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Worst of Rhode Island

To help spur on some discussion of RI cuisine I thought I would copy a popular post. Worst food, most overrated, the place everyone else love to go and you hate....whatever your definition is feel free to share.

My fiancees family and friends of our are constantly dragging us to Marchettis in Cranston. I admit that there are a few things I dont mind on the menu but I really cannot stand the huge portions of mediocre food. The pasta sauce doesnt taste like anything!

The worst meal I may have ever eaten was at Fire & Ice at the Providence Place Mall. Long lines, sub-par food, tastless sauces, unsanitary cooking areas. Inedible.

My best friend and his wife love the Grille on Main (East Greenwich) and despite several attempts there I have yet to enjoy a meal the way they do.

Your worst of the worst?

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Marchetti's Restaurant
1463 Park Ave, Cranston, RI 02920

Fire & Ice
48 Providence Pl, Providence, RI 02903

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  1. We've had crappy experiences at most of the Elkhay places, especially for the price.

    One friend loves Rue, but it stinks every time I go there for something other than brunch.

    Pizzico used to be great, but once it changed hands, it went wayyyyy downhill.

    1. Marchetti's

      I do agree one of the worst if not the worst But Joe, I live in Cranston and drive by there on my way home from school and its packed to the hilt. Now only 2 things can achieve this. 1. Tons of food,2, cheap prices. I think I hit them both. Fire and Ice I cant figure out how they are still operating.

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      Marchetti's Restaurant
      1463 Park Ave, Cranston, RI 02920

      8 Replies
      1. re: Frank Terranova

        Frank, I know you are too blunt for many people, but even though I have never eaten at Marchetti's, you have nailed their secret -- many Rhode Islanders are "quantity" diners. Fortunately there are now many more "quality" diners as well. But still, a big plate of food will usually pack 'em in.

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        Marchetti's Restaurant
        1463 Park Ave, Cranston, RI 02920

        1. re: Bob W

          Bob,
          computers dont have tone and things seem brash or blunt but the fact remains they pack them in and you cant beat success I guess. The burb's are starting to have quality restaurants where people just want good food.The only place where I would not go is a Steak House. Doesnt make sense. More people than ever grill even year round. So if the craving hits for a steak do it.

          1. re: Frank Terranova

            I'm guessing Twin Oaks still packs them in too, and the proprietors probably don't give a **** about what people on Chowhound think about their food.

          2. re: Bob W

            That is certainly not a RI phenom.....what about Vinny Testa's? Same format. Boil up a pound of pasta, cover it w/mediocre sauce and a hunk of chicken or eggplant or whatever, and people will rave. Pasta that you could buy for .89 at the grocery store on sale, so it's really not even a bargain.

          3. re: Frank Terranova

            Every time I am there there is a 45+ minute wait. My MIL LOVES the Chicken Parm, especially the fact that it comes with a pound of pasta with it. If the pasta sauce actually tasted like something it would be ok but I have to douse it with so much parmesan to give it flavor it barely tastes of tomato anymore. GIve me a place like Mikes kitchen anyday!

            1. re: joe777cool

              We did not like the Hemingways in E. Greenwich.

              1. re: Alica

                Hemenway's*, just so there's no confusion.

          4. RI's boundless love for Dunkin Donuts is frightening. The coffee is barely drinkable and everything else, especially the greasy little snacky things, is nauseating. The prices of those toxic smelling concocted beverages are shocking considering that the cup probably costs them more than the sugar and artificial flavoring inside. It would be funny except for the fact that if present trends continue, in a few years no other dining establishments will remain.

            3 Replies
            1. re: atheorist

              D/D is a no brainer. You have not seen anything yet in the next 10 years more chain places will abound this is according to industry standards as because of all the companies we work with. I like almost everyone in RI had been to D/D I drive by 2 of them in 1 mile radius on my way home from work I have stopped only for coffee and the taste difference is quite different because of the way they do the grinding setting. My favorite coffee places are Bon Ami in Cranston and Felicias in EG. In RI there are more restaurants then people.

              1. re: atheorist

                While doing the Thanksgiving thing with family in Brookline (not RI, but close enough), I ran into the same thing. Got busted on for not liking DD coffee, was told I was a snob.

