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Best RI Restaurants For Christmas Dinner

Thursday, December 13, 2012


Christmas is a tough dining holiday. It is the one day of the year that most restaurants are closed. There are, however, some intrepid souls who make it theie mission to make your holiday easier by doing the cooking for you. We checked our lists twice and came up with an eclectic selection of options for you and yours.... Enjoy!


Old School Italian Christmas...Sardella's, Newport

You can trust Aunt Josie to make sure your family eats well this Christmas. See, she's Mayor Richard Sardella's aunt from New Jersey and her name is on the meatballs. She travels from her home to Sardella's several times a year to make sure that the cooks are upholding her legacy. How can you go wrong? Part of her worry is that the kitchen is led by an Irish guy named Fitzgerald. Fear not! Chef Kevin has been serving up sublime Italian food here since 1983. We love the idea a cozying in by the fire in the dining room while he does all the work. Try Aunt Josie's meatballs. They're served with the tasty house marinara sauce -- every day Chef Kevin makes 11 gallons of it and we must've eaten 6 ourselves over the years. We suggest finishing your new holiday tradition with the tiramisu. It is one of our favorite versions.  30 Memeorial Blvd. West, 849-6312, www.sardellas.com


Nosh, Nosh, New Year...Asian Palace, Providence

The love affair between Jewish Americans and Chinese food is well documented. When you dig deeper you find that that love was forged on Christmas. The Chinese and the Jews bonded because neither is Christian, so Chinese restaurants were the best option on Christmas. Our favorite spot for classic Chinese is Asian Palace in Providence. You can get everything from an old-school pu-pu platter to pad Thai to sushi and just about everything we have tried (over and over) there is spot-on. Your family can expect to find a dining room featuring dark wood and leather chairs. The smells coming from the kitchen will whet your appetite for a feast. Start with the Maguro Naruto, which features thinly sliced cucumber, tuna, crab and avocado. It is crisp and fresh. After that, let your family choose between different cuisines of Asia and enjoy the journey together. 1190 North Main St. 228-7805 or 7806, www.asianpalacedining.com 


Classic New England Christmas...Shelter Harbor Inn, Westerly

If you're looking for a "white barn" kinda Christmas, look no further than the Shelter Harbor Inn, in Westerly. Several hundred diners make the pilgrimage here every holiday and none is more beautiful--and tasty-- than Christmas at the Inn. The setting alone screams Christmas: the grounds feature several white buildings all decked out for the holidays and lit with candles. The kitchen screams delicious: a four-course dinner will fill your family with tastes of the season and region. Start with the choice of two soups, move on to an arugala and beet salad, and then pick from five entrees including a vegetarian option. We love the sound of the smoked rack of pork with a parsnip puree and an apple bourbon glaze. The in-house desserts are always a fantastic finish and your brood will love the selection of five specialties. We will take the chocolate trifle and call it a night. 10 Wagner Rd. 322-8883, www.shelterharborinn.com


Carefree Christmas...Luigi's Gourmet Express, Johnston

We all wish we had a chef in the family, right? Someone who could plan and shop and prep and cook the perfect holiday meal. Okay, so imagine waking up on Christmas morning and enjoying a coffee with the family instead of toiling in the kitchen. Luigi's has your back on this one. Simply check their website for the holiday menu and pick everything from appetizers to desserts. You pick them up beforehand and simply heat up all that tasty goodness on Christmas Day. Everything is taken care of for you and you don't need to worry about anything except Cousin Eddie. You can select individual items or pick from full "soup to nuts" dinners based on the size of your family. Pick from a ham or roast turkey as your main course and leave the rest to Luigi's. 1357 Hartford Ave. 455-0045, www.luigisgourmet.com


"Ocean" State of Mind...McCormick and Schmick's, Providence

Christmas in the Ocean State should include some good seafood and if it swims you can find it at McCormick and Schmick's. This choice will make the seafood loving family very happy. You can get a delicious steak or a creative pasta dish here but this is all about the seafood. Start with some of the incredible fresh oysters--hey, they're not just for stuffing! And since this is prime oyster season, indulge. They feature two native varieties: Plum Point and Matunuck and they're both briny and fresh. The lobster bisque is also a favorite with large chunks of lobster and a touch of cream making a lush and warming soup. On the entree side you can go classic with baked scrod topped with buttered bread crumbs, or venture outside the box with Asian barbecue shrimp with sticky rice and cucumber salad. Either choice will be fresh and well prepared. 11 Dorrance St. 351-4500, http://www.mccormickandschmicks.com


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