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Providence- Please help me decide

s
sherry f Sep 18, 2008 07:07 AM

I will be visiting my college son in late October and am looking to try some new places - for one lunch (near Brown if possible), two brunches and two dinners ( can be anywhere in Providence). I have surfed the posts on this board and there seem to be some mixed messages about places. I do apologize for any redundancy with the post, but I am a bit confused.

I was thinking of Local 121, Hemenways, La Laiterie, Julian's or Pane E Vino. I know Gracies gets raves, my concern is a website without prices (some guidance as to the average appetizer or entree price would be wonderful), and our showing up dressed casually (but not grungy) as we don't want to offend. Also, my son will eat anything, but he is underage, so I will be the only one drinking and would like to be able a great glass of red wine or a wonderful cocktail.

In the past we have been to Capital Grille (underwhelmed, overpriced for what IMHO was ordinary), Ten Prime (great dinner), Waterplace (mediocre), Nick's on Broadway for dinner(we really enjoyed our meal and it was great meeting Derek Wagner). My son has also been taken to XO steakhouse (he preferred Ten prime). For brunch we have been to Rue D'espoir (lovely), Paragon (eh) and Downcity (we loved it) and Meeting Street (huge portions, but he goes there often so it's nice to find a change). I have a concern about Hemenway's because it is owned by Capital Grille, but it could be terrific nonetheless.

I am fearful of showing up at Nick's or Julian's for brunch because of the potential wait. If I am over-reacting, please let me know.

Thanks so much!

  1. TrishUntrapped Apr 21, 2010 02:46 PM

    We ended up choosing Twenty8 on Patriot's Way for my daughter's graduation party, which is next month. I'm thrilled because BOTH my kids are graduating from college at the same time (different ages, different schools, long story).

    I like the look of The Stadium Room at Twenty8 for a function. Just something to keep in the back of anyone's mind who may be planning a party up that way. Of course, we'll see how it goes next month.

    We didn't dine out much in Providence because my daughter's college is in Mass., but we did go to someplace interesting in Cranston or maybe Warwick... Oh I can't remember the name and my sister is away, she would know.... I think is Captain, or Colonel or Governor something... anyway it's like a throwback in time kind of spot with decent food to boot. Very homey, not fancy.

    2 Replies
    1. re: TrishUntrapped
      k
      kiki47 Apr 21, 2010 05:27 PM

      Governor Francis?

      1. re: kiki47
        TrishUntrapped Apr 21, 2010 08:34 PM

        Thank you Kiki, yes the Governor Francis Inn. It's an interesting spot. Very crowded. Not fancy. Seafood lovers like it a lot, and they serve Grapenut Pudding, a R.I. classic.

        -----
        Governor Francis Inn
        1251 Warwick Ave, Warwick, RI 02888

    2. t
      Tammy Oct 23, 2008 04:44 PM

      Broadway Bistro is fantastic for dinner and Palmieri's Caffe for dessert is the place to visit. You will be pleased.

      16 Replies
      1. re: Tammy
        s
        sherry f Oct 27, 2008 06:43 PM

        Many thanks to all of you for the recs. We ended up having our first meal (dinner- Friday) at La Laiterie. Since my dear son hadn't eaten all day, he was thrilled to sit down for dinner at 5:45 pm. We were really impressed with the restaurant and I was thrilled we were able to snag the last table. I had a glass of the most full-bodied red that one can order by the glass and it was great. We shared a three-cheese board which came with some spicy/sweet nuts and a chutney-type preserve. We then split a salad with pear, dates and goat cheese which was lovely. We then each had a burger (his with blue cheese, mine with cheddar) which came with wonderful polenta fries. I was so stuffed, I could only eat half of my burger. My son actually nuked the other half yesterday and said it was still great.

        I took a yummy pumpkin cupcake back to the hotel from the Homestead next door.

        There was no way my son was getting up early enough to hit Nick's or Julian's for brunch, so we grabbed Starbucks on Thayer and had an early, wonderful dinner at Broadway Bistro. I was really impressed with how reasonable the prices were, the warmth of the space and the great service. My son started with the seared scallops and had the duck confit as his main. I started with the artichoke, bibb and goat cheese salad and had the seared scallop app as my main. The scallops were absolutely delicious and had a maple-butternut puree. Normally, I don't like sweet stuff on my seafood, but this really worked. My sons duck came with a great risotto. I had a glass of chianti which was just OK, but then it was only $8.00. We will definitely go back to both these places.

