To be honest, I'm a little ambivalent about telling you about the Sunnyside, because it is already immensely popular and that means it's almost always a wait to get a table, so why spread the word? Only because it's fabulous, and it would be a shame for a visitor (at least, a visitor with access to a car) to miss it.
Three seasons of the year, you can sit looking out the huge windows on three sides of the restaurant, looking at the water or perhaps the lovely little garden, which is pretty even in the snow. When summer arrives, the place to be is on the outdoor patio. The accommodations are cozy inside -- beadboard walls, open beamed ceilings, chairs with comfortable cushions -- and the kitchen is open to view. Everything prepared is fresh and local -- and beautifully presented. The problem is always what to choose, becaue I've never been disappointed. the staff is friendly and knowledgeable. As soon as you sit down, a little tray with a couple of mini-muffins (craisin and pecan) arrives with homemade jam and butter. Welcome!
Breakfast and lunch are served 8:00 AM - 2:00 PM Wednesdays-Fridays; brunch from 7:00 AM - 2:00 PM Saturdays and Sunday.
(Cooking classes are also available here, if you're around for a longer visit. Check the website for details.)
Updated October 2013: Sadly, the Sunnyside has closed. The word is that the chefs are developing a new Warren location. I'll keep you posted.
Favorite Dish: Start with wood-grilled grapefruit. Then it's a toss-up: codfish cakes with red and green peppers with poached eggs, Hollandaise and chives, or the baked raisin French toast with sauteed apples and real maple syrup.
Pot au Feu is a quality restaurant which has been in Providence for many years and holds the distinction of being Julia Childs' favorite when she visited the city.
The lower lever is a brick walled bistro serving the best French onion soup as well as a knock out Pear Martini.
All their dinner entres deserve praise - as well as the atmosphere, service, and wine collection. This is a hidden pearl which you shouldn't miss when experiencing the fine dining offered in Providence.
Visit their web site to see photos of the restuarant, menu offerings, and don't miss the CHAMPAIGNE SABERING!!
Cuban Revolution used to occupy a hole-in-the-wall on Washington Street, just across from the downtown campus of Roger Williams University. It has now moved to accommodate a Sierra Suites hotel, and the new space is exceptional, with high ceilings, and plenty of glass! Cuban Revolution manages to take you back to Havana in the 50's. It used to shoe-horn a lot of semi-rowdy lunch patrons into its narrow space in tables so close together that you might wind up with your elbow in your neighbor's flan. There was counter space as well, where you can watch the plantains getting fried and the strong Cuban coffee being brewed. Perhaps now the flan is safe! Everything is decorated with revolutionary fervor, though now Che hangs on the walls in artsy fabric. The menu is a hoot to read. Loops of "The Motorcycle Diaries" and the like play on a line-up of televisions suspended over the bar. But the big news here is the food, which is excellent, and which hasn't gone up in price to cover the undoubtedly heftier rental tab. Store up your calories for the week and then splurge on one of the excellent sandwiches, a Corona, and a dessert...something worth overthrowing a small country to obtain!
Incidentally, the place has gotten a bit fancier on the service side with the new digs.
Favorite Dish: Although I've tried and enjoyed a number of the offerings, my favorite dish is still the "standard" Cuban, which features roast pork, salami, ham, swiss cheese and pickle (I think) smushed between slice of hearty Cuban bread and grilled. It comes with plaintain chips on the side. I am disinclined to share so if you go, order your own!
I didn't want to like Temple. After all, who puts a great restaurant in the cellar? Who lines the entire place with marble, so that in theory sound will bounce around insufferably, making it impossible to talk? And yet, I found that I was really taken with the place, which turned out NOT to be noisy, and not really even in the cellar -- the site's grade means that you walk down a lovely staircase to get there, but if you happen to sit in one of the banquette seats (watch out, though, those steel-topped tables are icy cold) you'll have a fine view of the State House just across the street. Once seated, service was very fast, friendly and efficient. My guest and I sampled a number of different luncheon items and I'll definitely be back for the Sunday buffet brunch. A couple of notable things: the Masonic Temple, which has now been transformed by Sage Hospitality to the Renaissance Hotel Providence, was left unfinished for about eighty years and, unsurprisingly, it became a favorite spot for taggers. Sage made a virtue of necessity and hired some of the most creative graffiti artists to decorate their new hotel. Check out the door to your right as you enter the Temple precincts -- just a sample. There's more in the charming bar/music area which is tucked under that staircase.
Update for 2013: Temple closed on 12/27/12, in part because Sage sold the hotel. It is apparently going to reopen this spring under new management. Stay tuned!
Favorite Dish: The pulled pork sandwich was succulent and a pleasant surprise at such an upscale eatery, but it could have used a bit of cornbread for authenticity. My guest's salad was innovative and beautifully presented. We each had a berry-encrusted miniature cheesecake for dessert. I took a peek at the dinner and brunch menus and think most people would find an assortment of palate-pleasers here.
