Hidden Eateries in Rhode Island: Where to Find Them

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Rhode Island, the smallest state in the United States, is packed with culinary gems waiting to be discovered. While Providence and Newport often steal the spotlight with their well-known dining establishments, the state’s hidden eateries offer a unique and delectable experience for food lovers. This article will guide you through some of the lesser-known, yet outstanding, eateries across Rhode Island. From cozy cafés to rustic seafood shacks, these hidden treasures promise to deliver unforgettable meals.

The Beehive Café (Bristol)

Overview

Nestled in the charming town of Bristol, The Beehive Café is a beloved local spot known for its homemade, locally sourced dishes. The café offers a cozy, welcoming atmosphere with a focus on sustainable and organic ingredients.

Must-Try Dishes

  • Breakfast Burrito: A hearty start to the day, filled with scrambled eggs, black beans, cheese, and house-made salsa.
  • Beehive Salad: A fresh mix of greens, roasted vegetables, nuts, and a choice of protein, topped with their signature honey-mustard dressing.
  • Banana Bread French Toast: Decadent and sweet, this dish is perfect for a weekend brunch.

Why It’s Special

The Beehive Café stands out for its commitment to sustainability and community. The café sources ingredients from local farms, supports regional artisans, and strives to minimize its environmental footprint.

Kitchen (Providence)

Overview

Tucked away in a modest location in Providence, Kitchen offers a no-frills dining experience with exceptional food. This small breakfast and brunch spot is cherished by locals for its straightforward menu and high-quality ingredients.

Must-Try Dishes

  • Johnnycakes: A Rhode Island classic, these cornmeal pancakes are crispy on the outside and tender on the inside, served with butter and maple syrup.
  • Corned Beef Hash: Made from scratch, this dish is a savory delight, featuring perfectly seasoned corned beef and crispy potatoes.
  • Eggs Benedict: A traditional favorite done to perfection, with rich hollandaise sauce and poached eggs on a toasted English muffin.

Why It’s Special

The kitchen’s unassuming appearance belies the culinary excellence within. The owner-operated eatery emphasizes homemade meals, prepared with love and care, ensuring a memorable dining experience.

 Ella’s Fine Food and Drink (Westerly)

Overview

Ella’s Fine Food and Drink, located in Westerly, offers an elegant dining experience with a relaxed vibe. Chef Jeanie Roland, a six-time James Beard Award nominee, creates innovative dishes that blend French and Asian influences.

Must-Try Dishes

  • Duck Confit Spring Rolls: A delightful fusion of flavors, combining tender duck confit with fresh vegetables and a tangy dipping sauce.
  • Scallops with Lobster Risotto: Perfectly seared scallops atop creamy lobster risotto, finished with a delicate beurre blanc sauce.
  • Chocolate Fondant: A rich, molten chocolate cake that provides a sweet conclusion to your meal.

Why It’s Special

Ella’s stands out for its sophisticated yet approachable cuisine. Chef Roland’s expertise and creativity shine through in each dish, making it a destination for food enthusiasts.

The Square Peg (Warren)

Overview

The Square Peg in Warren is a quirky, laid-back eatery known for its hearty comfort food and friendly service. The eclectic menu features a mix of American classics and inventive twists on traditional dishes.

Must-Try Dishes

  • Peg Burger: A juicy burger topped with bacon, cheddar, and a special house-made sauce, served with crispy fries.
  • Chicken and Waffles: A Southern-inspired dish with tender fried chicken atop fluffy waffles, drizzled with maple syrup.
  • Loaded Tater Tots: A fun and indulgent appetizer, smothered in cheese, bacon, and sour cream.

Why It’s Special

The Square Peg’s casual, welcoming atmosphere makes it a favorite among locals. The eatery’s creative menu and generous portions ensure that no one leaves hungry.

Matunuck Oyster Bar (South Kingstown)

Overview

Located on the water in South Kingstown, Matunuck Oyster Bar is a seafood lover’s paradise. Known for its fresh, locally harvested oysters and seafood, this spot offers stunning views and an authentic Rhode Island dining experience.

Must-Try Dishes

  • Raw Oysters: Enjoy the freshest oysters, harvested directly from Matunuck’s own farm, with a variety of mignonettes.
  • Lobster Roll: Packed with succulent lobster meat, lightly dressed and served in a toasted roll with a side of fries.
  • Clam Chowder: A creamy, hearty New England clam chowder, rich in flavor and filled with tender clams and potatoes.

Why It’s Special

Matunuck Oyster Bar’s commitment to sustainability and quality shines through in every dish. The restaurant’s farm-to-table approach, combined with its picturesque location, makes it a must-visit for seafood enthusiasts.

The White Horse Tavern (Newport)

Overview

As one of America’s oldest operating restaurants, The White Horse Tavern in Newport offers a dining experience steeped in history. The tavern has been serving guests since 1673 and continues to impress with its classic New England cuisine.

