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The best dinner in Providence...for 9?

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I'm getting married next month, and I'm trying to choose a restaurant for a dinner out with my fiance's and my immediate families two nights before the wedding (a Thursday). We're having the rehearsal dinner at CAV, so I'd like to choose somewhere else. We live in SF and are not as up-to-date on the Providence restaurant scene.

I used to love Al Forno, but I gather from the boards that it isn't what it used to be. Some of the recommendations I've gotten include: New Rivers, The Dorrance, Gracie's, and La Laiterie. We like innovative food and farm-to-table. Because it will be a big group, excellent service is important. A lovely atmosphere would be nice, too (this is one of the things I remember liking about Al Forno). I'm leaning toward "new American" cuisine, but a great Italian dinner would be welcome, too.

What do you recommend?

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  1. Chez Pascal and Gracie's are 1 and 1A as far as I'm concerned, can't go wrong with either of those choices. New Rivers is excellent as well. If you are willing to travel outside of Providence, Persimmon in Bristol is the best restaurant in the state in my opinion.

    1. If your staying in the city then Gracies is IMO the best. Al Forno, They make it they way the want it served. arrogance at its best.

      1. Gracie's has a beautiful 'wine cellar' room that accommodates up to 10 people. Free to reserve, I believe.

        2 Replies
        1. re: barfly

          In addition to the good suggestion for the room at Gracie's, the Waterman Grille also has a nice private room upstairs which would be a great setting as well.

          1. re: Garris

            I second the Waterman Grille. Underrated food, very good service and a nice setting on the river. And parking!

        2. I would try Guido's on Hope street, one of the best Italian restaurants in PVD.

          1. Bacaro or Mills Tavern ... both topnotch...

            1. Thanks for the recommendations! We ended up going to the Dorrance, because they had an opening, and it's near my in-laws' hotel. It was wonderful. Our waiter (I think his name was Dave/David) was perfectly attentive without being unctuous. The food was delicious and the cocktails were tasty and well balanced.

              I'm hoping to check out Persimmon on my next visit. CH seems to love it!