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Top Ten Restaurants in RI

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foodjunkie1991 Jun 22, 2010 02:56 PM

Many friends when visiting RI ask me where they should dine. So here you go. My top ten list in RI plus a few others(in no particular order).

Chez Pascal
New Rivers
Castle Hill
Bouchard
Al Forno
Gracie's
10 Steak and Sushi
Capital Grille
Mill's Tavern
Local 121

The interesting thing about this list is that tourists alwats want to venture to Atwells Ave and not one restaurant from the Hill has made this list. Many good options there but none good enough to be on any top ten list.

Best Burger: Paragon
Best Pizza: Al Forno
Best "Old School" Italian American: Old Canteen
Best Casual French: Loie Fuller
Best Fries: Tini

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  1. trufflehound RE: foodjunkie1991 Jun 23, 2010 06:19 AM

    um, I don't see Haven Bros. on your list.

    13 Replies
    1. re: trufflehound
      f
      foodjunkie1991 RE: trufflehound Jun 23, 2010 07:57 AM

      how could i forget. i love haven bros.

      1. re: foodjunkie1991
        okra RE: foodjunkie1991 Jun 24, 2010 12:23 PM

        On a decidedly downscale note...

        Wein-o-rama
        Del's
        George's
        Aunt Carries
        Wes'

        -----
        Wein-O-Rama
        1009 Oaklawn Ave, Cranston, RI 02920

        George's of Galilee
        250 Sand Hill Cove Rd, Narragansett, RI 02882

        Aunt Carrie's Restaurant
        1240 Ocean Rd, Narragansett, RI 02882

        Wes' Rib House
        38 Dike St, Providence, RI 02909

        1. re: okra
          Bob W RE: okra Jun 24, 2010 01:29 PM

          Wein-o-Rama is a classic. It's been featured in a Zippy the Pinhead strip (as has the Modern Diner, BTW). The 1962 "Googie" sign is a hoot.

          okra, how do you think Iggy's compares to Aunt Carrie's and George's?

          -----
          Modern Diner
          364 East Ave, Pawtucket, RI 02860

          Aunt Carrie's Restaurant
          1240 Ocean Rd, Narragansett, RI 02882

          1. re: Bob W
            okra RE: Bob W Jun 30, 2010 07:36 AM

            Bob, I have not eaten at Iggys... OK, I ate at Iggy Palmasano's near URI, but that was cough cough years ago....

            your opinion?

            1. re: okra
              Bob W RE: okra Jun 30, 2010 09:46 AM

              I tried Iggy's at Oakland Beach a couple years ago. I don't get up to RI too often and I was really craving clamcakes so as soon as I got my car (since I was feeling very "Vo Dylan" I got a white Mustang LOL) at the airport I drove over. With online coupon in hand I stupidly ordered a dozen.

              The first few tasted awesome, then I hit the inevitable wall and had to quit at ten. Why oh why didn't I just get a half-dozen and some chowder? LOL

              The verdict: Excellent clamcakes (at least when they are fresh and hot, like mine were), but it's been so long since I've been to George's or Aunt Carrie's that it would be unfair for me to compare. I would definitely give Iggy's a try. Supposedly the doughboys are really good too.

              Clamcakes would make a great Man v Food challenge for Mark Richman. They must expand to 3x their original size once they hit your stomach.

            2. re: Bob W
              t
              Td61 RE: Bob W Jun 30, 2010 10:39 AM

              I think Zippy the Pinhead strip was referring to Olneyville...
              http://www.quahog.org/cuisine/index.p...

              1. re: Td61
                Bob W RE: Td61 Jun 30, 2010 11:04 AM

                LOL Zippy has been to both places. Check out this awesome web site.

                http://www.61thriftpower.com/diners.s...

                1. re: Bob W
                  t
                  Td61 RE: Bob W Jul 1, 2010 01:10 PM

                  WOW AWESOME link!!!
                  Thanks!

            3. re: okra
              j
              joe777cool RE: okra Jun 28, 2010 09:41 AM

              Wes's is the worst bbq in the state. There are 3-4 places within 5 miles of Wes's that are 20x better, honestly I'd go to Chile's first.

              1. re: joe777cool
                okra RE: joe777cool Jun 30, 2010 07:35 AM

                Please elaborate? I would love to learn...

                1. re: okra
                  j
                  joe777cool RE: okra Jun 30, 2010 03:17 PM

                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7131...

