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Unique Eateries in Providence, RI...

Hey, all,

Taking a short trip to Providence with my girlfriend around Valentine's Day. We really enjoy unique, local, fancy/hole in the wall joints with strange and different foods than, say, The Cheesecake Factory. Not that that's not delicious. Ideally, things I can report back with on my food blog and say that I had a great time at. Reservations are okay, but we'd like to stay in the vicinity of the city. So where do you like to go?

FR

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  1. Vicinity of the city is a wide range. You'll have to narrow this down some -- where will you be staying, will you have a car, do you prefer to walk to your destinations or drive, what's your budget, etc. There are plenty of options, most of which you can read about just by doing a quick search.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Gin n Tonic

      Okay- thanks.

      We're staying at the Westin, will have a car, would prefer to drive. Budget depends on the food. I tend to allocate a good part of my cash toward good food!

    2. I'll start by saying you need to get some NY System wieners -- most definitely blogworthy. The Zippy the Pinhead comic strip has featured at least a couple RI wiener joints.

      Also, try some pizza strips -- many convenience stores have a box sitting on the counter, but there are also bakeries that specialize in them. (They don't have cheese and are best eaten cold.) This is real RI food, and likely considered strange and different by visitors.

      If you have a car, take the short drive to Iggy's in Oakland Beach for some clamcakes.

      For a more complete meal, go to Twin's Pizza in North Providence. Order the pizza well done, and round out the meal with snail salad and grapenut custard pudding. Now, if that doesn't sound strange and different, I don't know what will!

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      NY System Restaurant
      18 Plainfield St, Providence, RI 02909

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

      1 Reply
      1. re: Bob W

        If you want pizza strips, which I agree are amazing, you can get a whole box at Palmieri's bakery on the Hill, not to mention some incredible bread and wine biscuits.

      2. ok,heres a short list for you ;Tini,ami,lili marlenes,the avery for drinks,red fez,la latiere.theres more then hot dogs and pizza out there...

        1 Reply
        1. re: im hungry

          The OP asked for strange and different!

        2. I'm not really a fan of anything mentioned yet. I'd hit:

          Mike's Kitchen, inside the Cranston VFW, but worth the few extra minutes drive, great Italian
          Loie Fuller, amazing space, French bistro
          Julian's, amazing breakfast, funky interior, comically bad service
          La Laiterie, cozy, sort of locavore, make reservation
          Local 121 for cocktails
          Coffee Exchange, always mobbed, great coffee

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

          Local 121
          121 Washington St, Providence, RI 02903

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

          1 Reply
          1. re: invinotheresverde

            Mike's would be a great choice for a visitor. Classic RI food, decor, and clientele.

          2. I say what Bob W says.
            Also, Tommy's is good for distinctive RI pizza.
            Mike's Kitchen indeed excels in the "You almost forgot how good old-school basic Italian can be" category but if you do not go there, have lunch at the equally fine Gesualdi's out on Hartford Ave.

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

            Gesualdi's
            634 Hartford Ave, Providence, RI 02909

            3 Replies
            1. re: atheorist

              Nobody - but nobody - can bread & fry chicken breast like Gesualdi's.

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              Gesualdi's
              634 Hartford Ave, Providence, RI 02909

              1. re: JaneRI

                Ooooh- definitely. She loves Italian!

                1. re: zammdogg

                  This is a DINER, make no mistake about it. I'd go for lunch and sometimes be the only female in the place, the rest were cops & construction workers (not that i'm complaining).

                  If she loves Italian, don't miss Mike's Kitchen, Randall St in Cranston. Odd hours, call them.

            2. Providence has a large Portuguese population. There are several restaurants specializing in this cuisine but the only one I have visited is O Dinis. It must be authentic, since everyone else in the place seemed to be speaking Portuguese.
              http://odinisrestaurant.com/ .

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              O Dinis Restaurant
              579 Warren Ave, East Providence, RI 02914

              1. Mike's Kitchen at the VFW Hall in Cranston. Excellent simple Italian food.

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

                1. I've also heard good things about Gracie's. Is it worth the hype? We're also making it to Cuban Revolution.

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                  The Cuban Revolution
                  194 Washington St, Providence, RI 02903

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: zammdogg

                    I am absolutely NOT a fan of Cuban Revolution. They manage to consistently screw up the most basic dish - the cuban sandwich - by not pressing it long enough so it does not come out crispy and hot. Their other food tastes like it came off a Cisco truck, not fresh or authentic. However, if you go in more for the vibe and drinks you will be ok. Just know it is very mediocre food. Gracies I like a lot - excellent food and service. Pricey, though. I have maybe been 4 or 5 times total, though.

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                    The Cuban Revolution
                    194 Washington St, Providence, RI 02903

                    1. re: Jenkins

                      Cuban Revolution hasn't been good since they moved from their original location many moons ago. Back then, it was just a teeny, simple joint. Now they have Cuban tapas. WTF?

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                      The Cuban Revolution
                      194 Washington St, Providence, RI 02903

                  2. If you're going to be in the Gracie's area I'd recomend stoping by TINI, especially if it's just the two of you. Amazing small bar with great drinks and a really nice staff. They also have wonderful seasonal small plates that you can certainly make a meal out of. www.thetini.com

                    1. Nobody has yet mentioned Twin Oaks...it has been around for over 70 years and is ABSOLUTELY pure Rhode Island. I think their stuffies are among the best, and, two people would be hard put to finish the lobster salad. It is fun, and, it is one of the few restaurants where you see people, families and friends alike, actually communicating with one another and enjoying their meals rather than not taking their eyes off their mobile devices.

