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Newport, RI foodie restaurant suggestion

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My husband and I will be in Newport, RI in the beginning of June. We are self-proclaimed foodies and would love to hear suggestions for dinner/lunch. Although we care about atmosphere and service, our main objective is to find a place with fresh seafood, and delicious food. A lot of the reviews I've been reading have given mixed reviews:
Some say Tallulah is amazing and others are calling it "overpriced and leaves on a plate"
I'm also getting mixed reviews about Mooring. The only places that seem to have consistent good reviews are Anthony's in Middletown and Bouchard, but we need at least 3-4 more restaurants to visit during our stay. Thank you for the help!

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  1. Here is my report from last November

    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/926190

    1. I think Tallulah is worth it. No, you won't be served heaping portions, and what you do get won't come cheap. Personally, I get tired of the Mooring, but most people seem to love it, so why not give it a shot too.

      Other foodie favorites are Thames Street Kitchen and Stoneacre Pantry. Grab a burger for lunch or dinner at Mission. I'd skip the Spiced Pear and most of the other hotel restaurants in town.

      There are plenty of enjoyable places a "step or two down" from the heights of Tallulah, Bouchard, and SP. We've had pleasant meals at Malt and El Perrito (lunch), for example.

      If you want seafood and are willing to hop over the bridge, checkout Jamestown Fish. Jamestown is nice to walk around pre or post-dinner too. The chef was named one of food & wine's "people's best new chef 2014," and the fish is always fresh and usually interesting.

      2 Replies
      1. re: RhodyRedHen

        Oh, and Anthony's is a good choice for a fish shack lunch. It's not fine dining and doesn't want or need to be. Really, no trip to RI is complete without the full clam cake and chowder experience!

        1. re: RhodyRedHen

          Perhaps we made a mistake getting their seafood platter, but everything on it was fair / mediocre. Service was excellent and the meal was served promptly (hot) from the kitchen, but the clams were small, they use bay vs. sea scallops, frozen fries and the cole slaw was fair, at best. It was nice having flounder as an option for the fish, but we felt the batter was too thick.

          Although on the other side of the bay, Buttonwood Fish & Chips in Warwick serves a far superior product for essentially the same price - much larger (and much more flavorful) shrimp, clams & scallops with fresh cut fries & fresh cole slaw using a very light batter on the seafood items. No comparison.

      2. Scales and Shells for great seafood and Mamma Luisa's for super Italian both on Thames. Bouchard's has great French. And Castle Hill which is just a short drive from downtown has great food and an outstanding view on the waterfront. Enjoy

        1. Thanks everyone for the suggestions!

          1. Will you have a car? If so I would hop over to Bristol for dinner at Persimmon. One of the best restaurants in the state IMO.

            1 Reply
            1. re: ajh05004

              Yes, I'd second Persimmon if you have a car and don't mind a bit of drive (30-35 minutes from Newport). Depending on your route, much of that ride would be relatively scenic. Like Jamestown, Bristol is a pleasant seaside town, with a nice waterfront and plenty of stores to window-shop before heading in to dinner. Note, you really need reservations, and they generally serve dinner in two seatings, one early (around 6) and one late (around 8). They can be less than flexible if you want another time, but the food is worth the hassle.

            2. How about Fluke Wine Bar?

              1 Reply
              1. re: talita530

                Fluke is excellent as mostly places in Newport. Red Parrot typical tourist place slam them in slam them out. Someone told me the menu is massive which means there isnt much of a clue whats going on. Plus on Thames Street area once to pay to park you can hit all the places to look at things Salado is good

              2. Perro Salado is always on our list when visiting Newport, they have great Mexican food in a cozy atmosphere.

                1. We recently had a great dinner at Malt (but it was loud) and usually do well at Perro Salado as well.

                  1. We decided on:
                    Anthony's and Brick Alley Pub for lunch
                    Mooring, Fluke, and Bouchard for our dinners

                    I'll keep everyone posted on my reviews once we return from our trip.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: talita530

                      You should be in for some good eating with that list. Hope you have a great trip and good weather!

