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Garris

Providence Dining Experiences and Reviews

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The volitile business that is the restaurant industry continues to roil in Providence, but unfortunately, two recent high profile closings are in Downcity. The first is Kestral, across from the Rep. The owners in interviews suggested that the strength of the Rep pre-show business by itself isn't enough to sustain a high-end restaurant in that location. The second was "Beyond India" on Dorrance, which I really liked and am sad to see gone.

I believe one or two Federal Hill restaurants are moving Downcity, though, one to the new Hotel Providence. A new Chipotle-style placed just opened Downcity as well, however, so there isn't a net loss.

- Garris

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I was actually thinking of bringing friends visiting town next month to Kestral, then I read it closed. Oh well.

Gracie's is the other Federal Hill place moving to Downcity, 2 doors down from Kestral on Washington. L'Epicurio is moving into Hotel Providence (Hotel Providence is said to be opening the 11th by the way), L'Epicurio's spot on Federal Hill is already being renovated for a new restaurant.

Eclectic Grill on Federal Hill also closed recently but has been replaced already by a place that I think is called Zooma.

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Huh, I didn't know Grace's was moving down. They are probably my favorite restaurant in Providence! Great news.

The reviews of Eclectic Grille I heard from folks was very mixed, although I had never been there myself.

In case you or others didn't know, "Twist" is opening in Wayland Manor in Wayland Sq, I believe by the same folks who own Twist in Warwick, which is supposed to be very good. For a small neighborhood like Wayland Sq, it'll be a good lineup of restaurants: Twist, Haruki East, Daily Break, Spoons, Ruffles, Subway, Minerva Pizza (which actually isn't bad), and Cafe De Vie.

I'm guessing, Cotuit, you live by one of my favorite Providence restaurants, Bombay Club. Excellent Indian food. Forget the dumbed down "India" restaurant chain around the metro, Bombay Club (and the less trendy, and likely even slightly better Taste of India on Wickenden) are where subcontinent dining is at in this area.

- Garris

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Huh, I didn't know Grace's was moving down.  They are probably my favorite restaurant in Providence!  Great news.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

That's been in the works for a while, keep up will ya! :lol:

They're going to be right across from Trinity Rep on Washington Street, though I'm sure Kestral's fate has them a bit spooked. They were supposed to be open by now, but a lot of those Downcity buildings hold structural surprises for developers, Hotel Providence was set back 6 months because of structural issues.

The reviews of Eclectic Grille I heard from folks was very mixed, although I had never been there myself.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

My boyfriend is in the hospitality industry, and they had an event there for the hospitality industry that I attended (free food and drinks!!), it was pretty good, nothing to write home about. I also went for drinks once, had a nice time. The new place has a very mod look, I've peeked in the windows walking by, but haven't been in.

In case you or others didn't know, "Twist" is opening in Wayland Manor in Wayland Sq, I believe by the same folks who own Twist in Warwick, which is supposed to be very good.  For a small neighborhood like Wayland Sq, it'll be a good lineup of restaurants: Twist, Haruki East, Daily Break, Spoons, Ruffles, Subway, Minerva Pizza (which actually isn't bad), and Cafe De Vie.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I never get over to Wayland Square that much, but I should, the Atwells bus becomes the 40 to Wayland after going through Kennedy Plaza, so it's really quite easy for me to get there.

I'm guessing, Cotuit, you live by one of my favorite Providence restaurants, Bombay Club.  Excellent Indian food.  Forget the dumbed down "India" restaurant chain around the metro, Bombay Club (and the less trendy, and likely even slightly better Taste of India on Wickenden) are where subcontinent dining is at in this area.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Yup, but I've never been a big fan of Indian food, so I've never been, but I've heard from Indians that that is the place to go, so it must be good.

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I love Beyond India... Great fusion of asian and indian...

Bombay Club is my favorite though... What a hidden gem.. I almost bought a 3 fam right there last month.. Passed though, the number didn't work..

I thought Bombay Club was my little secret!! ;)

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Are you selling off the properties you renovate as individual condos or do you sell them off whole and let the buyers decide what to do with them?

