefruit chimi.
Pane E Vino
Run by Joseph DeQuattro, a second-generation Italian-American born and raised in Providence, Pane E Vino is the perfect fusion of delicious Italian cuisine and hearty American fare. The interior, bedecked in a warm shade of burnt sienna, oozes charm and a true sense of Italian hospitality – the perfect spot to enjoy classic dishes with a modern twist. Choose from roasted zucchini stuffed with Graziano sausage, or sheep and goats’ milk cheese with black truffles and truffle honey, before moving on to braised veal and beef ragu in a traditional bolognaise sauce, or Scottish black pearl salmon with chive aioli, wild rice and roasted baby carrots.
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