                  Food qualtiy, consistency, smoke/rub/sauce, service - not many good things to say about Wes's. Cornbread is good..... after that im at a loss.

                  1. re: joe777cool
                    okra RE: joe777cool Jul 1, 2010 12:57 PM

                    Thanks for your opinion.

                    1. re: okra
                      f
                      Frobisher RE: okra Jul 1, 2010 02:34 PM

                      FWIW, it is one shared by most who have experience with real bbq, including the majority of posters on this board.

        2. f
          Frank Terranova RE: foodjunkie1991 Jun 23, 2010 11:20 AM

          Nice list Agree with 75% of them
          Pascal --never been hear all nice things about it
          New Rivers --Good
          Castle Hill --Excellent
          Bouchard--Excellent
          Al Forno-- Na
          Gracies--Excellent
          10 Sushi--NA
          Capitol Grill-- give me 30 min with a 10 year old kid and he or she can flip a steak
          Mills-- long time ago was good have not been there in a while
          Local 21-- again never been but heard all nice things.
          and no ne mentioned Weiner Rama

          1. g
            Garris RE: foodjunkie1991 Jun 23, 2010 12:17 PM

            I would agree with most of these (in an admittedly Providence-centric list), but with some modifications:

            Chez Pascal - Yes
            New Rivers - Yes
            Castle Hill - Yes
            Bouchard - Haven't been
            Al Forno - Not in the top 10 in my visits...
            Gracie's - Yes
            10 Steak and Sushi - I'm a big fan, but top 10? Not sure...
            Capital Grille - Definitely not in my visits...
            Mill's Tavern - A case can be made, yes...
            Local 121 - Again, a big fan, but top 10? In decor yes, but food is hit and miss...

            I would replace 10 Steak and Sushi with Siena on Federal Hill, and Local 121 with Loie Fuller, where I've had some really outstanding meals.

            And I know this may be controversial, but I've had some dishes at the mid-range Rasoi (Indian-fusion) that are among the tastiest and most creative I've had anywhere.

            As for your other categories:

            Best Burger: Paragon - Wow, everything I've ever had at Paragon is absolutely mediocre. Perhaps the biggest letdown of any restaurant in the entire city. I tell people to avoid at all costs...

            Best Pizza: Al Forno - Possibly... No RI pizza has blown me away except for the late, lamented Park Ave Cafe in Cranston...

            Best "Old School" Italian American: Old Canteen - Maybe... As someone who grew up in an Italian heavy area in NY's Hudson Valley, I think all of the red sauce places I've had here have been middling at best...

            Best Casual French: Loie Fuller - No issues here
            Best Fries: Tini - Absolutely in the running... I'm a fan of Red Stripe's in Wayland Sq.

            My $0.02.

            -----
            Chez Pascal Restaurant
            960 Hope St, Providence, RI 02906

            Local 121
            121 Washington St, Providence, RI 02903

            Red Stripe
            465 Angell St, Providence, RI 02906

            Rasoi Restaurant
            855 Worcester Rd Ste 24, Framingham, MA 01701

            Capital Grille
            1 Union Sta Ste 1, Providence, RI 02903

            Old Canteen
            120 Atwells Ave, Providence, RI 02903

            4 Replies
            1. re: Garris
              Bob W RE: Garris Jun 24, 2010 01:36 PM

              Garris, have you tried Twin's Pizza in North Prov.? My brother and I hit it last year and were very impressed. Similar style to Caserta's, but the menu is broader and includes RI favorites like snail salad, grapenut custard pudding, and "a side of peppiz." 8<D

              Also, I cannot believe that the food at the Old Canteen could be nearly as good as what Mike's is turning out. I have fond memories of birthday parties at the Old Canteen but you can't eat memories, as many of us find out when we revisit old favorites.

              -----
              Twin's Pizza
              1000 Mineral Spring Ave, North Providence, RI 02904

              Old Canteen
              120 Atwells Ave, Providence, RI 02903

              1. re: Garris
                invinotheresverde RE: Garris Jun 25, 2010 08:23 AM

                Agreed, Local 121 needs to come off that list. The food is spotty at best, inedible at worst. I'd probably put it on my Top Ten places to enjoy a cocktail or two, though.

                -----
                Local 121
                121 Washington St, Providence, RI 02903

                1. re: invinotheresverde
                  f
                  Frank Terranova RE: invinotheresverde Jun 27, 2010 09:28 AM

                  Thanks for the heads up on 121. Only place I will hit is Gracies in the city.