Which one were you looking at if you don't mind me asking? The building right on the corner of Dean and Atwells where the breakfast place is could be a gem. If I had my druthers (and some cash) I'd love to buy up that one and fix it up (take the damn vinyl off it for one thing!).

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Are you selling off the properties you renovate as individual condos or do you sell them off whole and let the buyers decide what to do with them?

Which one were you looking at if you don't mind me asking? The building right on the corner of Dean and Atwells where the breakfast place is could be a gem. If I had my druthers (and some cash) I'd love to buy up that one and fix it up (take the damn vinyl off it for one thing!).

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

No, I keep them, and manage them as multifamilies income properties... The house was on Bond Street, it needed about 18k-20k worth of renovations, and the seller and I ended up about 35k away in price.. haha.. So at his price, I couldn't make the projected rents top the mortgage, never mind the water & sewer... Not even close..

It was a great location though... Loved it.. Almost thought about it as owner occ.. But at the price he wanted, it could only work as an owner occ house with added income... And I don't plan on settling on a place yet.. Maybe after a few more rehabs..

Regarding condos, I'm not sure thats the right thing for Fed Hill right now.. Not yet... In order for that to work, single family houses in Prov have to be un-affordable, which they are not.. You can buy a single family for less than some of these condo conversions!! In fact, some of these places are listing for high 200ks, and with 20-40k more, you could buy the whole three fam!!

We'll see.. I've seen a few condos drop in the low 100k range recently, but those are "fixer uppers".. You are basically buying your apartment... I'd say that the condo conversion of multifamily houses is about 5-10 years away from becoming a lucrative business in Prov.. The numbers just don't work... Yet..

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I'd say that the condo conversion of multifamily houses is about 5-10 years away from becoming a lucrative business in Prov.. The numbers just don't work... Yet..

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Interesting comment. On the East Side, condo conversions have sprouted up tremendously in the last year. I was looking for a condo this time last year, and maybe at the time there were 2-3 condo conversions available. I checked again now, and there are maybe a dozen or so selling currently, all done in the last year or so and there are a ton in the process of being done. I think there are three or four building conversions finishing up now about to hit the market just in Wayland Square alone.

A Providence development that hasn't gotten a lot of press (Cotuit, you might want to add this to the list and keep track) is that the owner of Wayland Manor bought the vacant Katherine Gibbs building in Wayland Sq (where the neighborhood defeated the rediculous music school proposal for that site) and he wants to build a four story, 16 unit luxury condo (prices $750,000-1 mil per unit!!! Is he nuts?) with underground parking on that little parcel. The neighborhood is gearing up again to fight.

- Garris

Providence, RI

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Hi everyone,

Inspired by some recent posts elsewhere on the board, I thought I'd start a topic exclusively devoted to food in the Providence metro. Certainly, food and dining is a key reason people love to live in cities, so I think it's an appropriate topic for an urbanism message board.

Have you just gone to the newest Federal Hill restaurant? Wondering where the best gnocchi in town is located? How about the tastiest dosas? Where do you find Kosher wine?

Post any and everything here...

I'll kick things off... My sister yesterday said, "I'm craving NY style pizza. Where can we get that here?" And I didn't know... With all the pizza places in Prov, I can't think of any that have NY style. Any help?

- Garris

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Also to kick this section off, I thought I'd post a list of my favorites in the Providence area, to generate argument if for no other reason. I originally posted this on the excellent Chowhound.com New England message board (http://www.chowhound.com/newengland/boards/newengland/newengland.html).

Chowhound is one of my favorite boards behind UP, but the Prov discussion seems to be more of the, "I'm dropping my daughter off at Brown tomorrow and am looking for a good place to eat" variety more than anything else, so hopefully we can have some more local oriented discussion here.

Without further ado, here's my list:

-------------------

Welcome to Providence!

I posted my own personal "best of" a while back, and I'll repaste it below, with some modifications and additions. My top choices are marked with an "*". None of these places are more than 5-10 minutes from Downtown Prov/East Side, and most of them are in it...

- Garris

Providence, RI

My overall favorites:

- Gatehouse: Richman Square/Wayland Square. A special meal in a special environment.

- Mill's Tavern: North Main St, nearly flawless...

