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Fun in Providence near Renaissance Hotel

donovt Jun 24, 2013 12:11 PM

My wife and I are staying at the Renaissance Hotel next Friday and are looking for a fun restaurant within walking distance. Planning on having a few drinks, so we will not be bringing a car. Of course a cab is always an option if there is a can't miss that's not walking distance.

Price is no object, just not in the mood for a "fancy" restaurant. Definitely looking for fun/casual. Any type of food except Thai (just because we eat a lot of it). Any recommendations are greatly appreciated.

  1. f
    Frank Terranova Jul 9, 2013 02:48 AM

    Someone mentioned Coal Fired Pizza. Its not like other Pizza joints. Its lively, nice bar, Most tables are high top's. Interesting menu. BUT use a cab. Providence Streets are not safe near the outside of the mall

    2 Replies
    1. re: Frank Terranova
      Nl2012 Jul 9, 2013 04:44 AM

      Or walk. The streets of providence are no more dangerous than any other city in the USA.

      1. re: Nl2012
        donovt Jul 9, 2013 10:10 AM

        We walked there and back and are happy to report that we made it unscathed.

    2. d
      donovt Jul 8, 2013 11:01 AM

      We ended up going to North and having a wonderful time. Arrived a little before 7:00 and only had to wait a few minutes for a table. Food was awesome and this was exactly the type of place we were looking for.

      Thanks again to everyone for the suggestions. Now we have a few places on our list for future visits.

      5 Replies
      1. re: donovt
        kdemayo Jul 10, 2013 01:40 PM

        Hi donovt. My husband and I are planning on trying North this Saturday night. No reservations either and I don't mind the wait. How were the portion sizes? I've been checking the menu pretty frequently and I basically want everything. I'm guessing the fried chicken and rock crab feast (for 2-4pp) will be too much for us especially since I really do want to try a lot of other small plates. How much did you order and what would you recommend? I can't wait! :)

        1. re: kdemayo
          donovt Jul 10, 2013 02:07 PM

          My wife and I ended up doing six dishes. The waitress suggested we get four. After four, we still wanted more so ordered two more.

          We had the following:
          Mini ham biscuits - one of my favorites. Didn't really seem to fit with in with the rest of the menu, but delicious
          Hidden oyster- very good. May have been my wife's favorite, but I thought the flavor of the oyster was lost a bit.
          Fish dumplings- our least favorite. Not even sure what I didn't like about it. Flavor was just a little odd.
          Sesame noodles- very solid, really tasty, but nothing mind blowing.
          Strange Caesar salad- good, but I probably wouldn't order it again.
          Mapo tofu- this was incredible. I generally don't like tofu, but I ate a huge amount even though it was the last dish and I was quite full.

          Hope you enjoy! We had a great time.

          1. re: donovt
            kdemayo Jul 11, 2013 09:32 AM

            Thank you for the helpful response. We'll probably do six as well. LOL.

        2. re: donovt
          Frank Terranova Jul 12, 2013 03:18 AM

          I have heard some nice things about North. Glad you enjoyed it and glad you didn't walk the friendly streets of Prov. Don't let anyone bull you its pretty bad. Coming from Former Cops. Restaurants are nice but its a car or cab.

          1. re: Frank Terranova
            donovt Jul 12, 2013 09:14 AM

            Thanks Frank. We actually walked both ways. Having lived in NYC my whole life I've been in my share of sketchy neighborhoods and felt comfortable with the walk. Granted, it was kind of early in the night. If it had been later we probably would have taken a cab on the return trip.

        3. r
          RhodyRedHen Jun 26, 2013 11:31 AM

          I second digga's recommendation of Flan y Ajo. Also consider Birch. It just opened, but it's supposed to be great.
          Although there's no reason to necessarily leave downtown, my favorite dining of the moment is North, hidden away on the West Side. Red Fez is very good, bar atmosphere, but I tend to want their food more in the winter for some reason...Still, worth hitting up the bar after dinner to get a taste of the local scene. Food at AS220 on Empire is casual vegetarian and a fun atmosphere.
          For amazing drinks, I can't recommend the Eddy highly enough. I like to go by before dinner for an aperitif, before it gets too busy.

          1 Reply
          1. re: RhodyRedHen
            donovt Jun 26, 2013 01:14 PM

            Thanks for all the suggestions everyone!