                  1. re: Frank Terranova
                    invinotheresverde RE: Frank Terranova Jun 27, 2010 02:19 PM

                    No Chez Pascal? You're missing out.

                    -----
                    Chez Pascal Restaurant
                    960 Hope St, Providence, RI 02906

              2. t
                thegreenfish RE: foodjunkie1991 Jun 24, 2010 11:10 AM

                I think a great "Old School" Italian joint is Mike's Kitchen in Cranston. I know it's not in Providence proper, but it's so close! Best chicken parm of my life, plus a fun atmosphere and I like taking out of towners there because it makes me look like I'm really "in the know."

                -----
                Mike's Kitchen
                170 Randall St, Cranston, RI 02920

                2 Replies
                1. re: thegreenfish
                  j
                  JaneRI RE: thegreenfish Jun 24, 2010 12:35 PM

                  I LOVE Mike's Kitchen. Polenta is the best I've ever had.

                  -----
                  Mike's Kitchen
                  170 Randall St, Cranston, RI 02920

                  1. re: JaneRI
                    Bob W RE: JaneRI Jun 24, 2010 01:27 PM

                    Two years ago my brother Lurker W and I made the mistake of having lunch at Mike's and then having supper at Chez Pascal that night. After the outstanding home cooking at Mike's -- including the polenta! -- my stomach was simply not ready for the wonderful food at CP. I was very upset.

                    -----
                    Chez Pascal Restaurant
                    960 Hope St, Providence, RI 02906

                2. j
                  JaneRI RE: foodjunkie1991 Jun 24, 2010 12:35 PM

                  I think Siena on Atwells easily beats Cap Grille, Al Forno and Bouchard. Maybe not the Bouchard of 10-12 yrs ago, but the Bouchard of today. I haven't been in years but was never impressed by 10. Overrated IMO.

                  1. Bob W RE: foodjunkie1991 Jun 24, 2010 01:32 PM

                    You need some breakfast on the list!

                    Modern Diner
                    Nick's on Broadway

                    For a nice taste of the East Side, Rufful's in Wayland Sq.

                    -----
                    Rufful's Restaurant
                    208 Wayland Ave, Providence, RI 02906

                    Modern Diner
                    364 East Ave, Pawtucket, RI 02860

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: Bob W
                      f
                      FjmArch RE: Bob W Jun 25, 2010 06:26 PM

                      There is only one place for breakfast in Providence and that is at the Liberty Elm on Elmwood Ave.

                      -----
                      Liberty Elm
                      , Providence, RI 02903

                      1. re: Bob W
                        malyna RE: Bob W Jun 27, 2010 04:27 PM

                        rufful's is awful

                        1. re: malyna
                          Bob W RE: malyna Jun 27, 2010 07:13 PM

                          I'm curious why you say that. Can you expand on your review a bit?

                          1. re: malyna
                            g
                            Garris RE: malyna Jun 30, 2010 08:14 PM

                            Rufful's certainly isn't awful... It's a very basic, inexpensive, longstanding greasy spoon for breakfast for the neighborhood... Nothing more, nothing less... Definitely not a "destination" restaurant like Nick's or the Modern. It is what it is...

                            As for the Liberty Elm, I so *badly* want to love it, but can't, at least not yet. The setting is great, but the food is *very* average. Nothing bad, but at least two notches down from the Modern, Nick's, Julian's et al. A great experience, but not yet a great meal. It's kind of to South Providence what Ruffles is to Wayland Sq...

                            I forgot to give a shout out to Ebisu in my own first post here... Also some of the most creative, tasty dishes I've had here...

                            -----
                            Ebisu Restaurant
                            Providence, RI, Providence, RI

                            Rufful's Restaurant
                            208 Wayland Ave, Providence, RI 02906

                            Liberty Elm
                            , Providence, RI 02903

                        2. a
                          ajh05004 RE: foodjunkie1991 Jun 24, 2010 04:03 PM

                          Here's my best attempt.

                          Persimmon
                          Gracie's
                          New Rivers
                          Chez Pascal
                          San Vivaldo Trattoria
                          Siena
                          Castle Hill
                          Loie Fuller

                          These are the only 8 that really stand out to me right now.

