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scrumptious under $10 -- in/around Providence

Looking for some inexpensive, yet delightful, options as we get to know the food of the city and the surrounding area. (I lived in Prov during college, but just recently moved back, so I'm getting reacquainted with the city).

Some that I've discovered, and really enjoy:

*Venda's -- grinders, hot dishes from the deli, etc
*Chilango's (pambazo! yum) and Piaxtla Tortilleria ($4.50 burrito, $1.50 taco)
*Not Just Snacks on Hope St
*Olga's Cup and Saucer-- baked goods seem pricey, but I love the sandwiches and pizzas
*pizza strips at Palmieris (50 cents each)

How about some fabulous pizza? other ideas? Have car, will travel...

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  1. thayer street up by brown...east side pockets...6 bucks for the most enormous falafel wrap that ive ever had....damn good...real small place to but they are busy

    4 Replies
    1. re: cheflusk

      lili marlenes on atwells.great shrimp po boys and burgers,cheap too.

      1. re: cheflusk

        As much as I like ESP, I like the falafel place across the street better. (Near Ben and Jerrys, I think?) I feel like ESP's falafel are just like... chickpea donuts and you almost have to get everything on the wrap just to make the falafel taste good. Not that I'm complaining, I love hot sauce on everything, but I think that falafel should be able to stand alone...

        1. re: modysoul

          Byblos? I think that's the name of the much better falafel place.

          1. re: JLF

            Byblos is great. They will custom make your sandwich and there is a lovely patio outside in the back. The proprietor has a very nice manner about him

      2. Arepas in Pawtucket $2.50 - 4.50 each and stuffed with meat

        6 Replies
        1. re: Trnrbrnr

          I might be wrong, but I drive by there pretty often, and I think it's closed (??). Looked closed today, actually.

          I go pretty frequently to the Shish Kabob place (so creatively named Shish Kabob Restaurant) diagonally across the street (Smithfield Ave., Pawtucket) and am now addicted to his schewerma in a pita, as well as the chicken kabob and the lamb. $5 average for his sandwiches, and they're excellent and pretty filling.

          1. re: Moonpie1

            I just went there (La Arepa) 2 weeks ago, and it was alive and kicking. It may just be the day you drive by, they are closed at least one day of the week, I know.

            1. re: Moonpie1

              i was just there on sunday, so it's totally open. they're closed on wednesdays.
              as a new resident in the area, i have to say that this place was a stellar reccomendation--got some plain corn arepas which were great, as well as trying the roast pork and chicken. all were really tasty....piled on a "venezuelan hamburger" just to try it out, and while i might not get it again with all the great arepas on the menu, it was a good sandwich and really filled the void. love this place already--my bill for all this came to 13$ sans tip. wow!

              also, i have to say that as someone new to the area i'm pretty excited about the pawtucket and central falls scene. looks like there's lots of great ethnic restaurants and markets to check out--i'm thrilled about exploring these 2 towns.

            2. re: Trnrbrnr

              La Arepa is alive and well -- thanks for this utterly delightful suggestion. We headed there Thursday afternoon and took our arepas to the park to enjoy. I teach Spanish and have already raved about it to my students -- great food, plus a cool chance to practice Spanish. They serve Venezuelan and Colombian treats at La Arepa, including Colombian sodas! The pabellon was loaded with goodies-- an arepa stuffed with meat, avocado, cheese, beans too I think - and for $4.50 is quite a deal. I love the cheese arepas too ($1.50), especially to take home and then grill for breakfast -- crunchy outside, gooey inside! I lived in Colombia for some time, and grilled up arepas daily for breakfast, so I am delighted to discover this place. The bean and cheese was tasty, too. :) Watch out for that salsa rosada (pink sauce), which I believe is just mayo and ketchup mixed together, but the spicy green sauce tasted fresh with a kick.

              Next on our list is Shish Kabob (yes, talk about creative naming!) which we did find diagonally across the street from La Arepa. We walked in to grab a take-out menu and it smells delicious in there! :) There's also a fantastic little Portuguese bakery across from Shish Kabob, same side of the street as La Arepa. Yum. We picked up some treats for dessert... mmmm.

              1. re: foxy fairy


                La Arepa
                574 Smithfield Ave, Pawtucket, RI 02860

            3. I haven't been yet but a coworker tells me she gets a yummy Puerto Rican lunch at Rico Sazon on Atwells, at the intersection w/Valley. I swear she told me $3!

              1. I second your Venda's, Chilangos, and Not Just Snacks, and I'll raise you:

                -Nice Slice on Thayer. The least greasy pizza you can get on Thayer St, plus a whole wheat crust. Check out the cranberry topped slices.... my roommates love them. I stick to my Margherita slices.
                -Thai Star! Best Beef Yum I've ever had...

