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Much uncharted territory, R.I. Hounds

Wonderful resource, this board, but it is not exhaustive enough. It nags me: There MUST be undiscovered treasure out there. I wish I could search any eatery name and learn at least something for better or for worse, but plenty of places have never been posted about. Could they all be not worth mentioning or have all the local hounds been looking under the same streetlamp?

This is a call: Pick a mysterious, unprepossessing diner, restaurant, pizzeria or tavern that has never been written about, take a chance, and share what you learn. Someone is bound to find a winner, and the losers will no longer make me itch with curiousity every time I drive by.

Here are 2 for starters.

Churrasqueria Da Beira, on Broadway in Pawtucket. Even google didn't turn up a word about it besides the phonebook stuff. So we went. Pretty quiet on a weeknight. Calimari- forget it. Caldo Verde- nothing special. Marinated Pork with Littlenecks- they were out of clams, so they made it with shrimp- again nothing special, but huge and not bad. Just when I was thinking it's good to know not to bother to come back comes the Batter Fried Scrod with Seafood Sauce- Wow. Thick, fresh, tasty, delicate batter, perfectly done, fruity garlicky sauce, $10.00. The waitress said the weekends are very different - lots of specials. If they tend to be as good as the scrod, this place could be a true low budget treasure. Does anyone else have any experience here?

Red Bridge Tavern, foot of Waterman Ave, East Providence. Another blank on chowhound. We had Calimari and Burger. Not great, but quite satisfactory. Decent draft beer selection and very friendly all ages atmosphere. A worthwhile alternative if you feel like getting off the East Side by going only two blocks past the bridge. There. Now it is on the record.

A few more chowhound blanks waiting to be filled:

La Camelia- Waterman Ave East Providence. We enjoyed it ages ago and noticed it seems to still be there. What's up?

La Moias Tapas - Pocasset Ave. Thumbs down or thumbs up?

City Line Pizza - North Main Street. I'm afraid to try it, but I always wonder...

Who else is ready to go where no hounds have gone before?

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  1. We go to the Red Bridge Tavern once every few months. Good, not faaaabulous, but good, burgers, and good place to go w/the kids. I pass it every day.

    I think there's a high concentration of east siders here (not that there's anything wrong w/that!) and the ruts do happen. But I discovered Taqueria Lupita (and indirectly, El Paisa---the Colombian place also on Dexter in CF) here, and I'm returning there today for lunch!

    I will step up, and hit some random places (or La Camelia) soon and report back.

    1. Why not give City Line Pizza a try? If nothing else, when you call there you'll be dialing the W. family's ancestral telephone number!!

      Another area that looks to be a mother lode of chow is the route 5 corridor through Warwick, Cranston, and Johnston. The strip is loaded with pizza joints, bakeries, fish and chip houses, weiner joints, etc. Two years ago just driving around while killing some down time I found the classic Wein-O-Rama right there on Park Ave. purely by chance.

      1. That Wein-O-Rama is on Oaklawn, no?

        Garden Hills Deli, on Oaklawn-----very good meats and Italian grinders. And only sausage I'll buy, outisde Tedesco's in Johnston.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Moonpie1

          yes, Oaklawn Ave, my bad. 1009 Oaklawn Ave -- at least I got the Route 5 part right!

        2. Well, further down on Rt. 5 (at least I think it's still rt. 5----in any case, it's Cranston St) is Cafe Itri----I'm sure it has been written about here, but it's a great meal.

          1. I love this idea! I have the same feeling that there must be undiscovered (by me) mom and pop joints around every corner, but you just can't try them all.

            I'll take one for the team and try City Line Pizza. I work near there, and it's a great excuse to eat something greasy and irresponsible for lunch. I'll let you know...

            1. I don't see any mention of The Barn in the Adamsville section of Little Compton. Breakfast only, I think, and very tasty.

              2 Replies
              1. re: karlssoni

                Is The Barn still open?? I never hear it mentioned. I went once about 10 yrs ago and loved it.

                1. re: JaneRI

                  It was still open the last time I went by, which was probably in October.

              2. Atheorist, I think this is the best idea and the best post I've seen in a long time on these boards.

                First, what I know about some of the places you mentioned:

                La Camelia - Lebanese immigrants I've talked to really dislike the food here, saying it's far more Armenian than Lebanese, but Armenians tend to like it... Draw your own conclusions...

                La Moias Tapas - I recall them having a fire several months back. Are they open again?

                City Line Pizza - I've always wondered as well...

