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Apr 3, 2007 01:31 PM

New Restaurant Each Week - Providence

My boyfriend has school at URI (Providence campus) every Wednesday night, so we have a standing date in downtown Providence once a week. Last semester, we were stuck in a rut of three locations -- Bravo Brasserie, Trinity Brewhouse and Cuban Revolution -- depending on our mood and how much time we had before class.

This semester, we decided to get out of our rut, so we're going to a new restaurant every week. And we're opting for "new to us," not just "new to this semester," so Bravo, Trinity and Cuban were all out automatically, as were some other Providence haunts (Andrea's, RiRa, Union Station). We've had some great experiences -- many of them inspired by Chowhound threads -- and a couple of so-so experiences, but we're running low on ideas for the next several weeks. Can anyone help us out with suggestions for the next month?

Since I'm asking for help, I'll at least give a breakdown/review of where we've gone so far:

Not Just Snacks - loved it. The only place in RI I've been able to find dahi aloo puri, my favorite Bombay street food (not that I've ever been to a street in Bombay).

Red Fez - fabulous. I was especially pleased by the curry cashews sprinkled on the salad, but everything was quite tasty.

Taqueria Pacifica - our only cheat night because we'd been there before, but we got totally different orders than we did last time. We're California transplants, so Mexican is our comfort food and we only had 20 minutes until class. As a Californian, I'll say their food is not bad at all, but I prefer other locations (Chilango's and Mexico in Providence, Caliente in Fall River).

Phonatic - really good. Loved the pho and loved the shrimp crepe.

East Side Pockets - awesome. We both had the falafel sandwich and it was perfect. Loved the tangy red sauce that came with it.

Providence Byblos - not as good as East Side Pockets, but fine.

The Strange Little Dumpling Place That Has Been Added to Geoff's Superlative Sandwiches - not very good. We got dumplings and noodles, both of which were served with the same too-sweet sauce. I wish I had gotten a sandwich.

Nice Slice - great slices! We got the margherita and pepperoni and both were perfect once we added some garlic and peppers.

I'm sure there are more, but the semester has gone by in a blur. Any suggestions for new places would be much appreciated! We're open to all kinds of food, we just generally need something that can be experienced in an hour or less.

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  1. Oh, to be a student and hit a new restaurant every week...

    What a great idea on your part. If he's at URI, do you want to basically stay downtown or on the East Side? Why not try Parkside (right on S. Main), New Rivers (bottom of Steeple St) or XO (S. Main)?

    8 Replies
    1. re: Moonpie1

      Staying downtown for the moment, try the Red Fez, Tazza, Cilantro, New Japan, 3 Steeple Street, Citron, McCormick and Schmicks, and the Trinity Brewhouse for starters. That'll keep you busy for a bit!

      - Garris
      Providence, RI

      1. re: Garris

        Late weeknight burger specials at McCormick & Schmicks are a fine chance to pinch pennies.

      2. re: Moonpie1

        Just to clarify: we aren't kids! We're mid-30s food lovers who are taking advantage of time in Providence each week. And, yes, we try to stick to downtown or the East Side.

        New Rivers sounds interesting, as do the others. Thanks!

        1. re: janeoh

          Rue de L'Espoir, Garden Grille, Sawadee Thai, 3 Steeple St, and I 2nd Parkside (very underrated, imo).

          1. re: JaneRI

            I have to cast a vote against Rue de L'Espoir for dinner. I know some people like it for brunch, and they can't all be wrong, but I had one of the worst restaurant dinners ever there this winter. Bad food, dreadful service, and way overpriced. I'm never, ever going back, and I'm usually more forgiving than to completely write off a restaurant after one bad meal.

            Otherwise, you've got some great options on this list! Have fun!

            1. re: Tartinet

              Wow, that's too bad. Over time (many years) I've liked Rue very very much. Haven't been there in maybe two years, but was just mentioning to the husband that we should go after church for brunch. I don't think he's ever been there----it's been a place I'd go w/friends, and before that, w/my family/parents, etc. I've had so many good dinners and brunches there. Sad to hear that it's slipped.

              1. re: Moonpie1

                Same - haven't been in a while and sad to hear it's slipped.

                1. re: JaneRI

                  It certainly could have been one really, really off night. New waitress, chef off sick, ran out of stuff all at once... Could have been a one-off, but I'm not going to take a chance. But if you loved it once, it might be worth a re-visit to make sure.

      3. i definitely agree with garris on 3 steeple street. i love that place- get the boursin burger! but if you have more time, you can try some places on the east side: tortilla flats, blaze, ivy tavern. also try: cafe choklad, pot au feu. also, im sure there are some places on wickenden worth a try: fellini's usually has a great slice, zbar has delicious scallops, and i have yet to try sakura but i'd really like to!


        4 Replies
        1. re: tomatosoup

          Thanks, tomatosoup. I've read your blog and am itching to go to Blaze, but I don't think our tight schedule on Wednesday nights will allow for the time we should take to appreciate it... so we're saving that particular restaurant for a weekend night, I think.

          Your suggestions all sound good, too. These three replies might just carry us through the semester. Thanks everyone!

          1. re: janeoh

            i definitely agree blaze needs more time- it is a very relaxed, comfortable place. especially if you like sangria- it is a great place to enjoy a pitcher along with your meals!

            1. re: tomatosoup

              I love sangria and wouldn't want to miss out on such a treat just because of the "school night" mentality that we tend to have on these outings. But it will be in our near future! We live in Bristol, so it isn't like a trip to Providence is a burden in any way. We can't wait to try it!

              1. re: janeoh

                heh, didn't mean to imply that you were kids----but do you HAVE kids? THIS is what effectively killed our frequent eating out and made us into Takeout People.

                10 Steak/Sushi is good, too-----if you're from CA, you know from sushi, but it is overall very good.

        2. i also second parkside & ivy tavern, and also second the naysaying about rue de l'espoir. i would caution that cafe choklad, while it is a wonderful fairlyland of sweetness, chocolate, and light that i love, is not open for dinner, but definitely drop by for lunch or breakfast or afternoon coffee & lemon pound cake.

          you might want to also give haruki east and la laiterie a try (they're up in wayland square, but if you're OK with going to blaze, it's probably just as far from downtown). watch out at la laiterie though---in the last few months they hired someone abysmal as the host. he acts very important but i'm not sure about what and i've had some mixed experiences with him (which depresses me because they used to be my favorite).
          i would also try CAV in the jewelry district, not far from downtown at all

          and if you want to stray from downtown/east side slightly, take an adventure to the west side to try out nick's on broadway, which has dinner wed-sat., or julian's, which is often good and, when it's not good, is at least interesting. or to the south side to apsara's on public street.