        On Sunday we went to the Brickway on Wickenden for brunch. It was good- I had a "Kalifornia" omelet with goat cheese, avocado and tomato and my son had a hash omelet with a side of hash (he really likes his hash). It was a cute place and had decent food and we didn't have a long wait. I regret not grabbing a coffee at the coffee exchange across the street before fetching my son. Next time............!

        1. re: sherry f
          j
          JaneRI Oct 28, 2008 05:55 AM

          Excellent reviews, thanks for coming back and sharing. Posts like yours are what chowhound is all about.

          1. re: JaneRI
            s
            sherry f Jan 9, 2010 11:12 AM

            I am back looking for a recommendation for a really nice, celebratory dinner for my son's graduation this May. We would like a really nice meal, but it can't be too groovy (moderately groovy is fine) as my younger son doesn't have the most sophisticated palate.

            The "nicest" place we have been to in the past was Ten Prime Steak and Sushi. We were there two years ago and the menu would appeal to the whole family. Having said that, when I "Googled" it to get the contact information I stumbled on some negative reviews on Trip Advisor.

            Last time I was in Providence, the hotel concierge had mentioned Mills Tavern in passing. I had walked by the restuarant and it looked nice, but it doesn't get much play on this board.

            I very much respect the opinions of the local hounds. We need to be able to make a reservation as it will be a crazy weekend. Many thanks.

            1. re: sherry f
              TrishUntrapped Jan 10, 2010 07:34 AM

              Sherry,

              We had my daughter's 21st birthday at Ten Prime last year and it was very good...the food was good, the venue was a lot of fun...

              My daughter graduates (from Wheaton) a week before your son. We are looking for a venue for her party. With 30 guests though, Ten Prime is out. I like the look on the Web site of Twenty8 at the Renaissance in Foxboro...I'm sending my sister to check it out.

              Good luck!

              http://www.twenty8restaurant.com/

              1. re: TrishUntrapped
                s
                sherry f Jan 10, 2010 11:12 AM

                Trish,

                Thanks so much for the feedback on Ten Prime. Best of luck to your daughter! Where has the time gone? With respect to Foxboro, you may be able to get some reviews on the Boston board if you haven't already checked. It may be "blurry" where the "Boston" board ends at "New England" begins. Got to go back to the game at Foxboro on TV now (sorry, off-topic). :)

                1. re: sherry f
                  TrishUntrapped Jan 10, 2010 03:13 PM

                  Thanks for the tip Sherry. I went to a Patriots party this afternoon...looks like ti will be the last for this season.

              2. re: sherry f
                r
                rjlebed Apr 20, 2010 08:17 PM

                Well, we are at the beginning of this same four year journey with our son. Just getting back to Providence to see him after not getting to see him for Spring Break as he was travelling with his a capella group. When we were last in Providence we took a couple of his friends along with us to Bravo Brasserie. It was terrific. Not too out there for your younger son but adventurous enough for an interested palate. It is right up the street from the Hotel Providence. Enjoy graduation! Do feel free to give me any tips that you have from your four years............. Would love to have them!!!

                -----
                Bravo Brasserie Restaurant
                123 Empire St, Providence, RI 02903

                1. re: sherry f
                  f
                  Frobisher Apr 21, 2010 01:30 PM

                  Take a look at Chez Pascal. My favorite place in the city. Nothing really "out there" on the menu, just an emphasis on locally sourced seasonal ingredients.

                  http://www.chez-pascal.com/menu.html

                  -----
                  Chez Pascal Restaurant
                  960 Hope St, Providence, RI 02906

                  1. re: Frobisher
                    s
                    sherry f Apr 23, 2010 06:40 PM

                    I called Chaz Pascal about five weeks ago and am first on the wait list. It is tough as we are eight people. The women on the phone was really lovely and sounded encouraging as she said people double book and once they have to leave a credit card, the cancellations start. The menu looks wonderful.

