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One Week in Providence RI, Bakeries?

Hello everyone!!

I am traveling to Providence Rhode Island next week for 5 days, and it is my first time in the area! I was looking for a couple recommendations, since I can’t seem to find any restaurants online that aren’t super (fine fine dining) expensive. I really want to check out Al Forno since I have their cookbook, and I hear that “Federal Hill” has a lot of good places to eat! Are there any great Indian food restaurants? Neat lunch spots?

One of the main things I want to seek out… bakeries! I have somewhat of an obsession with bread and pastries, and was wondering if anyone knows of some bakeries in the area that I shouldn’t miss!

Thank you in advance, and sorry for my vague “What’s Good?!” post! :)

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  1. for bakeries, you'll want to stop by Seven Stars bakery on Hope street (which is near Not Just Snacks, a yummy Indian restaurant) and Olga's Cup and Saucer on the corner of Richmond Street and Point Street in the Jewelry District (which also qualifies as a neat lunch spot). I also have a soft spot for Silver Star Bakery on Ives Street, which sells lots of very sweet and almost cakey Portuguese sweet bread (and huge eclairs, lemon bars, brownies, and other old-fashioned bakery treats).

    3 Replies
    1. re: ginqueen

      Don't forget Pastiche for a bakery. And there's also that newer one on Atwells: Nancy's Fancies Cakes.

      1. re: fullbelly

        Sorry, I tried cupcakes from Nancy Fancies and not very impressed. They give you alot of butter cream frosting on a pretty normal size cupcake. TOp heavy and hard to eat. I like the frosting but the cupcakes was dry and the price of $5 each has my hubby still hollering about sending him there to get me one.

        1. re: Cammie

          I strolled in there one day right before she opened in the spring... the owners are a very friendly mom-daughter duo, with the daughter the mastermind behind the cakes. Her mom is a local who ran a little restaurant on Federal Hill for years... she seemed to be a wealth of information on how the neighborhood has evolved.

          That being said, I must ask to see if I understand: do they honestly charge FIVE DOLLARS for a single cupcake???

    2. If you want to keep the entree price point under $20 try Bravo, Red Stripe, Julians, Blaze (my personal favorite), and if you are up for bbq LJ's BBQ on in Pawtucket, but right on the Providence line. Also in that same strip mall is Rasoi, a new Indian place that has new and creative options compared to more typical Indian places.

      1. Seconding the above posts. If you can only go to one bakery go to the versatile, quality obsessed Seven Stars.
        Pastiche is even better but it is dessert only.
        Silver Star has the only jelly donuts that I have found worth eating in years but if you have not yet tried Portuguese sweet bread run don't walk.

        Do not fail to seek out the most precious RI bakery treasure of all, at an old school Italian bakery. Bread, rolls, pizza strips and calzones ( I seldom like the sweet stuff in these places but you might). Best I know is Buono on Hartford Ave, westbound side near Glenbridge I think. Almost as good is Palmieri's at the end of Tobey street north of Broadway.

        You are going to love it here LetThemEatCupcakes!

        2 Replies
        1. re: atheorist

          Has the Seven Stars on Hope St reopened yet?

          1. re: ccferg


            It's as good as ever, with the addition of some very tasty pre-made sandwiches. Although I must admit I'm not a fan of their new decor. It's a lot fancier than it was and the acoustics are terrible (maybe intentionally, to encourage the hordes to get their coffee, pay their money, and get out). I'm still hooked, though. Can't keep me away.

        2. I just left Providence and can't rave enough about the food. If at all possible - splure at Al Forno - its worth it. Seven Star gets my vote too - but try some local spots on the West Side or near the Armory District. You'll find some little local spots
          also - my daughter lives there and wrote this - try it
          $10 and Under

          Are you constantly searching for something delicious and affordable? Maybe it’s something in between two pieces of bread for say $10? Then turn here, because what follows is a list of great grinders, wraps and pressed sandwiches for a mere 10 bones. So, go ahead, search the streets. Tell your friends and start eating. It’s lunch time.
          Murphy’s Delicatessen

          55 Union Street Providence, RI

          This Providence landmark is smack dab on one of the busiest corners in downtown. It’s been around since 1929 and still serves up their famous corned beef and mountain high sandwiches. They offer everything from potato skins and burgers to fried chicken and clam chowder (on Fridays). The prices are low, especially the combination sandwiches at only $7.50. Sit at the L shaped bar for an authentic experience and seal the deal with something refreshing on tap. You won’t be disappointed!