Must-Try Dishes

  • Beef Wellington: A luxurious dish featuring tender beef wrapped in puff pastry, served with a rich mushroom duxelles and red wine reduction.
  • Seafood Pot Pie: A comforting mix of lobster, scallops, and shrimp in a creamy sauce, topped with flaky pastry.
  • New England Clam Chowder: A traditional recipe, offering a hearty and flavorful start to any meal.

Why It’s Special

The White Horse Tavern’s historic charm and exceptional cuisine make it a unique dining destination. The tavern’s dedication to preserving its heritage while offering modern, refined dishes creates a memorable experience for visitors.

7. Julians (Providence)

Overview

Julians, located in Providence, is a vibrant and eclectic eatery known for its inventive menu and lively atmosphere. This popular brunch spot serves up creative dishes that cater to a variety of dietary preferences, including vegan and gluten-free options.

Must-Try Dishes

  • Breakfast Nachos: A playful twist on traditional nachos, featuring scrambled eggs, black beans, cheese, and salsa over crispy tortilla chips.
  • Tofu Scramble: A flavorful and protein-packed vegan option, with seasoned tofu, vegetables, and home fries.
  • Fried Chicken and Grits: Southern comfort meets New England flair with this dish, combining crispy fried chicken with creamy grits and a drizzle of hot sauce.

Why It’s Special

Julians’ artistic and inclusive vibe sets it apart. The restaurant’s creative approach to food and dedication to accommodating all dietary needs make it a beloved spot among Providence locals and visitors alike.

Tallulah’s Taqueria (Providence)

Overview

For a taste of authentic Mexican street food, Tallulah’s Taqueria in Providence is the place to go. This casual eatery offers a menu filled with fresh, flavorful tacos, burritos, and bowls, all made with high-quality ingredients.

Must-Try Dishes

  • Carnitas Tacos: Slow-cooked pork with a perfect balance of spices, served on soft corn tortillas with fresh toppings.
  • Baja Fish Tacos: Crispy fish with cabbage slaw, crema, and a squeeze of lime, capturing the essence of coastal Mexico.
  • Elote (Mexican Street Corn): Grilled corn on the cob, coated with mayo, cheese, chili powder, and lime, providing a delicious and messy treat.

Why It’s Special

Tallulah’s Taqueria’s commitment to authenticity and flavor has earned it a loyal following. The vibrant, colorful setting and friendly service enhance the overall dining experience, making it a must-visit for taco enthusiasts.

The Mooring Seafood Kitchen & Bar (Newport)

Overview

The Mooring, located on Newport’s scenic waterfront, offers an upscale dining experience with a focus on fresh, locally sourced seafood. The restaurant’s elegant setting and impeccable service make it a popular choice for special occasions.

Must-Try Dishes

  • Bag of Doughnuts: A unique appetizer featuring lobster, crab, and shrimp fritters served with a tangy chipotle-maple aioli.
  • Seafood Paella: A hearty and flavorful dish with a mix of lobster, shrimp, clams, and chorizo, simmered with saffron-infused rice.
  • Grilled Swordfish: Perfectly grilled swordfish with a lemon-caper butter sauce, served with seasonal vegetables.

Why It’s Special

The Mooring’s prime location and dedication to quality make it a standout in Newport’s dining scene. The restaurant’s emphasis on fresh, sustainable seafood and its innovative menu ensure a memorable culinary experience.

Mission (Newport)

Overview

Mission in Newport is a hidden gem that offers a modern take on classic American fare. This casual eatery is known for its gourmet burgers, hot dogs, and hand-cut fries, all made with locally sourced ingredients.

Must-Try Dishes

  • Classic Cheeseburger: A perfectly cooked beef patty topped with cheese, lettuce, tomato, and their special sauce, served on a toasted bun.
  • Mission Dog: A hot dog topped with house-made chili, cheese, and jalapeños, providing a satisfying and flavorful bite.
  • Truffle Fries: Crispy hand-cut fries tossed in truffle oil and parmesan cheese, offering a luxurious twist on a classic side.

Why It’s Special

Mission’s commitment to quality and its inventive approach to traditional comfort food make it a favorite among locals and visitors. The laid-back atmosphere and friendly service add to the charm of this Newport eatery.

Conclusion

Rhode Island may be small, but its culinary scene is rich and diverse. These hidden eateries offer a taste of the state’s unique flavors and showcase the creativity and passion of its chefs and restaurateurs. Whether you’re a local or a visitor, exploring these lesser-known dining spots will provide a delightful and memorable experience. From fresh seafood and innovative fusion dishes to comforting classics and vegan delights, Rhode Island’s hidden gems are waiting to be discovered. So, take a culinary journey through the Ocean State and uncover the treasures that lie off the beaten path.

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