                          Best Burger: Pour Judgment or Luxe
                          Best Fries: I've got a soft spot for Wright's Farm
                          Best Pizza: Bob and Timmy's
                          Best Clam Cakes: Champlain's
                          Best Weiners: Wein-o-Rama

                          -----
                          Chez Pascal Restaurant
                          960 Hope St, Providence, RI 02906

                          Wright's Farm Restaurant
                          84 Inman Rd, Harrisville, RI 02830

                          San Vivaldo Trattoria
                          570 Providence St, West Warwick, RI 02893

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: ajh05004
                            f
                            fiddlehead Fern RE: ajh05004 Jun 8, 2011 06:35 AM

                            The top four here are the best in exact order.

                          2. t
                            tricia2 RE: foodjunkie1991 Jun 26, 2010 06:42 PM

                            I can only come up with six:

                            Al Forno - hand's down the only consistently excellent restaurant in RI
                            The Deck (Newport)
                            Mama Luisa (Newport)
                            Gracies
                            Castle Hill
                            La Masseria

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: tricia2
                              invinotheresverde RE: tricia2 Jun 26, 2010 09:17 PM

                              I couldn't disagree more. I've had straight up BAD meals at Al Forno.

                              1. re: invinotheresverde
                                t
                                tricia2 RE: invinotheresverde Jun 28, 2010 06:50 PM

                                It's one of the few consistently good restaurants in RI, so I give it high marks. However, the interior needs work - it's cramped and the chairs are awful - rickety and flimsy. It is what it is, I guess.

                                1. re: tricia2
                                  j
                                  JaneRI RE: tricia2 Jun 29, 2010 10:49 AM

                                  I've got to agree with invino here...I don't think Al Forno is consistently good....I've stopped going because of spending a small fortune to be disappointed. Too many other good choices in RI.

                            2. j
                              Jennifer Luxmoore RE: foodjunkie1991 Jun 27, 2010 10:01 AM

                              Chez Pascal - I guess it's pretty good, but for me the one time we went, it was so-so.
                              New Rivers - always excellent
                              Castle Hill - haven't been
                              Bouchard - never heard of it, where is it.
                              Al Forno - good, but over rated
                              Gracie's - THE BEST. Love it, always have a great meal.
                              10 Steak and Sushi - Nothing special about the steak and if I want sushi I go to Haruki... much better
                              Capital Grille - Really? For me it's just another steak house.
                              Mill's Tavern - ditto
                              Local 121 - Want to love it, but it's always up and down.One visit is terrific, then the next is mediocre.

                              I'd agree with adding Rasoi, and where the hell is La Laiterie? That's one of the best in Providence right after Gracies.

                              So my list is...
                              Gracies
                              La Laiterie
                              Red Fez
                              Rasoi
                              New Rivers
                              Haruki
                              Al Forno
                              The bar at Local 121 and the bar at Cook and Brown... food in both is a bit all over the place.
                              Julians
                              Nicks

                              -----
                              Red Fez
                              49 Peck St, Providence, RI 02903

                              Chez Pascal Restaurant
                              960 Hope St, Providence, RI 02906

                              Local 121
                              121 Washington St, Providence, RI 02903

                              La Laiterie
                              184-188 Wayland Avenue, Providence, RI 02906

                              Haruki Restaurant
                              1210 Oaklawn Ave, Cranston, RI 02920

                              Rasoi Restaurant
                              855 Worcester Rd Ste 24, Framingham, MA 01701

                              Capital Grille
                              1 Union Sta Ste 1, Providence, RI 02903

                              1. l
                                LMWW RE: foodjunkie1991 Jun 27, 2010 10:57 AM

                                Agree with several already mentioned, but if I had to make a list, I'd roughly put them in this order:

                                La Laiterie
                                Persimmon
                                Gracie's
                                Nick's
                                Matunuck Oyster Bar
                                Chez Pascal
                                Up River Cafe
                                DeWolf Tavern
                                Broadway Bistro
                                Castle Hill (never been, but will throw it a bone based on what I've heard)

                                We definitely gravitate toward the restaurants that try to locally source their food...

                                Best Burger: Crazy Burger in Narragansett, all the way!

                                Best red sauce Italian: Andino's

                                Best pizza: is there such a thing in RI? Though I've heard great things about the new 5 Star Pizzeria in Pawtucket, I haven't tried it myself...

                                -----
                                Chez Pascal Restaurant
                                960 Hope St, Providence, RI 02906

                                La Laiterie
                                184-188 Wayland Avenue, Providence, RI 02906

                                Andino's
                                171 Atwells Ave, Providence, RI 02903

                                Up River Cafe
                                37 Main St, Westerly, RI 02891

                                Bacaro Restaurant
                                262 S Water St, Providence, RI 02903

                                Broadway Bistro
                                205 Broadway, Providence, RI 02903

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: LMWW
                                  a
                                  Alica RE: LMWW Jun 28, 2010 10:31 AM

                                  Bad news.... Up River closed. I do think the food there was good. Love the bar! It is about to open soon as a new restaurant called "The Bridge". It is supposed to be seafood.