                    I booked Providence Oyster bar as a backup if Chez Pascal doesn't pan out, which of course I will cancel if Chez Pascal materializes. We are eating with another family who don't eat meat or shellfish, and there are lots of options on the menu at the P. Oyster bar for them. It is very difficult to get a table for eight that weekend. It must be tough on the locals when the masses converge!!

                    We are going to Ten Prime the other night. I am staying an extra few nights to help my son move out and will definitely try Luxe Burger. My husband went there with my son when he last visited.

                    Rjlebed, thanks for the rec for Bravo Brasserie. It looks nice. We are looking for a festive atmosphere for the dinner for eight and it seems a bit casual, but looks nice for another time. Time indeed does go quickly. Our son is going to stay at Brown an addtional year for a one-year Masters, so we will have more dining opportunies in Providence and another graduation weekend in May, 2011.

                    -----
                    Chez Pascal Restaurant
                    960 Hope St, Providence, RI 02906

                    Bravo Brasserie Restaurant
                    123 Empire St, Providence, RI 02903

                    Providence Oyster Bar
                    283 Atwells Ave, Providence, RI 02903

                    Luxe Burger
                    5 Memorial Blvd, Providence, RI 02903

                    1. re: sherry f
                      s
                      sherry f Jun 13, 2010 04:54 PM

                      Just wanted to report back on our recent visit to Providence two weekends ago.

                      We had our first dinner at Ten Prime and it was OK. I stuck with sushi, salad, and a Mojito, My older son had a steak, sushi and a caesar salad and my younger son had chicken and sushi. We shared the garlic mashed potatoes. My poor husband missed his connecting flight.

                      The next night we scored a table at Chez Pascal. There were eight of us. For appetizers we ordered ordered a number of special cheeses, four orders of the salad of Marinated Beets, Ginger Pecans, Pea Tendrils, Shy Brothers’ Farm Hannahbell Cheese & Honey Vinaigrette, the escargots and a caesar salad, and an order of the garlic bisque. The apps were all excellent and our younger son adored the bisque.

                      For entrees, my husband and older son had the steak, and six of us had fish. I had the bluefish and the everyone else had the halibut. The bluefish was roasted and came with a green garlic and bread crumb crust, wilted bok choi and a Ragoût of Chick Peas & Chorizo. They substitued the chorizo with potatoe chive cakes to avoid the pork sausage and we ordered extras of the potatoes for the table. Those potatoes were gone in no time, The halibut was also roasted and came with fennel, napa cabbage & wild fennel pollen vinaigrette . I think the bluefish had more flavour than the halibut.

                      The desserts were stellar and included the rhubarb crumble with cinnamon ice cream, the chocolate in 3’s:
                      chocolate peanut crunch terrine with cream cheese mousse,
                      chocolate molten cake with espresso anglaise, and warm chocolate & pecan brownie with caramel and wild fennel pollen ice cream,
                      and the Custards: lemon soufflé pudding with Port wine poached cherries, Crème Brûlée , and banana Crème Caramel with chocolate Sauce.

                      With the exception of the steak being slightly tough, it was a wonderful dinner, We also had a fabulous bottle of Shiraz which was under $40.00. A real bargain. We loved the atmosphere, the warmth of service and it was an absolutely perfect way to celebrate graduation weekend.

                      On Sunday between the hectic ceremonies we grabbed a slice of pizza on Thayer from a place that has a huge variety of pizza by the slice. The name escapes me. It hit the spot.

                      Monday night after packing up we went to Luxe Burger for a farewell dinner with our son and his friends. Loved it... I had a wonderful bluefin burger. It was a perfect way to end the weekend.

                      Thanks to everyone for all of the recs.

                      -----
                      Chez Pascal Restaurant
                      960 Hope St, Providence, RI 02906

                      Luxe Burger
                      5 Memorial Blvd, Providence, RI 02903

                      1. re: sherry f
                        invinotheresverde Jun 13, 2010 05:24 PM

                        Thanks for reporting back. Too few people do! Glad you liked Chez Pascal- it's definitely a local gem!