          Nobody’s Deli
          18 Bassett Street Providence, RI

          Tucked away on Bassett Street in downtown Providence is this reliable, local deli. The place is small and efficient with a deli display, a few tables and specials board. Next door is Nobody’s Bar, an equally entertaining joint all in itself; but we’re here for the sandwiches. Their French bread is the perfect backdrop for all things grinder related and their homemade tuna and chicken salad is far superior to any Willow Tree variety. Try one of there signature combinations like the EZ Rider with roast beef and cream cheese or a Land Quest with chicken salad, American cheese, honey mustard, lettuce, bacon and hot sauce all on toasted rye. The best part? A large grinder will set you back less than $7.00, proving that “Everybody is somebody at Nobody’s.”
          East Side Pockets

          278 Thayer Street Providence, RI

          Thayer Street would not be the same without this East side institution. They are open late night (1 AM on weekdays, 2 AM on weekends) and serve up food quicker than you can order it. $4 gets you the biggest falafel wrap around, smothered with Middle Eastern topping such as hummus, tzatziki, tahini and their home made hot sauce. They also offer toppings such as grape leaves, tabouleh and feta cheese, all which come standard on a wrap with “everything.” $6 can get you a chicken, kafta or gyro wrap or the salad variation served with Syrian bread. “If you like it, tell your friends.”

          Cuban Revolution

          50 Aborn Street Providence, RI

          In there new location off Washington Street downtown is Cuban Revolution.

          They claim to have the worlds best Cuban sandwich with roast pork, Swiss cheese, salami, ham, pickles, mustard and mayonnaise all pressed between homemade Cuban bread. They also offer some great appetizers such as empanada’s, fried yucca and ham croquettes called croquetas de jamon. The sandwiches range between $6 and $9 and most of the appetizers don’t exceed $5. Just be cautious of the drinks here because, they don’t offer free refills and the mixed drinks are over priced, so stick with the beer. If you have the time, take a seat in the new dining room. The walls are plastered with new, over sized artwork and the booths are rather comfortable.

          Meeting Street Café

          220 Meeting Street Providence, RI

          You’ll find this award winning café upstairs from Spiritus Fermenti (it’s a liquor store) and right off the ever famous Thayer Street. Here, they are known for their large portions, quality ingredients and famously large cookies (they are the size of your head, promise!). They offer a huge selection of interesting sandwiches, including a large selection of vegetarian options. Some favorites include the quad - with hot roast beef, cheddar, coleslaw and Russian dressing and the veggie Reuben with steamed broccoli. A full sandwich here will put you back about $9, but you can opt for a half sandwich at $5.75. Whatever you do, don’t forget about the cookies –

          1 Reply
          1. re: getmett

            Do you have the recipe for those great cookies at Meeting Street Cafe in Providence?

          2. I think it's a fairly widely held (though by no means unanimous, so don't clobber me for saying that) view that Al Forno is well past its prime. The grilled pizza may still be worth it, maybe grab that and a glass of wine early and then bar and then jet. Most Federal Hill spots I've tried in the past were pretty so-so.

            I would recommend Chez Pascal or La Laiterie for splurgier spots. Chilangos or Taqueria Lupita for Mexican, Mumu for great chinese, Nick's for brunch, Pho Horn's for Pho. Search the board for other stuff, there are loads of great places to eat.

            1 Reply
            1. re: celeriac

              Ditto on Al Forno; the bakery suggestions are good; at Silver Star, the Pao de Milho (the NONsweet Portuguese bread) is a traditoinal item, too. Recipe to make it, if you like it, on my blog. Bravo is a great spot for lunch or early dinner.

            2. Palmieri's (on Tobey in Federal Hill) is excellent. I love their cinnamon rolls and all of their breads (rye, sourdough, mmm), and I just can't stop eating those pizza strips. They recently added a cute little coffee bar so you could enjoy coffee and a paper in the morning with some goodies. I always think I might run into RI's version of Tony Soprano at Palmieri's. I like the family who runs the bakery, quite a bit. She bakes little goodies for doggies too if you have one who would want you to bring home a treat!

              Olga's Cup and Saucer is my favorite lunch spot in Providence. Their sandwiches are unusual and delicious, and I've had great pizza there too. Baked goods are expensive - I'd stick to Palmieri's for those.

              For a lovely dinner or weekend brunch: CAV, a few blocks from Olga's. The ambiance is gorgeous, antiques and twinkly lights and just utterly romantic. The food is divine too.

              The woman who opened Nancy's Fancies and her mom are really friendly and cool. I met them as they were opening and they were thrilled! Her mom used to run a restaurant on Atwells and told me all about how Federal Hill used to be, so you should stop in for a coffee and some local history if that interests you :) I'd love to hear a review of their cakes :)

              2 Replies
              1. re: foxy fairy

                Olga's cup and saucer really is a great place for lunch.

