Best Dining in Rhode Island | 2016 Editors’ Choice Awards
Wondering where to eat in Rhode Island? The Ocean State offers plenty of restaurant options for hungry residents and visitors alike. Here are our picks for the best dining in Best Dining in Rhode Island for 2016. Best Breakfast: Kitchen, Providence Outside this cash-only, five-table breakfast shrine, seekers and the faithful wait in line, often for an hour […]
Wondering where to eat in Rhode Island? The Ocean State offers plenty of restaurant options for hungry residents and visitors alike. Here are our picks for the best dining in Best Dining in Rhode Island for 2016.
Outside this cash-only, five-table breakfast shrine, seekers and the faithful wait in line, often for an hour plus. Chef/owner Howard Crofts is the guru of French-, American-, or frittata-style omelets and croissant French toast, as well as shotput-sized muffins split and toasted on the grill. And his hand-cut, super-thick slab bacon is of another world. Breakfast: from $6.
94 Carpenter St. 401-272-1117
Crazy Burger, Narragansett
Suspend your notion of burgers. Here, they’re made not only with beef but lamb, salmon, chicken, turkey, mahi mahi, and vegan-friendly quinoa, mushrooms, and nuts—all intriguingly spiced, topped, and wrapped in everything from bolos to phyllo dough. With an equally extraordinary breakfast menu served until 4:00 p.m., midday is the best time to sip juice-bar concoctions like basil–lime lemonade on the vine-sheltered patio, and embrace the zaniness. Burgers: from $9.99.
144 Boon St. 401-783-1810; crazyburger.com
Rhode Island dominates the lucrative squid fishery with more than half of Northeast landings, and in 2014, lawmakers christened calamari the state’s official appetizer. There’s no better place to try it than this island hangout, which diverges from traditional Rhode Island style by tossing lightly breaded, delicately fried tubes in an eye-pleasing, zingy antipasto with hot peppers, red onions, olives, spinach, salami, and capicola. Calamari Antipasto: $14.
13 Narragansett Ave. 401-423-2000; simpaticojamestown.com
Best Ice Cream:
Susanna’s Ice Cream at Sweet Berry Farm, Middletown
Susanna Williams practices ice-cream alchemy in the kitchen at this lovely land-trust farm. Melding premium local and exotic ingredients, fresh cream from Arruda’s Dairy in Tiverton, and fruits that have burst into season on site, her handcrafted, all-natural ice creams, such as crème fraîche with blueberries and salted caramel swirl, are luscious and dense, while her nondairy sorbets, like Meyer lemon and strawberry–champagne, are intense. Single scoop: $2.50.
915 Mitchell’s Lane. 401-847-3912; susannasicecream.com
Best Asian Fusion:
DEN DEN Café Asiana, Providence
Twenty minutes after Korean bibimbap lands on your table, the rice—tucked beneath a visually stunning pile-up of sunnyside egg, veggies, and your choice of seven toppings—is still sizzling like mad in a hot stone bowl. Skillet plates of Japanese noodles steam on and on, too. Inhabitants of Providence’s oldest neighborhood know that Den Den’s multicultural cuisine cures all, from homesickness to head colds to hangovers. Entrées: from: $7.95.
161 Benefit St. 401-270-5269; dendencafe.com
Best Sweet Shop:
Hauser Chocolatier, Westerly
Rows of truffles—black vinegar, vodka martini, pumpkin pie—tantalize. It’s no easier selecting from the array of cakes, novelties, and molded-chocolate creations. Luckily, the chocolate dipping station offers only one daily option. Hauser’s signature—chocolate lace—is still crafted on the machine patented by Eugenia Tay, who fled Russia in 1917. The biggest treat at this second-generation-owned company’s industrial-park location is observing through a factory window as chocolates are born. Truffles: $29 per pound.
59 Tom Harvey Road. 401-596-8866; hauserchocolates.com
Best To-Go Food:
Sandy’s Fine Food Emporium, Westerly
The bread alone will have you gushing about Sandy’s made-to-order sandwiches—like the “Federal Hill,” built with hot capicola, pepperoni, salami, provolone, and hot peppers. Whether you’re taking off for Block Island, picnicking at the beach, or provisioning a rental home for the week, this specialty market is your stop for gourmet, freshly made everything, from artisanal cheeses and chocolates to Sandy’s own peanut butter, prepared meals, and pies. Sandwiches: from $6.50.