- Neath's: Water St. See below in Asian fusion. The ambiance is slightly bland for the price, but the food sparkles...

- Gracies: Caviat... I haven't been to the new location with the new chef... That said, the meals I've had there before were wonderful. Quality over quantity.

Italian: A zillion choices and I've only been to a small fraction, but my fav's thus far are:

* Restaurante Pizzico: Hope St, expensive but very, very good. One of my favorites.

- Restaurante Romanza: Wickenden

- Rachel's Pastanova: Not the best meals I've had, but some combo of the food, homey neighborhood ambiance, etc keeps bringing me back

Vegetarian:

* Garden Grille: End of Blackstone, Prov/Pawtucket, the only vege I know, but so good that it draws both vege and non-vege

Chinese:

* Lemi' BBQ: Pontiac Ave, Cranston/Providence (authentic Hong Kong)

- Lucky Garden: Smith St., N. Providence. Best Dim Sum and good authentic Chinese.

- Little Chopsticks: Smith St. Providence (best Americanized eats, say hi to Lee!)

Thai:

* Sawaddee: Hope St, Providence

- Thai Star: Smith St, Providence

Pakarang is more fusion...

Pan-Asian (4 cuisine, Thai, Cambodian, Chinese, Vietnamese)

* Apsara: Public St., Providence

- Apsara Palace: Hope St, Providence, (not nearly as good as the above one, but good enough as a neighborhood eatery, and I felt the need to differentiate the two)

- HON (House of Noodles): Cranston

- Galaxie: 1 or 2 different locales

Asian Fusion (expensive, all)

- Lot 401: Hospital St, Providence

* Neath's: If I recall, Cambodian and French fusion. Great restaurant. South Main, Providence

Japanese:

* Sakura: Wickenden St., Providence

- New Japan: Washington St., Providence

* Haruki East: Wayland Ave, Providence

- Ran Zen: Hope St., Providence

Indian:

* Bombay Club: Federal Hill, Dean St., Providence

- Not Just Snacks: Hope St., Takeout Indian

- Taste of India (best daily buffet): Wickenden, Providence

- Kabob and Curry: Thayer St., Providence. Somewhat watered down for US tastes, but amazing service

I'd avoid "India" (W) if you're looking authentic, but it's quite tasty Indian-Western fusion...

Korean: (only one choice as far as I know, and it's great)

* Sun and Moon: Warren Ave, East Providence

Jewish/Bagels:

* Kaplan's: Hope St., Providence (good for lox, bagels, whitefish salad, etc.)(deli, no seats)

- Barney's: On the Pawtucket/Providence border, next to Garden Grille, best bagels...

- Bagel Goumet: Prov, Thayer and Brook. Second to the above two for bagels...

Ice Cream:

* Maximillians: Hope St., not much to say. Uncomplicated, fresh ice cream. My favorite

- Ben and Jerry's/Coldstone Creamery: Chains on Thayer, about what you'd expect.

- Gray's Ice Cream: Located about 45 minutes away in Little Compton, RI, it's worth the drive. I can still taste their cheesecake ice cream.

We're pretty fortunately ice cream-wise... I've not had bad ice cream in this area. There are also good, cheap creameries in Riverside, Rumford, and North Providence as well.

Portugese: I'm not as knowledgable on this one, but I've enjoyed almost everywhere I've gone in East Providence.

Spanish:

- Spain: Cranston

BBQ: Also, not very knowledgable here, but these are my favorites

* LJ's: Providence

- Wes's: Providence

This is what I can think of off the top of my head. Enjoy!

- Garris

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I have to say, as far as the Pan-Asian category goes, I am a HUGE fan of Galaxie on Reservoir Ave. in Cranston. (The ownership there is very adamant that they are not associated with any other restaurant called "Galaxie" in the area). I had the most delicios fried whole fish and sauteed watercress there this weekend. The nim chao is the best ever, as are the crispy noodles and noodle soups. Also, our dinner for 4 this Sunday night ran a grand total of $62, appetizer, drinks and tip included. What a bahgan! It's just too bad that's not available in the middle of the city- I'd much rather go downtown for dinner and a night out than into the wilds of Cranston, no matter how close it may be.

