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Providence, upscale

  • k

Would anyone venture to list the 5 best upscale restaurants in Providence?

I will be there Sat (18 Aug) for water fire. Where should I eat in an upscale restaurant?

Ken B

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  1. My list would be:

    - Gracies
    - Mill's Tavern
    - Cafe Nuovo
    - Ruth's Chris
    - Al Forno (which many would list, but I'm personally not the biggest fan...)

    - Garris

    2 Replies
    1. re: Garris

      We went to Ruth's Chris in Providence (albeit during the first week it was open) and did not have a good experience. Our waiter was very pushy. For example, she tried three times to get us to order more food. Although we each ordered full meals (appetizers, main courses, drinks), the waiter tried to get us to order an additional set of jumbo shrimp appetizers. I had never actually been at a high end restaurant where the waiters try to upsell you... When we ordered one dessert to split, we got "Are you sure you wouldn't like another?" with several suggestions of other things we could order.

      When we got the $300 bill (for two adults and one child), we waited with credit-card-in-folder-on-edge-of-table for 45 minutes (note that the restaurant was only about half full by then), and I eventually had to bring it up to the register to pay the bill...

      This could all be "new restaurant" pains, but the ambiance of "national chain restaurant sales technique" was definitely present.

      1. re: ruh401

        A friend was there recently w/another couple and they had a terrible experience - 15 full mins after ordering waitress would come back to say "sorry, we're out of that". That happened twice - they had been there forever at that point. Finally chef came out to talk to them and said they'd worry about apologies later, for now "let's just get some food on your table - what do you like?" THEN the entire bill was comped - $400+. She said she was so impressed by how well it was handled she'd definitely be back (probably hoping for a repeat!)

    2. we *loved* the tasting menu @gracie's. great service and food.

      if you want good french, chez pascal is good as well. we were there for a couple nights, and recos for both places were on the mark.

      1. these are my faves:
        cafe nuovo
        sienna...camilles has a great bar

        1. My top 5 high end, in order of preference, would be:

          Chez Pascal
          New Rivers
          Sienna (though the price's are actually quite reasonable)

          Only caveat for Chez Pascal is that is not close (by RI standards) to waterfire.

          4 Replies
          1. re: Frobisher

            I forgot about New Rivers... Good recommendation as well.

            I love Sienna and Prime is a good recommendation as well, but both are on Federal Hill which, from a Waterfire perspective, is quite far...

            - Garris

            1. re: Garris

              To the best of my knowledge, New Rivers remains closed due to reconstruction after their fire. They've had a hell of a time with the fire inspectors or permitting, or something, a royal mess of a process that really seems to hold Providence back as a city--I'm not exaggerating.

              At any rate, it depends on if you want your meal to be in and around Waterfire or if you're happy to eat and then head over. If the latter, then definitely head to Chez Pascal--definitely my favorite place in Providence, in my mind. Otherwise, Mill's Tavern is right in the midst of the hubub and pretty good.

              1. re: celeriac

                Yes there website say a late august reopening date...I personally cannot wait as I love that place...

                1. re: basachs

                  Wow, they're still closed from the fire? That has to be killing them...

                  I swear, if it really is from inspection/permitting delays, I really feel for them. Both locally (and nationally as a country), I think we're getting strangled by legalese, paperwork, and red tape. I wonder what percent of the GDP goes down the drain because of this?

                  - Garris

          2. Cant list top five because....well I don't go to upscale restaurants that often. Of the few that I have gone to, I liked Mediterraneo's for Italian and Chez Pascal for french. As far as mill's goes, I was unimpressed and found it to be ordinary dressed up bistro food in an upscale setting with high prices. Ruth's Chris is probably alright but its a national chain...I would imagine you are looking for a place that is more local.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Sambossanova

              The only reason I included Ruth's Chris is that they are upscale (some of the top prices in the city) and they have a spectacular interior, which I assume has to be much more so on Waterfire nights with those enormous floor to ceiling windows which overlook the basin...

              - Garris

            2. Probably dating myself, because I don't get out nearly as much as I used to, but...does anyone go to Pot au Feu anymore? Old Canteen?

              I can't even reliably do five, but I'd say Mill's Tavern, Chez Pascal and Prime, right away. Also, Parkside----not AS upscale but still is, and the proximity and food are really good.

              5 Replies
              1. re: Moonpie1

                I have been to Pot au Feu 3 times this summer. Once upstairs in the more formal dining room, and twic downstairs in the more casual bistro. Food is always excellent.My issue with the upstairs is that it needs an update. It still has a drop ceiling for god's sake. But the service and food are outstanding.

                I am sure they suffer a bit by their location, off a side street in a dead area of the city. But there are a bunch of projects moving along there so hopefully a resurrections can occur.

                1. re: Moonpie1

                  I went to Pot au Feu about 4-5 yrs ago (downstairs) ...it was just okay.

                  Parkside has NEVER disappointed me.

                  1. re: JaneRI

                    In all fairness that was 4-5 yrs ago. A lot changes in that time.

                    1. re: basachs

                      I don't know......what WOULD change at a restaurant that's been around for a zillion years? I tend to agree w/you....4-5 yrs is an eternity in the restaurant biz.....but w/out some press (or some Chow chatter) I can't help but think things are status quo at an old restaurant.

                      1. re: JaneRI

                        I just chattered about my experience this in the past few months... :)

                        In the downstairs part I eat at the bar, always a good experience. Excellent chicken livers if you are into that...

                2. I used to really enjoy CAV. Anyone been there lately?

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: foxy fairy

                    Had brunch about 6-8 months ago. Food was excellent, service was sloooow and inattentive. Not so bad it'd keep me away or anything.

                  2. Has anyone been to the new restaurant in the old Neath's? I can't remember the name of it, but I've heard some good things about it. Former cooks from al forno, I think.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: ccferg

                      Bacaro is the name...there is a recent thread on here too about it. Not too favorable.


                      I have not been personally, but my neighbor liked it very much.

                      1. re: basachs

                        Stuff mentioned in those comments would make me real mad -- like not icing my white wine on a hot night -- "only champagne gets a bucket." And it got a pretty lukewarm review in the RI Mag I got today. Sounds like Chef got some of the "attitude" I've received and heard about at al forno.