                I'll try City Line Pizza as well... Anyplace else people have been wondering about?

                I've been curious about Guido's on the East Side... Also, does anyone know the Big Alice's Story there? Also, is the Sidebar Grille downtown any good?

                - Garris
                Providence, RI

                1 Reply
                1. re: Garris


                  Try this link regarding Guido's.
                  On another note we tried Guido's a while back and once was definately one time too many. We tried to do a search for our review on this board but it did not show up...must be too old.

                2. I've been meaning to get up to Pitchers Pub in Cumberland one of these days. A bartender that works at LJ's BBQ also works at PP and said they had an excellent beer selection, very nice owners, and good pub grub.

                  1. This IS a great idea! Unfortunately I live in CT, a mostly culinary wasteland which only shows its shining stars on the boards. Time for nutmeggers to step up!

                    1. We love J's deli in smithfield just past the 295 on/off ramps. He used to be located in Cumberland off of 295 there. Always a great sandwich to be had. Unusual creations!

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: snl1129

                        Was meaning to mention the J's deli in Woonsocket! Same people, right? It's on Cumberland Hill Rd, I think? VERY good sandwiches.

                      2. Okay, RI Hounds, mission accomplished. The best thing I can say about City Line Pizza (on North Main Street, on the Providence/ Pawtucket line) is that it's an excellent value. I got a spinach calzone for $6.20 (including tax), and it was big enough for two people. It was freshly cooked and beautiful to look at, but the dough was underdone, it could have used some seasoning in the giant wad of spinach (I couldn't detect any at all), and I would have liked a little more tomato sauce on the side.

                        It would be easy to improve the calzone without spending any more money (take away half of the spinach and add in some garlic, salt, pepper, and oregano), so it looks like they focus more on getting the food out quickly and cheaply than on taste. Oh well. They do have an extensive delivery menu (pasta, fried things, subs, pizza, calzones, salads), and I've certainly paid more for worse food in my life.

                        7 Replies
                        1. re: Tartinet

                          I tried City Line too...

                          I got a large cheese pizza pie, my default way to try any new pizza place.

                          Price: $7.78, including tax
                          Diameter: 14 inches
                          Crust: A thicker, more pastry-esque crust I associate with Greek or Lebanese pizza places
                          Sauce: A bit on the sweeter side, more than enough for the cheese
                          Cheese: Very good amount...

                          It's OK. I don't love this crust type myself. A very small pie for a "large" (which, being from NY, I consider more 18-20 inch in diameter), but still a good value. I kept thinking the wedges were "cute." If I knew I was going to be driving by there anyway, I wouldn't hesitate to call over to order a pie to pick up on the way home, but in no way is it a "destination" pizza purchase for me (like Pizza-Pie-Er, Fellini's, Caserta, or Park Cafe in Cranston are).

                          What place shall we all try out next? :-)

                          - Garris
                          Providence, RI

                          1. re: Garris

                            Atwood Grill on Atwood Ave for a family lunch or dinner: great food, great pices, Italian food. Be sure to order seafood stuffing portabella mushrooms for appetizer. entrees are all good, and portions generous. On weekdays need to arrive before noon for lunch, it is very popular for business lunches.

                            1. re: lnm

                              I could not agree more.. we are truly bless here in Rhode Island to have so many great restaurants, so much so, one would never need to eat at a chain restaurant. What about....
                              Stella Blues in Warren
                              Basically British Tea Room in Warren
                              Parente's Restaurant in Smithfield
                              The Red Fez, Providence
                              D Carlos in Smithfield
                              East Ave Cafe, Providence
                              Tony Papa, Cranston

                              Always curious on what other people think of these places...

                              1. re: sarahbeth

                                D Carlos: I ate there several tiimes, business lunches, never for dinner, so this review is limited in scope. Very good selection of Italian-American food. Service is good, menu quite varied, with a usual salad/pasta/sandwich/entree mix in A-I place. Prices very reasonable for the food they serve. The portions are very large, I was never able to finish even half, and I am not a light eater. Smithfield/Lincoln is not exactly a culinary mecca like Federal Hill or East Side or Newport, and in that area it is one of the best. Box Seat nearby is rather similar in menu.

                                1. re: lnm

                                  Box Seats and d.carlo similar in menu? Or did I misunderstand that? Box Seats is mostly glorified bar food (heavy on the fried seafood, burgers and stuff).

