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Best Neighborhood Joints in Rhode Island

Thursday, November 01, 2012

 

We all have a favorite neighborhood joint. These are places that are close to home and affordable. They offer reliable food, cold beverages and, the best part of the neighborhood joint -- "regulars." Some are higher end and some are lower but they all serve their purpose and we're sated and grateful. We set out to find 5 top notch neighborhood joints and came back with these...

Edgewood Cafe, Cranston

This pick hits close to home for us...literally. We first wandered in after Hurricane Irene and found a quaint spot with friendly service and a wonderful "community" feel. The waitresses actually took the time to ask how we were doing and seemed generally interested in our answers. Fast forward a year...and a hurricane...and we've been back many times. There is a lot to love here but we ALWAYS start with the calamari. Crispy rings of tasty squid are tossed with cherry tomatoes, basil and a touch of balsamic vinegar. The star however are thin strips of sundried tomato that offer a nice touch of salt to the other sweet ingredients. On the entree side we enjoy the tasty burgers; the individual pizzas and the always-creative daily specials on the chalkboard. If you're a fan of Guy Fieri, keep an eye out for the cafe on an upcoming episode of his show. 1864 Broad St. 383-5550, www.edgewoodcafe.com

Doherty's East Ave. Cafe, Pawtucket

This pick comes from an old neighborhood or ours...the East Side. We were asked here by some friends and we immediately loved the "buzz" of this place. Looking for a quiet date night spot? This is not the place for you. Doherty's is loud and boisterous in a good way. East Siders rub elbows with college students looking for good, affordable food and cold beer. The beer selection is legendary and features one of the largest selections in the state. We alternate between two starters when we go here: the wife loves the Harpoon beer cheese dip with warm soft pretzels and the husband loves the southwestern quesadilla with its spicy, blackened chicken. For main dishes you can't go wrong with any of the barbecue. The ribs are nice and tender and the pulled pork has tremendous flavor. 342 East Ave. 725-9520, www.dohertys.com

The Fifth Element, Newport

Located off the well-worn paths of Newport is the Broadway section of town. When tourists come to the city by the sea, they generally stick to the waterfront/Thames Street area or they go to Bellevue Avenue for the mansions. Lost in the middle is Broadway--both a street and a section of town. One of our favorite spots on Broadway is the Fifth Element. Relocated from the waterfront a couple of years ago, the Fifth is a terrific choice for for both dinner and Sunday brunch. We love the open kitchen with a pizza oven front and center pumping out crispy and creative grilled pizzas. We are big fans of the food of chef Chris DePerro with it's clean, local flavors. His menu runs the gamut from homey to haute. Try the old-school spinach balls on the app menu. You'll see. 111 Broadway, 619-2552, www.thefifthri.com

East Side Pockets, Providence

With all the amazing restaurants in our fair city, East Side Pockets is the highest rated restaurant in the city on Yelp. Now, we know these are different kinds of restaurants but love is love. And we love East Side Pockets. We tend to lean towards meat and potato places so this spot is for the vegetarians out there. E.S.P. offers some of the best falafel, stuffed grape leaves, tabouleh and hummus you will find anywhere. We will often fill our table with a selection of several items and allow everyone to share some of the delicious food. It's family-made so why not enjoy it family style? 278 Thayer St. 453-1100, www.eastsidepocket.com

Los Andes, Providence

City residents in the Elmhurst section have long known about the fabulous Peruvian style food being served at Los Andes. Once inside you will find fresh authentic South American food served by friendly, helpful employees. We always start with the ceviche. It features fresh fish with some spice and a perfect level of lime juice to "cook" the seafood and give it tremendous flavor. On the entrees we asked our server for a favorite and she pointed this pork lover to the mind-boggling chicharron -- slow roasted pork ribs with a touch of cinnamon and some of the best around. When you top it with a housemade salsa of tomato, onion and queso blanco you have a winner. 903 Chalkstone Ave. 649-4911, www.losandesri.com

 

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