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Jul 29, 2009 11:48 AM

Visiting Providence, could use advice.

Hi all:

I'm coming to Providence for one day and one night, this Saturday and Sunday morning. I'm looking for places to have lunch and dinner on Saturday, and an early breakfast on Sunday. I'm helping a friend move to the Federal Hill area (between Broadway and Westminster St) and staying at the Hilton on Atwells Ave., so I'd like to keep it local to that area (on foot, we may or may not have access to a car). From what I've read so far, that shouldn't be a problem.

On Saturday, lunch should be casual, someplace that can get us in and out in a hurry. I was thinking of Nick's, but let me know if there's something else. For dinner that evening, we'd like to try one of the city's better restaurants. Gracie's is right near our hotel and from reviews I've read, seems excellent, I'd like to try it but I'm just worried that we may be a little under-dressed. Is it a casual place? Is it too late to get a reservation? We won't be in shorts and flip-flops or anything, if people wear nice jeans there we'll be fine. If not, my other thoughts were Broadway Bistro, New Rivers, Siena, and Loie Fuller's.

On Sunday, we're taking a 10 AM Amtrak train home, so we need to have breakfast early. The train station is right by the State House, so it's not far at all from where we'll be, but just to be safe we're looking a place that opens at 8 or earlier and is close by. The only one I can find is Nick's, though DownCity Diner (?) may be OK (they open at 9) if they can get us in and out quickly.

Any thoughts?

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  1. I can't help with breakfast or dinner but I love Gracie's. I've had better meals (rarely)
    but the overall experience is outstanding. You can eat early there in comfortable clothes
    and there is always the bar. I think there is a waterfire this weekend as wel.
    Hit 7 stars bakery if you have a chance.

    1 Reply
    1. re: larryg

      Sorry, no Waterfire this weekend. Next one is Aug 8.

      And to the OP, there's no way you're eating breakfast at Nick's and making it to a 10:00 am train without a car. It's a *long* walk. Even from Downcity, you'll be rushed with the 9:00 opening. Maybe Brickway (234 Wickenden) is a little closer than Nick's, although in the opposite direction. I think they may open at 8:00.

    2. Here's a suggested itinierary:

      Sat lunch - Bob and Timmy's pizza on the Hill (after all, pizza is the perfect moving day food).

      Sat dinner - Dunno about you, but after a full day of moving, I know I am wiped out. I personally would go more casual than Gracie's. If you want to stay on the West Side, Broadway Bistro or Nick's would be a good choice. I know Julian's doesn't get a lot of love on this board, but I like it, and it would be fine after a day of moving (casual, dark, good music and beer). Ama's might also be a good choice (I haven't tried it yet, though...raw bar/Japanese). Outside the West End, Chez Pascal, Red Fez, or Downcity (for dinner instead of breakfast) would all be fun.

      Breakfast at Nick's or Downcity would be tough with your 10am train. I would stick to coffee and pastry/bagel at either Seven Stars or White Electric.

      Good luck with the move - you are good friends to be helping!

      1. Thanks! We will probably have some time post-move, pre-dinner in which to get cleaned up a bit, so I think we'll probably go to Gracie's, but if not we'll try Broadway Bistro or Nick's.

        We may try Julian's for lunch, one of group is a pseudo-vegetarian and their menu looks veg-friendly. Am I reading their website correctly? It looks like they serve the brunch menu on the weekends from 9am-3pm.

        I guess breakfast will depend on whether we're getting ride to the train or not..

        1. I have to say, I was impressed with the places we went in Providence. Thanks for the recs. Here's what we did:

          Saturday lunch: We hit what I presume was beach traffic on the way, and didn't get in till later than we planned, so we just stopped by 7 Stars and got a couple sandwiches. They were pretty good, the bread especially. We grabbed a scone and a biscuit as well, both very good.

          Saturday dinner: We finished unloading earlier than we thought, so we had plenty of time to clean up and change before dinner at Gracie's. I was expecting a lot from this place and, for the most part, it met my expectations. My scallops were a little overcooked (I wouldn't even mention it, but they were $30, for that I expect perfection), as was another diner's prix-fixe cod, and I was a little underwhelmed by our desserts after having read about the pastry chef. But the malpeque oysters were excellent, as was a mushroom pasta dish, the slow-poached egg, and one of the desserts, the Breton basil shortbread.

          We had a ride to the train station, so we went to Nick's for breakfast the next day. Everything was very good, we had the black beans and eggs, a polenta and egg special, bacon, toast, blah blah blah. It was all good, my egg over-easy was one of the most perfectly cooked eggs over-easy I've ever had. We got there at 8AM and 30 minutes later it was almost full, it was easy to see why.