                      1. re: talita530

                        I'm a local. Funny but I probably would skip all of these. I would go to Flo's over Anthony's but honestly if its open, the twin lobster rolls at Easton's beach are the best lunch deal in town. Fresh!! Pour Judgment has great food at great prices, lunch, brunch or dinner are great. Red Parrot or Wharf pub are both better choices than Brick Alley. The Mooring for a "bag of Doughnuts (lobster fritters) and a Mojito then off to Midtown Oyster house for a superior dinner. Chef is Jim Mitchell formerly of the West Deck. Excellent food. Get the Swordfish special if he has one. Fluke has an interesting cocktail menu but not as well known for dinner. Jo's Bistro is another new place that is worth a try.

                        1. re: vikingne

                          Just had the lobster rolls on Second Beach the other day--was at the beach and reluctant to get Beach Food, but the very nice girl working there said the lobster rolls were the best, just try them---so I did.
                          I've been craving more of them ever since! Really, really good---fresh lobster, uncomplicated, not too much mayo. Also, they come only in "twos"---not a single one---so it's two smaller, manageable rolls. SO GOOD.

                      2. The one's you chose are excellent there is simple and fun and elegant. But one more fun place is the Mission its just a late night Hot Dog Place. Just ask anyone in Newport. Home made fresh hotdogs excellent fries. KIS keep it simple.

                        1. I have returned from my trip, and below are my reviews of the restaurants we tried:
                          -The mooring:
                          Setting: Beautiful restaurant, and we were seated at a great corner table right next to the marina.
                          Ambience: Our waitress was friendly and attentive without being overbearing. Excellent service!
                          Food: I had the bag of doughnuts and a bowl of scallop chowder. Although I really enjoyed the bag of doughnuts, I was underwhelmed by the scallop chowder. The scallops were cooked perfectly, but I felt the chowder lacked in taste and was a bit bland.

                          -Easton Beach Snack Shack:
                          Ambience: Right on the beach, but be careful with the seagulls (we were informed they will steal your food)
                          Service: it's a snack shack and the service was friendly and what's to be expected from a casual lunch on the beach
                          Food: My husband and I split the twin lobster rolls w/ fries and fried belly clam strips. The lunch was really delicious. The seafood tasted fresh and the prices were very reasonable. It was a great deal for what we got! I would definitely recommend this spot if someone is looking for a laidback lunch after/before a trip to the beach.

                          -Castle Hill for cocktails:
                          ambience: beautiful location! We sat on the lawn overlooking the water and sailboats.
                          Service: attentive and friendly. They did make a mistake on our check, but were very polite and apologetic when we pointed it out
                          drinks/food: I had the signature oyster martini and shrimp cocktail. The shrimp cocktail was good (but then again it's hard to mess up shrimp cocktail). I was disappointed with my martini. It was the most expensive drink on the menu and being someone who loves bloody mary and oysters I thought the drink would be perfect. The best way to describe the drink is that it tasted like something that I should be eating not drinking- the flavors were a bit too harsh.

                          -Bouchard:
                          Ambience: the restaurant is intimate and romantic- although the décor is a bit outdated.
                          -Service: Excellent service! Out waiter was truly knowledgeable about the menu, attentive, and friendly. What we liked the most about the service is that they really take their time bringing you your drinks, appetizer, entrée, desert, etc. Therefore, you can really enjoy your restaurant experience, instead of feeling like you are rushing through your meal.
                          Food: I had the tuna tartare (Although the flavors were refreshing, I felt the tuna was way too cold-it almost tasted a bit frozen). For my entrée I had the lobster stuffed from scallops (it was good, but for the price tag I was a bit disappointed with the lack of lobster meat on the dish). For desert we split the deconstructed chocolate cake and 5 liquor coffee (both were good, but again not something that I would rave about). The one thing we ate that really impressed us there was my husband's appetizer of a blue cheese soufflé (it was unbelievably good! Light yet rich at the same time).
                          Overall we didn't regret going to Bouchard, but for the price tag of almost $200 dinner I don't think we will return. The food was good, but in my opinion not special or unique enough to explain the prices.

                          -Anthony's in Middletown for Lunch
                          Ambience: nothing special, clean, and nice
                          Service: friendly and attentive
                          Food: I was really looking forward to going to this place. I love fresh, simple seafood and this seemed to be the place to get it. I ordered the Portuguese chowder w/ clam cakes and 2 lbs. of steamers. Honestly, I was a bit disappointed. The chowder was good (but the reviews I read made it seem like it was the greatest chowder in the world. Mine was good, but filled with potatoes; I wish there was more seafood and less filling.) The steamers were okay. The prices were very reasonable, and I would probably return but try something different next time.