                                  1. re: JaneRI

                                    we went to stella blues a few weeks ago it was just so-so.i was really hoping it was gonna be better.nat porters is way better[if you can get a table,resovations are key]another place in the east bay thats been pretty dependable is the tyler point grill [between barrington and warren,in the boat yard]we looked at the menu at the british tea room for dinner[just weekends] it looks really good,staff was super helpful.its next on the list...bristols got some really good spots too,quitos for fried seafood,sams for pizza,aidans for a pint of guiness,galaxy is a hit or miss [i had probibly the best pad thai ive ever had one night,and 3 weeks later it was just ok,weird]and the bristlo bakery is awesome,as is wood st pizza.i just really miss goglias,i wish they would re-open soon ,i miss my hand cut ribeye steak,and thier homemade sausage.the yankees stuff i could do without ,but hey thats just me.....

                                    1. re: im hungry

                                      I'm a big fan of Stella Blues in Warren. I would never attempt to compare it to Nat Porter, though. They are in totally different realms. Stella Blues is more of a casual bar and grill while Nat Porter is an upscale restaurant. Strictly Chow speaking, though, I guess you could compare... you get what you pay (more) for at Nat Porter.

                                      At Stella, I generally stick with the burgers (both the standard Stella Burger and the blue-cheese-stuffed Doolin Burger) and the littlenecks in garlic and wine. The littlenecks are wonderful, but they're serious about the garlic. If you're a garlic lover like me, you'll be happy. Stella also has what they call "Tuscan Bruschetta" but I think of it as more like pizza without the red sauce. I've only gotten the prosciutto, tomato and mozzarella version (there are two others) but it's always good. My only issue is it is so filling for two people that I don't have room for my other favorites.

                                      I've also seen a table of eight people ALL order the lobster rolls. So either they were serious first-time-in-New-England tourists who stumbled across Stella Blues, or the lobster rolls must be pretty good. Perhaps I'll pass on the burger one day and find out!

                        2. Recently tried Anthony's (Anthony's Cucina?) in Johnston-- Wednesday night 2fer1 was very good...Tuscan Calamari was one of the things I had--fried calamari with marinara and olives..yum...and you can sing kareoke if you really feel like it...

                          1. Went to Galaxie on Reservoir Ave, Cranston last night. I'd gone earlier this winter and enjoyed myself, but this time around was even better. We had more people so we could try more stuff. This place just proves me wrong about many commonly held assumptions I make.

                            First, I don't like to go to a place that specializes in multiple cuisines. Can't you pick one and excell at it? This place does Vietnamese, Chinese, Thai and Cambodian. And it irks me when a name is mispelled whether for Kute purposes or standing out. It just does.

                            BUT. The food here is tasty, various, made on premises as much as possible and pretty darn various. We had sauteed watercress that was a perfect counterpoint of greenery to the rest of our meal with a smoky undernote, perhaps the wok breath people talk about. A beef on rice dish with five-spice powder that was wonderful and a thai chicken curry that made us so happy.

                            The crushed peanut sauce for the nime chow is addictive. Last time I went, I noted that they list the ingredients so I tried to replicate it. No dice. I talked to the manager, and he just beamed. He described his method from water temperature to timing, but explained that he couldn't give me amounts since he only made it in enormous batches. He excused himself and brought a pint of it back for me from the kitchen, so that I could experiment to match it, or just drop by when I needed a refill. He was just so gracious that I walked away beaming. Cranston isn't exactly next door to me, but that restaurant will see more of my custom.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: thinks too much

                              Yay! It's great to hear such praise for Galaxie. I think Galaxie is one of the best kept secrets in RI. I grew up in Westerly and lived in Providence for years (and now I'm back!) and my sister actually discovered this place when she was a PC student. We always try to squeeze in a visit if we're in Garden City. I agree - I usually sniff at multiple cuisines, but Galaxie is superior to Asian food I've sampled in highly lauded restaurants in San Francisco, Boston, NY...
                              Going south - I like Seven Moons on Post Road in North Kingstown, which also features a variety of East Asian cuisine (including sushi). The atmosphere is certainly ritzier than Galaxie, with a cool bar area that always strikes me as southern-RI's attempt at the Sex and the City style see-and-be-seen sushi bar. I am always delighted with my food and the ample portions are great-- leftovers for lunch the next day! For the southern part of the state, it's definitely the best Asian around, and it's really a treat to go there.

                              thinks too much - can you post on home cooking what you've found for that peanut sauce? My mouth is watering...

                              1. re: foxy fairy

                                I definitely agree on Galaxie and 7 Moons - consistently well done on all fronts.
                                We live in Providence and drive down to 7 Moons regularly, usually on a Saturday afternoon. Be forewarned that they stop serving sushi from 2:30 - 4:00 everyday - we found out the hard way! They do give huge portions. We love the spicy chicken lettuce wraps.