                        You should book now for next year's grad. ;)

                        -----
                        Chez Pascal Restaurant
                        960 Hope St, Providence, RI 02906

                        1. re: invinotheresverde
                          s
                          sherry f Apr 2, 2011 12:00 PM

                          Hi again,

                          Our son will be graduating again from Brown this May with his Masters and I am looking for two dinner spots. We are a smaller group of four this time and would like to try some new places. Based on some recs, info on the board etc, I have made three reservations and I promise to cancel those I don't use very shortly.

                          I booked Siena and Pane e Vino for one night and Aspire for the other night. The proximity of Attwells to the Hilton is a real plus, but not a deal-breaker.

                          If there are any places that you locals suggest, please jump in. As a recap, over the years we have been to Chez Pascal, Ten Prime, La Laiterie, Broadway Bistro, Nicks, Rue De'Lespoir, Luxe Burger and Water Place. Our only constraint is there needs to be vegetarian/non-shellfish options. Many, many thanks.

                          -----
                          Chez Pascal Restaurant
                          960 Hope St, Providence, RI 02906

                          La Laiterie
                          184-188 Wayland Avenue, Providence, RI 02906

                          Broadway Bistro
                          205 Broadway, Providence, RI 02903

                          Luxe Burger
                          5 Memorial Blvd, Providence, RI 02903

                          1. re: sherry f
                            invinotheresverde Apr 2, 2011 02:09 PM

                            Loie Fuller! Loie Fuller! Loie Fuller!

                            It's so gorgeous and I've really liked the food. Some have had service issues (we also did once when they were brand new), but I've found the service to be good, in general. It's not really a place for a larger group, but since there are only four of this year, you have to check 'em out.

                            1. re: sherry f
                              w
                              winedude Apr 2, 2011 03:04 PM

                              You've tried a good selection of places already, but I'd recommend Gracie's for upscale, and Red Stripe for more casual, fun, and loud. Siena can be very good, Pane e vino can be good as well, but I really don't like the atmosphere in the back room. Haven't been to Aspire, so I can't comment on it.

                              -----
                              Red Stripe
                              465 Angell St, Providence, RI 02906

                              1. re: sherry f
                                l
                                LMWW Apr 2, 2011 08:25 PM

                                Gracie's would be my choice. After all, this sounds like your "last chance" Providence dining experience, and it would be a shame to pass up at least one trip there. It is really fabulous, and the service is amazing. I would also argue that you can get away with business casual attire (it seems from above that there were concerns about it being too 'fancy'). In fact, I'm pretty sure I've eaten there in jeans!

                                Otherwise, we love New Rivers and Bacaro. New Rivers for the locally sourced menu, and Bacaro for the lovely setting (and great food, too!).

                                -----
                                Bacaro Restaurant
                                262 S Water St, Providence, RI 02903

                                1. re: LMWW
                                  s
                                  sherry f Jun 11, 2011 03:13 PM

                                  We ended out going out for some lovely meals over the Brown grad. weekend and here is my report back (sorry so late).

                                  Friday afternoon we went to Three Sisters on Upper Hope St. for smoothies that were fabulous- it was a very hot day and they hit the spot.

                                  On Friday night we went to Providence Oyster Bar. Two of us had the beet and goat cheese salad and the seared tuna salad...both excellent. My son had "Surf and Turf" - Sirloin steak and shrimp and a sushi roll to start. He said the sushi was mediocre, the steak tough and the shrimp a ripoff for a twelve dollar add on.

                                  The next day we had brunch at Olga's Cup and Saucer..what a cute spot. Between us we had Huevos Rancheros, a Croque Madame, polenta with goat cheese and tomatoes and a grilled veggie sandwich. Very good meal and a twenty minute wait which is to be expected on a busy weekend. It was very nice to sit outside on the patio.

                                  That night we had a wonderful dinner at Gracies. For the apps we had the spring pea soup, lamb sweetbreads and the beet salad, For the mains, we had the salmon, cod and the duck. Dessert was the coconut tart, creme brulee and chocolate terrine. The meal was actually a prix fixe and I have to say very fairly priced. The atmosphere was wonderful (not at all stuffy), and the service was stellar and warm. Our servers brought out complimentary amuse bouche and some sweets, and we had some killer cocktails that were really potent. I have to say it was the best meal I have had in Providence- bar none. The meal was as good as many I have had in Manhattan at about 1/2 the price.

