Best Date Restaurants in Rhode Island

Thursday, October 18, 2012


As the weather gets colder, we think about hunkering down. And that makes us think of romantic fires, and romantic restaurants where we can while away an autumn evening. This week we found a few places perfect for a little flirting, a little eating and a little drinking.


The Dorrance, Providence

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Once the tallest Providence had to offer, this building features incredible stained glass and sculptures above the door done by the same man that carved Abraham Lincoln at the Lincoln Memorial. You will walk into hundreds of dining rooms in your life but you will be hard pressed to find one more beautiful than this.And in this gorgeous setting you have one of the nation's top young chefs, Ben Sukle, serving some of the states' most thoughtful food. All local, all sustainable all delicious. Sukle's use of flavor and textural differences highlight his approach. He really makes you think. A recent peach dessert favorite had "peach glass" which was peach that they juiced...turned into a "fruit roll-up"....dehydrated and smashed. It was amazing. We love sitting at the bar and having Jay and Vito prepare a craft cocktail for us; ordering a couple of small plates; splitting a large plate and a dessert. You really feel as though you're sitting at that same bar at the start of the 20th century. 60 Dorrance St. 521-6000,


New Rivers, Providence

We're suckers for a good love story...especially when it comes wrapped in a top-notch restaurant. The venerable New Rivers has long been a staple of the dining scene in Providence because of the intimate, romantic setting and great food, but this summer it changed hands. Gone was Bruce Tillinghast as longtime chef Beau Vestal took over the reigns with his better half Elizabeth. They decided to buy a restaurant/get married/start a new lunch service all at once late this summer and by all accounts they pulled it off masterfully. All this love spills over into everything at New Rivers. The food. The atmosphere. The cocktails. They all make a perfect backdrop for your evening of romance. This is the perfect combination of food for both sexes. Light fare like local seafood and vegetables sit alongside pork and smoke and beef. Whatever your taste, you should start with some of the incredible charcuterie that Chef Vestal and his team make in-house. This is some of the best cured, smoked and brined meats that you will find in our fare state. 7 Steeple St. 751-0350,


Bouchard, Newport

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There are many more famous restaurants in Newport, but you will be hard pressed to find a more romantic spot than Bouchard. Albert and Sarah Bouchard started their restaurant and inn soon after settling in Newport and almost from day one they gathered a loyal following of date-night diners. Their combination of food and atmosphere makes a perfect backdrop for your night out. Chef Bouchard was classically trained in kitchens in New York and in France. He brings a love of locally raised foods to his French preparations and we love the two together. There is something about a classically made French meal that still seems so romantic and Albert and Sarah do everything in their power to insure a perfect night. We love the classics here: lobster bisque, escargot, foie find them all here and all delicious. And we are absolute suckers for a perfectly prepared souffle for dessert and Bouchard has one of the last great souffles you will find. It is at the same time light and satisfying and delicious! 505 Thames St. 846-0123,


Bella Restaurant, Glendale

One of the strongest ethnic groups to ever settle in Rhode Island were the Italians. They came here, found weather that let them grow tomatoes and vegetables and they put down roots that are still strong today. And where we settled, we ate. It's one of our blessings, we don't need to travel too far to get good Italian food. Italians--and those who love them--in the northern end of the state have been enjoying Bella since chef and owner Gio Calapai opened in 1998. Bella combines reliable Italian favorites with contemporary classics in a modern setting. Chef Gio has a deft hand in the kitchen when it comes to sauces. You can taste it from the humble pomodoro to the depth of the Bolognese. The pastas are creative and chef Gio always has some seasonal items on the specials menu. The bread is made in house--as is just about everything--and there is just something about breaking warm, crusty bread and staring into each others eyes that makes everything else melt away. 1992 Victory Highway, 568-6996,


Trattoria Romana, Wakefield

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If you call Washington County home and have had your fill of the amazing seafood spots, we have news for you...Wakefield is home to a great date-night Italian restaurant. Chef/owner Luciano Canova has been making amazing Italian food since learning at the heals of his mother and grandmother, and you can taste it in every bite. The restaurant itself features dark woods; there is a nice bar area and just enough space to provide you some privacy while still enjoying the clamor--which is a must for an Italian restaurant. The food is fresh and the portions large. This isn't a tourist trap that also catches locals. You get tasty food for a reasonable price. We love the Ceasar salad with its crisp romaine and just the right amount of anchovy to get your attention without overpowering. As far as entrees go, we never get past the Cannelloni Bolognese A La Corrina: baked pasta stuffed with beef, pork and veal and baked topped with homemade Bolognese sauce. 71 South County Commons Way, 792-4933,


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