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May 19, 2009 07:27 PM

Seeking genuine Italian in Providence

Seeking a replacement for Casa Christine (apparently now closed) in Providence. Unassuming venue, but with solid Italian fare. Have tried many of the places on Federal Hill, but found most to be spotty in service and food quality. Any suggestions welcome.

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  1. You might want to try Danella's. Great food, and not to bad on the wallet. Or you can skip the Hill all together and go to Mike's Kitchen in Cranston. In my opinion it's the best

    2 Replies
    1. re: BPASWA

      My brother and I ate at Mike's last October. The food is quite reminiscent of the places we frequented on Sunday nights as kids -- Smith's, the Welcome, Mianelli's, etc.. I can't say if it's better or worse than those places since it's been over 30 years since I ate at any of them, but on its own terms it's very good. Huge menu full of RI favorites, great ambiance (authentic "Cvaanston"), and easy on the wallet. NB: I'm pretty sure it's cash only.

      1. re: Bob W

        Smith's used to be GREAT! What a name from the past!!!

    2. Even though we lived right off the Hill for many years, we'd drive to Cranston for Caffe Itri's Italian most of the time. It's kind of plain decor-wise, but the wine list is large and well priced, the housemade peppers are delicious and the service is great. We never once had a bad meal there, and, frankly, I'm hard to please.

      1. Go to West Warwick, to Trattoria San Vivaldo. Alfiero is the chef-owner and this guy is an Italian from Italy, knows how to cook, and has some great, authentic food. It's also an experience, as he frowns upon menus (they are available, but see if you can order something from what he is making that night) and won't compromise. A unique, rewarding and delicious meal awaits you. Just go with an open mind and allow yourself to be taken care of.

        4 Replies
        1. re: Rhody Dave

          I have to agree with the rec. of San Vivaldo. The food is always solid and don't even think about asking for the menu. The key is to frequent the place enough to have Alfi recognize you; the meals get better and better with Alfi pushing the liimits more and more with each return visit. This chef is a genius with food that has found a nice little corner of the world after his years as a corporate chef with a major cruise line.

            1. re: Alica

              570 Providence St
              West Warwick, RI 02893

              (401) 828-8100

              1. re: Rhody Dave

                We've been there twice now-so good! The food and, as Rhodey Dave said, the experience; went tonight with my daughter who studied in Italy and talked Italian art and history with the chef owner. Daughter thought it was like her Florence host family's kitchen. You do let Alfi guide you but he accommodated the vegetarians in our group as well as the carnivores, so no need to be anxious. Please go; I want this place to survive.

          1. I agree w/the rec for Mike's Kitchen in Cranston. But I have to laugh that you frequented Casa Christine and are concerned about service. Christine is the rudest person i've EVER encountered in a restaurant in my life. Mere ineptitude would have been a breath of fresh air.

            4 Replies
            1. re: JaneRI

              Mikes :really" Casa christine is out of business on Spruce St. unless they opened somewhere else the lady was a jerk. Whats real Italian food anyway.

              1. re: Frank Terranova

                I was wondering when someone was going to ask this. I take it (from one visit to Italy), that there are a number of regional styles that are real.
                This seems to be a local thing where you are supposed to know "Casa Christine" and use that as a yardstick for suggestions. OK, I'll butt out...

                1. re: Scargod

                  Yes, there are diverse regional cuisines in Italy, but that wasn't the issue I was raising with my original post. By "genuine" I meant an unpretentious restaurant serving simple Italian fare. My experience eating in many of the restaurants on the Hill is that they have grown increasingly "touristy" over the years, serving a broad range of mediocre dishes from all over the world, while pretending to be "Italian" restaurants. I don't want (badly executed) egg rolls or crepes in my Italian restaurant. A few good Italian dishes, whether they are risottos or farros from northern Italy or pastas from the south, is what I want in a "trattoria" here in America (the kind of place that is on every corner of every town in Italy).

              2. re: JaneRI

                Thanks for the recommendations. I will give them a try and report back.

                As for Casa Christine, yes, Christine was a "character" - - no doubt about it. Personally, however, we never had bad service, and the food was always very good.

              3. I always liked L'Osteria in Cranston but haven't been there recently. I also like Siena on Federal Hill and Zooma although they are pricier than Casa Christine.

                4 Replies
                1. re: nfc

                  You can find real "Italian American" in many places in the greater Providence area, but real Italian (regional variations aside) ... something similar to what you would find if you went to a restaurant in Italy? Only one that I can think of- Walter's.

                  1. re: sandman00000

                    Italian American didnt know it was a cuisine. SImple ingredients try Sal at Vendas, Mama Luisa's and Mama Theresa"s in Newport

                    1. re: Frank Terranova

                      I have yet to get there, but everyone raves about "Andiamo's" in Johnston.

                      Only problem is - it's a small venue which is packed every night. They supposedly 'take reservations' about a month in advance - which is why I haven't eaten there yet.

                      1. re: Frank Terranova

                        "Italian American" is, in fact, a unique type of cuisine. You can read an interesting essay on the topic here:


                        My take on it is that most of the places on the Hill do not serve food that you will find in Italy today. I've never eaten at Chef Walter Potenza's, but I think he rates high.

                        Have eaten at Cafe Itri in Cranston a number of times and thought it was excellent.