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Discover New Favorites During Restaurant Week

Saturday, January 04, 2014


Big kudos to the team at the Providence Warwick Convention and Visitors Bureaus for continuing to execute a stellar winter Restaurant Weeks . From January 5-18, the 70-plus restaurants participating (see them all at www.providencerestaurantweeks.com) offer a three-course lunch for $14.95 and a three-course dinner for $29.95. It’s a great way to discover some new favorites. These five restaurants are among the choices on our list.

Bacaro, Providence

Chef Brian Kingsford is a master at coaxing beautiful flavors from foods via the simplest preparations. He’s constantly learning, not to mention searching for the best local and season flavors with which to do just that. For Restaurant Weeks, we’re sticking to the simplest of the simple on his dinner menu: his Caesar salad with a grilled garlic crouton is one of the best and most consistently delicious in the city. For an entrée, we’re choosing the pasta with mushrooms – butter, parmesan cheese, a truffle-scented egg and mushrooms singles with flavor. Dessert surely will be the salted chocolate and caramel tart. Basta! 262 South Water St, 751-3700, www.bacarorestaurant.net

Bonefish Grill, Cranston

We like the urban ambience of Garden City’s most recent upscale restaurant. Their dinner Restaurant Weeks menu features a nice selection of what they do best – fish! Apps include a creamy clam chowder and a zingy calamari. For our entrée, we’re definitely choosing the lobster thermidor sirloin, topped with sweet lobster and crab and finished in a sherry sauce. Desserts here are tropical – a classic Key Lime pie or a cocoanut pie. 2000 Chapel View Blvd, 275-4970, www.bonefishgrill.com

Pizzico Ristorante, Barrington

One of Providence’s most long-successful restaurants now has an Easy Bay outpost where they serve the same kind of Italian favorites that made their East Side location successful. Pizzico is offering both lunch and dinner options for Restaurant Weeks and the menus are huge – nice selections of coups, salads, pannini, pastas and pizzas, and fish, chicken and meat dishes. Whatever we order, we always like to finish here with the tiramisu – a nice version of the classic Italian dessert.

Matunuck Oyster Bar, South Kingstown

Lest you think that this South County favorite is just a summer haunt, or limited in their menu offerings, witness the Restaurant Weeks menu and you’ll be proved wrong. Sure, owner and harvester Perry Raso’s stellar shellfish such as oysters and clams are included, but so are selections such as duck confit, jambalaya and salmon. Desserts are simple – chocolate bread pudding or a brownie sundae. 629 Succotash Rd, 783-4202, www.rhodyoysters.com

Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Providence

At a restaurant that specializes in expensive cuts of prime steaks, subscribing to a special offer like Restaurant Weeks can be a tricky proposition. But Ruth’s Chris pulls it off well. The dinner menu features selections such a lobster bisque, an eight-ounce filet or a 12-ounce New York strip, crab cakes, and chicken. One side is included, and you can purchase additions such as grilled shrimp to accompany your steak if you wish. 10 Memorial Blvd, 272-2271, www.ruthschris.com


Related Slideshow: 13 Biggest Food Stories in RI in 2013

Here are the Top 13 Biggest Food Stories of 2013:

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13 Rhody's Best Burger

The culinary experts at Zagat named each state's best burger in its 50 States, 50 Burgers awards, and Providence's Harry's Bar & Burger took the prize in the Ocean State for its sliders. Haven't tried them? Stop in for one… well actually, they come in twos or threes.

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12 James Beard Awards

Two high-profile chefs in Rhode Island, Farmstead's Matt Jennings and Champe Speidel of Persimion in Bristol, were named semi-finalists for the prestigious James Beard Foundation 2013 awards in the category of "Best Chef: Northeast". The James Beard awards are considered by many to be the "Oscars" of the culinary world.

Another Ocean State restaurant, Cook & Brown Public House in Providence, was also named as a semi-finalist for its bar program.

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11 Best Pizza in America

Providence's Al Forno made The Daily Meal's list of the "Best 101 Pizzas in America," coming in at #10 overall (#3 in New England). 

Despite this national accolade, Al Forno was left off the list of Rhode Island's Best Pizza Joints, compiled by GoLocalProv food experts, Ann and Michael Martini.

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10 Cooking for the Pope

Master Chef Walter Potenza cooked at the Vatican for Holy Father Pope Francis in November. The event was part of a fund-raising collaboration between the Association of Professional Italian Chefs of the Region of Lazio, and the Hunger-Relief Mission of the Vatican toward the “Barrios” of South America. Potenza was the only chef from the United States to participate.

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9 Most Romantic Dining

Three Rhode Island restaurants, Newport's The Spiced Pear and Restaurant Bouchard as well as Basil's of Narragansett, were named by OpenTable in their list of Top 100 “Most Romantic” Restaurants in the US.

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8 Ben Sukle's Birch

Johnson and Wales graduate chef Ben Sukle once worked in what many consider to be the world's best restaurant, Copenhagen's Noma. After returning to Providence and the kitchens of La Lattiere and the Dorrance, the culinary master opened his own downtown eatery, Birch, across from Trinity Rep in 2013. 

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7 #2 Ice Cream City

Providence was named by Travel + Leisure Magazine as the 2nd Best Ice Cream City in America in their July issue.  Whether you prefer the great gelato available on Federal Hill, or the hipster favorite PVD Pops ice cream cart, Providence certainly has its finger on the pulse of frozen treats.

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6 Food Trucks

Some argue that the food truck craze started in Providence, with the 1888 establishement of Haven Bros.  In 2013, Providence saw the opening of a food truck park on the city's West End. 

See Ann + Michael Martini's list of the best food trucks in New England here.

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5 Foolproof Brewing

Rhode Island's newest craft brewery hit the scene in 2013, and they hit the ground running.  Nick Garrison caught the brewing bug after getting a home-brew kit for Christmas, and went on to craft the beer for his own wedding.  He then teamed up with professional brewer Damase Olsson to start the Foolproof Brewery, which quickly became a favorite among Rhode Islanders.

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4 America's Best Taco

Providence showed off its diverse mixture of high-quality dining options when Olneyville's La Lupita Tacos Mexicanos was named by the Huffington Post as one of The Best Tacos in America in March.

See Ann + Micheal Martini's picks for the best Mexican food in RI here.

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Carolyn's Sakonnet Vineyard

Alex + Ani's Carolyn Rafaelian purchased Sakonnet Vineyards in late 2012. And in 2013, the new ownership released its first wine, Blessed Blend, to positive reviews. A great year kept getting better for the Little Compton vineyard when the Boston Celtics named Carolyn's Sakonnet Vineyards as its official Team Wine

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2 America's Best Bakeries

With great coffee, and even better breads and pastries, it is not uncommon to see lines stretching out the door at Providence's Seven Stars Bakery.  Which is why few were surprised when The Daily Meal named them as one of the America's 50 Best Bakeries in 2013.  

GoLocalProv Food experts Ann + Michael Martini certainly agreed, as they included the bakery's Rumford location in their list of Rhode Island's Best Bakeries back in January. 

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1 Health Code Violations

Not all of Rhode Island's food stories in 2013 were good news.  In 2013 GoLocalProv went through the health inspection records for Providence-area dining establishments and unveiled a list of the worst offenders

Two of the restaurants had more than 30 violations each, with many others racking up numerous trangressions each. The violations range from minor observations to the more serious; including cross-contamination, lack of proper food storage, employees not wearing gloves when handling ready-to-eat food, hand washing, or sick employees at work.  

See the full list of violators here.


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