Portuguese, Italian, Mexican. Indian Makets near the Mass/RI border
I've just relocated to Attleboro and I'm having a hard time finding specialty food stores in the area. The darkness of winter and business of the new job has limited my exploration.
Are there any markets/ethnic grocers in the area? Anywhere between Norwood, MA and Providence would be great.
Restaurant rec's would be awesome too! Especially good pubs, chinese/indian, and mexican.
There's an Indian grocer/market on Route 1 in Attleboro. I don't recall the name, but it's pretty easy to spot. It's fairly close to Cinema-Pub but on the other side of the street. There's also an Asian market (primarily Indian) in downtown Mansfield. Also easy to find.
Don't be nervous about going into Providence. Just 'aim' and you'll find your way.
I'm unclear on whether or not you were including Providence in your requested range, but it's probably your best bet for many of these, so here goes:
For Mexican and other Latino foods, there are innumerable little stores. One of the best is probably the one a few blocks up the hill on Atwells in Olneyville. Just keep heading west down Atwells past the Italian restaurants, past Eagle Square, past Valley St, and 3 blocks or so up the hill there is a market on a corner on the left side--It may be called Piaxtla Tortilleria, but I'm not sure if the market has a different name. They sell Mexican ingredients, make their own tortillas, and sell excellent tamales from the lunch counter in the back.
Highly recommended, you'll find all the spices, chilis, queso fresco, and tortillas you need. Further on, after Atwells merges with Manton, you'll come to Chilangos, which is certainly the best Mexican restaurant I've been to in Prov. Have a pambazo.
There are a couple good asian markets on Broad and Elmwood, and the one I usually go to is New Asian Market. It's on Broad St next door to Pho Paradise (which is in turn next to a McDonalds). New Asian Market has great herbs, bulk tofu, and incredibly cheap produce. They also have meat and fish, but I haven't tried them yet, except for for chicken feet i bought which were, well, chicken feet. For restaurants Pho Paradise is good, as is Pho Hons in Cranston and Apsara, further down Elmwood.
For Indian, the only option I know of is Not Just Spices (as Jenkins mentions above). It's on Hope St, way up north towards Pawtucket, right near Seven Stars Bakery. They have always been more than sufficient for my indian grocery needs. Also, their restaurant Not Just Snacks, across the street, has the best (or maybe second best) Indian food I've had in town.
Hit Atwell's Ave in Providence, also called Federal Hill, and seek out Venda's Ravioli for one of the finest Italian markets you'll find anywhere. Great breads, coldcuts, meats, cheeses, oils, and prepared specialties. Many hard to find items and the people behind the counters know there stuff. I make a trip now and again from the Cape. Its that good. http://www.vendaravioli.com/
Further down 195E in New Bedford and you'll find Sid Wainer and Sons, a nationally known specialty importer for fine restaurants. Think oils and vinegars, produce, dried pastas, coffees, spices and more. They have several kitchens set up to do demonstrations and will have many things out for tasting. Worth the drive. http://www.sidwainer.com/
While in New Bedford you may as well hit Kyler's Catch, a top notch fish monger. It's a retail shop attached to their huge wholesale fish processing plant just off 195. Great selection and prices. Super fresh product. Also, Lydia's bakery for authentic and delicious Portuguese baked goods.
There has been pages written on good eats in the Providence area. Best bet is to do a search for "Providence" on the board and you will get lots of great recommendations (Garris especially has written some extensive reviews). As far as specialty stores go, there is an Indian store on Hope Street in Providence (and sister restaurant across the street Not Just Snacks is excellent take out). On Mineral Spring Ave. in North Providence there is a Middle Eastern food store that is decent (although nothing compared to those in Watertown Mass., like Arax).