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Thai Star is great. Don't know Thai food that well but I've really enjoyed this place and the chicken wings they have as an app. are the best wings I've ever had, period. Definitely check this place out if not just for the wings.

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Pho's aint really an asian restaurant. Its a bar with asian pub food, and Great bartenders. They've never kicked me out.

Chinese food in RI is horendous, with very few exceptions. I've been to Tiawan and it was like I left the planet. The food was great, as it can be in Boston. Actually, I dont think we have Chinese food in RI. I've never been to Lemi's.

We are amply recompenesed for the lack of Chinese with SE Asian food. Awesome. Try Mekong on Smith. Great.

Mocanna's on Broad St (next to Burger King) has by far the best Cubano sandwhich. Just add a little hot sauce. The Cuban Revolution (downtown) doesnt even know what a Cubano is, and it costs twice as much. They should be sued for false advertising. However, Mocana's bakery cant hold a candle to any Italian one. Skip the deserts.

For the best sandwiches, I visit either Tony's Finest in Meat (down Broad past the St Joes hospital, next to Providence Automotive Engineering). They also have the best steaks. Ask for a rib-eye cut extra thick. I also visit Hudson Mkt on Hudson St behind the Armory. Smoked blue fish rules.

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I forgot a good one: Tina's Jamaican Food, across from the Classical High sports field on Broad. They have excellent curried goat and spicy beef patties. But I go there for the Bedroom Bully. Its a home made Irish sea moss based drink that is like a liquid meal. Cures hangovers too.

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Korean: forget the name. Tiny place behind Adlers Hardware. BYOB.

SE Asian: everywhere around Elmwood Ave, Cranston St, and Smith St. I preffer the tiny ones to the larger. Mekong is my new fav, but I've been to many that had names I forget. If you see a grungy little place, pull over and get something.

NY Pizza (Italian style as opposed to the move common Greek): Bobby and Tims Grilled Pizza, off Atwells (was in Depesqualle plaze but moved across Dean St., Sikar (Atwells), Fellinies (Wickendon)

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Thai Star is great. Don't know Thai food that well but I've really enjoyed this place and the chicken wings they have as an app. are the best wings I've ever had, period. Definitely check this place out if not just for the wings.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

One of my co-workers is Thai, and he isn't enthusiastic about much around here. When pressed, aside from his own kitchen, he'll recommend Thai Star's "Thai Menu" (it's not their standard menu, and you apparently have to request it, and does have the dish names in English as well).

My personal favorite (comparable to Thai restaurants I've been to before elsewhere which people said were excellent) is Sawaddee on Hope, although they could bolster their portions a bit.

We are amply recompenesed for the lack of Chinese with SE Asian food. Awesome. Try Mekong on Smith. Great.

Mocanna's on Broad St (next to Burger King) has by far the best Cubano sandwhich. Just add a little hot sauce. The Cuban Revolution (downtown) doesnt even know what a Cubano is, and it costs twice as much. They should be sued for false advertising. However, Mocana's bakery cant hold a candle to any Italian one. Skip the deserts.

Great post, Lova... Great recs. What do you recommend at Makong in particular? I also can't wait to try Tony's...

I don't know Cuban food very well, but recipes I've seen in ethnic cookbooks before and some other Cuban restaurants I've been to previously are very different from what I've seen here in Prov. Is what is sold here more like Cuban "street food"? That might explain the difference, in what I had before was finer sit down dining perhaps...

Galaxie in Cranston

That actually wasn't the one I went to. I had no idea the various Galaxies were unrelated. I'll have to try the Cranston one...

- Garris

PS: Cotuit, maybe you could move the last few posts to the Dining topic area I created?

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Korean: forget the name. Tiny place behind Adlers Hardware. BYOB.

Oh, yeah, Cafe Yuni... Didn't know they had Korean (didn't remember they existed at all, actually... What a bizarre location). I'll have to try it out...

SE Asian: everywhere around Elmwood Ave, Cranston St, and Smith St. I preffer the tiny ones to the larger. Mekong is my new fav, but I've been to many that had names I forget. If you see a grungy little place, pull over and get something.

I miss-typed... I actually meant South Asian, like Afghani, the central Asian republics, Pakistani, etc...