                                  Gracies, was a very fitting way to cap off our son's education in your city and all of the recommendations on this board have been greatly appreciated. Many thanks.

                                  -----
                                  Providence Oyster Bar
                                  283 Atwells Ave, Providence, RI 02903

                                  Three Sisters
                                  1074 Hope St, Providence, RI 02906

              3. b
                bethlh Oct 2, 2008 12:13 PM

                making the same moves myself -- spending lots of time reading up on Providence Restaurants as it looks like I'll be visiting there for the next 4 years. Any feedback on CAV? Looks interesting, but can't find it on Chowhound anywhere.
                Thanks!

                3 Replies
                1. re: bethlh
                  j
                  JaneRI Oct 2, 2008 01:29 PM

                  I've only been to CAV for brunch and even though it's not perfect I'll go back because the setting and the food were so good. It's really beautiful. The cons - service is slow & somewhat inept (but always cheerful IME). One time they sat us at a table that we discovered to be full of crumbs (but they thought was clean). That sort of thing.

                  1. re: JaneRI
                    d
                    dagwood Oct 2, 2008 02:24 PM

                    CAV is very pretty, funky, and eclectic (a mix that misses the mark more often than not, in my opinion. but they do it well). The food is good, but not great. Back when I moved here (1999), the food was phenomenal, so I think I find it more dissapointing than I would had I just started going in the last couple of years. A nice place for lunch or supper, just not "the" place if you'll only be having one meal in the city. Since you'll be visiting for an extended period, though, I recommend it.

                    1. re: dagwood
                      s
                      sarabean Oct 4, 2008 03:02 AM

                      don't quote me on it, but i think maybe back then eric wolfe may have been the chef at CAV?... i know his time there was the best food i 've had there. he is currently the chef/owner at louie fuller's on westminster st, another "place to be seen".. speaking of gracie's we'll be there next week!! thank goodness for birthdays!

                2. l
                  lightman6 Sep 26, 2008 10:53 PM

                  Gracie's, although fine dining is phenomonal. The just started back up with their theatre menu, which is a 3 course, fixed price menu for 40 dollars. there's a whole menu of options for each course, and they do have one of the best, and most unique wine lists I've ever seen.

                  1. m
                    mvi Sep 22, 2008 05:51 PM

                    I need to add Rue De L'Espoir on Hope Street for brunch, or breakfast, even if you are all set. A lovely spot and fresh, good food. It's not as crazy as some of the other brunch places that have been mentioned but still has an energetic vibe and lots of personality on top of the good food. They take reservations. Red Stripe is a place my kids and I enjoy. Also Chez Pascal.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: mvi
                      0
                      02903 Sep 24, 2008 03:25 PM

                      I agree...rue is a nice alternative and easy to get reservations.....it is not in the same league for brunch foodwise and nicks or julians. The service and atmosphere are usually pretty nice though....my only negative is I feel some of the omelets, etc are premade

                    2. f
                      foodandwinefan Sep 19, 2008 11:20 AM

                      I found Gracie's to have excellent service and food; however, it was pretty pricey. We recently paid a visit to La Laiterie, after hearing rave reviews, and fell in love with the place. We are at the bar and had excellent service; the bartender knew his wines very well - excellent wines by the glass menu. We found the food to be exquisite! We also enjoy eating @ Nick's for dinner - great food; Red Stripe in Wayland Square; the revamped DownCity - great menu; excellent food; however, a much larger place so you don't get that cozy feel; XO is great; Parkside is very good - great fall / winter place; we felt Pane e Vino is good but very typical and ordinary Italian food. Bravo Brasserie is also quite good - it's in the theatre district and if you go during the shows, you miss the crowds. Good luck.

                      6 Replies
                      1. re: foodandwinefan
                        s
                        sherry f Sep 20, 2008 04:00 PM

                        Many, many thanks for all of the responses and recs. I think we are going to go to Red Stripe for lunch on Friday, Broadway Bistro on Friday evening and if we are up early enough to Nick's on Saturday, other wise I think there is a nice bagel place on Wayland, if I recall (I forget the name). Saturday evening, to La Laiterie if we are early and it is not too crowded, other wise Siena. Sunday brunch, depending on timing, we could try Julian's or try Waterman Grill.