                2 Replies
                1. re: modysoul

                  On Thayer one night last week, we tried following your suggestion but I couldn't recall which pizza joint you had suggested. So we ended up at Antonio's by mistake -- a pretty good large pepperoni, but nothing wildly delicious, and certainly greasy which I don't mind. We sat at the counter along the window watching the ever-colorful foot traffic pass by on Thayer -- fun.

                  However, the steak burrito we ordered from Gordito (the small burrito place sharing the space inside Antonios) was HORRIBLE -- dry, bland, tough meat. Utter disappointment, and we didn't even take more than a couple of bites. I don't know why I even ordered it, b/c I knew that the burritos at Chilangos and Piaxtla would be infinitely better. Yet, I could have settled for gringo-style burrito, something like Bolocco in Boston which always makes me smile (I used to really like their turkey burrito, don't know if they're still doing that or if it's just a fall menu item). I was just in one of those moods where I wanted all of my cravings met simultaneously (pizza, burrito...)... learned my lesson. No more gorditos.
                  We will try Nice Slice next time.

                  1. re: foxy fairy

                    The new Mexican place on Thayer is pretty good - not stellar, but so much better than Gordito. I think it's called Baja? It's right by Shark.

                2. Good and thoroughly worthwhile thread:

                  -Taqueria Lupita in Central Falls - I'm sure not everything is under $10, but a lot is, and I like it even better than Chilangos. My favorite Mexican food in the area.
                  -La Lupita in Olneyville Square - Solid, tasty tacos and huaraches and now very good tamales too.
                  -Taco truck, usually on Manton across from Atlantic Mills -- Amazing carnitas, maybe the best I've ever had.
                  -Mumu lunch specials - Perfectly executed Chinese and Americanized Chinese basics for $6-7. The hard part in not ordering all the other, non-lunch special stuff.
                  -Via Via on Thayer. I swear, the best slice in Providence. Nice Slice holds the #2 slot for me.
                  -Kafe Lila's homemade ice cream and ices up in Pawtucket.
                  -The Chez Pascal hot dog cart, both the dogs and the corned beef are just plain awesome.
                  -This time of year, a fresh apple from Hill or Barden orchards at any number of farmers markets around town... yum.

                  I'll add more if I think of them.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: celeriac

                    Oh, i meant to mention Stanley's in Central Falls (and soon Providence, I guess) too. I went there, and while it's a style of burger that usually doesn't do much for me--very fast food style, thin patties, bland white buns--something about the place is so winning that I really enjoyed it. The onions and pickles add some nice flavor, plus it's very cheap. And decent fries too, although again not my favorite type.

                    1. re: celeriac

                      Where on Manton is the taco truck? Near the Stop and Shop? Or near where they hold that big flea market on the weekends?

                      1. re: foxy fairy

                        Over the summer it was often parked across the street and just slightly up the hill from the building where they hold the flea market in the basement--Atlantic Mills. That said, I don't know if they will still be open this time of year. I'd be surprised, but you never know.

                        Also, I later tried the steak and was not into it.

                    2. re: celeriac

                      Did someone saaayyyy taco truck?!? Celeriac, I share your dislike for the Chicago style thin crust. When I was in exile, I used to call them communion wafer pizzas.

                      Welcome back, Foxy.

                    3. Although I wasn't as floored by the pressed sandwiches from Cuban Revolution as some on this board, they're still reasonably tasty, and a pretty good deal for six or seven bucks.

                      India on Hope Street isn't particularly authentic, but they have a number of great lunch specials for under $10 that are also [gasp!] reasonably healthy.

                      As far as fabulous pizza, when I lived in RI, I never quite found *my* pizza place, but I was always very satisfied with Bob and Timmy's grilled pizza on Federal Hill. Notable standouts are their trio of wild mushroom pizza, as well as anything with their pink vodka sauce. Also, if you haven't tried Sicilia's deep dish pizza, it's worth trying to see if it's your thing. If nothing else, it's unique to RI and open late.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: finlero

                        "If nothing else, it's unique to RI and open late."

                        Not to nitpick, but when I was in Chicago recently, I figured out what the deal is with the thin, crackery crusts at Bob and Timmy's and Sicilia--they're Chicago-style thin crust. Weird, I know, but it's the same stuff. Super thin, crackery, a bit floury tasting, cut into squares despite being a round pie.

                        I really dislike the stuff myself, but I guess that's what makes horseracing.

                        1. re: celeriac

                          Nothing wrong with a little nitpicking, especially after some rather nebulous posting on my part, but two clarifications on Sicilia's:

                          1) I've had Sicilia's thin crust, and don't care much for it either. I was talking specifically about their deep dish, stuffed pizza. I know a lot of hounds don't much care for Sicilia's stuffed either, but about once a year for me, I'll get an intense craving for it, and simply nothing else will do.

