Providence and Block Island
I am going to be on Block Island mid-May and also expect to be in Providence for a weekend. I have never been to the island and it has been years since I have been to Providence. I would love to try some local places in Providence, perhaps the Federal Hill area. My friend and I are into seafood and fresh veggie fare while I love Italian food in hole-in-the wall places with reasonable food and wine prices. I grew up in an Italian neighborhood in an urban area so know this type of place. I also like to explore other ethnic food such as Portuguese/Spanish/Brazilian. As far as Block Island is concerned, I imagine that it is probably typical tourist stuff. Am I wrong?
You can find all the above right here in little Rhody. Of course, Federal Hill is your best bet for Italian food - every region of Italy and every price point is represented here. As for seafood, your best bet is on Block Island or along the coast - again every price point is available (if you're in Providence, I recommend Hemenway's and Carries', though some here disagree with both). As for Spanish food, there's plenty to choose from in the Providence area, while East Providence boasts some fine Portuguese restaurants.
121 South Main Street, Providence, RI 02903
Block Island is not a gourmet's paradise. There are a few fun places where there are a few other things on the menu beside fried fish: The Oar has decent food with a nice view of the water. The Beachead is very popular and so is Sharkies for this kind of food and atmosphere. Mohegan Cafe, in the center of town, has decent food. Eli's has perhaps the best food in the center of town. For more gourmet fare, try Manisses or the Atlantic Inn. Both are pricey. While you are in Block Island, ask the locals about the best food. Sometimes the best restaurants one year are not the best restaurants the next year, due to a big changeover in chefs. For a really good sandwich, try the Three Sisters.
And have a great time. Block Island holds a special place in my heart.
1074 Hope St, Providence, RI 02906
I have to agree about BI. You need to be careful because you can very easily get caught up in the tourist traps that are the National and Harborside. The Hotel Manisses, Spring House and Atlantic Inn are your best bets, with Eli's being a little less formal but still very good. As for the Oar on New Harbor, I used to bartend there and it will always hold a special place in my heart. Great view and great mudslides!