                        I was also told by a "Brown" person that Pastiche was a nice place to go for dessert and I would love to hear a comment on that. This same individual said Al Forno was the absolute best restaurant and I know from you good/fellow hounds it's reputation may be really overrated.

                        I am thrilled that all of these places are local, owner managed restaurants and we are going to try different spots. It think it is also nice for my son to get out of the "Thayer" ghetto. I will report back.

                        1. re: sherry f
                          j
                          JaneRI Sep 22, 2008 05:58 AM

                          Pastiche rocks. Excellent desserts, and a really cozy cute place to sit and enjoy them. They have a fire going in cooler weather.

                          1. re: sherry f
                            s
                            Sap115 Sep 22, 2008 08:01 AM

                            If you're planning Siena for a backup on Saturday night, make a reservation. They tend to book up fast.

                            Pastiche has excellent pastries, but I think they're somewhat overpriced. On a nice evening, we like to get desserts at the outside tables at Cafe La Dolce Vita.

                            I just ate for the first time at the Broadway Bistro this weekend and it was awesome. You will love it.

                            It does make me laugh that you call "Thayer" the ghetto. I know what you mean, but I think there are worse places . . . :-)

                            1. re: Sap115
                              s
                              sherry f Sep 23, 2008 02:57 AM

                              Thanks for the tips on Cafe La Dolce Vita. I have made a reservation at Siena and will absolutely cancel it if we get into La Laiterie.

                              I certainly never meant to offend or trash Thayer by calling it a ghetto. In Canada, where I'm from, it is common to call the area around college campuses with all the student haunts, the "ghetto." In fact in Montreal, the neighborhood near McGill University is commonly known by all Montrealers as the "McGill Ghetto". Glad I got a chuckle out of you....!

                              1. re: Sap115
                                t
                                Tammy Oct 23, 2008 04:46 PM

                                I agree I love Broadway Bistro. Try Palmieri's Caffe in the Plaza for pastries next time. Not as pricey as pastiche and actually better :).

                              2. re: sherry f
                                b
                                Beulah Jun 26, 2011 02:05 PM

                                We just came back from Providence (we're visiting grandparents) -- ate at Al Forno and also Baccaro's (chef used to work at Al Forno) and we enjoyed both. This time we may have liked Baccaro's a little more. Had dinner at Julian's for the first time -- we've eaten both breakfast and lunch there and enjoyed them -- but we didn't care for the dinner. AGree with recommendations for Grace's, Local 121, and above all, superb pastry at Pastiche!

                                -----
                                Local 121
                                121 Washington St, Providence, RI 02903

                            2. d
                              dagwood Sep 18, 2008 07:21 PM

                              I throw my vote firmly behind Loie Fuller. Lovely space and fantastic food, and based on the other places you mention that you already know and like, I think you'll really love it.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: dagwood
                                t
                                tabasc Oct 3, 2008 08:59 AM

                                What am I missing about Loie Fuller? I ate there when it first opened and it was spectacular. I have been back a bunch of times since and it was downright dissapointing. The menu NEVER seems to change anymore and it isn't very good - the scallop dish is awful. Even the things that were good had a very sloppy presentation...

                                Laiterie is my hands down go to place - but I made the mistake of trying to go last year during Brown parents weekend - forget about it!!! You should come visit your son some other time and go. (One side note - they had late summer hours - don't know if they are still in effect - if you don't mind eating late it would work).
                                You will be fine going to Gracie's casual. Nothing in Providence is dressy anymore. It is fabulous - takes reservations - do the tasting menu (paired with wine for you). But be prepared to spend $100 each (but truthfully, that isn't much more than you would spend anywhere).
                                Brunch - go ealry to Nick's. There are lots of places you wouldn't think of - LJ's BBQ - all the way down Hope - Chipotle Hollaindaise anyone????

                              2. n
                                NC IP Sep 18, 2008 05:31 PM

                                A couple of suggestions:

                                For Dinner: I have had great luck with both Café Nuovo (http://www.cafenuovo.com/cafenuovo/) and Capriccio (http://www.cafenuovo.com/capriccio/). I eaten at both with fairly mixed groups and had great meals every time. If your going to be fairly casually dressed, I’d probably go for Café Nuovo because you’ll usually find a good mix of levels of formality among the patrons. Unfortunately, unless something has changed neither have large wine by the glass list, but both usually have some decent choices as well as several half bottles. You mentioned La Laiterie and I have not had good luck there in terms of food, wine or service, but I understand that others have.