                1. re: ccferg

                  YUM! Over the winter I sampled an exquisite pizza there.... couldn't stop thinking about it for months. Their sandwiches (not usually something I would order out) are really special too.

                  What do you like to order there in terms of lunch?

              2. Hello everyone!

                First of all, thank you so much for all the recommendations and suggestions, there are extremely helpful! I printed out this whole page and have kept it on me at all times, asking people where this is, or how to get to that!

                I’m still in Providence, and having a great food time! Later today I am heading to the Open Market, and then to Cuban Revolution for some lunch, should be a good time!

                As for what I’ve done… wow… I don’t think I have ever eaten so many pastries and breads in my life!!! To give a quick summary I went to Seven Stars Bakery, Silver Star Bakery, Pastiche, Olga’s, Nancies Fancies, East Side Pockets, La Laiterie, Al Forno, Tazza, CAV, Café Dolce Vita, Del’s (hehe), and Café Nuovo for desserts! Phew! We also took an unexpected trip to Sakonnet Vineyards and an “on the whim” day trip to Martha’s Vineyard! I can’t seem to find Palmieri's on foot, but I’ll search again today!

                I just wanted to write a quick note outlining where I went, and to say thank you again for all the help, it really changed my trip being able to know where to go! I can’t thank you guys enough!!

                1 Reply
                1. re: LetThemEatCupcakes

                  Wow! I'm impressed and so glad that you've enjoyed so many culinary goodies in Providence. Which did you enjoy the most?

                  If you want to find Palmieri's -- from Broadway turn onto Tobey, and it will be a little bit down on the left, just after the on-ramp for Rte 6. You can also get to it from Atwells (main drag of Federal Hill, where Nancy's Fancies etc are located) -- if you're heading down Atwell's, away from the pineapple, pass all of those restaurants, and then turn left at the blinking yellow light (after all of the Italian restaurants, but before the Shaw's plaza). I believe that street is called Knight. Head up this street and when it forks bear right. It curves some and turns into Tobey. The bakery will be on your right. Pizza strips would be a great treat to take for the trip home, and don't forget the sticky buns and wine or pepper biscuits if you like crunchy unusual crackers too. The proprietress makes her own homemade dog treats if you have a canine sweety awaiting your return!

                2. Silver Star Bakery is the best Portuguese bakery in Rhode Island!

                  It's on 150 Ives St, Providence, RI 02906

                  Definitely a "must-try." Enjoy!

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: EatingExtraordinaire

                    Am I the only one who thinks that Seven Stars, while tasty, is overpriced and overrated? While I enjoy the occasional baked good from there, I've been appalled by their $$$$!

                    Another delicious Portuguese bakery is Matos Bakery on Broadway in Pawtucket. Yummy, yummy, yummy and the owners are nicer than nice.

                    1. re: GabachaYucateca

                      I think Seven Stars' bread is fabulous but they could do better with their made-to-order sandwiches, which are expensive and not very good. I like the idea of sandwiches to go, because I'm frequently in a rush, but jeez, their sandwiches are pretty pricey and not great.

                      1. re: GabachaYucateca

                        I find their bread OK, but it doesn't live up to teh Zingermann's bread I was spolied on in college, or the delicious sourdough I was addicted to in grad school (Weaver Street Market, Carrboro, NC). I've been lucky/unfortunate enough to live within a block of these two fabulous bakeries, and now I;m so spolied that driving 15 minutes to buy Seven Stars bread doesn't seem worth it.

                        However, I think their pastries are da bomb. And they use only nautral ingredients (no soy, shortening, dough conditioners or multisyllabic ingredients in anything that I read the ingredients of, which was about 1/2 their products). A really good pastry made of wheat, eggs, butter, sugar, and milk is hard o come by these days, and in my mind justifies just about any price tag. Though they arent really much more expensive than what you;d get at the grocery store.

                        1. re: mom2allergickid

                          Exactly right about the pastries, Mom2. There are dozens of bakeries with superb bread, rolls, sweetbread, doughnuts etc for half what you will pay at 7 Stars (we call it 7 Dollar Signs). However those bakeries are also full of sickly sweet waxy pastries that I would not bother to eat if they gave them away.

                    2. Ok, so I know this thread is very old, but I just stumbled upon it and was amazed that no one mentioned Scialo Bros on Federal Hill. Its a fantastic old school Italian bakery with a VERY cool Art Deco storefront. You get stuff every bit as good as Pastiche for less than 1/2 the price. I also think that while 7stars and Olgas are very good, they are also expensive and the kind of thing you can find in lots of other places across the country. Providence really shines with Italian and Portuguese bakeries and you are likely to find things you havent had before.