The Ultimate Foodie Guide to Providence: Our Top Restaurant Picks


When you think of great foodie cities, Providence Rhode Island may not necessarily come to your mind if you’re a global traveler since top-tier cities like Paris, Singapore, London and San Francisco always seem to get the biggest bow. That said, I’m always surprised by what I discover in lesser known cities, whether that be my heavenly restaurant tries in Montreal, the incredible sustainable movement happening in Kentucky, culinary surprises in Winnipeg Canada or most recently, the gems we found in Providence, a stone’s throw from where we dined well in Boston last summer.

And, let’s remember that we had outa this world sushi in Amarillo Texas recently, exquisite food in Sedona, including old world Italian and truth be told, I’m still savoring the tastes from the ever so rural Windham Hill Inn in southern Vermont. While we’re on the topic of exquisite food and before we dive into Providence, be sure not to miss my coverage of Memphis restaurants and Nashville foodie gems as well as unusually delicious finds in Santa Fe and of all places, Clarksdale Mississippi.

Let’s explore Providence’s known and not so known restaurant gems. Note that the order of our picks are completely random NOT in the order of preference.

First up is Cook & Brown Public House on Hope Street in the east side of Providence. Entrees ranged from a healthy pan roasted codfish with chowder broth, yukon golds, grilled leeks, lavash and celery leaf to a heavier but oh so delicious Baked Orrechiette, which is a beef and pork ragu cooked with braised greens, ricotta and breadcrumbs.

On the lighter front, their salads are delicious, from Radicchio with quinoa, squash and goat cheese and a more classic Spinach salad with egg and capers to the incredibly fresh Beet Salad (below), served with whipped feta, orange, olives, hazelnuts, toasted kasha and herbs. Yum!!!

Since we had kids in tow, the Smoked Bluefish and Potato Fritters were a godsend — it was a great way to get them to try fritters with bluefish baked in since they didn’t know the difference. One step at a time as they say. The perfectly round fritters came with a delicious horseradish mayonnaise.

OR, how about this to-die for Squash Soup with curry marshmallow fluff, apple, yogurt, pomegranate, cider and fried mint? OMG!

Then there was my favorite (well, okay, perhaps tied with the soup), the Roasted Local Lamb, which was a special on the menu the night we dined with them.  Head chef Nemo Bolin and team did a top notch job with the preparation and presentation, which was served with pea greens, mint, fennel, orange and olive.

With dessert, we had children on the voting list as well and how can you beat this creamy rice pudding number topped with salted caramel? Bottom line — you can’t. Be prepared for your mouth to water – it tastes as good as it looks. Did I mention we took a care package to go? After all, we did have a fridge in our Marriott hotel room.

Cook & Brown focuses on New England seasonality and works with local farmers, fishermen, ranchers and food artisans. The result is a combination of precise European techniques and a rustic, country-style essence. They pair their food with esoteric old world wines as well as handcrafted cocktails and small batch beers. Two thumbs up!

Next up was Local 212, for all a continued trend on all things local and organic. At Local 121, which is housed in the former Dreyfus Hotel, a historically devine building and the most architecturally significant in all of Providence.

Chef Tyler Demora practices his penchant for perfect technique and snout-to-tail butchery on ingredients that he personally chooses from local farms. The result is a menu that changes daily depending on the season and availability of ingredients at any given time. We were pleasantly surprised by a cold potato soup teaser with pomegranate as soon as we sat down.  Be sure to read my standalone write-up on the restaurant.

Ready to die and go to foodie heaven? You will when you hear about some of the appetizer options on their menu, starting with the Bomster Scallops, served with coffee roasted kabocha squash, vadouvan curry, pickled raisins and winter greens (scroll down to be enticed), the Crunchy Point Judith Calamari with papaya, frisee, cashews, and smoked chili gastrique and of course, one of my favorites, but uniquely prepared – Foie Gras, from Hudson Valley. He roasts it with French green lentils and a sauce bordelaise.

The kids fell in love with the ever so basic but simple Chips and Dip, so beautifully presented.

Below, the ever so exquisite Risotto Carbonara made with shucks Maine lobster, cured egg, bacon, chives and uni cream. Tyler was particularly proud of this creation and we could see why — even though it was on the rich side (lobster meets bacon, cream and risotto), we couldn’t put our forks down.

My favorite was their Chianti Braised Fava Farm Rabbit served with oat pappardelle, bitter chocolate (OMG), black prunes and a thyme jus. Bravo!!!

Our favorite dessert was the ice cream trio which we devoured in a few short minutes – the Salted Caramel was a true standout!