                            2. Best Pizza - Any Dave's marketplace which has a brick oven. Their pizza is outstanding! Creative toppings - grilled eggplant, artichoke heart and red onion, broccolli, pesto...plus the oldie but goodies pepperoni, sausage etc.
                              Best Burritto - Gordito burritto on Thayer - awesome, authentic flavor, and great deal for the money.

                              8 Replies
                              1. re: PatDbunE

                                I also really enjoy the burritos at the tortilleria on Atwells (corner of Atwells and Academy, a block up from the Shaw's plaza on the left hand side on the corner). Burritos are $4.50 and they make their own tortillas. Great little tacos too for $1.50. Outstanding - bring a bag of their homemade corn tortillas home for $1! You can pick up any Mexican groceries there too - from dried chiles and tomatillos to queso fresco and Mexican sodas. The burritos and tacos there are the closest I've found to the amazing snacks from my summers backpacking through Mexico -- even better than the Mission district in San Francisco!

                                1. re: foxy fairy

                                  yeah, that place is great. Piaxtla Tortilleria is the name, i think, although from the outside it basically looks like a bodega. I'd never had the burritos, but I love their tamales. So good.

                                  generally, despite there being a hidden treasure trove of Mexican food in Providence (one that I don't think includes Gordito by any stretch of the imagination), I haven't found great burritos. I find much better luck with other dishes, be they tacos, sopes, huaraches, tamales, enchiladas, or whatever. In my experience Taqueria Lupita in Central Falls and Chilangos (definitely skip the burritos) are my favorites, but La Lupita in Olneyville Square, a longtime staple for cheap, tasty tacos, has been expanding their menu slowly and is very good as well.

                                  1. re: celeriac

                                    and by the way, does anyone know what happened to the taco truck that last summer was usually parked at the corner of valley and souci off olneyville square, in the parking lot of one of the mills now being Strueverated? The woman there made the most amazing huaraches I've had, the tortilla alone was magnificent.

                                    1. re: celeriac

                                      I saw a taco truck the other day in the Shop Rite (eeek, it might be Price Rite) lot, right near where you're describing, less than a block from Olneyville Square. The truck was tucked into the lot a little so you might not see him just driving by - you have to pull into the lot, and he's in the far corner, as far from the store as possible. Taco trucks are really my favorite for Mexican - best I've found, both in Oakland CA, populated with many cool late-night trucks, and while traveling around Mexico.

                                      Now I'm kicking myself that I didn't stop! I was too hot to eat that day (a rare one for me!) so I was buying ice cream from one of my other favorite Providence treats -- the helado carts! That day I got a small cup of tamarind and my sweety got cherry-mango. We often drive around desperate to find one of these roaming ice cream vendors -- I'm not talking popsicles or ice cream bars or trucks playing music. These are people walking around wheeling ice cream in tubs, on a little cart. Mmmmmm.

                                      1. re: foxy fairy

                                        There's almost always an ice cart on the corner of Westminster and Dexter, by Joe's meat market.

                                    2. re: celeriac

                                      The burritos at the tortilleria are very simple, with none of that ubiquitous Tex-Mex nonsense. I can't stand a burrito that looks juicy and delicious and turns out to be a lot of rice with an overpriced glob of guacamole and some dried-out chicken, you know? At the tortilleria you get delicious, skillfully-prepared meat in lovely homemade tortillas and lots of yummy sauces and goodies.

                                      I read about TL in Central Falls here. Do RI Hounds ever do group outings? I'd love to go there with a crowd to get to know some other foodies around the area :) and it sounds like a cool place to gather some hounds.

                                      1. re: celeriac

                                        Does the Mexican place have vegetarian options?

                                        1. re: amees

                                          I don't think so. One of my roommates is veg and she was sadly noting the lack of veg. However, the women who work the back are so friendly and warm, and they do have lots of fresh vegetables there, so they might be able to do something for you. I like the tacos there a lot but they are chicken and beef only.

