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Feb 5, 2008 02:18 PM

Providence suggestions.

I'll be in Providence for training Sunday through Thursday of next week and need some help, please. I've searched the boards for recommendations and have some ideas. I'd like to have Portuguese one night and it looks like I need to have some Italian or at least a wood fired pizza. I'll be on an expense account but I can't really "go overboard". So, as much as I'd like to, I need to stay away from the really high end places.
I'd like to get a taste of what the locals do for a quick dinner out during the week. Is there any "don't miss" things I should have? Any local "institutions" that I need to experience?
What Portuguese places can you suggest?
Which Italian or pizza place?
I'll be staying at the Hilton Garden Inn Warwick and training in Cranston if that helps. I won't have a car but can take a cab.
Thanks in advance.

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  1. If you're training in Cranston, I have lots of recommendations: For a neighborhood tavern kind of place with great food, you can try L'attitude in the Edgewood section of Cranston (on Broad Street in Pawtuxet Village); it's a real neighborhood place always filled with locals, great bar, great food. My absolute new favorite restaurant is also in Cranston, on Phenix Ave (which is really just the western end of Park Ave), and it's called N-Joi. Amazing food and spectacular service. I posted about it last weekend. Their website is It's definitely nice but not too overboard pricewise, I don't think. Also in Cranston is Spain, which again is pretty nice, and not too far up from Spain is Efendi's, which I've always enjoyed thoroughly but has received mixed reviews on here. For great wood-grilled pizza, you can try Feast or Famine on Park Ave. They also have a great appetizer of rolled eggplant which has never let me down, but some of their other dishes are spotty. Good service though. (Don't try and get it to go; it's completely different inhouse


    I tend to frequent Cranston more than Providence, but I'm sure there are plenty of others who would love to give Providence recs. Enjoy!

    1 Reply
    1. re: dagwood

      My every day places are as follows: Parkside for a rock solid New York experience, Laiterie for the labor of love experience(Every thing from scratch) Bravo to catch a quick bite and Z Bar for an interesting night out if you eat at the bar.

    2. birddogfoodie, keep in mind it's about a $30 taxi ride from downtown Providence to the airport area. So you might want to pick a restaurant or two that you really really want to try in Prov, then stay in Cranston the other nights.

      13 Replies
      1. re: JaneRI

        Thanks for the tip on the cab. I'll try to keep it nearby. Any suggestions for Portuguese? A great burger? Local beer? Local dish that you can't get anywhere else?
        Also, what about clam chowder? Is there a good bowl available that's not at a tourist trap? Or is it like coming to Texas and looking for a bowl of chili? Here at home, the only good chili is made in somebody's home kitchen (like mine) or at a chili cook-off. It is nearly impossible to find a decent bowl in a restaurant.

        1. re: birddogfoodie

          Again, back to Cranston. Good burgers (and great fries) can be found at L'attitudes. Meatball Mike's, which is a total neighborhood joint, has really really good burgers, and really really good stuffies (and if you're in Rhode Island you MUST try stuffies).

          Meatball Mike's is on Cranston street. Good beer, decent pasta, my kids love the pizza and meatballs.

          1. re: birddogfoodie

            Come to think of it, almost no one I know makes chowder at home. Interesting, the best New England (white) chowder I've ever had was a restaurant along the riverwalk in Ft Lauderdale. Seriously. Much as I like chowder I cannot name a really good one off the top of my head. If you like "home cooking" style Italian (like your Nonni would make if you were Italian) try Mike's Kitchen at the VFW Hall on Randall St in Cranston. They serve lunch & dinner, but have some odd hours (no dinner on Sat nights for example, members only). Wonderful food. The best polenta you'll ever have anywhere.

            1. re: JaneRI

              I often make my own chowder at home, as well as Gumbo and Chili. Believe it or not the burgers at the Friendly's on Reservoir ave in Cranston are very good...

              1. re: JaneRI

                Haaa----was just about to post about the VFW. Closed Tuesdays, very, very casual (like, an actual VFW hall), nothing fancy----but it's the real thing. Chicken a la Mike is good, the veal & peas is great. You can't go wrong there.

