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Newport Dinner: Black Pearl, Mooring or the Pier?

Hi CT Chowhound here with a question for an upcoming trip:

Which of these would you choose?
BlackPearl (Tavern side), Pier or Mooring on a Winter Saturday Night - No kids.

The 2nd night we are in town we are doing Perro Salado so thought we'd try something more traditionally seafood oriented for the Saturday Night.

Thank you in advance for any info (ordering tips welcomed!)

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  1. The Pier is tragically bad. Chowder like glue. Please don't go there. Black Pearl and Moorings are both solid choices. What kind of an atmosphere are you looking for?

    Moorings was renovated a few years ago and is very shiny and pretty now, but it is a little generic. Having said that, it is our go to place for taking out of town guests. Even when the place is mobbed during the boat show or jazz fest, service is excellent. The "bag of donuts" app is not to be missed.

    Black Pearl has a much more traditional feel and is a uniquely Newport destination. I'm a little embarrassed to say I've never had a full meal there. But their reputation is solid.

    Perro is an excellent choice for a fun night out. Try to grab a seat in the back bar. Very cozy.

    If you haven't chosen a Sunday brunch spot, Clarke Cooke puts on a nice one with live music.

    2 Replies
    1. re: debtslave

      +1 all of the above
      Also - 5th Element just reopened and has really good food and a fun bar atomsphere.

      1. re: debtslave

        Hi Debtslave,

        I'm sorry to hear how you feel about The Pier. I actually work for the restaurant and would love to extend a sincere apology for any bad experience you may have had at The Pier Restaurant.

        We strive to deliver each dish to perfection.

        We would love for you to give us another try. We would extend a 20% discount on your next meal due to your previous experience.


        Ana Henao

        Marketing / Social Media

        The Pier Retaurant
        Howard Wharf, Newport, RI 02840

      2. Any reason to avoid the Castle Hill Inn?

        Castle Hill Inn & Resort
        590 Ocean Ave, Newport, RI 02840

        Perro Salado
        19 Charles St, Newport, RI 02840

        Black Pearl the W Pelham
        W Pelham, Newport, RI 02840

        The Mooring Restaurant
        1 Sayer's Wharf, Newport, RI 02840

        3 Replies
        1. re: okra

          I haven't eaten at Castle Hill in three years, so I can't say anything current about the food. And as much as I love that space during the summer, in the winter time I find that dining room to be very cold. And with the sun setting around 4:30 these days, there isn't much of a view at dinner time. I would save it for a fall or spring weekend.

          1. re: debtslave

            A big thanks to all for your responses! Some day we'll do Castle Hill but not this time - The Black Pearl/Mooring it will be.

            So will I need a res for Mooring or Perro Salado on a January Weekend Night? I think Black Pearl Tavern is a no reservation place so we may just roll the dice.

            Any tips at what to order at any of these places is very appreciated...


            Perro Salado
            19 Charles St, Newport, RI 02840

            1. re: debvil

              Perro Salado - sticky ribs! and margaritas ( I love the cucumber and the cilantro)!

              Mooring - both scallop and clam chowder are really good.

              You might make a reservation at both Perro and Mooring - ask for the back room at Perro Salado.

              Perro Salado
              19 Charles St, Newport, RI 02840

        2. The Mooring is one of our favorites, bits not 'fine dining' if that matters. It's a good combo of seafood and comfort food. And has a decent wine list.

          1. I'd say mooring - only had appetizers there, esp the bag of donuts. But, when we looked at the menu we wanted to go back for dinner but had reservations elsewhere, so Mooring is on our list the next time we go to newport.

            3 Replies
            1. re: Shoreliner

              What about The Deck? What is "the bag of donuts"?

              1. re: Alica

                Bag of donuts is a little bag filled with seafood fritters, served with a remoulade similar to what many places serve with crab cakes. We get one every time we're there.

                1. re: Spaizy

                  Well I think I'll be making a trip to the Moorings! Sounds good!!

            2. We love the Mooring and The Pier. The Pier with its new owners is really pretty good. The Pier,with it's old owners, was not very good. The Black Pearl is a tourist haven that's a bit overrated. They get by on the reputation of their chowder, but even that's a bit overpriced.

              1. Avoid the Black Pearl, simply horrible food. The Mooring is good. Maybe a little pricy, but the food is always good, and the service is spot on.

                1 Reply
                1. re: jjbourgeois

                  In defense of the Black Pearl... I like it. I can see any remark about it being touristy because it is. It's a staple in the area. Nice atmosphere/location but cramped when busy. I mean tables are about six inches apart. BUT I go there about once a Summer and never had a bad meal and like the menu.