                          2) It would seem I had a, uh, preposition malfunction. I should have written "If nothing else, it's unique *in* RI and open late," meaning to my knowledge, there are no other stuffed pizzas available in RI, with the regrettable exception of Uno's.

                          Also, a question: I was under the impression that Bob and Timmy's served grilled pizza, a pizza species distinct from Chicago-style thin crust, and indigenous to RI (invented at Al Forno?). Is this not the case?

                      2. Hartley's Pork Pies, about half a mile further up Smithfield Ave from Arepas and Shish Kebab. What a satisfying hunk of food. You can get a sackful for $10.00

                        10 Replies
                        1. re: atheorist

                          do you have any other landmarks or a more specific address for this? would love to check it out, but i couldn't find it on a quick drive by.

                          1. re: passing thru

                            I saw this driving by looking for La Arepa (which I zoomed past on my first attempt) -- it's on the opposite side of the street from La Arepa, and if you're at Arepa, head in the opposite direction from Shish Kabob. Window says MEAT PIES. I'm assuming this must be the same place.

                            1. re: passing thru

                              Follow Smithfield Ave north through Pawtucket and into Lincoln. You will miss it if you "drive quick." It is a tiny old 2 story brick building on the right, right on a corner, not sure which. A few blocks past Weeden and a few blocks before Higginson. They have spotty hours too. I usually go in the morning.

                              1. re: atheorist

                                great, many thanks for the pointer. i'll try again some day, i must have gone right by it.

                                1. re: atheorist

                                  thanks to you + ff i managed to find this place last weekend. it's classic, and i loved the pies--bought one of each just for comparison's sake. really liked the pork one especially--a great snack for $1.80.

                                  1. re: passing thru

                                    passing thru-- I'll definitely have to check out those meat pies,and thanks for the report. $1.80! Is there seating, or all take-out?

                                    Don't forget the little bakery I mentioned above (right near La Arepa, same block, going back toward Providence, same side of the street) --wow. It reminds me of the bakery where my grandfather took me when I was little. Walking in there satisfies a nostalgia craving. Timeless, delicious, really friendly staff, and a vast array of sweet goodies. It would be a great bakery to visit with kids. They have jelly rolls (yay! old school) and several variations on those... I was surprised to find myself selecting one of those (the chocolate version) from the plethora of sweets the first time we visited. They box everything up and tape it, just like the bakery where I went with Grampa. :)

                                    1. re: foxy fairy

                                      nope, no seating at hartley's---strictly walk in counter action. they have 4 kinds of pies--beef, pork, chicken and meat and potato. that is the entire menu. they seem to be open mostly in the mornings and i think are closed on sundays. it seems like the kind of place where they make a certain number of pies for the day and then they shut down if they run out! check it out, it's a classic.

                                      and thanks for the bakery tip. i'll certainly scope that out next time i'm in the area.

                                      1. re: passing thru

                                        The pies -- do they have veggies in them, or are they just pastry, meat, and sauce?

                                        I would imagine they probably are the latter, but if they had veggies in em (carrots, peas for the chicken ones, not sure about others), I'd absolutely love it. In any case, I'll have to drop by there sometime when in Worcester :)

                                        1. re: Keithel

                                          they're just meat pies, no real veggies except the ones with potato.

                                          but don't try stopping by when you're in worcester....the location i'm talking about here is in lincoln, rhode island. the other two hartley's locations are in somerset and fall river, ma.

                                          1. re: passing thru

                                            Oh, yes, I forgot when I was posting that I was in the Providence thread :)

                            2. wow -great suggestions!

                              might be heresy in light of all the 'ma&pa' recs but both cheesecake factory and mccormick & schmick's have great deals on their bar menus ($1.95 cheeseburger at the latter)

                              for the old school locals - apsara.

                              1. I would add: Twin's Pizza in North Providence, the Abbey for burgers on Admiral St. in Providence, LJ's BBQ (qualifies if you stick to the sandwiches) and Taqueria Pacifica.

                                Also Friday Fish and Chips from any number of places.

                                1. mexico on atwells!
                                  apsara off broad street
                                  i also second sicilia's (you get an insane portion of yummy cheese and grease for a very small amount of money--and actually if you order a calzone and control the fillings, you can get cheap meals there that aren't egregiously unhealthy) and lili marlene's--the shrimp po'boy at lili marlene's is incredible, and the fries are wicked awesome too.
                                  olga's is nice and all but if you're looking for inexpensive and a bang for your buck you won't really get it there. i like olga's a lot but i do feel that i'm being cheated a lot of the time at lunch--and i'm not cheap when it comes to food, i just feel like if i'm paying $10 for a sandwich it should be better than it often is there.
                                  most of the sandwiches at ivy tavern on hope street can be had for under $10, but if you end up drinking then your bill increases exponentially.
                                  i also like the lunch ladies at the farmer's markets.
                                  sakura on wickenden does sushi lunches for less than $10 also.

