Foodie guide to Providence, RI?
I am not seeing a whole lot of info for Providence (and surrounding area) on this site and would love some help. Any recommendations for restaurants, gourmet stores, kitchen stores, or any other unique foodie destinations in the area would be appreciated. I'm not worried about budget or location...just want to find EXCELLENT food. More importantly, I have been having a hard time finding a spot for a weekday business lunch. I am trying to find a nice place or just somewhere with truly fantastic food.
This is what I've found online, so far:
Restaurants: Flan y Ajo, Birch, Local 121, Gracie's, Chez Pascal, Tallulah in Newport
Brunch: Cook & Brown, Nick's on Broadway
Bakery: Seven Stars
Gourmet shop: The Farmstead
Local coffee roaster: Dave's
Italian Market: Venda Ravioli
Wine Shop: ENO
Cocktails: The Eddy
Lobster Roll & Oysters: Matunuck in South Kingstown
Please add to the list or agree/disagree with what I've found. I mainly went off of Google and Yelp. As for gourmet shops, I found a place called The Farmstead but it looks like it could just be a cheese and charcuterie shop. Are there any other gourmet shops in the area? Or other local food artisans (coffee roaster, chocolate maker, brewery, etc.)?
You've made a good start with your own investigations. Here are a few more thoughts off the top of my head:
Restaurants: North (West Side PVD); The Grange (West Side, PVD); La Laiterie (Wayland Square, PVD); Bacaro (South Main St. PVD); Cook & Brown (Hope Street); Persimmon (Bristol); Hourglass Brasserie (Bristol); The Dorrance (Downcity PVD--I've had mixed experiences, but others rave); New Rivers (Downcity, again mixed feelings but a foodie favorite) Thames Street Kitchen (Newport); Stoneacre Pantry (Newport); Bouchard (Newport)
Bakery: Ellie's (downtown); Pastiche (Federal Hill, PVD); Wildflour (Hope Street, PVD); Olga's Cup and Saucer (Jewelry district, PVD)
Business lunches (my rule of thumb is (1) lots of options, (2) accessible to variety of palettes, (3) easy access from downcity, (4) know how to keep the meal moving so it doesn't take forever (5) relatively formal ambiance): Parkside (south main street, PVD); the Dorrance (Downcity PVD); Hemenway's (South Main Street, PVD); Capriccio (Downcity); Mill's Tavern (North Main, PVD); Circe (Downcity, less formal).
Shops: Farmstead in Wayland Sq. is, indeed, mainly but not exclusively cheese and charcuterie--it's very nice. Venda Ravioli on Federal Hill is, likewise, excellent. Olive del Mundo (olive oil and vinegar); The Olive Tap (same, Wayland Square); the Winter Farmers Market at Hope Artiste Village in Pawtucket; Stock Culinary Goods (Hope Street, PVD)
Cocktails: The Avery (West Side, PVD), Bodega Malasena (wine bar); The Dorrance (Downcity, caution--often snooty bartenders); The Grange (West Side, consistently excellent cocktails); Cook & Brown (Hope Street, always interesting, often tasty); Julians (beer selection, West Side PVD)
Oysters: Good oysters at Hemenway's and North.
Breweries: There are an increasing number, my favorites are Foolproof, Bucket, and Revival, all in Pawtucket, and Grey Sail out of Westerly; also Buzzards Bay in Westport, MA
Coffee Roasters: New Harvest Coffee Roasters (Hope Artiste Village or Downcity in the Arcade); The Coffee Exchange (Wickenden Street, PVD); Ocean Coffee Roasters (Newport)
Chocolates: Garrison Confections (Central Falls); Laurent Vals Chocolates (Newport); La Maison de Coco (Newport--aaaamazing)
Wine Shops: Bottles (East Side, PVD); Bin 312 (South Main Street, PVD)
There was an extensive Providence brunch post a month or two ago. Also extensive posts on international cuisine dining, west side dining, downcity dining, etc. The RI discussions have been a bit slow in the past few weeks, but I encourage you to dig back into the board--there's plenty of recent information and recommendations to be had.
We did a food-based trip to Providence last September for the Taste Trekkers food travel conference.
We really enjoyed dinner at New Rivers, and we're still trying to recreate a vegetable dish with roasted carrots in a tahini sauce. I get the feeling that ordering any vegetable side will be a winner. I had gnocchi, can't remember the sauce but there was corn in it, and my husband had a fish entree but can't remember the sauce either. We started with a fish crudo, but can't remember what the fish was. It was not a highlight for me, but the main course and the carrot side dish was excellent. I also remember excellent gelatos after dinner, I believe one was chocolate basil. We would highly recommend it!
Another highlight was Venda Ravioli. We spent a while there shopping and bought many varieties of ravioli, they were gone in 10 days or so! We brought some as gifts for friends as well and they were a big hit.
Waterfire, though a non-food event, was also very cool to see, if you can catch it.