Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Southern New England >
Jul 29, 2014 07:25 PM

Providence or Newport for birthday dinner

Thursday evening birthday and trying to decide whether to stay in providence and go to birch or drive to Newport and dine at bouchards. Never been to the latter, just weighing the drive there and back on a work night .

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Birch is the best restaurant in the state, hands down.

    1. I live in the Newport area and I don't think Bouchards is worth the drive! On the other hand Birch has been improving and the current consensus is it's the to go place. Save the gas money and stay in Providence!

      1. Go to Newport. Both places are excellent thats not the issue. In Newport you can walk around by the ocean, hit the many shops, even stop for a late night drink. there are tons of people in Newport the night life does jump. the big plus its safe in Newport. Prov. after dinner its jump in the car and go.

        1. Thank you for the feedback, as always.
          Bouchard is full, so my choices are Stone Acre Pantry or Birch, both after 8. We have decided to head down to the beach at Bonnet Shores around 4, have cocktails there, then go either to Newport or return to Providence, since we are equidistant at that point. A friend recommended Stone Acre, but I don't see much about it on the boards.

          3 Replies
          1. re: bawc

            Funny, I was just about to post a reply involving Stoneacre Pantry. My husband and I headed down to Newport about 1 month ago for a mid-week anniversary dinner at Stoneacre. We'd eaten there before in the off-season and enjoyed it, so we were looking forward to going back. The traffic and parking were absolutely horrendous and stressful. We headed down after work, and traffic was heavy all the way into Newport--so much so that we had to call twice to push our reservations back. We were so mentally exhausted by the time we sat down that it really diminished our enjoyment of the meal.

            Having said that, we do like Stoneacre quite a bit. My husband enjoyed his craft cocktail. I had a lamb dish that was truly awesome, an interesting kale salad (which I've since been inspired to recreate at home,) pleasant cheese plate. I like the ambiance very much--it's sort of neighborhood-y and eclectic. It reminds me of the Grange in Providence. As a note, some of the interior seats are very small and probably wouldn't be comfortable for all posteriors! There's a really nice outdoor patio as well. Service is attentive and one of the owners is usually floating around, ready to solicit feedback.

            Despite enjoying our meal (as much as possible under the stressful circumstances...) we both agreed that we should have never made the trek down to Newport that night. We could have gotten a comparable meal with comparable ambiance closer to home. I think we'll be steering clear of the madding crowd until after Labor Day. Eating in Newport in the fall, winter, and spring is pleasure. Mid-summer...not so much, at least for us.

            I'd say Birch all the way.

            1. re: bawc

              cocktails at the shore followed by dinner in providence sounds like the best of both worlds in my opinion.

              i may be in the minority on CH, but i thought birch was a bit "stuffy" personally. the food was really excellent, and i do look forward to going back, but all things considered, i'd probably head to nick's, chez pascal, or even broadway bistro (maybe too casual for what you have in mind) for MY birthday. skip dessert and have another drink and a half dozen oysters at the bar at north.

              don't let frank scare you, we've lived in providence for 20 years and i've never felt unsafe here. use the same common sense you'd exercise in any city and you'll be fine.

              1. re: wormwood

                I hear what you're saying about the service at Birch being a little "stuffy," but I actually think they do it on purpose and out of necessity. If they were really friendly and chatty, it could get very awkward, very quickly given the restaurant space. There's very little actual distance between the diner and the server, so I don't mind a little "figurative" distance, if you know what I mean. Cool and professional service feels appropriate to me under the circumstances, but I'd certainly agree that all the alternatives you mention would also make a great birthday dinner.

            2. Please dont mention names and I dont scare people. Look at the Stats. Whats a little traffic to enjoy an evening. I went to the last day of Restaurant week at the Capitol Grill. That place was very busy the joint next door was empty and so was Luxe Burger meaning when water fire isnt going on the City is Nuked. I visit NP all the time and a little traffic isnt that bad. Plus this is my name not an Alias.

              3 Replies
              1. re: Frank Terranova

                Frank, I appreciate that this is your opinion and that you feel obliged to share it with people. Others are free to disagree with you and try to correct what we feel to be an unfair portrait of Providence that discourages people from experiencing all the good things the city has to offer. I am female from the suburbs, and I have been going out in Providence for over 15 years, alone, as part of a couple, and in groups. I have NEVER, not once, had a dangerous experience in Providence, unlike, say, Philadelphia, where I lived for a time and was repeatedly stalked by strangers on the street, sometimes for miles. Use common sense, be streetwise, consider the time of day and the neighborhood--that's all you need to stay safe. I wouldn't feel comfortable wandering around Federal Hill at 2 am, but I wouldn't feel comfortable wandering around any city at that time!

                Have you actually been out at night in Providence recently? Things are a little slower in the summertime (as usual), but there's plenty of hustle and bustle downtown, on the east side, on Broadway--anywhere there are restaurants and attractions to draw people in. Traffic in Newport is, in actual fact, a much more significant deterrent for me than fear for my safety across the street from Trinity Rep in Providence.

                1. re: RhodyRedHen

                  I feel safer walking around in Providence than I do in a car on East or West Main Road, especially at night. "Look at the Stats."

                2. re: Frank Terranova

                  All of the restaurant down by water place are terrible, that may be why they were empty.