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May 4, 2010 10:11 PM

Sunday Graduation dinner in Providence?

Hi. There is a group of 6 of us who want a nice place for a graduation dinner in Providence for Sunday night. Two of the people in our group have somewhat conservative tastes (meat/pasta/potatoes etc.). Any suggestions?

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  1. There is a block that is like a Little Italy and a restaurant that starts with a Z. It is fabulous. They have a dish called spaghetti shui shui and I still dream about it; have not been able to create it myself though it was simple ingredients; hot pasta perfectly al dente; with small sweet tomatoes and garlic and fresh basil. Very reasonable pricing and wonderful wine list.
    Just found it; it is Zooma and can be found at Honestly, my hubby and I are foodies, and we both rave about the one dining experience there.

    245 Atwells Ave., Providence, RI 02903

    1. If it's this Sunday, which is also Mother's Day, I would suggest that a party of 6 which does not already have reservations somewhere nice will be more or less out of luck.

      As to the other reply, the "Little Italy"-like street is Atwells Ave, which has a variety of choices, both old-school Italo-American and otherwise. Personally, I would not put Zooma among them -- nice bar scene, but pretty pedestrian food and a second-string staff on a Sunday. I had an unpleasant experience with the food there with a group of 6 on a spring Sunday, for which the front-of-house staff offered no amends and the owner/manager failed even to respond to a letter I wrote. I will not be back and do not recommend it to anyone. If the OP wants conservative meat dishes, Providence Prime is about a block west. What's your budget?

      9 Replies
      1. re: Gin n Tonic

        Thanks for all the help so far! Budget is not much of a problem. The dinner is for May 30 so even though it's graduation weekend we are hoping there are still some possibilities left. We will have a car, but don't want to drive too far away. My Dad and Brother-in-law often like more traditional fare - the Providence Prime definitely seems along the right lines but from their website it looks like they aren't open on Sundays so I need other possibilities. Thanks!

        1. re: scohn

          Mill's Tavern?

          That's Brown graduation weekend, so your best bet is to park the car somewhere and forget you have it until it's time to leave. Where are you staying?

          1. re: Gin n Tonic

            Yes, my daughter is graduating from Brown, and wanted to have a nice family dinner. We are staying at the Hilton (well some at the Hilton, some by the airport).

            1. re: scohn

              For graduation weekend, I would highly recommend leaving the city. In fact, you might be hard pressed to find anywhere you could even get a reservation at this point.

              I would recommend Spain in Cranston. Beautiful inside, absolutely wonderful food, excellent service, and only 10 minutes from downtown. But far enough out that you might be able to get a reservation.

              Good luck!

              1. re: dagwood

                I like Spain, too, but I wonder how it'll fit the OP's conservative meat-&-potatoes DC's. And I'd really like to see how you get from the Hilton to Spain (door-to-door) in 10 minutes.

                You're right that the OP probably doesn't realize the madhouse that the city will be that weekend.

                1. re: Gin n Tonic

                  Spain ALWAYS has meat and potatoes on the menu. You can check out the menu here:

                  And, it's a straight shot down route 10, according to mapquest, 11 minutes:

                2. re: dagwood

                  I totally agree about leaving the city. Grad weekend is pure insanity, and, as dagwood mentioned, I doubt the OP can get a reservation anywhere at this point. For example, my un-named restaurant has been booked for over six months.

                  Go to Caffe Itri in Cranston. It's Italian, but they definitely have steak, pork, veal, etc. for the plain eaters. Also, their wine list is awesome and fairly priced. It's about a 15 minute drive, which is probably less time than the OP will spend trying to park in the city.

                  Caffe Itri
                  1686 Cranston St, Cranston, RI 02920

                  1. re: invinotheresverde

                    I agree Caffe Itri is lovely. A completely different feel than Spain. I think of Caffe Itri as more intimate Italian, whereas Spain is more grandiose, if that makes sense.

                    Both have excellent food though. You wouldn't be dissapointed with either choice.

                    Caffe Itri
                    1686 Cranston St, Cranston, RI 02920

                    1. re: dagwood

                      I agree to get out of the city and head to Cranston. "Spain" is great, as is "Cafe Itri" , though the acoustics in Cafe Itri has much to be desired, since you can barely hear the person across from you speaking when the restaurant is filled.

                      Another option is to head to Bristol or Warren - again, not too far from your graduation.