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Aug 11, 2010 05:24 PM

Providence--Authentic Italian

Can you recommend a place for a nice Italian dinner in Providence. We would prefer something moderately priced and casual.

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  1. Angelo's.

    Depending on how casual you want, and which night of the week, Mike's Kitchen in Cranston.

    1. What constitutes "Authentic" to you? Are you looking for Italian-American (i.e. red sauce) or for something you would get in Italy?

      3 Replies
      1. re: Frobisher

        I know a few people in the Providence area *from* Italy who return there frequently who insist there is almost nothing in the area that constitutes contemporary "authentic" Italian food. It's not a knock on RI, but that almost everything in the US that is "Italian" is an almost Epcot Center-esque stereotype of Italian-AMERICAN food (and I capitalize American since if you know the history of the genre, that's mostly what it is, an American invention, just like Americanized Chinese food).

        They say there are one or two restaurants in NYC that really keep to the cutting edge of what is happening in Italy, but that's the closest you'll find. They said there really isn't anything in Boston that's "authentic" in that way.

        If you ask me about local "Italian" fare, my favorite restaurant is Siena. I grew up in a heavily Italian part of lower NY state and have had great "red sauce" fare, but I haven't found a single "red sauce" place in Providence (Angelo's and Mike's included) I'd want to return to... One or two in Johnston maybe, but overall I've been bitterly disappointed...

        1. re: Garris

          I guess the distinction would be between contemporary 'authentic' Italian and traditional 'authentic' Italian. Frankly, it is no surprise to me that there a few places in Boston, let alone Providence, doing food on the cutting edge of what Italian chefs in Italy are doing.

          By definition whatever was cutting edge, won't be by the time the concept crosses an ocean, gets fleshed out, financed, staffed and opened. Heck there isn't a place in Providence doing cutting edge AMERICAN cuisine.

          1. re: Frobisher

            All well and good, and certainly true, both about cutting-edge Italian and American, but, I think, largely beside the point, since a) I believe this line substantially over-thinks the point possibly raised by the casual use of "authentic" by the OP, and b) most of us in this discussion are not fortunate enough to live in San Francisco or New York, where you *can* find cutting-edge. We have to work within what is available here, and that is influenced by what there could be a market for. Much as I'd love for it to be the case, I'm pretty confident a Coi or a Momofuku wouldn't be economically viable in New England. Likewise, even if one could import a cutting-edge Italian restaurant from Italy, I'm not sure that could make a go of it here.

      2. Neither one of those places is Authentic Italian.

        4 Replies
          1. re: Frank Terranova

            Frank, you know the Prov. scene. Who does cook authentic Italian?

            Here on the Cape there is only one place,

            1. re: CapeCodGuy

              I'm not Frank, and I'm not sure he likes it, but Trattoria San Vivaldo in West Warwick is quite good, IMO.

              1. re: CapeCodGuy

                I checked this menu out you sent and it looks good. as far as a restaurant scene I totally stay out of it I go to a couple of places like Siena, Cafe Longo, and Venda for lunch. I like la Masseria I spent a week on the Isle of Capri and the food was a carbon copy of Capri. Simple and pure. In italy italian cuisine has taken a dramatic turn its new wave italian. A friend of mine who is a chef from italy spent 2 weeks at school in my class. The food was outstanding and all portions were all in small doses which most people want large amounts especially the high prices they charge because of labor, services, leases etc.
                Thanks again for the link.

                Cafe Longo
                154 Atwells Ave, Providence, RI 02903