                                  -----
                                  Up River Cafe
                                  37 Main St, Westerly, RI 02891

                                  1. re: LMWW
                                    g
                                    Garris RE: LMWW Jun 30, 2010 08:20 PM

                                    Wow, how did I miss La Laiterie? Definitely should be on the list...

                                    I'm not sure about DeWolf Tavern... I've now had two meals there and have been really disappointed with both in all phases of the experience... Others disagree I know...

                                    From the comment below, I really like Apsara, but top ten overall? I don't think so...

                                    -----
                                    La Laiterie
                                    184-188 Wayland Avenue, Providence, RI 02906

                                    Apsara Restaurant
                                    716 Public St, Providence, RI 02907

                                    1. re: Garris
                                      l
                                      LMWW RE: Garris Jul 4, 2010 01:02 PM

                                      Haha! Garris, with the absence of La Laiterie, I was thinking that you were starting to slip! And to be fair, we've been to De Wolf only once, and several years ago. On a cold winter night, the warmth of the setting was particularly memorable.

                                      Bummer about Up River, though. We need a new seafood restaurant like we need a hole in the head!

                                      -----
                                      La Laiterie
                                      184-188 Wayland Avenue, Providence, RI 02906

                                      Up River Cafe
                                      37 Main St, Westerly, RI 02891

                                  2. atheorist RE: foodjunkie1991 Jun 28, 2010 05:57 PM

                                    Apsara Asian Restaurant on Public Street belongs on the RI top ten list.

                                    -----
                                    Apsara Restaurant
                                    716 Public St, Providence, RI 02907

                                    1. h
                                      heel38 RE: foodjunkie1991 Jun 30, 2010 09:04 PM

                                      You didn't mention Crazy Burger in Narragansett - great eggs , burgers, their own hot sauce - can get quite crowded - 3 o'clock in the afternoon is best

                                      1. RhodeIslandRed RE: foodjunkie1991 Aug 9, 2010 07:53 PM

                                        Coming into this late, but Mill's Tavern has definitely slipped as has Local 121. Still love the bar there though. Have to add Bacaro and for breakfast Julian's. Capital Grille still good, especially for the steak tartare that you now have to ask for since it's off the menu, but they still make it. That, a glass of Chateau Simard Bordeaux and I can't ask for any more.

                                        -----
                                        Local 121
                                        121 Washington St, Providence, RI 02903

                                        Bacaro Restaurant
                                        262 S Water St, Providence, RI 02903

                                        Capital Grille
                                        1 Union Sta Ste 1, Providence, RI 02903

                                        1. 5
                                          5thAndNowhere RE: foodjunkie1991 Jun 9, 2011 08:58 AM

                                          She (he?) qualified the list as My Top 10 right? Arguing or lambasting a list of personal favorites is silly (and or rude). If someone's favorite Beatles record is Yellow Submarine, you cant argue with them. If they said the BEST period, thats different (tho still just an opinion).

                                          4 Replies
                                          1. re: 5thAndNowhere
                                            j
                                            joe777cool RE: 5thAndNowhere Jun 9, 2011 10:02 AM

                                            thankfully, many on here disagree with you otherwise this website would be very very boring.

                                            1. re: joe777cool
                                              invinotheresverde RE: joe777cool Jun 9, 2011 10:15 AM

                                              Ding, ding, ding!

                                              1. re: invinotheresverde
                                                j
                                                joe777cool RE: invinotheresverde Jun 9, 2011 10:25 AM

                                                I highly doubt foodjunkie created this post thinking that everyone would agree with him/her, rather they posted it to see how other felt about some of their favorites and to spur on discussion of the top restaurants in RI.

                                                And for the record, if somebody said that Yellow Submarine was their favorite Beatles Album, they deserve what they have coming to them!! = ) I was born in 1981 and know better than that!

                                                1. re: invinotheresverde
                                                  j
                                                  joe777cool RE: invinotheresverde Jun 9, 2011 10:31 AM

                                                  invino - on a side note, could you email me (my chow handle)@aol.com, I have a question about supplying alcohol for my wedding next year. I would appreciate any help you could give me

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