            For now we are leaning towards North. The menu looks very interesting. Who knows, if the weather isn't cooperating or we just aren't up for a long walk, it's good to have options.

            We're in Rhode Island about four or five times a year. So, whatever we miss this trip we'll be sure to catch another time.

          2. digga Jun 25, 2013 06:47 PM

            Within walking distance of your hotel, I love Thee Red Fez. Flan Y Ajo on Westminster is tiny and BYOB. A link to other ideas. You don't have to go all the way to the West Side...plenty to eat and drink in your immediate area (and that's from a West Sider!). There are a couple of really interesting bars tucked in here and there - you gotta seek 'em out but that's part of the fun!




            1. j
              Jenkins Jun 25, 2013 05:35 AM

              Fat Belly's Pub is fun, if you like sports. Lots of tvs, large selection of beers to chose from, pretty good pub food, in an historic old building. If you are looking for betterfood that's unique or different I'd go more for North or Broadway Bistro. Less of a bar scene, though.

              9 Replies
              1. re: Jenkins
                donovt Jun 25, 2013 06:47 AM

                I've never been to fat belly's in providence, but have been to the east Greenwich one a few times. Definitely a solid place.

                Going to take a closer look at north and broadway bistro. I thought they both looked interesting, but wasn't sure if they were really walkable.

                1. re: donovt
                  donovt Jun 25, 2013 07:10 AM

                  I think either of those are great options. It doesn't look like either of them take reservations. What kind if wait would I expect walking in on a Friday night?

                  1. re: donovt
                    wormwood Jun 25, 2013 07:32 AM

                    friday night will definitely have a wait at north unless you get there at like 6:30 probably. the nice thing about that place is you can walk across the street to the avery for a drink and north will call your cell when your table is ready.

                    broadway bistro is a bigger than north so if it's just two people you may luck into a table without much of a wait, or if you don't mind eating at the bar(s), that is another option.

                    1. re: wormwood
                      donovt Jun 25, 2013 07:40 AM

                      Awesome! I think we'll be happy at either one. Eating at the bar is no problem for us.

                      Thanks to everyone for the help.

                      1. re: donovt
                        RhodyRedHen Jun 26, 2013 02:02 PM

                        The last time I was there, it looked like North was actually taking reservations. It might be worth giving them a call to see.

                        1. re: donovt
                          Frobisher Jun 26, 2013 02:24 PM

                          North does take reservations (or at least it did for my wife and I last month).

                          1. re: Frobisher
                            donovt Jun 26, 2013 05:58 PM

                            Oh no! There's no "reservation" link on their website, and clicking on "contact us" only brings you to an email address. So, I just assumed there were no reservations.

                            Hmmmm.....does anyone have any experience going there without reservations? The more my wife and I have talked about it, the more excited we've been to go there. There are a bunch of reasons why it'll be tough to nail down a time until day of.

                            1. re: donovt
                              RhodyRedHen Jun 26, 2013 06:41 PM

                              We've been about 4 times, and we've never had a reservation. We tend to go on the early side though (6-7), just to be safe. Once we sat at the bar, but the bartender was nice to chat with, so we didn't mind. The thing to keep in mind is that North seats maybe 20 people. It is petit. You might have to stand around for a bit and wait, but they'll fix you drinks or, like wormwood said, you can go to the Avery across the street. You won't be sorry --the Avery is awesome and North is well worth a wait!

                              1. re: RhodyRedHen
                                donovt Jun 26, 2013 07:09 PM

                                Thanks for the reassurance!! No problem waiting, or sitting at the bar, or waiting in a different bar.

                2. atheorist Jun 25, 2013 03:50 AM

                  Nothing wrong with having that pizza and wings for dinner!

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: atheorist
                    donovt Jun 25, 2013 06:42 AM

                    Very good point!

                  2. c
                    Clams047 Jun 24, 2013 12:27 PM

                    For a lunch, it'll be hard to beat a rocket pizza and perhaps some coal-fire chicken wings at Providence Coal Fire Pizza.


                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Clams047
                      donovt Jun 24, 2013 02:17 PM

                      Forgot to mention I was looking for dinner, but that does sound like a nice lunch. Maybe we'll squeeze that in before we head back home on Saturday. Thanks!

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