                                          I don't know if they do pots of beans but I don't think so. You might be able to get some fresh veggies though with some of their awesome sauces. Or -- you can buy a package of tortillas for $1 and get some of their produce and beans for a great price, and make a batch of your own at home :)

                                  2. Two places that have caught me eye recently (one just today): First, the Asian Bakery on upper Broad Street in Providence, not far from the U-Haul place, that has a sign out front saying they have "Vietnamese sandwiches". Very intriguing, that. Then just this afternoon, I was driving along Branch Ave. heading toward North Main Street and saw a store not long before the intersection with Silver Spring (I think) with the charming signage "Unique Fish Delight." I didn't catch anything more than that, but a google search seems to confirm that it's a restaurant. I'd love to hear anything anyone has to say about either of these two. Also, a third comes to mind, along the same stretch of Branch Ave: Jeanette's Pastry. I've actually had a calzone from there once a few years ago; my recollection is that the place was kind of bizarre (crummy old storefront, take-out only, no menu, call your order in, closes early), but the food was not bad. Anyone else?

                                    I'd agree that the route 5 corridor through Cranston has some interesting stuff. Also around route 6 and the Killingly St. area in Johnston.

                                    8 Replies
                                    1. re: jgl

                                      Jeanettes Pastry was a regular stop of mine for years until I broke off lunching on calzones that provide a days worth of calories. The place is a real homegrown trip. I hope they are prevailing. Worth a visit.
                                      Talk about route 6 and Killingly street! Every chance I get I have lunch at Gesualdis on Hartford Ave. Trust me. It is a chowhound dream come true.

                                      1. re: atheorist

                                        Can you elaborate on Gesualdis please??? Dream come true sounds too good to believe! I had no idea a little gem was hiding over there.

                                        1. re: foxy fairy

                                          Same here - more info on Gesualdis please! I work on Valley St and am all ears....

                                          1. re: JaneRI

                                            A storefront diner, a few blocks east of Killingly St., on Hartford Ave on the right. Daily chalkboard menu, lunch only. Italian cooking mostly. Grilled, fried, baked meat and fish, perfect bread and salad. pasta or rice. Soup! Chowder Friday. I crave the red.

                                      2. re: jgl

                                        We got Vietnamese sandwiches at a place on Broad a while ago, not sure if it's the same place. They were okay. Not as good as the ones in NY and Boston, but if you've never had one, go! For a primer, search "banh mi" on the boards. Made well, they are the one of my favorite foods in the world!

                                        At the place on Broad St, I scoffed at the "BBQ" one, but it turned out to be much tastier than the other one we got (pork?), which was very mayonnaisy.

                                        1. re: Tartinet

                                          yeah, I foudn the pork one pretty gross--i'm pretty sure it's mostly the vietnamese cold cut stuff, and i wasn't into it. definitely go for the bbq beef. i'm far from an expert on banh mi, but i had better ones in boston. can't beat the price though, aren;t the $1.00? or $1.50?

                                          1. re: celeriac

                                            Yeah, I'm familiar with banh mi and figured that's what it was, I just was repeating what the sign specifically says. I was hoping that someone might be doing a quality version of it around these parts, as I don't think I'd seen here before (I've only had it in Boston.) Thanks for the tips--I'll probably check it out, but I'm a little less curious now.

                                            Re: "Jeanettes Pastry was a regular stop of mine for years until I broke off lunching on calzones that provide a days worth of calories." Yeah, that's pretty much what I remember from my one time there. I think it took me a couple of days to finish the calzone. Maybe I'll check it out again soon. I've never been to Gesualdis, I'll look for it. On Killingly, I've enjoyed the "old fashioned" pizza strips at D. Palmieri's bakery--thicker than a typical strip, cruchier crust, and lots of garlic. Not to mention Gem Ravioli just up the way and around the corner. Good stuff indeed.

                                            1. re: jgl

                                              Yeah, there must be really good banh mi around here somewhere. Please do alert the 'hounds if you find them! Although, I have to say, that BBQ one was decent.

                                      3. Tina's Jamaican Caribbean resturant.
                                        223 Atwells ave.

                                        Went to a party there today, had the Curried Goat, awsome, had three bowls.Enjoy

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: Rhody Rogue

                                          This place is truly amazing and needs more business. She used to be on Broad street but has moved to ATwells. Tina (or at least the woman who does everything who i imagine is Tina...) also makes great ginger beer and everything is less than 14 dollars. A good deal. Plus the menu isnt just curries and jerk chicken. They also have an interesting red snapper entree and other great stuff. Hopefully more people start eating at Tina's so they will stay open because I can't imagine the rent in Federal Hill being too low to survive for long without much business.

                                        2. If you want to consider REAL italian "fast food" out side of the Federal Hill area, go to Mangia Mangia in the Knightsville section of Cranston. Incredible fresh sandwiches, a la carte items, brick oven pizzas and even dessert!!!