                                  1. I had forgotten in my original post that I also really like the Guatemalan restaurant/bakery on Valley, kind of across from Icon Cafe. The empanadas are quite tasty, and the tres leches cake is divine and oh-so-fattening...

                                    1. Roma on Atwells has the best "hot lunch" around. Unlike Venda who reheat their food in the microwave - ROMA makes everything fresh and hot. You can get a huge portion of cheese lasagna, eggplant parm and meatballs for $5.50. It even comes with bread. They have great soup, sausage and peppers and grinders. Venda is so overrated - and although I do enjoy there ready to make sauces and pasta - I think the counter food is always bland, dry and looks like it's been sitting around too long.

                                      The Sandwich Hut on North Main makes a mean italian grinder, and the meatball sub is always on point.

                                      Whimpy Skimpy's from Casserta's should not be missed (they are kinda like calzones and stuffed with spinach, cheese, olives and pepperoni) - - and will set you back around $4.

                                      Oh, and Wrights Farm. For $10.25 you can't go wrong with that chicken. The french fries are also sooo good - and that maybetoogreasyandsoggy salad is wierdly addicting.

                                      9 Replies
                                      1. re: HungryHipster

                                        hipster --

                                        We must be on the same page, because I was just in Roma's today (okay, yesterday too!) and I was marvelling over their selections of hot food. We were just noting that we may switch allegiance from Venda's to Roma. The pizza by the slice at Roma's is excellent, and their baked goods are truly divine.

                                        Plus, I live just a few blocks from Sandwich Hut and never knew about it... I was just despairing over having to get in the car every time I feel an urge for a grinder... yum! thanks for the tips, hipster!

                                        1. re: foxy fairy

                                          Sandwich Hut rocks. That is one of the MUSTS on my food itinerary when I visit RI.

                                          For brunch, try something from the specials list at the Modern Diner on East Ave in Pawtucket.

                                          1. re: Bob W

                                            What are your favorites at Sandwich Hut?? It's sooo close to my house. What do you order??

                                              1. re: atheorist

                                                The Allitalia is a great sub, but my heart is with the Deluxe Italian.

                                                True story: The only time I didn't get a Deluxe Italian in my 30 plus years of going to the Sandwich Hut came when I visited after a hiatus of several years. I ordered an Allitalia because it sounded really good, and it was, but as I was eating it I kept thinking that something wasn't quite right so after I finished the sub I went back to the counter to look at the board, at which time I figured out that what I always got was the Deluxe Italian, which is a bit cheaper.

                                                Foxy Fairy, you won't go wrong with either one. I'm sure the meatball sub is really good too -- Providence is a great meatball sub town!

                                                1. re: Bob W

                                                  My husband and I split a Sandwich Hut Allitalia over the weekend and both of us were pretty much in meat & cheese nirvana. Really is a superlative grinder (I am originally from Philly and it's hard not to say hoagie, as the Sandwich Hut offerings would totally stand up to most of what Philly serves up hoagie-wise).

                                        2. re: HungryHipster

                                          Very good recs HH! Roma is excellent - I think 2 things keep me going to Venda.....proximity to the fountain (I can bring my lunch outside and sit on the fountain edge to eat it) and their modestly named "eggplant torta"....a wonderful, amazing eggplant MOUNTAIN, layers and layers and layers of the thinnest layers of breaded eggplant, looks like deep dish apple pie.

                                          Sandwich Hut is also excellent - I wish their seating area was a little more inviting, but I love the mozz, tomato & prosciutto sandwich.

                                          1. re: JaneRI

                                            Met a student there today and we were laughing hysterically when suddenly the room filled with what seemed like New Age Christmas music... I really like it there, though. Great food, low-key vibe, friendly.

                                          2. re: HungryHipster

                                            Oh my God, Wright's farm. Have you been to any of the other chicken places?

                                          3. Thanks guys! Jane, I had no idea about this eggplant torta - I must try it. I have a deep love for eggplant - especially the fried and layered variety. The Sandwich Hut is the best atmosphere - my friends and I head to Prospect Park most of the time when we can't stand to sit in that dark, out dated "dining room". Also, Roma has seating inside - and although it's not a fountain - it does the trick.

                                            FF - I go to Roma atleast once a week for that meal I described. Its simple red sauce italian grandma food - and its just comforting. I go college up here, but I grew up in Soprano land New Jersey - so, nothing says home like a big pot of "gravy." And yes, the pizza is good - especially when you get still hot.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: HungryHipster

                                              I like the indoor seating at Roma....kinda cool, scattered all about the way it is. I'm also a huge fan of Prospect Park! I always include it when showing the city to out of towners.

