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Providence with a baby

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My wife and I are headed to Providence over Labor Day weekend with our baby, who will be turning 9 months old while we're in town. We're looking for some good restaurant recommendations, for both dinner and breakfast, where we won't feel uncomfortable carting in our giant stroller. That means breathing room and a staff and clientele who are used to such things. As far as dinner is concerned, baby's bedtime is a very strict 8:30, so we also need places where we can eat on the early side.

I only have two must-dos: seafood and Italian in Federal Hill. Other than that, anything works, as long as it's great, but bonus points for things Rhode Island does better than others. We also love using restaurants as an excuse to see interesting neighborhoods. We're staying downtown, but we'd love to visit some areas a bit off the beaten track, even out of the city, provided it's not a super long drive. (I've heard that many Rhode Islanders, being residents of the smallest state, consider fairly short distances to be "a super long drive," so I should clarify that I'm willing to travel up to 15 miles or so for good food. But I don't really want to travel just for good food -- if I have to hit the road, it should be good food in a worthwhile place.)

Can anyone help? I've heard Providence is a great restaurant town, so I'm looking forward to eating on this trip.

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  1. Do you mean that Federal Hill Italian and Seafood are OUT, or that those are two MUST have cuisines?

    First, I have an almost 10 month old daughter and I think most restaurants in Providence are fine to bring babies and we've brought her to quite a few. For Italian on Federal Hill, my favorite is Siena on Atwells (one of my favorite restaurants in the city, actually). It's quite loud inside, so I don't think anyone will notice a crying baby. It's a bit tight, so leave the stroller in the car if possible... Angelos, also on Atwells, is a quite good, very casual and inexpensive classic "red sauce" place, also very good for babies (and also quite spacious, so the stroller is fine).

    For seafood, there isn't much in the way of options for dedicated restaurants. Both of the ones downtown should be fine with babies.

    Places to *avoid* with babies might be the better question... Gracies has a very relaxed, upscale feel that a crying baby might disrupt. New Rivers is quite tight inside, as is Tini (as the name indicates). Most other places should be fine.

    Also, are you using this clamp on high chair in restaurants?: http://www.amazon.com/Inglesina-Fast-...

    If not, you should. It makes dining out with a baby 100 times easier!

    4 Replies
    1. re: Garris

      Thanks a lot for the advice! I meant that we MUST have seafood and Federal Hill Italian. Rhode Island, it sounds to me, might be saturated enough with seafood that there aren't really many dedicated seafood restaurants like there might be elsewhere -- if not, that's fine; I'll just try a place that does it well along with other things.

      At this point in his life, the baby has never sat in a high chair at a restaurant. We sadly don't go out to eat often anymore, but when we do, we always find a place where a stroller would work and roll that in. He's slow with the physical development, clearly taking after his uncoordinated parents, and he's only been sitting up independently in the last couple of weeks -- we didn't think standard restaurant high chairs offered enough support for his skill level. But he's getting good and he'll only be better when we take our trip, so that high chair might be a good idea to throw in the trunk.

      1. re: masterofzen

        Hmm.. the stroller makes it a little tough, but here are some places that come to mind, based on our experience with a baby (now toddler)...

        Another option for italian on Federal Hill might be to sit outside at Venda Ravioli or Costantino's (the outside area might be more forgiving space-wise with the stroller). I think you could also get away with the stroller in Cassarino's. They have a lot of space, although it is mostly upstairs (which may be a pain with the stroller).

        And while there are a ton of great seafood spots in Southern RI, the Providence area is a bit lacking. Hemenways has a nice menu, though, and at least for lunch (and probably an early dinner) would be fine with a baby in a stroller. We have done just that when our daughter was that age. Later dinner times might feel a bit less child-friendly. If you're feeling adventurous, you can drive out to Quito's in Bristol or Aunt Carries/Iggy's/Champlin's in Narragansett... all are very child-friendly.

        Other spots in the city that we have found to be child-friendly are:

        Red Stripe in Wayland Square
        Waterman Grille
        CAV (for brunch or lunch, probably not dinner)
        Modern Diner (weekends only for the expanded menu - bring cash!)

        -----
        Waterman Grille
        4 Richmond Square, Providence, RI 02906

        Cassarino's Restaurant
        177 Atwells Ave, Providence, RI 02903

        Red Stripe
        465 Angell St, Providence, RI 02906

        Modern Diner
        364 East Ave, Pawtucket, RI 02860

        Hemenway's
        121 South Main Street, Providence, RI 02903

        Venda Ravioli
        265 Atwells Ave, Providence, RI 02903

        1. re: LMWW

          Great tips! Thanks a lot -- I'll try some of these.

          1. re: masterofzen

            Just got back from my trip and wanted to report on what we ate.

            We hit Modern Diner for the weekend menu -- it was terrific, especially the custard french toast, and we didn't even need that much cash.

            Hemenway's was very good for dinner. It definitely didn't feel baby-friendly, and yet it was -- the waitstaff went out of their way to make us happy and check out the baby, who slept the whole time. Food was good -- I had some traditional New England baked scrod, and my wife gorged herself on local seafood.

            Cassarino's, that was fun. I had a puttanesca the way it should be, though my wife reported too-salty snail salad and overcooked shrimp in her pasta dish. Lots of space there, even on the ground level -- it was nearly empty on a Monday night.

            We meant to hit Waterman Grille, but you know, we have a baby on a schedule, we spent longer than we thought we would in Newport, and it just didn't happen. Oh, well, next time. The menu looked great.

            Rhode Islanders are wonderful! Everybody was very accommodating about the baby and we never felt uncomfortable. You guys have a great city, certainly one of the most underrated I've ever visited, and we're thinking maybe one day we'll join you on a more-permanent basis.

            -----
            Waterman Grille
            4 Richmond Square, Providence, RI 02906

            Cassarino's Restaurant
            177 Atwells Ave, Providence, RI 02903

            Modern Diner
            364 East Ave, Pawtucket, RI 02860

            Hemenway's
            121 South Main Street, Providence, RI 02903