Providence is one of New England’s leading food destinations, offering everything from Federal Hill’s classic Italian fare to downtown’s mix of old and new cuisines. Johnson & Wales University boasts one of the best culinary programs in the country, and many graduates have planted roots right here in the shadow of their alma mater. With ready access to fresh produce and seafood, an appreciation for history, and a steady stream of creative newcomers to the scene, Providence, RI, restaurants have plenty to offer no matter your budget. Hungry? Read on for our list of some of the best restaurants in Providence, RI.
BEST RESTAURANTS IN PROVIDENCE, RI
FAVORITE PROVIDENCE BREAKFAST & BRUNCH SPOTS
With three Providence locations, Seven Stars Bakerywill get your day started right. Local grains milled in Providence make for divine fresh-baked bread, but a decadent sticky bun topped with roasted pecans and washed down with an artistic latte is also a temptation worth succumbing to. Locally sourced bacon, cut so thick it could rightfully be called a steak, steals the show at the seasonally operated Kitchen, a tiny hole-in-the-wall joint on Carpenter Street where breakfast rules the day (the croissant French toast will have you planning a return trip even as you eat it).
Brunch at Nick’s on Broadwayis a signature Providence experience. Grab a space at the counter if you can, but know that demand always outpaces availability. The menu is at once sophisticated and simple, highlighting farm-to-table ingredients no matter what time of day you visit.
FAVORITE PROVIDENCE LUNCH SPOTS
Whether you’re dining in or taking your food to go, Talulah’s Taqueriais the place for tacos, bean burritos, and ceviche. Al Son de Mi Barrio serves some of the most authentic Mexican dishes in town, both at its primary location on Manton Avenue and from its food truck, which pops up all over town.
Want a memorable “fast food” experience? Look no further than Olneyville New York System, where “all the way” hot dogs washed down with coffee milk are a time-honored tradition.
The Malted Barleyis a beer lover’s paradise, with more than 30 craft beers on tap and another 50 or so in bottles. For best results, pair your selection with one of the freshly rolled pretzels. If cocktails are more your speed, the Eddy serves a sazerac that stands out even among one of the best mixed-drink lineups in town.
FAVORITE PROVIDENCE DINNER SPOTS
“Traditional” and “simple” are both compliments at Al Forno, where local ingredients and fresh pasta elevate a classic Italian menu. The “dirty steak” is pulled straight from the coals, and the wood-grilled pizza is delicious. Figdini, meanwhile, turns out a more traditional Neapolitian-style pizza along with a small-plates menu of wood-fired delicacies.
The U-shaped bar at Birch seats only 18, but grab a place if you can get it and try the New American tasting menu. Everything at Birch is beautiful, from the presentation of the food to the plates themselves, which are crafted by a local potter.
At North, a six-table gem in the city’s West End, eclectic food pairings drive an Asian-inspired menu (dan dan noodles with mutton and squid) with influences from the southern part of the U.S. (almost boneless fried chicken), as well as an inventive cocktail list. For more predictable but still excellent Asian food, the shabu shabu and Japanese noodles at Ebisu and the bibimbap and Korean pancakes at Den Den won’t disappoint. Aspara, meanwhile, puts a creative spin on Thai, Cambodian, and Vietnamese cuisine.
Located on the downtown waterfront, Bacaroserves up an ever-changing Venetian-inspired menu that ranges from sophisticated farm-to-table fare to a less formal selection of grilled meats, cheeses and tapas.
For French food, Chez Pascal’s inspired menu changes often, based upon locally available meat and produce. During your visit, check out the homemade sausages in the Wurst Kitchen.
Formerly located in nearby Bristol,Persimmonis a modern, open-kitchen restaurant highlighted by a small-bites tasting menu and a lineup that evolves each day, riffing on pairings of top-notch ingredients and creative preparation techniques.
Can’t choose? In January and July, Providence Restaurant Week (two weeks, really) offers lunch and dinner deals at nearly 100 restaurants, making it the perfect time to try somewhere new.
Where are your picks for the best restaurants in Providence, RI?