                          Fluke Wine Bar for dinner:
                          Ambience: beautiful, simple, intimate setting. We were seated at a window table overlooking the street and water.
                          Service: Our waitress was great! We had our anniversary dinner here, and she started our meal with 2 complimentary glasses of champagne. The champagne was good, and the thought behind it even better.
                          Food: We started with the almond filled dates wrapped in bacon (I don't like dates that much, but this dish was so delicious!) I ordered the crispy oysters (delicious. I loved the mango relish; and for fried food it wasn't greasy at all), the duck empanadas (they were also good. I'm not a huge fan of duck, but wanted to try something outside of my comfort zone-I enjoyed the dish), and the roasted shrimp (it was a little bit oily, but the shrimp was cooked perfectly and the flavors were simple and delicious.
                          Overall a great meal and even better dining experience. The prices although expensive, were more reasonable than Bouchard- and we received a better meal.

                          -Brick Alley Pub for lunch
                          Ambience: interesting decoration; reminded me of a TGIF
                          Service: friendly and attentive
                          Food: I had the clam chowder (I was not impressed. It barely had any clams. I actually gave half of my soup to my husband). I also had the Portuguese style steamed clams (the clams were fresh, and I enjoyed the dish. The peppers were a bit overwhelming and I though the price tag was way too high for less than a dozen clams). I honestly, didn't understand the big hype about this place.

                          Overall, the two places that really stood out for us was Easton Beach Snack Shack for lunch and Fluke Wine Bar for dinner. Newport is such a cute town and we will definitely return for a visit in the future!

                           
                           
                           
                           
                           
                           
                           
                           
                           
                           
                           
                          7 Replies
                          1. re: talita530

                            Thanks for reporting back! I wasn't able to chime in with recommendations but you were well taken care of by the other 'hounds.

                            One quibble - "fried belly clam strips" is an oxymoron. If this were the Boston board, you would have gotten an earful by now. LOL! So which ones did you order (please say fully belly). No offense, but I find strips to be an abomination. To each her own, though!

                            1. re: digga

                              Haha. Yes I meant to say fully belly. I added pictures of them to my post.

                              1. re: digga

                                oops...I meant "full belly."

                              2. re: talita530

                                Thanks for reporting back on your experiences (and all the great pics!) Glad you had a fun vacation!

                                1. re: talita530

                                  Thanks for the great review. It sounds like i need to get back to Fluke! And you are spot on abuot Brick Alley. I have no idea why that would be recommended on a board like this. It's a big menu, tourist trap kind of place. I would never recommend it for someone looking for something special in Newport

                                  1. re: CheesyWiner

                                    Totally agree about Brick Alley Pub, but to be fair, I don't think any of the locals actually did sing its praises. I suspect it must get good reviews on tripadvisor or something, so folks visiting Newport keep wanting to try it out.

                                    1. re: RhodyRedHen

                                      Not a local and I wasn't a fan either. We stopped there to get out of the cold and rain.

                                      <<Beers were cold, staff was friendly but that’s about it. Mediocre french onion soup and chowder but they were hot and it got us out of the rain.>>

                                2. Does anyone eat at Sardella's anymore? Used to be good, but I haven't been in years.

                                  I think I'm heading down to Newport (again) today, and I will have my husband and two teenagers. I would love to get some kind of very casual but good lunch, so I think we'll try the Perrito place. I have SUCH good memories of a great dinner we all had at Salvation Cafe, but it has been years. I didn't even realize they were still open, but was recently told that they are, and are still good. Is this true???

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: Tarte

                                    I ate at Salvation about 2 months ago for brunch. I think I've been eating there for 15 years--so, sentimental feelings. But that said, I liked my breakfast, and so did the folks I was with. I don't think it's the greatest food in Newport, but it's a heck of a lot better than plenty of spots. Plus, the quirky decoration (though changed over the years) is still quirky, low-key, and fun. Haven't eaten dinner there in years, so can't speak to that.

                                    1. re: Tarte

                                      Sardella's is still good. WE go there every now and then.