                                            2. I meant to say "not the best atmosphere" ops.

                                              1. Jac's Wraps has finally gotten it right with their burritos. $6 for chicken and $5 for veggie. Yummy yummy, with chicken, rice, beans, sour cream, guacamole, salsa, and then hot or mild sauce. The hot sauce isn't actually hot, but it does have a nice flavor.

                                                I found Taquera Lupita in CF waaayyy overpriced for the kind and quality of the food. Just not very good at all!

                                                Caprichos Antioquenos on Lonsdale has tasty Colombian treats, and the family that owns it is lovely.

                                                4 Replies
                                                1. re: GabachaYucateca

                                                  Ohhh thanks Gabacha! I lived in Colombia for several years and I can't wait to try Caprichos :)

                                                  I found a Boston Globe article on Pawtucket, with a mention of Jac's Wraps --

                                                  Is the Modern Diner good???

                                                  1. re: foxy fairy

                                                    the modern has fairly standard diner fare, i think, but is well worth the occasional visit if you go for the atmosphere. it's really a great old diner and it's fun to have some basic breakfast food there.

                                                    1. re: passing thru

                                                      The Modern Diner is someplace you have to try at least once. It's quite the institution.

                                                      They now do fancier-than-normal things to their breakfast food, and it's definitely okay, but not my favorite my any means.

                                                      1. re: GabachaYucateca

                                                        just had a great lunch today @angelos on the hill.its deffently not like it was just a few years back,but really what is.?its getting more upscale for sure,but still really cheap,and really good.the veal and peppers were great as theyve always been and still under 10.the broccoli rabe was pretty awesome too,and how about that lemoncello cake!!everytime we go to the hill,we say to ourselves,we should come here way more often.now i cant wait for that next daytrip.

                                                2. Since some of these can be tricky to find (especially if you're VERY hungry)-- I noted exact addresses (and hours and phone numbers, where posted) when I was in the hood--

                                                  La Arepa 574 Smithfield Ave (on left, coming from Providence, cross street is Samuel, right before you hit the CVS and Dollar Depot shopping center). (401) 335-3711

                                                  Shish Kabob (Lebanese food) 555 Smithfield Ave (on right, coming from Prov, a bit before La Arepa and that CVS/Dollar Depot lot)

                                                  Zaccagninis Pastry Shoppe 546 Smithfielf Ave hours: M-Sat 7-7. Sun 7-6. (diagonally across from Shish Kabob, on left coming from Prov). (401) 723-2699.

                                                  Hartley's Pork Pies 871 Smithfield Ave hours: M-F 7-2. Sat 8-2. (Cross street is Meader, on right hand side coming from Prov, directly across from Liberty Physical Therapy).

                                                  Also cheap, **outstanding Mexican* well under $10 each, and new to me courtesy of Gabacha:

                                                  La Casa del Pueblo. 863 Broad Street, Central Falls. Hours 6am-9pm every day, eat-in or take-out, breakfast all day. (cross street is Walnut, right before the Honeydew and Shell station, on right coming up Broad from Providence). (401) 721-0712.

                                                  Pauly Penta's Deli 1290 Mineral Spring Ave, North Providence. Hours M-F 7-6:30. Sat 7-5:30. Near intersection with 146, between Easter and Palm Streets. (I heard about this Italian deli on the Mineral Spring thread and I can't stop going there now -- excellent pizzas that change daily, fantastic grinders, pastas, salads, especially great deals on day-old pizza and calzone for $1.50) (401) 722- 3222

                                                  7 Replies
                                                  1. re: foxy fairy

                                                    great list, ff. one of gabacha's other recent recs should be noted here as well: the colombian bakery Caprichos Antioquenos, As noted above it's on Lonsdale, #173 to be exact. The intersection is Lonsdale and Capital St, right near 95.

                                                    I tried this out yesterday morning on my way to the Hope St Farmer's Market in Providence, and it is totally fantastic. Got an arepa de queso, two bunuelos and two white corn items that I'm not sure of the name. The arepa and the bunuelos were amazingly good and for the arepas they have a whole range of things like chicharron and blood sausage (what is this called, morcilla?) that I'm going to have to try eventually. the white corn disks i got were only ok, but i'll admit i didn't eat those fresh so it may not be fair of me to judge as they were day old by the time i got to them. they have all sorts of other baked goods there as well, i'm no expert on this stuff and my spanish is minimal, but the folks were really nice and the place is bright and clean and bustling. i think this is my new pawtucket chow crush...

                                                    oh, and since this is the under 10$ thread i'll just mention that my cheese arepa and bunuelos and white corn disks thing all added up to the insubstantial sum of 5$ even. check it out!