15 Post Road. 401-596-2004; sandysfinefoods.com
Best Coffee Drinks:
Vanuatu Coffee Roasters, Providence
Jimmy Lappin is a globetrotting eclipse chaser. His sister, Martha Soderlund, got him hooked on Survivor: Vanuatu. His decision to visit proved auspicious. Now, this brother/sister team has coffee connoisseurs craving drinks made with rare, better-than-fair-trade beans from this fertile, volcanic nation. Try the Rhody, a delectable twist on coffee milk made with rich 24-hour cold brew. The Rhody: from $4.
294 Atwells Ave. 401-273-1586; vanuatucoffeeroasters.com
The Beef Barn, North Smithfield
Since 1969, value-conscious carnivores have flocked to this quirky barn to pay fast-food prices for eight-hour slow-cooked roast beef on a butter-toasted bun. Sit at a silo table or in a chicken-coop booth. Better yet, claim a counter stool and watch the automatic slicer: It shaves 100 pounds of beef daily. Burgers, sandwiches, salads, sides, desserts: Everything on the menu is priced at under $5. (Ham, chicken, and fish are also available.) Roast-beef sandwich: $3.50.
1 Greenville Road. 401-762-9880; thebeefbarn.com
Best Sports Bar:
The Rathskeller, Charlestown
Sports matchups on crystal-clear flat screens compete for eyeballs with the LED thermometer above the bar, which constantly confirms: This is the home of Rhode Island’s coldest beer. Above-average pub food isn’t the only added enticement. On the enormous back lawn, competitive types can play horseshoes, cornhole, bocce, and beach volleyball, and the fire bar’s a hot place to toast victory, especially when bands rock the outdoor stage. Entrées: from $15.95.
489a Old Coach Road. 401-792-1000; thecharlestownrathskeller.com
Best Comfort Food:
Ogie’s Trailer Park, Providence
Granny Boo’s Kitchen whips up shockingly upscale trailer-park grub: truffle tater tots, deep-fried mac-and-cheddar béchamel croquettes, Doritos-crusted chicken, house-smoked pulled pork, char-grilled bratwurst with horseradish cream. You can take your tray to a table or the bar and choose from 66 American beers in cans. But outside, retro metal patio chairs, a fire pit, and the tiki bar (serving new versions of favorite classics, such as the Blue Hawaiian) beckon. And, yup—there’s a toilet in the backyard. Sandwiches: from $4.
1155 Westminster St. 401-383-8200; ogiestrailerpark.com
Daddy’s Bread, Matunuck
As if by sorcery, freshly baked, all-natural loaves are neatly aligned on shelves each summer morning (and weekends during the shoulder months). Parmesan–dill–garlic, anadama, blueberry–apple–cinnamon: Jennifer Manzo sustains her late daddy’s off-the-beaten-path bread shack and generous spirit. Drop your payment in the slot, or send funds via PayPal or snail mail: These artisanal breads are sold on the honor system. Get there early before they go “poof!” Loaf: $6.
805 Moonstone Beach Road. daddysbreadri.com
Cook & Brown Public House, Providence
If your idea of a gastropub is a place that serves imaginative comfort food that goes really well with craft beer—like grilled-and-roasted pork with pickled peaches and preserved lemon—then seek no farther. Entrées: from $25.
959 Hope St. 401-273-7275; cookandbrown.com
Best Rhode Island Clam Chowder:
DiMare Restaurant, Bar & Seafood Marketplace, East Greenwich
Real Rhode Island clam chowder has no cream (that’s New England chowder) and no tomatoes (that’s Manhattan chowder). DiMare’s version of Rhode Island “clear chowder” is based on the recipe of the owner’s father, a retired U.S. Navy commander. A bowl with a jumbo stuffie makes a meal. Before you leave, visit the market for take-home selections. Chowder: $4.95–$11.95. Sandwiches: from $8.95. Entrées: from $16.95.
2706 South County Trail. 401-885-8100; ridimare.com
Best Family-Style Chicken:
Wright’s Farm Restaurant, Harrisville
In the heart of the Blackstone Valley, Wright’s is a Rhode Island institution, and the numbers prove its popularity; the folks here have been churning out family-style chicken dinners for more than four decades at a facility that holds 1,000-plus diners. Even with that kind of capacity, don’t be surprised if they’re running a wait for their all-you-can eat rolls, salad with house-made Italian dressing, pasta (with Wright’s trademark marinara sauce), homestyle fries, and chicken (or 12-ounce sirloin steak, for red-meat lovers). Wrap it all up with an Oreo or “Mudd” “pie/cake” made locally by The Ice Cream Machine. Takeout also available. Chicken: $12.75 per adult; $7.25 per child ages 10 and under. Steak: $22.
84 Inman Road. 401-769-2856; wrightsfarm.com