Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Southern New England >
Mar 29, 2011 06:40 AM

Casual/swanky dining in/near Providence

I just did a search through the archives and really didn't see anything that appealed to me (or my wallet).

I'd prefer to stay away from classic, homey Italian places...but I'm not entirely against them, either. Although my boyfriend and I are in our 20's, we're intimidated by the pretentious hipsters that frequent places like Julian'

We're basically chain people trying to stray from our bad habits, so go easy on us.

Basic needs:
-cheap ($6-$10 apps, $8-$15 entrees)
-casual, comfortable atmosphere
-consistently good food


  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. You could probably do okay at Loie Fuller on your budget (maybe toss in a couple extra bucks each). It's bistro French in a gorgeous space. Small, well-priced wine and cocktail list, also.

    1. if you think julian's is full of "pretentious hipsters" you might just want to avoid providence altogether.

      3 Replies
      1. re: wormwood

        Well, I've only been there twice, so maybe I was just unlucky those times...but I felt very awkward, judged, and out of place. Could just be my insecurities talking. However, I generally find that places offering extensive vegan/veggie items tend to be VERY crowded...and I'd rather not sit centimeters away from another group/couple.

        Anyway, I live in Seekonk so I don't mind traveling to other towns in SE MA/RI.

        1. re: wormwood

          To be fair. Julian's is only 3/4 full of hipsters only half of whom are pretentious.

          In any event, I don't think feeling less than welcome there rules out the entire city.

          1. re: Frobisher

            LOL When my kids start doing fractions I'm going to give them this post as a practice assignment. We can probably work Venn Diagrams into the mix too. (e.g., a certain percentage of the hipsters also feel less than welcome, so they act pretentious to make up for that). 8<D

        2. Broadway Bistro is very nice, but at the top of your price range. If you really want $10 entrees, though, you'll have to make some compromises, and would be better off going to one of the more ethnically-focused places. I'm not up on Mexican/Guatemalan, but there are any number of places in Olneyville (or if you want to head up to CF.) Pho Horn is consistently good Vietnamese, and very nice people. O Dinis is great for Portuguese, but you won't find $10-12 entrees there, either, maybe $15-16.

          1. Try the Red Fez. Bit of a hipster vibe, but attracts all kinds and lacks the attitude you occasionally get a Julians. The bar upstairs is more hipstery then the dining room downstairs, but even the bar is my go to spot for after work drinks with colleagues (lawyers in suits). Food is great and in your price point.

            Menu is a mix of well down comfort food (grilled cheese, burgers, mac and cheese) and some fusion (pork belly tacos with kimchi)

            Red Fez
            49 Peck St, Providence, RI 02903

            5 Replies
            1. re: Frobisher

              Fez is perfect. How do I never remember them?!

              1. re: Frobisher

                2nd the fez! there are hipsters but they're not pretentious and everyone is treated nicely. one of my all time providence favs.

                1. re: Frobisher

                  Thanks guys! A friend of mine actually mentioned this a while ago but I apparently googled the wrong thing and ruled it out. I just found the REAL info and I'm excited to try it!

                  1. re: sonataozona

                    Agree on the Fez. Definitely one of our "go to" places...

                    How about Cafe Noir?

                    Great atmosphere (might even fit your request for Swanky?!), good food, good service, decent prices.

                    Cafe Noir
                    125 North Main Street, Providence, RI 02903

                    1. re: ezra9876

                      Fat Belly's in Providence offers what you're looking for as well. I had a great brurger there a few weeks ago, not expensive at all.

                      Fat Bellys
                      254 Old Forge Rd, Warwick, RI 02886