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Cheap and Good - Newport, Rhode Island in January!

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Ladies and Gentlemen,

I'm a 22 year old, southern California-raised boy who is going to be in the Newport, Rhode Island area in about a week from today. I'm looking for good, cheap with a charming "hole-in-the-wall" quality. If it's not necessarily cheap or "hole-in-the-wall", that's fine too...just post away.

I'm mainly posting this thread because I'm not from the area but I do have friends who were there and said that this particular season is not palatable for tourists (read: I heard it gets cold). I essentially don't know what's even open!

All in all, the criteria is:
1. Cheap (Optional but preferable)
2. Good
3. Hole-in-the-wall (optional but preferable)
4. NOT closed because of the tourism off-season.
5. No vehicle (sad face) but if anyone is interested in picking me up...inquire within!

Any and all help is greatly appreciated. Thanks a lot people!

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  1. Salas's on Thames Street is open all year round, cheap, good pasta and Portuguese food. The Franklin Spa on Spring Street is a local home, make that hole, in the wall, and you can pick and choose for breakfast and lunch. Also Gary's Handy Lunch on Thames Street. Not the yummiest but extremely user friendly. Scales and Shells, for dinner, is a local favorite. Mostly seafood. It closed for winter break in January but opens this Friday for dinner. Walk to all-no car necessary from Thames. Have a wonderful visit.

    4 Replies
    1. re: rosieg

      Wow! Thanks for the information. Sounds like you're a local or at least close enough to be in the know.

      I was particularly interested in the Portuguese food! Any other ethnic eats? Vietnamese? Thank you again!

      1. re: ChristDriven

        Pour judgement and Salvation Cafe on Broadway are really popular with the locals. There is also a burrito place there that has fantastic fish tacos.

        Gertrude's by 1st beach is great Portuguese food.

        1. re: kcrawford55

          Tell more, please! Do not know Gertrude's. And ChristDriven, please keep us posted. Thanks!

          1. re: rosieg

            Gertrudes has been closed for several years.
            There is a Vietnamese on rte 114 just before the Chili's (ick!) and next "a" dunkin donuts - closed Mondays - really good vietnamese pancake. (car needed though) You can also try Perro Salado - stick to the apps and the small plates - there's a really nice bar in the back w/ a fireplace. Also Salvation Cafe has some early evening specials - and Cafe Zelda has 1/2 price dinners on MOnday evenings. Also, Sapo's Freaky Burrito - although since you're from southern cal, you won't get the same kind of mexican food as you are used to. Oh, and my favorite - 5th Element - great grilled pizzas and some creative apps - enjoy.

    2. I second the recommendation for Salas’ on Thames Street. Both cheap and good. It’s an old favorite. We always order some combination of seafood and pasta, but you can’t go wrong with just one or the other. I think the (upstairs) dining room is only open for dinner, but the prices are pretty much what you would pay for lunch elsewhere.

      You can also check out the “Portuguese littlenecks” at the Brick Alley Pub, also on Thames Street, probably still under $15. This dish was once named by Bon Appetit Magazine as one of their best recipes, so a bargain at the price.

      1. Thank you for all your inputs. I was surprised by how nice and quaint the area was during the winter. I had a day trip in Manhattan for one of the days I was in the area so all in all, I ate at two Newport establishments.

        I ate at the Brick Alley Restaurant and went with the clam chowder and Portuguese Littlenecks. Thank you for that recommendation! The sky was giving us freezing rain that day and to have the littlenecks with some bread to sop some of the broth up was very nice. The ambiance was a little kitsch on the salad buffet bar side. I'm not a connoisseur of chowder so I can't quite comment for everyone but I would have it again. There was a decent amount of clams that were cut to bite sizes. Our waitress was friendly and very flexible as she split the check for the 5 of us.

        For an even more casual dinner, I ate at Pour Judgement. I really wish I had tried Salas' but Yelp's 3 dollar sign rating made me factor my budget a bit more heavily. I walked to Salvation Cafe and after looking at its menu, decided on Pour Judgement based on money (I did some surprise shopping for my wife).

        I really wish I had Salvation Cafe or Salas' instead! Pour Judgement...how do I describe it? It's family friendly even though they're still a bar. I guess it's because the place is a bar and grill. The woman tending the bar seemed to ignore me entirely as I stood by the window to be seated. I waited for about 2 minutes with a smile. I tried getting her attention...not from the table by the window but by actually walking up and down the bar and attempting to get a menu and her attention. I thought we made eye contact and she knew that I wasn't ordering alcohol but food. I decided to sit back down at the table by the door and wait for her to present a menu. With hopeful eyes, I watched as she had finally started walking from around the bar with some menus in hand and then give the menus to a family of 3 which had come in after me. I was a little saddened but still patient. I decided to be a bit more forceful and try my hand at the bar to get a menu again. I politely asked for a menu and she replied by not making eye-contact, not saying ANYTHING to me, and tossing menu in front of me instead of handing it to me. I was saddened even further. I didn't know what was going on. Everyone in Newport seems to be so kind and friendly but my experience with this woman was not quaint at all.

        She finally came over and got my drink order. I had the spiced macaroni and cheese with chorizo. Ugh. I should have gotten something else. It was milky and lacked cheese flavor. I ended up getting a stomach ache and rushing to a toilet about 45 minutes later after I left the establishment. I wish I had gotten the woman's name but a younger waitress took care of me for the latter half of my meal. If memory serves me right, the very non-Rhode Island lady was in her 30s-40s and had dark hair. Be aware.

        Overall, I enjoyed my time in Rhode Island. Thanks for the memories!