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Dec 24, 2012 03:45 AM

Italian Neighborhood Food Tour-Providence, New Haven suggestions?

I'm going to the South Shore of Mass for trip and figured we'd visit the various Italian neighborhoods along the way. I was planning on stopping in Providence, New Haven, possibly Arthur Ave. in the Bronx.

Any suggestions for places to check out, to eat would be appreciated. I know Hartford has an Italian neighborhood but I've been there and it doesn't seem like it's worth a trip.

Thanks for your help!

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  1. In Providence, Atwell's Ave is the main drag in Federal Hill. Park and walk around the area. You will see the piazza with Constantino's on one side and Venda Ravioli on the other. Must see markets are Venda and Tony's Colonial. Casserta's Pizza is one street over. Enjoy.

    6 Replies
    1. re: trufflehound

      A themed foodie road trip... Nice idea.

      There's good advice above for Providence and there are tons of opinions about Italian restaurants on Atwells (the "Federal Hill" neighborhood) you can search on Chow.

      Like most cities Italian "neighborhoods" at this point (like Boston's North End too), Federal Hill is mostly an Epicot Center-esque representation of Italian neighborhoods past. Beyond the front-of-the-house folks and patrons at its restaurants, you probably won't find many Italian Americans on Federal Hill, and fewer living there. Now ethnically and socioeconomically diverse, Federal Hill has matured into a broader dining district of serious note. There's great Chinese, Indian, Latin, and even Jamaican in addition to Italian.

      The most "Italian" area of the Providence region is probably now Johnston, RI, a standard suburb about 15 minutes north of the city that, if my memory serves me correctly, I believe may have the greatest concentration of individuals of Italian heritage in the US (about half of its population). I know a few people who believe the best Italian delis and "red sauce" restaurants are actually in Johnston, not Providence proper.

      1. re: Garris

        I would also suggest a visit to the Knightsville section of Cranston, which also holds some honorific regarding percentage of people of Italian descent -- most from one town, in fact, a place called Itri. One of the restaurants in Knightsville is called Caffe Itri (I haven't made it there yet).

        Also, Mike's Kitchen at the Tabor-Franchi VFW Hall in Cranston should be a must stop on this trip.

        After pizza at Caserta's, a walk down the street for dessert at Pastiche would be a great choice.

        1. re: Bob W

          If you're going to Caserta's try a wimpy skippy (a folded pizza/calzone thing loaded w/pepperoni, spinach, etc) -- they're very popular with people from RI.

          1. re: brokentelephone

            90 percent of whom call it a "wimpy skimpy."

            1. re: Bob W

              I loathe the wimpy skippy so am obliged to refer to it by its christian name!

          2. re: Bob W

            Caffe Itri is a favorite...the food is wonderful, as is the service. The staff is very friendly and very accommodating. I have loved the Hill since I was a teenager. I call Venda Ravioli the Dean and DeLucca of Providence. I have been in long lines there that stretch around the store during holiday time...and...people actually talk to one another and enjoy what is going on around them.

      2. For the New Haven part of your trip would suggest Campagna in nearby Branford. Great real Italian, not American reditions. Many specials like my grandmother use to make, Tripe, Soffritto, etc. Visit there website for full menu. This place rivals Federal Hill and the North End of Boston IMHO.

        1. Its best to stay on Atwells Ave. Venda is nice for lunch, Siena, Panne Vino, Venda Bar for Pizza, Tony's Scialo Bakery, Pastiche for the best desserts IMO for a pastry shop, its pricy but the best of ingredients used and they know how to use them. there are so many places on the hill its the parking problem the burbs like Cranston have only one or two so if you are in Cranston thats it.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Frank Terranova

            Hi Frank-Thanks for your help I think it sounds like a plan. Any good pizza or sandwich places on Atwells. My son prefers that stuff. Any reason you see for us to go to Cranston of Johnston? Our time in Providence will really be a day trip on the way to New Haven.


            1. re: acewex

              Vendas and Tony's Coloinal has the best Sandwichs its a flip of the coin. I like Vebda Bars Pizza because Its a close to Michela's in Naples Italy just Tomato, Garlic and Basil. If you want to venture away from Atwells try Providence Coal Fired Pizza Sandwichs, Coal Fired Oven Pizza nice place, clean, roomy nice beers total family place. Either way where ever you eat I always just have dinner them go to Pastiche for dessert and coffee if you dont mind the crowds.

          2. In New Haven, you have the Wooster St. area.

            For Pizza you have Frank Pepe's and Sally's. For upscale Italian, there's Tre Scalini.

            For pastry, you have Lucibello's on Grand Ave.

            Also, there's Adrianna's on Grand Ave. Great seafood.

            You might take a walk in Wooster Square and enjoy the park.

            In my opinion, those are the Italian places worth going to in New Haven.