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Providence Restaurants

Thanks in part to the presence of Johnson & Wales University, with its well-regarded culinary and hospitality programs, Providence has a wealth of good restaurants. Here are some favorites.

Al Forno
577 South Main St, Providence, 401-273-9760
A venerable Northern Italian restaurant known for its wood-grilled pizza and regional dishes; often listed among the best restaurants in the country. Al Forno was a pioneer in serious modern cuisine in Rhode Island. $$$

Gracie's Closed July 3-11
194 Washington St, Providence, 401-272-7811
A relative newcomer, Gracie's is every bit as good as Al Forno in my experience. Modern American cuisine featuring local seasonal ingredients. $$$

Bluefin Grille
1 Orms St, Providence (A)
This is the Con hotel's restaurant, just off the lobby. An excellent seafood restaurant, a category surprisingly thin on the ground in Providence. $$$

727 East Ave, Pawtucket, 401-728-5500
Just over the line in Pawtucket, Rasoi features typical dishes from many regions of India. There are more convenient Indian restaurants, but none as good. $$

Caserta Pizzeria
121 Spruce St, Providence, 401-621-3618
With a large Italian population, there's no shortage of pizza in Providence, but Caserta on Federal Hill is distinctively Providence and is probably the favorite of the largest number of people. $

Federal Hill

While we're on the subject of Italian food, Federal Hill, the historic Italian district, features too many good restaurants to list, but two stand out for their emphasis on food over glitz.

Ristorante Potenza (Walter's)
286 Atwells Ave, Providence, 401-273-2652
Walter Potenza runs an Italian cooking school as well as the restaurant. A second restaurant upstairs formerly specialized in medieval recipes and traditional Jewish recipes. Although that has closed, Walter, who is not Jewish but has a longstanding interest in Italian Jewish cooking, offers a Jewish menu with 48 hours advance notice. $$$

Venda Ravioli
265 Atwells Ave, Providence, 401-421-9105
A food store, but with many prepared dishes and tables to eat at. Venda is a great place for lunch, and also to feast your eyes and nose. $$ East Side Pockets, 278 Thayer St, Providence, 401-453-1100
The best pita pocket restaurant I know of. Falafel, chicken, kofta, toppings that are always fresh because they move so quickly. Eat in or take out. $

Ran Zan
1084 Hope St, Providence, 401-276-7574
A small Japanese restaurant not far from Rasoi but still in Providence. Excellent sushi as well as hot food. $$

DownCity Restaurant
50 Weybosset St, Providence, 401-331-7260
A hybrid of a serious restaurant and the DownCity Diner that it used to be. You can still get their original meatloaf, and there's a kids' menu. $$

Red Ginger
560 Killingly St, Johnston, 401-861-7878
A real Hong Kong restaurant in the most unlikely location: Johnston, an almost solidly Italian town just west of Providence. The best Chinese restaurant in the area. Ask for the Chinese menu (Menu 2 on the website). I usually get the salted fish and chicken fried rice, and they always do a double take because I'm not Asian...and then tell me it's their favorite, too. $

14 Imperial Pl, Providence, 401-751-9164
Modern American food, surrounded by antiques and African art. Both the food and the artefacts are worth going for. $$$

Los Andes
903 Chalkstone Ave, Providence, 401-649-4911
A Bolivian restaurant with Argentine and Peruvian influences. Enormous portions, minuscule prices, friendly staff. $


Providence boasts two convenient brewpubs. Both serve a variety of brews and pub food.

Trinity Brewhouse
186 Fountain Street, Providence, 401-453-2337

Union Station Brewery
36 Exchange Terrace, Providence, 401-274-2739 A branch of John Harvard's Brew House.


Whole Foods
601 North Main St, Providence, 401-621-5990
A five-minute walk from the Con hotel, Whole Foods has a salad and hot food bar where you can get a decent meal for a reasonable price, notwithstanding their nickname of "Whole Paycheck". $