                                                    1. re: passing thru

                                                      went back to caprichos antioquenos on sunday with friends....discovered that the white corn disks thing was also an arepa, though they're not as sweet nor as flat as the yellow corn things that they sell that they also call arepas. i guess i'm a little confused as to what really constitutes an "arepa" but either way, both are good...also tried the pan de bono on sunday, it was similar in taste to the bunuelo, very tasty.

                                                      one another note for early birds: this bakery opens for business at 5 Am!

                                                      also made the trek to la case del pueblo on sunday. had a great barbacoa taco and some really tasty menudo. washed it down with a great horchata agua fresca. 4 of us ate lunch here, and including the tip we got out of there for under 40$ totally stuffed. love this place already.

                                                      also noticed after i left and was perusing the menu that they have "tacos arabes" here which is a pueblan specialty where the meat is marinated in a similar manner to al pastor but the meat is sliced sort of in a shawarma style. has anyone tried these here? i sure will when i go back...

                                                      1. re: passing thru

                                                        I also get a little confused about what they (Caprichos) serve...and no matter how many times I ask, I still remain confused! Mainly due to the hectic atmosphere in there, I think. Grandpa once shoved a boiling hot potato into my hands, and insisted I eat it immediately (burned my mouth) so I "wouldn't go outside and try to sell his beautiful potato on the sidewalk."

                                                        I also recommend their empanadas!

                                                        I find it very interesting that the majority of the Mexican restaurants in RI (with the exception of El Tapatio and Chilango's, obviously) are owned by people from Puebla!

                                                        1. re: passing thru

                                                          Maybe we should try to organize a chow gathering at La Casa (perhaps after packed schedules of the holiday season... maybe in January). It's definitely stellar. We're going again for lunch today and I can't stop thinking about how good the food is! Our waitress was chatting about Puebla while we were there, too. This afternoon, I think I'll stop by Chiva, too, to get the scoop.

                                                          We also visited Caprichos yesterday (I had my eye out for other hounds, but didn't spot any). I lived in Colombia for years but I've never EVER found buñuelos or pan de bono in the US. Yay! Gracias de nuevo. I love the Colombia clock on the wall -- and I was reminded that taste is so powerful in the evocation of memories.

                                                          Colombians serve a variety of arepas, which tend to be different from the Venezuelan variety at La Arepa. Some do resemble those and contain cheese and get all toasty. But in my experience living there, Colombians do not stuff arepas with meat, guacamole etc as at La Arepa. Colombian arepas are more a breakfast item, or a snack, to accompany coffee -- a very neutral flavor. They aren't a meal in themselves.

                                                          I noticed that Caprichos offers arepas de choclo, which are often sold by women on the street who toast these up over hot coals. They're made from corn, and they're sweeter and more yellow in color than other arepas. The itsy-bitsy white arepas, like half-dollar size (in the case near the sausages), are not huge on flavor. They're meant to accompany bandeja paisa or other Colombian dishes, along with papas, carne, etc, kind of like a dinner roll in purpose :) just getting a little bread on the plate.

                                                          We ordered a buñuelo and a pan de bono each, plus an empanada de jamón y queso y piña (ham, cheese, pineapple). Great. I like the ají picante on the tables -- nice degree of spice, interesting flavor, for spooning on the baked goodies. :)

                                                          1. re: foxy fairy

                                                            Good grief, I want to charge down the street right now and start eating.

                                                            I'm also itching to try a couple of other places...one is on Lonsdale and I think it's El Salvadorean (not sure where)...the commercial drives me insane, as they just read off the menu and then start singing, "A mi, me gusta la pupusa," which makes me desperate to try them!

                                                            Judging from the commercial and a menu I have from La Sonrisa on Cross in CF, El Salvadorean is similar to Mexican. Well, some stuff anyway. It's been difficult to get hubby to stray from Mexican, so hopefully we can start moving south cuisine-wise, little by little.

                                                            1. re: GabachaYucateca

                                                              LOL... all hounds charging down the street, ¡en tropel! (in a herd)

                                                              I too noticed the place you're mentioning, and my sweety said, as we cruised Central Falls, "Hey, this is kind of like Centre Street in JP." Indeed, CF does remind me of my old hood, Jamaica Plain (Boston) in terms of cuisine -- great prices, excellent food from various Lat Am. countries. In fact, I used to make midnight pupusa runs (dangerous, dangerous habit) to a little place there, and I really enjoyed the *variety* of Latin American food available on Centre St. I've been missing that since arriving in Prov, so this is quite an exciting discovery for me.

                                                              Where do these places advertise? La radio? That commercial is cracking me up... I can just imagine the sing-songy-chanty sound of it.

                                                              1. re: foxy fairy

                                                                Alas, one thing I guess you won't find is a place open for a midnight run! :(

                                                                They all advertise on 100.3.