                Also in Cranston, Cafe Luna in Garden City. Solid, great food and a nice, casual environment. Also Italian inspired, but a little bit less meatballs and gravy and more roasted chicken w/rosemary, pink vodka sauce, faaaabulous pizza and soups.

                1. re: Moonpie1

                  Oh, absolutely Cafe Luna! The food is amazing, especially for the price. For lunch it's counter service (great sandwiches, pasta salads, and the ilk), and dinner is table service. They have beer and wine but no bar. I've never had anything there that wasn't great. I believe they may be closed for dinner on Sundays.

                  1. re: dagwood

                    Agree never ever never disappointed and I've eaten there countless times over the years.

                    1. re: JaneRI

                      We've held parties there---they've closed the restaurant during the day for it. They are absoloutely the best at what they do. We've also catered at home from there, for stuff like our kids' christening parties, etc.

                      (sorry to offend, but) if you can stomach the whole western Craaaaanston scene in there (all over Garden City)---it's easily one of my favorite places. I love it while dieting, because the salad w/grilled chicken breast and roasted peppers is so great and does not feel like diet food.

                      It's a family there-----a family of choice, plus some blood relatives.

                      1. re: Moonpie1

                        The chickpea salad over greens is my meal there when I'm trying to be good (although like so much restaurant food it's probably not all that low-cal).

                2. re: JaneRI

                  I'd second Mike's Kitchen...good italian in the VFW hall in cranston. Not too far.

                3. re: birddogfoodie

                  Several things I can think of that are more-or-less unique to Providence:

                  1. Olneyville New York System hot weiners. Basically a small hot dog with yellow mustard, onions, celery salt, and a secret recipe chili that has a unique flavor, a little like Cincinnati style chili. Folks often order several at a sitting. There's a 2-restaurant diner-style chain that sells these in Cranston and the Olneyville section of Providence.

                  2. Coffee milk. Milk with coffee flavored syrup, available in individual sized containers at several convenience stores and inexpensive restaurants.

                  3. Del's frozen lemonade. Basically equivalent to a lemonade sno-cone. Can be bought at their stores throughout RI or at some convenience stores. Plenty of Cranston outlets according to their website.

                  4. Rhode Island style clam chowder. This has a clear broth, unlike the more commonly seen New England style (cream based) or Manhattan style (tomato based).

                  There are other seafood dishes which are unique to New England (like steamed clams) if not just to Rhode Island.

                  Providence also has a very good Italian section of town, Federal Hill, with several worthwhile restaurants, bakeries, and dessert spots. A board search should bring up possibilities.

                  1. re: bachslunch

                    While in Providence, a great place is Trinity Brewhouse for good locally brewed beer and good food at good prices. Federal Hill is great for Italian. My favorite is Cassarino's for a moderately priced dinner. Angelo's is great for lunch. They serve italian at low prices. They even have half orders. Definitely hit Olneyville for hot weiners. And if you want a wood fired pizza, hit Al Forno. They invented grilled pizza and are the best. You do not need to leave Providence at all for some good eats!!

                    1. re: starmoon

                      Starmoon, the reason we're suggesting places outside Providence is because the OP won't actually BE in Providence....hotel is in Warwick, the training he's attending is in Cranston, and he has no car. He needs to depend on taxis.

              2. Thanks! This is exactly what I was looking for. I just didn't ask the right questions the first time.

                1. I agree with Al Forno as having the best wood grilled pizza.For Italian,any place on Federal hill is good.I like Angelos for a home cooked,reasonably priced meal. Capriccios on Pine St. for something a little more pricier.For Portuguese, the Academica on South Main St.,or Sagres Restaurant on Columbia St. in Fall River.There are a couple of good places in East Providence as well,one being the Riviera Inn.One other thing.If you are looking for a cheap feast,then the Hong Kong Buffet in Cranston is one of the best I have had.All around good quality for a buffet.