                                Near Brown, if the Creperie is still around it is always fun and good; my fairly picky family enjoyed it for both lunches and brunches. East Side Pockets is also good, but you won’t get a lot of atmosphere. The food is always good though.

                                1. l
                                  LMWW Sep 18, 2008 05:12 PM

                                  Just wanted to second the recommendation for Broadway Bistro. We've eaten there several times, and the food is innovative and delicious. They also cap things off with a lovely little dessert on the house (used to be chocolate mousse, now is a flourless chocolate cake with mixed berries). The wine list is also a plus. I don't think you would have to worry about too much of a wait.

                                  La Laiterie is also a great option, but incredibly small and packed. From our observation, it seems that a contingent of Brown students have "found" this place - if you are talking about Parent's Weekend, it may be especially nightmarish in terms of crowds. If you want an early dinner, we've had luck getting there right when they open. But even then, we've been in a situation where we've gotten the last open table.

                                  For brunch, I say Nick's all the way - if you can get there before 10am, you probably wouldn't have too much of a wait. We live right down the street (from Nick's, Julian's, and Broadway Bistro, actually), and can usually snag a table if we get there before the rush.

                                  Julian's is yummy, but the staff don't seem to pay you much attention unless you have mutton chops, tattoos, and/or multiple piercings. My husband and I always joke that we must not be cool enough to eat there, despite the fact that we're neighbors.

                                  Enjoy your visit!

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: LMWW
                                    invinotheresverde Sep 19, 2008 10:47 AM

                                    I agree about the pre-10am bit. There's literally never a wait, even at 9:50. It seems like 10 is the magic brunch hour, and the rush begins.

                                    The service is far better ar Nick's than Julians (which is bad 100% of the time, unless you eat at the bar). Personally, DH and I like the food better at Julian's (although they're really neck and neck) and are willing to put up with a bit of 'tude. The bad service there is almost comical. The homemade catsup is great, as are the hashes, ginger pancakes, benedicts and egg dishes in general. I find the bloody marys and mimosas to be pitifully weak for the price, so watch out for that OP, if you like a brunch cocktail.

                                    I've had better and better experiences at Louie Fuller lately. They make great cocktails, and even though the quirky menu is small, everyone always finds something to enjoy. I could eat that pickle/potatoe/raclette thingamabob every day.

                                    I'm one of the Pane e Vino lovers. I've had excellent meals there, and stellar service (except for the last time, when the service was unimaginably bad). I DO think their wine list is horifically overpriced, so I only go on Mondays for the 50% discount.

                                    I'd stay far away from Local 121, unless it's for a cocktail only. Their food, while it has potential) has fallen pathetically short every time I've dined there. I love, love imbibing there, though.

                                    I've had solid meals at Siena, but nothing spectacular. I don't actually remember what I've eaten there, which is strange for me. It's a fun place to take a group.

                                    If the OP is concerned about budget, I don't like the Capriccio/Nuovo suggestion below. Capriccio is always an interesting experience, but the last two times I was there, the food at our table received mixed reviews. If they're going to do the classics, they have to do them well. I have no beef with Nuovo, and have actually had really good meals there. I find it to be about 20% overpriced, and wince every time the check comes.

                                    OP, there are lots of great choices. Hope you have great meals!

                                  2. j
                                    Jenkins Sep 18, 2008 08:33 AM

                                    I'd recommend Broadway Bistro. It is just a few blocks from Julians. Think of it as a cross between Julian's and Nick's. Not as sleek and cold as Nicks nor as grungy as Julians, but meets somewhere in the middle, as does the food. The dinner menu is slightly less expensive and slightly less upscale than Nicks, but not as low key as Julians. It really has a nice neighborhood feel. The chef/owner puts out a small but excellent menu. It is creative and always changing. Highly recommened. They also have a very good wine list although no beer on tap.