                                                                Let us know how your sojourn to La Chiva goes!

                                                    2. I second the suggestion of Stanley's in Central Falls! Best burgers anywhere.

                                                      For the best pizza, you must try Fellini's, on Wickenden St. It's thin crust, NY style pizza that is by far the best in town.

                                                      9 Replies
                                                      1. re: Rhody Dave

                                                        What about Twin's on Mineral Spring Ave? How's the pizza there?

                                                        1. re: foxy fairy

                                                          Twin's is the best for RI style pizza (i.e. rectangular pizza, thick crust).

                                                          1. re: Frobisher

                                                            What would be the best for thin crust?

                                                            Or anything similar to Pepes in New Haven? drooooool!

                                                            1. re: foxy fairy

                                                              Nothing like that in RI, to the best of my knowledge. As I wrote above, I think Via Via has the best thin-crust in Providence but it's really a sad state of affairs.

                                                              1. re: celeriac

                                                                I think of Via Via as more NY style than thin crust. For the latter, I would try Bob and Timmy's and Feast or Famine. However, my experiences at Feast have been wildly inconsistent, both in terms of food and service.

                                                                1. re: Frobisher

                                                                  Agreed on Bob and Timmy's for thin crust (although this genre isn't a favorite of mine).

                                                                  As for NY Style (which *is* a favorite), things are fairly weak here. Via Via is barely tolerable as NY style in my opinion. Nice Slice does a much better job.

                                                                  Overall, I'm continually surprised by the lack of outstanding pizza in the Providence metro. You'd think it would be a slam dunk, but like our sushi scene, almost everyone is just average, no one outstanding.

                                                                  - Garris

                                                                  1. re: Garris

                                                                    Got to quibble with on you on the absence of outstanding pizza. I think Twins fits the bill and Bob and Timmy's comes close. In fact, Twins probably occupies pole position in my all time favorite pizza list.

                                                                    What Providence lacks is oustanding NY style pizza, which IMHO is no great failing given that we're not in the NY metro. I think the fact that Providence developed its own regional style of pizza (or two if you count the al forno grilled thin crust variety) is a good thing.

                                                                    That being said, I know the dissapointment of having grown up loving a staple of American "cuisine" prepared in a particular way and then not being able to find a comparable provider in adulthood.

                                                                    I grew up with meatball grinders from Firehouse Pizza in Newport. My time in Atlanta and Boston left me horrified at what passes for a grinder. In Providence several pizza places and deli's do a decent job. However, none measure up to Firehouse and I can't fairly judge them on their own merits, Firehosue looms to large.

                                                                    So I can understand if you can't join in with the Twin's love.

                                                        2. re: Rhody Dave

                                                          Fellini's yes yes yes! I've been eating their garden vegetable pizza (always available) for almost 20 years, and it's definitely my fave.

                                                          1. re: emilyj67

                                                            I have to disagree with you all on that one. I think Fellini's is way too heavy on the sauce and doesn't do the basics (i.e. margherita) very well. Also, the sassiness of the staff is unbelievable - I have been yelled at for ordering for a sandwich because it "is a lot of work to make." I also once saw an employee put a pen on a pizza, pick it up to write something, then put it back!

                                                            I much prefer Nice Slice. Lighter on the sauce and toppings, and without such blatant 'tude.

                                                        3. Ok, this is the ultimate resource for REAL RI cheap eats. Weiner joints!! Pizza strip bakeries!


                                                          4 Replies
                                                          1. re: Bob W

                                                            You gotta go to Walt's Roast Beef. I don't care for roast beef sandwiches ordinarily, becuase they tend to be stringy and dry, but these sandwiches are fabulous. I think $2.40 gets you a made-to-order sandwich with maybe 3 ounces of medium well, soft, falvorful and juicy meat on a nice roll that's been grilled in butter. You'll want at least two of these bad boys. Their fries are also outstanding - perfectly crisp on the outside and soft inside.

                                                            There are a few outlets around Rhode Island, but we usually hit the one riight near T.F. Green Airport. It's in a nondescript seedy shopping plaza. I think there's a pancake house on the corner. Go! Now!

                                                            1. re: shoes

                                                              Nobody has mentioned the Classic Cafe, just over the Providence line at 542 Pawtucket Ave. in Pawtucket (next to the new Gold's Gym location), which is the best cafe/diner I've been to in Rhode Island (everything under $10). While it may lack the architectural charm of the Modern Diner, I find its food to be superior. It serves exceptional diner fare cooked with passion and care. Breakfasts are excellent (best pancakes ever, and even their oatmeal has a religious following). For lunch and early dinner they have superb sandwiches, but my personal favorite is their pasta because the homemade marinara sauce is so stunningly tasty I wish they served it by the glass. To make it even better, it's a true family place with Mom, dad, and son cooking in back, and the daughter waiting on the counter and tables in front. Wonderful people serving excellent food, in a place that is always spotlessly clean.