What a fabulous assortment of restaurants we have now. Even people from Boston area admit that our Federal Hill is the place to come for Italian.
But don't miss our Thai, French, Mexican, and Neuvo - all terrific. Think we must have more restaurants per capita than any other city.
Tini is both an indicator of the array of martinis, and a harbinger of things to come. In short: do not go to Tini if you're too hungry, because the servings are miniscule. Everything is good, but miniaturized. Also, the seating isn't very comfortable if you yourself are more robust than a marathon runner. But it's fun and funky, the most upscale food bar in the city according to our resident food critic, who ought to know.
Update, December 2012: Tini abruptly closed in the first week of December when the head chef went off to live the life of a farmer. Its parents, the proprietors of Al Forno, say it may be reborn in the spring, so stay tuned.
Favorite Dish: The fries are to die for, with outstanding sauce drizzled onto the crisp...well, thin...potato sticks.
My favorite eating/shopping guide to the Ocean State prefaces its description of Farmstead with this: "To brie or not to brie is not a question worth puzzling over. The answer is YES..." So true! When Farmstead first opened in Wayland Square in 2003, it was a huge success that eventually spawned an outlet on Westminster Street to cater to the business lunchers and wine-and-cheese purchasers (since closed, unfortunately). The original Farmstead is fairly robust in size, with a major cheese and cheese accessories side coupled with an eat-in (and in the summer, eat-out) restaurant, La Laiterie. It is frequently crowded and tends to be more expensive than is strictly comfortable for every-day fare. But you'd wow 'em if you brought a selection of Farmstead cheeses to your next party...
Open Tuesday-Saturday, 10 AM - 7 PM.
Favorite Dish: I love the charchuterie, an ever-changing mix of cheese, sausage and pate, pickles or olives, and dried fruit. Especially sitting outside on a balmy spring night, with a good bottle of red wine. They also have excellent desserts!
We enjoyed our Peruvian experience with our tenant from Valencia, Spain- who was very happy with the restaurant, staff and our dinners. The owner promptly visited the table to speak to her in Spanish, which she appreciated along with the aroma of home when her dinner was presented.
Favorite Dish: My favorite was a special of the evening. They braised sea scallops and fresh asparagus - serving it over a rice with a special sauce...just a hint of coconut... quite delicious.
My husand had a steak dish with very tasty sauce- and said he hadn't had any better steak anywhere.
We splurged on decadant deserts - variety of cheesecakes.
PS... their calamari appetizer was also prepared creatively. Excellent from top to bottom!
People who live in Mount Pleasant, close to Rhode Island College, quickly learn that there are no better deli sandwiches to be had in the Providence metro area than those prepared at Roberts Deli. This place is usually jammed with hungry customers who are on a first-name basis with the staff. The centerpiece sandwich is called "Make My Day" -- definitely try one of them -- but they have the standard deli variety as well. Sandwiches are very generously sized and crammed with meat, so you can share. The potato salad is not to be missed. Order ahead if you don't want a long wait. The place closes quite early (two, I think) and is not open on weekends.
Favorite Dish: I'm a junkie for their Reuben, which is so decadent that just thinking about it makes my cholesterol rise. As a matter of fact, I think I need one right now!
We had brunch at Julian's in Providence on a Saturday afternoon in the summer. The restaurant was packed with all the local tattood-up hipsters, both as employees and customers. That said, the place is very popular and mainstream, as demonstrated by their decidedly un-hipster-like 200 Yelp reviews.
We waited about 45 minutes before we were seated at a few tables in the back by the restrooms. We started with coffees and waters then ordered a variety of breakfast dishes. I had the traditional eggs Benedict, two big pieces of toasted Italian bread topped with a big egg, fried ham, and hollandaise sauce, served alongside some fried potatoes for $11.
The food was great, the staff friendly and hipster, and the food surprisingly good. Oh, and the bathroom has huge collections of Star Wars figures and Pez dispensers.
You'd think that a place calling itself "Bluefin Grille" would specialize in seafood. Perhaps they do so in the evenings, but I've now had luncheon there on two occasions and found the menu a little scanty in the fish department. You can get an appetizer of fried calamari (distinguished in this instance by a nice soy-ginger dipping sauce and a sprinkling of fiesta peppers), but nothing but shrimp (atop a salad) or salmon (in three or four varieties) could otherwise be had.
But it is a nice place for a leisurely lunch. Service is attentive but a little on the slow side. Although the restaurant crouches behind a bar with the requisite television sets, I didn't find the noise intrusive.
The restaurant is clearly geared to the expense-account crowd. Even the luncheon appetizers were in the $8+ range. Sharing an appetizer, two entrees and two coffees ran a little over $50.00 and I can eat better for less elsewhere.
