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Newport RI...Good food and wine for dinner?

maggiela Oct 16, 2006 09:13 PM

any recommendations on a restaurant serving amazing food and good wine for two California foodies looking for a dinner spot...we're only there for one night, so maybe thinking seafood, but not limiting it to that. We love a laid back atmosphere, but prices can be high if the experience is worth it.

  1. n
    nkb Oct 16, 2006 10:29 PM

    the black pearl - it's pricy but good.

    they keep things simple but very well done. you'd want to make a reservation for the commodore's room.


    1. a l i c e Oct 17, 2006 02:57 AM

      I love the lobster fra diavolo dish ( we usually split it between 3 or 4 people) at Scales and Shells on Thames Street. Casual atmosphere, open kitchen, raw bar in front. No reservations taken.

      1. t
        tdo ca Oct 17, 2006 03:58 AM

        You might also check out 22 Bowen's (Wine Bar and Grille) or The Mooring.

        3 Replies
        1. re: tdo ca
          maggiela Oct 17, 2006 05:35 PM

          i've heard negative things about 22 Bowen's?

          1. re: maggiela
            tdo ca Oct 17, 2006 05:42 PM

            I ate there in August and had a great meal (pricey though) YMMV.

            1. re: maggiela
              sivyaleah Oct 19, 2006 06:33 PM

              We were very disappointed in our meal at 22 Bowens last October. Very overpriced, very touristy, service was awful too.

              Two of our most memorable dinners were at The West Deck, where they are doing some innovative cooking, in a very laid back atmosphere, with an open view of the kitchen. Looked kind of "divey" from the outside at night, but don't be put off by that - the food was quite remarkable the night we were there. I guess I'd classify it as New American, if I had to put a label on it.

              Also, Mamma Luisa, for Italian. From the outside it looked very small, but inside it was larger than it appeared and quite romantic. The food was really kind of rustic Italian but served quite elegantly. This was maybe our favorite dining experience while there, one which we thought was going to be just your average Italian meal but in fact was elevated quite beyond. A lot of people don't seem to know about it, I get the sense it's more a locals kind of place. Really wonderful.

              BTW, we also enjoyed the Black Pearl, but only had lunch there. Great chowder!

          2. j
            JaneRI Oct 17, 2006 06:52 PM

            I find 22 Bowen's to be uneven. But I've only been in summer - I wonder if the quality suffers because of the rush?

            1. dpnpt Oct 17, 2006 06:54 PM

              Go to the Spiced Pear at The Chanler or to Castle Hill Inn. Both have seasonal menus and interesting wine choices.

              1. p
                pcwd Oct 17, 2006 06:55 PM

                My S.O. and I went to Spiced Pear this summer and had an excellent meal. Very expensive but worth it for both the quality of the food and the atmosphere.

                1. h
                  HeatherT Oct 20, 2006 04:43 PM

                  How about Cafe Zelda's? I haven't been there in a couple of years, but I had a great experience at dinner the last time I was there. Any one been lately? Worth it?

                  1. s
                    Sean Oct 20, 2006 08:30 PM

                    Restaurant Bouchard


                    Castle Hill Inn


                    1. b
                      bewley Oct 24, 2006 02:01 AM

                      Puerini's: Excellent veal dishes and home made pasta . . .


                      1. w
                        WineTravel Oct 24, 2006 02:13 AM

                        Sorry to break the news, but there aren't any "amazing food and good wine" places in Newport. That's a hard one for Boston even. There are some good spots, but nothing great.

                        While Black Pearl can be recommended for dinner, and The Mooring for lunch (has an excellent wine list btw... sit on the back deck with a lobster sandwich and drink veuve clicquot)... the best shot at a memorable meal would be The Spiced Pear (can book on Open Table). I've only eaten there off season, so if you are going in season, may be too nutty there as they put up a tent on the lawn... and it gets packed with tourists. Check out the Spiced Pear's web site and you'll see why this is worth taking a shot at. Food is good/very good and some things can be excellent. Setting is awesome. Romantic. Service: they try and its good but don't have the labor pool that they need for this type of dining. Excellent wine list. That would be my pick if I had only one night. Very expensive though.

                        p.s. - if you go to spiced pear, ask to see some of the killer rooms/suites

                        1. j
                          JaneRI Oct 24, 2006 12:50 PM

                          I'd have to agree - amazing doesn't really exist in Newport. And while the Spiced Pear *was* amazing....wasn't there some press about them losing the chef with whom they began? And "amazing' hinged on him?

                          Anyway....I went this summer, just for lunch, and was still underwhelmed. The food was decent, nothing special. I was more than a little surprised at the bartender and server's lack of knowledge of the wine they were serving. They had one rose on the wines by the glass list, so I asked if it was dry (figured it was but wanted to be sure). Our server (a young girl) shrugs. That's it. I said "well, could you ask the bartender please?" She comes back and reports "she thinks it's sweet". I just couldn't buy it that a place like that would serve one rose, and make it a sweet one, so I told her I'd like to try it. Sure enough....bone dry.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: JaneRI
                            WineTravel Oct 24, 2006 01:17 PM

                            Problem spiced pear has is the lack of a labor pool that understands fine dining. Your experience doesn't surprise me. They have a lot of young servers (college kids).

                            Another angle for maggiela is to go to spiced pear for drinks... just to check out the killer view and ambiance. Then, eat somewhere else in town.

                          2. j
                            JaneRI Oct 24, 2006 01:59 PM

                            I agree - the setting/ambiance isn't to be missed, it's really gorgeous.

                            1. dpnpt Oct 25, 2006 07:16 PM

                              I agree with Chanler observations, especially the great view, ambiance. Def one to see while in our gorgeous town. If you want to do something out of the ordinary, try White Horse Tavern. It's the oldest tavern in the U.S. and has consistently good food http://www.whitehorsetavern.com/

                              1. dpnpt Oct 25, 2006 07:17 PM

                                ps I always warn folks not to go to The Chanler on an empty stomach, especially for brunch!

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