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Oct 8, 2009 08:35 AM

Providence Seafood Restaurant Recs for tomorrow (10-8-09)

While I generally have a good idea of most of the restaurant scene in Providence, I am not really much of a seafood eater. When I was informed that we had a long lost family member visiting from waaaay out of town, and that he wants lobster at a nice restaurant, I found that I had no suggestions where to go. (He's never been to the coast and I kind of want to represent). Clam shacks, I can handle, but seafood places where you have to wear shoes...

So I appeal to the Chow community, please help!

I'm looking for a moderately priced restaurant that has good seafood and is preferably in Providence.


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  1. Why not just go to Al Forno and get seafood with pasta or their pizza...perhaps the best in the country.

    1. Unfortunately, "moderately priced restaurant that has good seafood and is preferably in Providence" is a set of conditions that cannot be satisfied.

      If you want to be on the water, I'd suggest driving down to the East Greenwich waterfront. The neighboring 20 Water St. and Harbourside Lobstermania (38 Water St.) don't get a lot of love (or even many mentions) on this board but if the weather is nice, they can be a very pleasant experience.

      And I'll disagree strongly, as will many others here, with the Al Forno suggestion made below.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Gin n Tonic

        Yeah, I know that trying to stay in or near Providence is a bit of a problem, but he's only driving down from Boston for dinner to see us. I was hoping to avoid driving all over the state. Thanks for the E. Greenwich suggestion, though, if we have to settle for heading south.

        And I can unequivocally state that we will not be going to Al Forno.

        1. re: Gin n Tonic

          Mrs. W and I ate at Harbourside several years ago -- I think it's a safe choice for lobster (and lobster rolls), and the view of the harbor is very nice. EG is pretty close to Providence, too -- it's just past Warwick. In 1967 I went to day camp at the Rocky Hill School in EG from Pawtucket. Very doable from Prov. for dinner.

          Isn't there a place in East Providence that some people like -- Horton's?

          We like Al Forno, but it's not a place I'd think of for seafood at all.

        2. I think Harbourside is horrid, right down to the salads (taste like plastic) to the baked potatoes (taste like seafood). Moderately priced, I'd say Hemenways (compared to higher end Providence Oyster Bar, which is really good). Lower end but decent food (at least the last time I went, 4-5 yrs ago) is Carrie's on Douglas Ave.

          IMO Al Forno has been resting on 20 yr old laurels for waaay too long now.

          5 Replies
          1. re: JaneRI

            But none of those choices are ideal....spend an extra 25 minutes on the road and get thee to Matunuck Oyster Bar on Succotash Rd (the road to East Matunuck State Beach). You won't be disappointed.

            1. re: JaneRI

              While I'll agree on Matunuck, there's this from the OP: "I was hoping to avoid driving all over the state".

              The dearth of good seafood in Providence is galling.

              1. re: Gin n Tonic

                I couldn't agree more. I've written on this in the past actually. Considering we are "The Ocean State", and also considering the plethora of outstanding restaurants in the city, it's shameful we don't have several topnotch seafood options downcity, nevermind scratching our heads to come up with a single recommendation.

                  1. re: im hungry

                    Hemenways is fine, but by no means spectacular. And we do have some truly outstanding restaurants in Providence. I think the lack of a seafood restaurant that can be put in the "outstanding" category is a very large and very obvious hole in what is otherwise a solid foodcity.

          2. Well, I will say that I am somewhat pleased that I have not been missing out on an amazing seafood scene in PVD for all these years - so there is that.

            It looks like we will be heading to Hemenway's and hopefully we will have a lucky night. (I also did not realize until today that it is Hemenway's not Hemingway's. I thought it was kind of an awesome name for a seafood restaurant referencing 'The Old Man and the Sea' and 'A Moveable Feast.' Ah well...)

            I can definitely appreciate the other non-PVD suggestions though, as I can see that there will be increasing seafood in my future (I am trying ever so hard to get over a lifelong seafood aversion) and we are not normally stuck in Providence. And I am actually looking forward to stopping by Providence Oyster Bar sometime soon for their happy hour.

            1 Reply
            1. re: GreenGal

              GreenGal -- try the Back Eddy in Westport. Very good seafood, and apparently some nice non-seafood items on the menu too (but I can't not order seafood there, since I don't get there that often).

            2. Just to report back (and for posterity): We went to Hemenway's and had a lovely time. They started us off each with a complimentary crab rangoon with some sort of honey mustard sauce with mustard seeds which was excellent (I normally have a hard time swallowing honey mustard). There was some sort of bread which I never saw (we never opened the basket). The dinner salad itself was just your average dinner salad, but I had the honey curry dressing which for me was the highlight of the night (it was that good). BF had the Caesar and was thrilled that it was actually topped with anchovies. One of our party did not want salad and they (Frank our server) were very concerned that he substitute it with something, and he ended up substituting some clam chowder.

              I had the seafood casserole - shrimp, scallops, lobster and scrod in sherry, cheese, cream sauce, topped with breadcrumbs. Honestly, it was a dish of rich cheesy seafood, it was good, the sauce was seasoned well, it was guilt-provoking in its creaminess, no complaints. I don't really know enough about seafood to be more critical. BF enjoyed it too. He had the grilled trout, which did not have much in the way of seasoning (he says maybe butter and salt), which seemed a little too plain for me. BF was falling all over himself about the amazing flavor of the trout, perfectly grilled, and it needed nothing. Our visitors each had straight up boiled lobsters, which were pre-cracked and disarticulated. The general consensus between everyone else (I was the only one who did not try the lobster) was that it was a particularly good boiled lobster.

              For desert the table split a mixed berries and ice cream (which seemed to be exactly that, not very exciting) and a lovely Key Lime Pie.

              We had a great time. Service was excellent. We never had to wait long, and our drinks were readily refilled. Frank was friendly and extremely helpful. Between our table and what I heard at the table next to us, they seemed very concerned with accommodating their customers. The table next to us basically created their own entrees as per Frank's various suggestions, and he arranged to stagger serving so they would not have food sitting and getting cold. I was actually surprised at the quality of service as I had read some horror stories.

              Overall, an excellent evening.

              Hemenway's Sea Food
              121 N Main St, Providence, RI 02903

              1 Reply