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Need help choosing wife's B-day dinner in Providence

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Suprising my wife in a few weeks with a Waterfire trip. Coming from Long Island via Orient Pt./New London ferry. Staying at the Courtyard. Arriving Friday, June 20th about 8pm. Suggestions welcome for a casual dinner and some walking around for that night. Maybe Federal Hill? Not sure of how late this area stays open for food. Saturday night is the B-day dinner and Waterfire. Booked a 9:10pm gondola ride. Here is where help is needed. After scouring some posts and knowing my wife's likes and dislikes I've put these on the list. ( P.S., I'm not wearing a jacket or tie and she is not wearing a dress)..... Cafe Nuovo, Bacaro, Siena, Pane e Vino, Gracies and Three Rivers. Keep in mind the 9:10pm gondola ride and I think we have to be there at least 15 min. earlier. I know these places are in different areas and its hard to tell by map how far away from Citizens Plaza we will be with some of these choices. Cafe Nuovo was my original choice for food and view but I don't know how fancy it is. Then I thought Bacaro with its Venice concept would fit in well with our gondola ride. ( We are obsessed with Venice). Federal Hill looked tasty. Tough call for one special dinner. Open to more suggestions. Keep in mind our time constraints. Also, while I'm here annoying you how about a place to grab a beer that says I went to a cool bar/pub while in Providence. Looking foward to the trip. Thanks.

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  1. My wife and I went to Bacaro last month and had a wonderful experience, she is taking her friend from out of town their in July. I have been only once but I, as well as my wife, was impressed. The chef has many years of experience from Al Forno...

    1. I would stick to Federal Hill Friday and something else for Saturday night. It will be easier if you don't have to worry about catching a cab or driving around on a Waterfire Night.

      For Friday, I think Pane E Vino and Siena are both good choices (Siena has the better "scene").

      Cafe Nuovo is nice for a waterfire. They have outdoor seating that overlooks the waterfire and the gondola dock is right there. When you say Three Rivers, I'm not sure if you mean Three Steeple or New Rivers. New Rivers is a nice experience. Small place, good service and good food. There isn't a view of waterfire, but it is very close to waterfire and the gondola dock. New Rivers is more intimate and romantic than Cafe Nuovo. I really like Gracies but agree that it may be a little bit farther away from waterfire than you really want to be. I'm not familiar with Bacaro other than what I read on the boards.

      For bars, if you are just looking for a bar and a drink Local 121 has a beautiful bar with an interesting drink menu. Food and service have a reputation on the board for being inconsistent. If I think of other places, I'll post again.

      1. I agree with Bluebird that Local 121 has an excellent bar. That'd be a great post Waterfire drink spot, but beware- everywhere in the city will be mobbed (due to WF), so give yourself more time than you think you'll need to get anywhere. Local 121 is within walking distance of Waterfire, although it's a decent walk.

        I like Nuovo. It's not too fancy (especially on WF nights), but it IS expensive by Providence standards and it will be CRAZY busy. They have great outdoor seating along the river, which is lovely on a WF night. For Friday, Siena is great, but it's not exactly casual. I've had wonderful meals there before, though. If I'm going casual, I'd do Zooma, also on Federal Hill. They have the same owners as Pane e Vino, but it's definitely more laid back (and has some outdoor seating).

        Here's the kicker, though. Most places are probably already booked, especially the better places, and definitely at the prime times. You might have to dine earlier than normal (say six-ish?). Due to the crowds, restaurants are slammed and things take longer, so an early dinner might ensure you make your 9:10 gondola.

        Have fun in our little city! Don't forget to do brunch at either Nick's or Julian's, both on Broadway.

        1 Reply
        1. re: invinotheresverde

          Just to warn you, Providence Pride Fest is also that weekend, so it will be extra crowded. It may be a point where you have to go with the best of the available options.
          If you want romantic and in the middle of it all, I would go with Nuovo. Unfortunately it's a prime spot, so you would need to allow a lot of extra time. I think it's worth it for a special occasion though.

        2. I would suggest Waterman Grille in Providence, RI. For those that live in the Providence area, it used to be The GateHouse. It is a waterfront restaurant in which you may eat out on the large wrap-around deck or eat inside and view the water from the large glass windows. The enclosed deck (inside) feels like a cute little cottage and is cozy and romantic. I would suggest taking a taxi because it is about 10 minutes from Waterfire and hard to find on your own. The menu isn't too robust, limited selections, but we found the food to be very good!!! You can watch the boats go by and see the crew teams during the day. www.watermangrille.com/