Small State, Big Eats: Where to Dine in Rhode Island Now

Where to dine in Rhode Island

Prateek Shewakramani may have gone to Providence to go bar-hopping with friends, but he found some of the best food he’s ever had — and that’s saying a lot from someone who lives in New York City.

“The wings at the Rosendale are some of the best I’ve ever eaten, even better than the hundreds here in NYC — tons of flavors and fried just right,” he said. “And the chicken and waffles I had the next day was an amazing brunch. Everything is so close-by you can walk and get a few different experiences and vibes — you still have the old family-run places, but there are all of these new places popping up with creative menus and twists on traditional cuisines.”

Among his favorites is Local 121, half restaurant, half “saloon-like” bar that after years of being used as a dining hall by Johnson & Wales University—whose culinary school has become a Providence talent incubator—was renovated to reveal beautiful original woodwork. Today, cafeteria trays are nowhere to be found, but the hideaway spotlights local beers, creative cocktails, and such inventive apps as pizza with a fried-dough crust.

Where to dine in Rhode Island

Shewakramani is just one foodie singing this small city’s praises, which is also a favorite day trip for area chefs. Michael Schlow makes it a point to do at least one summer drive from his home in Boston for a lobster roll at Hemenway’s, and Rachel Klein, an alum of several Boston hot spots including Liquid Art House and Providence’s X.O. Café, thinks of her former home fondly.

“It’s an awesome city — it’s so small but there’s so much going on, especially on the food scene. You’ve got Gracie’s, Nick’s on Broadway, and now Champe Speidel’s opened Persimmon.”

Robert Sisca, another J&W grad who lives in nearby Cranston, R.I., commuted over an hour to Boston’s Bistro du Midi before deciding this winter to keep it as locally sourced as his produce. Now with a shortened commute as the corporate executive chef at the ProvidenceG, a historic building that includes swank Garde de la Mer, the all-seasons upscale bar Rooftop at the G and Providence GPub, he’s able to dedicate his time to inventive menus, training kitchen leaders, and working with local farmers and vendors. The results are apparent tableside: delicate Hamachi crudo with Asian pears, green garlic, and almonds (pictured), smoked white asparagus soup with a poached egg, prosciutto, and frisse, and layers of crispy-sweet French toast topped with duck confit, lingonberry, and a cured egg yolk all grace the menu.

Where to Dine in Rhode Island

But the creativity doesn’t stop on the plate, says ProvidenceG director of operations Jeff Mancinho. “Art is such a foundation here, just like the culinary scene. We’re trying to integrate it all and capture everything that is Rhode Island,” he said. Mancinho’s latest endeavor includes working with local artists on digital pieces for his renovated space that will transform over time, and reflect the city’s attitude of changing with the times.

Where to dine in Rhode Island

Providence hosts outdoor arts festivals and music events almost each weekend from spring through fall and as home to the Rhode Island School of Design there’s a larger focus on integrating compelling media into the everyday (including painting murals on large brick building “canvases” downtown) says Christina Robbio of the city’s visitors bureau. The most famous art installation, the eighty bonfires installed on rivers running through the city center as part of the WaterFire sculpture by Barnaby Evans, are incorporated into several evenings of music and entertainment annually.

Where to dine in Rhode IslandContinue Reading

OpenTable Reveals the Top 25 Most Romantic Cities in the U.S.

San Antonio’s Riverwalk features several renowned romantic restaurants, such as Biga on the Banks.

With Valentine’s Day almost a week away, we are pleased to release our rankings of the 25 Most Romantic Cities in the United States. While we may typically think of our largest cities as magnets for romance seekers, our analysis revealed that romance thrives in cities and communities of all sizes. In order to provide a ranking of cities where romantic dining is inherently part of the culture, the OpenTable Most Romantic Cities Index was calculated using three variables: the percentage of restaurants rated “romantic” according to OpenTable diner reviews; the percentage of tables seated for two; and the percentage of people who dined out for Valentine’s Day last year.

The following cities, listed in order, comprise the Top 25 Most Romantic Cities in the U.S. The complete list may also be viewed at http://www.opentable.com/RomanticCitiesContinue Reading

Wednesday Spotlights: Denver + Providence, Plus San Diego’s Premiere Offer!

You'll go wild over the food at Wild Bangkok Bar & Grill in Denver!

Today’s Spotlight savings offers include…

* Providence: $25 for $50 of dazzling contemporary cuisine at Cafe Nuovo on Riverwalk. Buy now!

* Denver: $25 for $56 four-course Thai for two at Wild Bangkok Bar and Grill in LoDo. Buy now!

* San Diego: $30 for $60 of delightful oceanside dining at Poseidon in Del Mar. Buy now!

Wednesday Spotlights: Save in Atlanta, LA, Providence + the Bay Area!

The Blue Grotto in Providence, Rhode Island, serves up sublime chops!

Mid-week steals on meals…

* Atlanta: $20 for $40 of Middle Eastern flavors at Fanoos Persian Cuisine in Sandy Springs. Buy now!

* Boston area: $25 for $50 of romantic Italian cuisine at The Blue Grotto in Providence, Rhode Island. Buy now!

* Los Angeles: OpenTable diners save 40% on events and packages at The Taste, an all-new event coming September 2-5, 2011, and brought to you by the Los Angeles Times and Food & Wine.  Purchase discounted passes to Burgers + Beer, the festival’s kick-off event on September 2. 2011. Also, save almost half on a host of other The Taste events, including The Art of MixingSecrets from the CellarTaco Tequila TrystFashion Bites BrunchStreet EatsFood Noir,Desserts After DarkNight Crawl Package, and Hollywood Package.

* San Francisco: $61 for $88 the September 18th five-course wild game feast at Piacere in San Carlos. Buy now!

And, our Spotlight offer in New York at Osso Bucco shines for a few more hours. Don’t miss it!