Open weekdays 6:30am-10pm; weekends 7am-10pm
Favorite Dish: I thoroughly enjoyed my vegetarian wrap with goat cheese, but wondered why the restaurant didn't offer a healthy alternative to French fries or potato chips. (They did say I could add a salad for an extra two dollars. But the plate looked pretty bare with nothing but a lonely pickle on it!) My colleague had a glazed salmon that she liked; it was a good portion, beautifully presented.
Part of the ferment on Westminster Street is that places appear (and unfortunately sometimes disappear) out of the blue. I'd been so captivated by the imminent opening of Sura, the new Korean place, that I totally failed to notice that its next-door neighbor, Small Point Cafe, had joined the group of places-for-lunch-or-coffee which also includes the Farmstead and Tazza, all within the same block. It was pouring rain the day I visited for lunch, with three friends, and I was immediately taken by the pleasant atmosphere of exposed brick walls, a menu written on circular blackboards posted on those walls, and some nice booths along one side. (Smaller tables dot the front space by the window, but they're mostly two-tops.) Owner Anne Wolfe recommended the kale soup with chourico, and she was right -- it was delicious! One of my guests got an immense calzone; another tried one of the sandwiches; yet another had a spinach and mushroom quiche. All very satisfying.
There was a very nice bakery counter with local soda and other drinks, as well. And they are apparently open for dinner.
Open Monday to Friday 7:00 AM – 8:00 PM; Saturday 9:00 AM – 8:00 PM; Sunday 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM.
But what really tipped me over the edge in favor of this place was the rack of very clever greeting cards, which you pass on the way to the loo. There were some amusing vegetable-themed birthday cards with nice line drawings, some very
Let me be the first to introduce you to Sura, which opened during my recent trip to the Southwest, so I was actually a little late on the review. It was chock-full of people when I lunched there a couple of weeks ago.
If you like Korean food, I suspect you'll at least enjoy having this option. When you first sit down, the waitstaff brings you a pretty dish with three separate vegetable items on it. (They may vary from day to day.) Mine had kimchee, which I avoided because I'm a terrible wuss about hot and spicy things, and two other moderately spiced choices -- beans and cucumbers. I had a bento box with decent sushi and excellent tonkatsu after a bowl of miso soup. The menu also seems to have some less well-known choices, and I'll update you as I have the opportunity to sample some of these.
Our service was excellent despite the crowd there at luncheon. They also do carry-out, which is useful to know for future reference.
It took me awhile to actually find Pastiche, which is tucked behind Federal Hill's Atwells Avenue, just off DePasquale Square. In fact, I think I "found" some of its products at up-scale birthday gatherings and the like, and I didn't connect the pretty label with the tortes and other decadent goodies inside.
Now, the biggest problem is trying to decide which of the multiple, delectable options I want to have with my coffee after the symphony, or which to bring as a very welcome hostess gift. They sell whole cakes but are happy to cut you a slice of whatever appeals. Service is impeccable.
If you're eating on the Hill, don't order dessert at your restaurant. Step down to Spruce Street and you won't be sorry. There are small tables and even a couple of booths where you can enjoy the icing on the cake, as it were.
Favorite Dish: The chocolate torte with fresh raspberry puree is probably my all-time favorite, but in spring it is nearly impossible to beat the freshly-made strawberry or peach shortcakes (and kind of difficult to eat them alone!). And if you like fruit tarts, nobody does them better.
We visited one of our many stellar restaurants on Saturday night. When I made reservations, they asked if it was a special occasion, and I told them it was a promised dinner for my son & wife.. whose anniversary had passed, but they were just getting to town this wkend.
After the complimentary valet parking and being seated... entertained by our vivacious waiter... he came w/ congratulations and poured everyone a bit of champaign to celebrate the occasion. I think he won some of us over right then.
We enjoyed their pre-fixe dinner offering... which gave several choices for appetizer, entre and desert. They also offer a Chef's tasting menu where you are surprised by whatever the chef is in the mood to send your way. I'm sure all of it is extraordinary. It's a fun restaurant to visit and their food is exquisite.
They say... " menu changes with the seasons. Our local farms and purveyors provide us with the freshest and finest products daily. Our goal is to surprise, excite, and educate your palate with a new fresh experience... "
I chose a cucumber gazpacho, a fish entre topped w/ vegetable salsa...sitting in a puddle of tasty sauce...and finished w/ a peach cobbler type desert. Everything is slightly different from the traditional...so much imagination used in their combinations and approach to food preparation.
In between the courses, they occasionally bring a taste of some little thing that is marvelous and amusing, so you don't mind the wait for the specially prepared foods. Prior to the entre, there is a one ounce glass of frozen lemonade w/ miniature straw which is served for you to clean your palate prior to your main course. Following desert and coffee was another additional bonus of three treats per person....flatbread cookie, a chocolate truffle (?) and another jellied candy (?) ... all luscious. I use question marks because to say it is a candy, for instance, doesn't do it justice.
Great night. Fun time. Quite satisfying.
Favorite Dish: Cucumber Gazpacho