                      7 Replies
                      1. re: AikiLou

                        No one mentioned it because it stinks. ;)

                        1. re: invinotheresverde

                          Are you not being a bit harsh? No, it is not Mediterraneo or Pane Vino, etc.; HOWever, the food is decent, a value for the money, and, I feel that the wine list offers some good choices. It does not pretend to be fine dining, and, that is NOT why people go there anyway. What I SAID was: "Twin Oaks is PURE Rhode Island."

                          -----
                          Pane Vino Restaurant
                          1431 Post Rd E, Westport, CT 06880

                          Mediterraneo
                          134 Atwells Ave, Providence, RI 02903

                          1. re: AikiLou

                            I'm simply calling it like I see it. I have not enjoyed the food there, although I dig the ridiculously strong drinks.

                            I never implied it had to be fine dining to be good. I recommended Mike's Kitchen, fer cryin' out loud.

                            I DO think that Twin Oaks is great for people watching, but I find the whole experience dated, dumpy and trashy (hmm, maybe it IS pure RI).

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

                            1. re: invinotheresverde

                              I haven't been in a few years, but the last time I went it was because a friend wanted to go......I went unenthusiastically, but was pleasantly surprised by my excellent dinner. Perfectly cooked piece of fish, nice mashed potatoes, no complaints.

                            2. re: AikiLou

                              "Pure Rhode Island", it is mediocre at best and if you go on a busy night prepare to pay for your name to not get bumped down the wait list.

                              Everything that is wrong with the State of Rhode Island can be found in the lobby of this place.

                              1. re: FjmArch

                                The Twin Oaks experience belongs at the top of the "This could only be in Rhode Island" list. if that makes you curious, go, but avoid the weekend.

                                You get a big comfortable booth where you can sit as long as you want. There is something for almost everybody on the menu. The waiters can tell if you want wisecracks or quiet, competent service. The prices and drinks are quite reasonable. Steaks, chops and basic preparations of fish are entirely satisfactory. Lunch next day is part of the deal!

                                Bribery for the wait list is not in my experience. Maybe you have to be known, or pay up for a window seat overlooking the pond because I have never been seated at one. At least waiting in the bar is nice and you can look out the window there.

                                Sure, it is easy to find better food, especially if you pay more, but I have never regretted what I spent, time or money, for a meal there.

                                1. re: atheorist

                                  "Sure, it is easy to find better food, especially if you pay more, but I have never regretted what I spent, time or money, for a meal there."

                                  Very good summing up of Twin Oaks!

                        2. If you have time for lunch, I'd recommend trying to catch the Chez Pascal food truck. Really good, high quality ingredients and housemade sausages. http://www.chez-pascal.com/HewtinsDog...

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

                          1. For Pizza or an Italian Grinder, I perfer them hot.you could try Catanzaro's. They just opened on Park Ave in cranston, just up from the shell gas station.

                             
                            1. While not vintage Rhode Island, New Rivers is by far my favorite restaurant in Providence--its been around for 20 years and run by James Beard winner Bruce Tillinghast. Uses local produce/food and I've had things such as cock's combs there (rooster). Daily/weekly menu changes and its casual. Would need reservations.

                              1. For pretty good barbeque I recommend Rick's Roadhouse on Richmond St. Nice selection of beers, good brisket, nice sauce choices.

                                5 Replies
                                1. re: FoodieRI

                                  No wonder I am bored with the RI restaurant scene (At first I thought I was simply bored with Chowhound site). I am reading about Unique Eateries in Providence and reading about Twin Oaks and Rick's Roadhouse

                                  1. re: ronk

                                    Totally agree. Elkhay blows, and, well, I've made my opinion of Twin Oaks pretty clear.

                                    I neglected to put Trattoria San Vivaldo on my list. Brain cramp.

                                    1. re: invinotheresverde

                                      WOW

                                      Right to the point. I love reading these comments,Thank god I can cook.

                                      1. re: Frank Terranova

                                        amen! the better i get at cooking, the less i like restaurants that are passable, i'm down to @ 5 that i'll actually spend money at! lol

                                        1. re: sarabean

                                          I dont really go out that much I hit the winter farmers mkt. With no idea what to make until I see all the nice items then in my mind create a nice menu for my family. But I am going to take them to Chez Pascal. I have wanted to try it . Never the less the readfing on here is great.

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

                                2. Wildflour (yes that is the correct spelling) a vegan small cafe type place on the east side of Providence on the Pawtucket line. Delicious smoothies, pastry, coffee. You can also eat in the vegetarian restaurant a few doors down. Was at the vegan place yesterday with my daughter. Would never have guessed the pastries were pure vegan (no dairy, eggs, etc.) I guess this would qualify as different and/or unique for some people.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: barb2007

                                    Thought I would send a link to the above cafe. Their restaurant is also mentioned in the reviews.http://www.yelp.com/biz/wildflour-veg...

                                    1. re: barb2007

                                      That looks great -- nice to see such a cool place in my old neighborhood (if you look at the Yelp map, my old street, Scott St., is five short blocks from Wildflour. Will have to try it on my next visit to RI.