NY Pizza (Italian style as opposed to the move common Greek): Bobby and Tims Grilled Pizza, off Atwells (was in Depesqualle plaze but moved across Dean St., Sikar (Atwells), Fellinies (Wickendon)

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Hum, interesing. I've never really considered Fellini's (while very good) to be true NY style... Their sauce is way too weak and their crust not crispy enough. Similarly, I considered Bob and Tim's crust way too thin, but maybe I didn't try their thicker crust. I haven't tried Sikar... Maybe they'll be next.

Thanks for the list! You really know the in's and out's of the restaurants here...

- Garris

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I've never really considered Fellini's (while very good) to be true NY style...  Their sauce is way too weak and their crust not crispy enough.  Similarly, I considered Bob and Tim's crust way too thin, but maybe I didn't try their thicker crust.  I haven't tried Sikar...  Maybe they'll be next.

Thanks for the list!  You really know the in's and out's of the restaurants here...

- Garris

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I don't know if you'd consider it NY style or not, but I like the pizza at Antonio's on Thayer quite a bit. It's not like the "bready" Caserta's crust and it's not wafer thin like Bob and Timmy's.

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Two cents on pizza:

Providence is sorely lacking in just a good old reliable pie. I really like Caserta's, but its not really pizza - more like a donut with sauce on it.

Other than that, I've had alright pizza, but nothing reliable (not even Bob and Timmy's or Pizza Pie-er.) I've tried Sikar, and not that impressed. Sicilia's is awful. Ronzio is plain, though at least pretty cheap.

Damnit, does anyone have a definitive recommendation for really good pizza around here...!?

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Two cents on pizza:

Providence is sorely lacking in just a good old reliable pie. I really like Caserta's, but its not really pizza - more like a donut with sauce on it.

Other than that, I've had alright pizza, but nothing reliable (not even Bob and Timmy's or Pizza Pie-er.) I've tried Sikar, and not that impressed. Sicilia's is awful. Ronzio is plain, though at least pretty cheap.

Damnit, does anyone have a definitive recommendation for really good pizza around here...!?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I am totally and completely obsessed with Caserta's. There's nothing to compare to it, it makes me not ever want traditional non-Sicilian pizza.

I actually kinda liked Saki's a while ago. And there's Boulevard Pizza, on Allens Ave right at the Cranston/Providence border-good big NY style slices.

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The best pizza I've had in RI is at the Village Hearth in Jamestown. They only have pizza on Sunday evenings. It's grilled and comes in two types: plain with cheese and whatever the special is that night, often something like spinach and garlic. Worth the trip.

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Pho's aint really an asian restaurant. Its a bar with asian pub food, and  Great bartenders. They've never kicked me out.

Mkt on Hudson St behind the Armory. Smoked blue fish rules.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Maybe you are thinking of Pho Republique? That's kind of a fancy-shmancy Vietnam-themed bar/restaurant in South End/Lower Roxbury. Pho Pasteur is definitely a Pho restaurant- actually a small chain, with a couple of locations around Boston.

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I forgot a good one: Tina's Jamaican Food, across from the Classical High sports field on Broad. They have excellent curried goat and spicy beef patties. But I go there for the Bedroom Bully. Its a home made Irish sea moss based drink that is like a liquid meal. Cures hangovers too.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Thanks for the rec! I get a pattie craving every once in a while- I don't know about that drink, though. I'd have to be REALLY hung-over. I'll give it a shot and report back.

And I agree with eltron on the Pizza thing- I can't stomach Caserta, and sometimes, you just need a good, cheap 'za, ya know?

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NY Pizza (Italian style as opposed to the move common Greek): Bobby and Tims Grilled Pizza, off Atwells (was in Depesqualle plaze but moved across Dean St., Sikar (Atwells), Fellinies (Wickendon)

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I don't really think of any of those as New York style, although I love Fellinies. Thankfully I don't work too close by anymore, I used to eat there far too often.

I actually prefer Greek Pizza, most of the pizza on the Cape is Greek (at least most of the good pizza), it's what I grew up on, so it's what I like best. Try Craigville sub and Pizza next time you're on the Cape.

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