                2. The Mooring - or (even better) Talullah!

                  1. just wanted to say thanks & give an update:

                    We ended up having $5 martinis at Christies - free yummy apps too ( FYI every M-F 5-7) and were swayed by the bartender to forgo the Mooring & try RI quohaug house..we were skeptical but decided to try it. It was Very Good, we had a pork porterhouse w/wild mushrooms & a filet mignon w/Stilton cheese, also escargot w/portobellow mushroom.

                    Overall Newport was EMPTY & Black Pearl and many other restaurants & Stores closed January through Winterfest.

                    Perro salado was delish - we had grilled caesar salad, guacamole, the tamarind short rib & the mushroom hangar steak. All was very tasty but that place was PACKED & we were there at 6pm...

                    So thanks Chowhounds next time we will try Mooring ...

                    7 Replies
                    1. re: debvil

                      Wow - you got to the new Quohaug company within less than a week of opening with new owners - what did you have? I went for drinks, but didn't eat there.

                      1. re: harryharry

                        wow didn't realize it was THAT new! We had: a pork porterhouse w/wild mushrooms & a filet mignon w/Stilton cheese, also escargot w/portobello mushroom. Both entrees came with really nicely done veggies too. We'd definitely go back. It was well priced, service was good & food was delish!

                        1. re: harryharry

                          Didn't even know it reopened and i work just around the corner. Guess I couldn't see it through my frozen windows as i drove by. Thanks for the review!

                        2. re: debvil

                          Next time you go, look into Tallulah (in the old Pronto spot) further down Thames, close to the Pier. Chef Rojas is doing amazing stuff there (soused at Mansion). using locally sourced ingredients with a thoroughly modern twist on (most) everything. the menu changes. first time we went there was a wonderful scallop dish with creamed corn, fresh cut corn and popcorn. The diver scallops were the biggest Ive ever seen and we didn’t hold much hope for their taste but wow, incredible. Lobster with a coconut and red pepper sauce, deconstructed chowder, wonderful cheese plate, beef ragu with atwells gold cheese.... Everything was spectacular. Great service, nice atmosphere, fairly casual, small room, a bit pricey ($25+ entrée). I guess they were trying cheaper tapas upstairs but it didn’t work.

                          Perro Salado, Salvation Cafe, Tuckers and the Mooring are among my favorites and Im looking forward to Fluke. Diego's (mex) is a cheaper end of the scale, but quality and good margs, very small -- wont bode well in summer.

                          I have not been to the Pier in years and have never been impressed. They are on Restaurant.com if you want to give it a go.

                          Save Castle Hill for summer sunsets. Food is OK (i like the chowder) but expensive. You pay for location location location.

                          has anyone tried the Deck since it changed hands (a while ago i know). Used to love the food at the West Deck.

                          Perro Salado
                          19 Charles St, Newport, RI 02840

                          1. re: 5thAndNowhere

                            If you liked the food at the West Deck....try the Speakeasy...(the old Quahog Company on Thames) The old chef from WD is there now.

                            1. re: milemarker0

                              Mitchell or his sous who took over after he went to the Chanler? either way ill check it out thanks!

                              1. re: 5thAndNowhere

                                Ahh its the sous turned chef at WD. Rob something. Thanks again for the suggestion.

                        3. We were in Newport recently and my wife had been obsessing over the "bag of doughnuts" she saw on the menu at the Mooring so when our boat sales rep invited us to dinner that's where we had to go. Having eaten somewhat earlier she decided to have the bag of doughnuts as her dinner and said they were delicious. Our rep and his wife both had striper with barley cous cous. I had grilled ahi with a great side of baby potatoes, red peppers, anchovies, black olives, garlic and a few other odds and ends I forget. Outstanding. I had a delicious chocolate cake and very excellent coffee was served in individual French press pots. That coffee was nearly as memorable as the rest of the meal.

                          I was under the impression the Mooring smacked of old Newport straw boaters and blue blazers- maybe it was the imposing building- but found the place inviting, friendly and with good service. I wouldn't hesitate to eat there again. In fact, we'll have to since my wife didn't share her doughnuts.

                          The previous night we went to Pour Judgement for the second time. Friendly neighborhood bar with very good beer selection and bar food a few notches above bar food. Good mussels, sandwiches, etc. a few interesting entrees.

                          Perro Salado is on our list for next time. I hope our rep likes Mexican.

                          Pour Judgement
                          32 Broadway, Newport, RI

                          Perro Salado
                          19 Charles St, Newport, RI 02840