                                                              1. re: gmc

                                                                What a great thread, there's so many places here that I love!

                                                                One of my personal favorites wasn't mentioned, so I'll take care of that now, lol - I love love love the grinders at The Food Chalet, in Warwick - in fact, I have yet to be disappointed there! They sell bread from Buono's and Rainbow Bakeries...gotta have a good base for that sandwich. And they have way more than just deli stuff - they have hot foods, hand-cut steaks (yum) fresh chicken breasts, oh, the list goes on and on! Oh, and their store-made chocolate chip cookies...my girls adore them! In fact, they've catered just about every party I've had for the past 15 or so years...

                                                                And this is another family-run place...the owners, Tony and Val, are there every day, and quite a few of their children (and I think grandchildren) work there! They really care, and it shows in their food.

                                                              2. re: shoes

                                                                Walt's is the best. It vaguely resembles a normal roast beef sandwich in how it looks, but other than that it's a distinctly different unique sandwich.

                                                                I'm not so sure it's cheap, though. It certainly is if you get full quickly but if not, it's so good that you'll order too many sandwiches. I rarely get out of there for less then $15.

                                                                (This may be an old thread, but it's well worth continuing.)

                                                            2. Also try Minh Hai - Vietnamese. It's absolutely fantastic. Try their thin sliced beef with lemon appetizer. I have never had anything like it. Very reasonable, byob and close to providence.
                                                              1096 Park Avenue, 401 383 8071.

                                                              1. This is an old thread, but a timeless topic! Because of the original responses, I went today to two of the recommended places on Smithfield Ave: Shish Kabob (555 Smithfield) and La Arepa (574 Smithfield). Let me add to the chorus of praises for these places. They were both in business; inexpensive; and delicious! At Shish Kabob, we had a succulent lamb kabob with a cinnamon-flavored pilaf; fried kibbeh with pine nuts and ground spiced beef; and grilled meat-and-tomato breads (Lachmanjan) with a creamy hummus. All this with warmed, thin pita -- a feast for two hungerers -- came to $18. This is the kind of place that makes one smile: it's just a (very nice) man and a huge grill and a big fridge with marinated meats. It has little atmosphere, but great food, and you know that you're paying for what really counts.

                                                                La Arepa sells small corn cakes stuffed with various meats, cheese, beans, and/or avocado, all for about four or five dollars; today, we tried their basic corn cakes stuffed with spicy shredded chicken, which played nicely against the thick corn cake, sweet with a fresh clean white corn taste. I took a plain one home too to slather with honey. We'll definitely be back to this stretch of Pawtucket; as other posters have noted, there's a pork pie place and a bakery on the same street within a few blocks, so you can make an entire afternoon of great eating.

                                                                So, many thanks to those who recommended Shish Kabob and La Arepa -- they were as fabulous as promised!

                                                                To continue the discussion of under-$10 haunts in Rhode Island, my personal favorites include Rancho Grande (on Plainfield Street; praised in other chow threads); Hope Street Pizza (which has a pink-sauce pasta that is surprisingly delicate); the Modern Diner (especially in the fall, when they stuff everything with mascarpone and pumpkin); Spike's (for incredibly good hot dogs, and a reminder that the bun is important too); LJ's for honey fried chicken; take-out samosas and pakoras from Not Just Snacks on Hope... yum.

                                                                Finally, one of the better places to find under-$10 goods... or, frankly, under-$5 goods: the winter farmer's market in Pawtucket. (It runs from April to November and is a fabulous place to grab bread, cheese, hardier vegetables, chocolates, pesto, etc.) The panini sandwiches from Farmstead (usually something like a spicy mustard, sliced apple or prosciutto and a sharp cheddar) are a steal at five bucks -- I spend a lot more at their downtown sandwich place -- and the Jamaican and Indian booths are great places to grab yummy and filling grub (especially the super-spicy potato patties at the latter).

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. Ditto on east side pockets good food cheap. Stuffed pizza at cecilia's on the hill you can share this one with three people. Yum!

                                                                  1. Bring your $10 to La Casona on Broad Street in Central Falls and get 9 empanadas! They are smaller but better than the empandas elsewhere on Broad Street. Chicken is my favorite. The fresh salsa is outstanding.
                                                                    They also have meal-sized tamales.

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: atheorist

                                                                      atheorist -- thanks for the tip. Looking forward to trying this out.

                                                                    2. Red Fez late night - $3.50 house made dogs, $2 schlitz tall boys

                                                                      Red Fez
                                                                      49 Peck St, Providence, RI 02903