Time to meet old world Italian Angelo’s Restaurant on Atwells Avenue in historic Federal Hill. They focus on rich southern Italian cuisine and given its historical past and family ownership, it’s about as authentic as it gets, from the ambiance to the dishes themselves.

Angelo’s has been around since 1924, it is a combination of old fashioned, comfort and divine! They do everything from pasta, homemade meatballs and gravy, macaroni and bean soup, braciola, seafood, veal chops, and the best eggplant parmagiana you’ve ever tasted to baked macaroni, ravioli, fried peppers and tripe, which has been on the menu since it opened its doors.

The atmosphere is charming and family friendly while boasting old-world esthetics, and hospitable service. Unusual items on the list include a Snail Salad and below you’ll find the ever so classic Pastine, which we grew up eating in upstate New York.

Their classic Veal & Peppers which has apparently won awards and is a favorite among locals — they serve it with sweet peppers and sauce.

Famous at Angelo’s is their Eggplant Parmesan, which is not deep fried, but rather pan fried and served with melted mozzarella cheese and Angelo’s house red sauce.

Fried calamari with hot pepper rings, olives, roasted red peppers and spices, topped with pecorino (my favorite) romano cheese!

A favorite with the kids was the Breaded Mozzarella, served with their house red sauce.

Tripe, a favorite with southern Italians and something my grandmother used to occasionally make and she’s not even Italian.

Traditional meat Lasagna.

Also known for classic Italian desserts, they had spumoni served plain or with a claret sauce and the ever so delicious Cannoli, which is an old time favorite made with a cream cheese and ricotta cheese mixture piped into a crunchy mini cannoli shell. YUM!!! I should add that Angelo’s is a great restaurant choice for families.

While we didn’t have time to test out the below list of Providence restaurants, they’re based on local’s recommendations, and so, from a local foodie’s point of view, here we go:

  • Old Canteen for old world and top notch Italian dining on Atwells Avenue – a high-end family-run establishment for traditional Italian specialties & drinks, with valet parking.
  • Andino’s for Old World Italian on Atwells Avenue (I get the feeling that all the Italian restaurants are housed on this avenue) – murals, tile & moody lighting set the scene for traditional Italian fare made from family recipes.
  • Antonio’s on Thayer Street – casual pizzeria chain serving traditional, thin-crust & Sicilian pies, plus wings, pasta & subs.
  • Julian’s on Broadway – hip brewpub with exposed brick walls popular for house-smoked meats & numerous vegetarian options.
  • Nick’s also on Broadway – imaginative seasonal New American bistro with open kitchen & casual vibe.
  • The Grange also on Brodway – a vegetarian hub serving seasonal dishes, with a juice bar, vegan bakery & cocktail bar.
  • Cav on Imperial Place – an eatery/antique shop featuring an upscale global menu, historic bar & live music on weekends.
  • Cassarino’s on Atwells Avenue – unlike Angelo’s, this eatery focuses on Northern Italian cuisine and is known for their generous portions and long wine list.
  • Duck and Bunny (gotta love the name) on Wickenden Street – a crêperie & tearoom in a historic house, also offering beer, wine, cupcakes & a cigar lounge.


Note: We were hosted by restaurants by all opinions expressed are entirely my own.

Renee Blodgett
Renee Blodgett is the founder of We Blog the World. The site combines the magic of an online culture and travel magazine with a global blog network and has contributors from every continent in the world. Having lived in 10 countries and explored nearly 80, she is an avid traveler, and a lover, observer and participant in cultural diversity.

She is also the CEO and founder of Magic Sauce Media, a new media services consultancy focused on viral marketing, social media, branding, events and PR. For over 20 years, she has helped companies from 12 countries get traction in the market. Known for her global and organic approach to product and corporate launches, Renee practices what she pitches and as an active user of social media, she helps clients navigate digital waters from around the world. Renee has been blogging for over 16 years and regularly writes on her personal blog Down the Avenue, Huffington Post, BlogHer, We Blog the World and other sites. She was ranked #12 Social Media Influencer by Forbes Magazine and is listed as a new media influencer and game changer on various sites and books on the new media revolution. In 2013, she was listed as the 6th most influential woman in social media by Forbes Magazine on a Top 20 List.

Her passion for art, storytelling and photography led to the launch of Magic Sauce Photography, which is a visual extension of her writing, the result of which has led to producing six photo books: Galapagos Islands, London, South Africa, Rome, Urbanization and Ecuador.

Renee is also the co-founder of Traveling Geeks, an initiative that brings entrepreneurs, thought leaders, bloggers, creators, curators and influencers to other countries to share and learn from peers, governments, corporations, and the general public in order to educate, share, evaluate, and promote innovative technologies.
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