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WEEKEND IN PROV

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  • ronk Apr 11, 2009 07:52 AM
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Taking a weekend in Providence next week...2 nights. Looking for casual night on Friday and hearing a lot on the Chow Boards about Broadway. Nicks? Juliens? Lois Fuller? Are they all casual for a Friday night? Any websites that post menu/pricing?
Also looking for something a little more non casual Saturday night, but not one of the steak houses? Walking from the Marriott(downtown not across from the state house). Any suggestions and website address is always appreciated!

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  1. Nick's, Julian's and Loie Fuller are all casual. They all have websites via Google.

    You could walk to Local 121 for drinks and then continue up the road to Gracie's for dinner. Or, you could take a cab over to the East Side and hit Chez Pascal for awesome bistro. Again, all these places (and many more) have websites: Google is your friend.

    1 Reply
    1. re: invinotheresverde

      Stay on Broadway 3 nice places Nicks,Broadway bistro Juliens. stay out of the city too many stuffy places parking is insane prices are way up there although one nice place is Bacaro.

    2. For your non-casual night, Pot Au Feu was Julia Child's favorite French restaurant (there's a salon upstairs, more dressy, and the bistro downstairs). Also, New Rivers is great (my friend's favorite restaurant). Hemenways is great for seafood. Cappriccio (I may have that spelling wrong) is often voted "best restaurant for a first date" and I've always had good meals there. Cafe Nuovo (another bad spelling) was the favorite haunt of Providence's former (federally indicted) mayor! You say no steak place but 10 Prime Steak and Sushi is very good. For casual, your Broadway choices are fine, but Ri Ra is a great, fun Irish-themed restaurant. For lunch, I'm a fan of Cuban Revolution! Another person responded Gracie's, but i have to say I boycott Gracie's after 4 of us split a $15 cheese plate and there were 4 cheeses, all the size of a quarter. I am ok spending money for dinner but I can't stand a pretentious meal.

      Just about every place I mentioned, aside from the salon at Pot au Feu, you can probably get away with jeans or other casual attire.

      8 Replies
      1. re: PaulaK

        I disagree with most of these rec's.

        Pot au Feu has gone dramatically downhill lately, and I believe either the salon or bistro is closed most nights, leaving only one option (can't remember if it's the bistro or the salon that's closed).

        Cafe Nuovo's food is solid, but it's about 20% overpriced, in my opinion. It's kind of tacky looking and in need of an update.

        Capriccio (same owners as Nuovo), does the classics fairly well, but it's more the kind of place my grandparents enjoy. It's staid and tired.

        Ri Ra is a chain. I (stupidly) paid $6 for a pint of Guinness there...about eight years ago. I wonder how much a pint is now.

        Cuban Revolution is fine for a sandwich, but don't expect actual Cuban food there other than tostones and beans.

        I stand by Gracie's as one of PVD's best. $15 for four cheeses is slightly high, but not really. Also, cheese portions are usually tiny: have you had a cheese course at Chez Pascal? Same dealie. By the way, the food at Gracie's is wonderful- it's a bit unfair to judge a place based on a cheese plate shared between four people.

        I agree that New Rivers is killer modern American.

        1. re: invinotheresverde

          Love New Rivers -- thanks for reminding me to make a reservation. ;)

          1. re: hollerhither

            Definitely go to Hemenway's for the best seafood and outstanding service for your non-casual Saturday evening. It doesn't get any better than this.

            I've been to Nick's a few times in the past year or so for dinner, and disappointed both times - expensive, unimpressive food. They are best for breakfast - nothing else. The service is friendly, though, and they try hard to please.

            I feel the same can be said for Julien's as well (great for breakfast, skip dinner there) though Julien's has very 'pretentious' unfriendly atmosphere.

            Loie Fuller has been hit-or-miss lately, so it's by chance when you get there.

            However, Broadway Bistro (corner of B'way and Dean) has been impressive every time I've gone for dinner (about once a month since September). Prices are reasonable, service is friendly, food is delicious with generous portions. (I believe it is still BYOB, though)

            1. re: OOliver

              broadway bistro serves beer and wine, generally very thoughtful selections.

              1. re: OOliver

                I'd have to disagree with Hemenway's. While the food is solid, it is not the best out there. In my opinion it's way overpriced for what you get. I have not been for a while, but do't think their prices have changed. Want great fish? Check out Z Bar,everything on their menu is excellent, and they have lots for non fish lovers too.

            2. re: invinotheresverde

              This is why Chowhounds is so much fun. We can agree that Pot au Feu now sucks. Not downhill...it is now inedible. Cappriccio is definitely my grandparents place...have eatten there once a month for 30 years or more. Ri Ra is a chain and not a good one. Cuban Revolution is in the middle of nowhere and better for snacking than dinner.

              Where we disagree is on New Rivers and Cafe Nuovo. Cafe Nuovo never disappoints. The food is always consistently great, innovative and seasonal. Dimitri and his staff do an excellent job of making the dining experience as good as the food. The pricing is on par with similar restaurants in Providence that do not deliver nearly as consistent a product.

              As for New Rivers...I do not get it. Been there several times...thought it was good not great. Certainly not as good as Nuovo or Chez Pascal. To me New Rivers and Mills Tavern are in the same category...more hype and celebrity than actual quality.

              Have not been to Gracie's yet (yes I know I need to get there...) so I have no opinion...although all the Foodies whose opinions I trust who have eaten there really likes it.

              1. re: late to dinner

                "Cafe Nuovo's food is solid, but it's about 20% overpriced, in my opinion. It's kind of tacky looking and in need of an update."

                I said I like the food at Cafe Nuovo. :)

                1. re: late to dinner

                  Agree with you totally on Cafe Nuovo and Chez Pascal. We also love Dimitri!

            3. Doesn't anyone go to Al Forno anymore?

              3 Replies
              1. re: hungrycc

                Nope.

                1. re: hungrycc

                  Al Forno is one of those places you either adore or despise. I fall into despise. As soon as I sense that the owners/waitstaff think they are doing me a favor by letting me eat in their restaurant I stop going. I have a fish allergy. They will not alter dishes because "the dishes are designed by us with all of the flavors" and instead I am told to order something else. Great...if that is what you want...to be inflexible...I get it...I choose to go somewhere else. Besides I can think of places who have food that are just as good...slightly cheaper and make the dining experience far more enjoyable.

                  BTW, I am not saying anything new here. There are a lot of people (including my wife) who think Al Forno is amazing, who love the food and are willing to put aside the service issues. I am just not one of them (unless my wife tells me I am).

                  1. re: late to dinner

                    Ditto pal

                    food is average at best.

                2. The restaurants mentioned here are very good. A Steak House Hummm. A 5 year old trained can cook a steak and give it a pound baked potato 2 pounds of asparagus. If its a steak you seek wait until the summer and grill one at home :)

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Frank Terranova

                    Yes and no. You can grill a steak at home, but the home cook doesn't have access to the quality of the meat that, say, Peter Luger does, and certainly does not have either the knowledge or facilities to dry-age it as they do; nor do they have a grill that goes to 700 degrees.

                    This is not to argue that the OP should go to Capital Grille instead of one of the other great places mentioned, just pointing out that there *is* a reason to go to a really good steakhouse from time to time.

                    1. re: Frank Terranova

                      Sadly, I am probably the one person in the world who can not cook a steak...I have to have it well done, and by the time I am finished cooking it, it is like a piece of leather...I leave that skill to my father, who can grill a steak like a pro and make even my well-done steak tender! lol