                                    8 Replies
                                    1. re: Jenkins
                                      w
                                      winedude Sep 18, 2008 01:51 PM

                                      What about Troup House? I haven't been yet, but it seems promising.

                                      You could also consider Loie Fuller. I went long ago and didn't have a good experience, but it may have improved, and it's a beautiful space, with a fun vibe.

                                      1. re: winedude
                                        g
                                        Garris Sep 18, 2008 04:16 PM

                                        I was going to mention Loie Fuller's as well...

                                        Lunch near Brown: Think about Blaze on Thayer or Red Stripe in nearby Wayland Square

                                        Brunches: I've said before that I think brunches in Providence are Nick's, Julian's, and then everything else. Consider the Modern Diner nearby in Pawtucket also...

                                        Dinners: Again, Loie Fuller's should be considered. My experiences have always been great. Local 121is one of my favorite spaces in the city, but their food is admittedly VERY uneven, even the same dish on different nights... Hemenways I haven't been to in some time, but is solid... La Laiterie is excellent, but waiting could be an issue if you don't have time to do so (consider the nearby Waterman Grille if there is a wait). I've never had a good Pane E Vino experience. I know others like it, but I think different establishments do the same thing better and cheaper...

                                        1. re: Garris
                                          l
                                          LMWW Sep 18, 2008 05:02 PM

                                          It looks like Blaze on Thayer is gone... I walked by the other day, and it seems to have morphed into something else (?)

                                          1. re: LMWW
                                            a
                                            aunteejoy Sep 23, 2008 01:42 PM

                                            Blaze is on Hope St. at the corner of Burlington St.

                                            1. re: aunteejoy
                                              l
                                              LMWW Sep 26, 2008 02:10 PM

                                              Yes, but they had opened a 2nd Blaze on Thayer (right by Shanghai), which is what Garris had recommended. However, it seems to have closed. The Hope St location appears to be alive and well.

                                      2. re: Jenkins
                                        f
                                        fullbelly Oct 25, 2008 06:30 AM

                                        Would Broadway Bistro be a good place to go for drinks before going to Nick's for dinner? We're looking for a pre-dinner cocktail somewhere, and Nick's just doesn't have any real standing room. Ideas?

                                        1. re: fullbelly
                                          l
                                          LMWW Oct 25, 2008 12:28 PM

                                          Unfortunately, no. They only serve beer and wine... no full liquor license. I would recommend the Avery. Depending on how familiar you are with the neighborhood, you my want to drive. But it's really not that far of a walk between the two.

                                          http://thephoenix.com//Boston/News/60...

                                          There's no signage, but it's the ground floor entry of the blue building right at the fork in the road (former Decatur, if you know it).

                                          1. re: fullbelly
                                            digga Oct 25, 2008 06:11 PM

                                            Loie Fuller would also fit the bill for cocktails.

                                        2. s
                                          Sap115 Sep 18, 2008 08:01 AM

                                          Hemenway's is a hit or miss sort of place. Sometimes it's excellent, sometimes it's just eh. I eat there often for business and I never know what to expect. I am a big fan of Pane E Vino. It's consistently good, and the waitstaff is well trained. I like Nick's much better for brunch than Julian's. I would try to get there early and if the weather nice, waiting outside isn't bad.

                                          1. j
                                            JaneRI Sep 18, 2008 07:55 AM

                                            If you're concerned about prices or dress code at Gracie's, I wouldn't go. It definitely falls into the category of pricey, special-occasion place. Julian's has WONDERFUL food, but I am not thrilled w/the atmosphere (others love it, I'm not into the dark/depressing/grunge/world music bit) but the food is so good I keep going back. I usually go for lunch during the workweek, so I can't comment on wkend brunch crowds.

                                            I love Siena (LOUD though). I have always loved La Laiterie but on my latest visit (last month) I was underwhelmed....hopefully it was just an iffy night. I haven't been to Hemenway's in yeeeeaaars, so I don't know.

                                            1. g
                                              GSM Sep 18, 2008 07:51 AM

                                              Gracie's prices: $12-15 apps, $25-35 entrees (or thereabouts)

                                              La Laiterie, Chez Pascal, and New Rivers are consistent favorites for dinner. Lunch and brunch are not my go-to meals so I can't help there.

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