                You know what? I used to work at DD. It was, in fact, my first real job. Worked the closing shift for a summer or two when I was in high school waaaaaay back in the seventies. THEN the coffee was good. THEN we offered only two kinds: coffee or decaf. THEN we kept an eye on the clock and if a pot hadn't sold in 17 minutes, we poured it down the drain. And the donuts, while still pretty junky, were baked on site. Mind you, even in 1975, the only actual fruit in any of the doughnuts was apple. Everything else was dye and artificial flavors. I know. I went in the back and read the ingredients of EVERYTHING. And those donuts were gourmet compared to the synthetic industrial crap they put out now. And the coffee drinks? I shudder, I shudder! Because I drink coffee, not some frou-frou dessert in a cup that they call coffee.

                At least Starbucks makes an effort to have actual food in their food. And their coffee is decent. And their staff is well trained. Given the choice, I'll take a good independent over anything. But given that I've been on the road a lot, I have to make some strategic calls. If, after trying the local options, there's nothing drinkable in a town at the indies, oh yes, I will find a Starbucks.

                But Dunkin Donuts? I go there when I have to GO. And then I buy a small black coffee by way of rent for the facilities. And that is it.

                1. re: atheorist

                  y'know, as a former RI'er who lives in Los Angeles (a city without a single DD), when I come back the first thing I do is go straight to DD for a "large regulah" and it damn well tastes like the caffeinated nectar of the gods.

                2. Many of the more frequently touted RI restaurants would make my worst list, including Twin Oaks, Sienna, Hemenway's, and Pizzico.

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

                  8 Replies
                  1. re: GSM

                    Twin Oaks was my parents favorite. I go there every so often and have veal parm and pasta but the food really is just a step above mediocre in my eyes. I do enjoy the house salad dressing, however.

                    Honorable mention goes to Tortilla Flats - maybe the worst mexican in the state and Wes's Rib House - 2 "Best of RI" picks.

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                    Tortilla Flats
                    355 Hope St, Providence, RI 02906

                      1. re: invinotheresverde

                        Can one of you locals tell me how Tortilla Flats has remained in business for 35 freakin' years? I remember when it first opened and thought, how cool, a Mexican restaurant in Little Rhody, but the entrance seemed so unwelcoming that I never ventured in, and from all I read for you guys the food sucks too.

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                        Tortilla Flats
                        355 Hope St, Providence, RI 02906

                        1. re: Bob W

                          Here is how they stay in business.

                          Think of it as a friendly bar where you can bring the kiddies and they can eat.

                          To be in the heart of 02906, yet not overrun by a Thayer Street crowd and also without the stuffiness of Wayland Square or upper Hope street is a solid niche.

                          Most of the food is abysmal but the salsa is pretty good. Never order anything besides the fajitas or a veggie burrito, which are pretty lame but at least not crappy.

                          1. re: atheorist

                            True that their spicy salsa isn't awful.

                          2. re: Bob W

                            the food at tortilla flats has actually gotten a lot better recently (new chef/kitchen manager). i have to say i kind of find it funny when people complain about it though. it's total "gringo mexican" at best, what were you expecting? i just think of it as a bar where i can get a burger or a taco if i get hungry while drinking.

                            as for why it's been in business so long? great location, friendly bar, a ton of loyal regulars, and most of the people dining there wouldn't know (or want) "good" mexican food anyway.

                            1. re: wormwood

                              "i kind of find it funny when people complain about it though. it's total "gringo mexican" at best, what were you expecting?"

                              Nobody kids themselves into thinking Tortill Flats is authentic Mexican. Their "gringo mexican" or tex mex or whatever you want to call it just isnt that good! Id rather go to a place like On the Border for fajitas or tacos, at least it will be consistent......the complete opposite of TF's. (But I will still choose one of the many wonderful mexican restaurant around Providence 9 times out of 10)

                              1. re: joe777cool

                                I'm not advocating Tortilla Flats but mere mention of On the Border makes me heave.

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                                On the Border
                                19 Commerce Way, A Woburn, MA

                                Tortilla Flats
                                355 Hope St, Providence, RI 02906

                    1. Was just in RI visiting my g/f's parents in East Greenwich, and we had a pretty bad meal at a place called Junction Trattoria in North Kingstown (i think). It got great reviews on yelp, but was damn lame.