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Jun 22, 2010 02:56 PM

Top Ten Restaurants in RI

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

    13 Replies
      1. re: foodjunkie1991

        On a decidedly downscale note...

        Aunt Carries

        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

          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

            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

              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

              I think Zippy the Pinhead strip was referring to Olneyville...

              1. re: Td61

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


            3. re: okra

              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

                Please elaborate? I would love to learn...

                1. re: okra


                  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: okra

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

        2. Nice list Agree with 75% of them
          Pascal --never been hear all nice things about it
          New Rivers --Good
          Castle Hill --Excellent
          Al Forno-- Na
          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. 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

              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

                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

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

                  1. re: Frank Terranova

                    No Chez Pascal? You're missing out.

                    Chez Pascal Restaurant
                    960 Hope St, Providence, RI 02906

              2. 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

                  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

                    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. 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.