Rhode Island’s Most Romantic Restaurants

Thursday, February 09, 2012


The beginning of February means thoughts of Valentine’s Day and romance for us at GoLocal. We always get questions about where people should go for a romantic meal, so we decided to tackle this from two different angles: Today Ann and Michael Martini pick their favorite romantic restaurants and tomorrow the food team makes their picks for V-Day this year. So check out these 5 romantic spots for your next rendezvous….

The Inn at Castle Hill, Newport

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So, we’ve had this story lined-up for months and the week we’re going to run it, TripAdvisor names The Inn at Castle Hill one of the ten most romantic hotels in America? Tell us something we don’t know. Castle Hill has long been a destination for stunning views, delicious food and romance. The Inn gained prominence under Chef Casey Riley and is now in the capable hands of Chef Karsten Hart, who has put his own unique Creole/German/California background to work with fresh, local ingredients. Everything here is beautiful and romantic…the food, the ocean views and the comfort. On Valentine’s Day chef Karsten is offering a four-course meal with choices in each course. All of the sexy food words are included on his menu: oysters, lobster, filet mignon, quail, short ribs and whole, roasted duck. All foods are sourced locally when possible, with the oysters coming from local waters, local honey adding depth to a vinaigrette and local vegetables adding flavor and beauty to the mix. And if you don’t believe us, just ask TripAdvisor! 590 Ocean Dr. 888-466-1355, www.castlehillinn.com

Chez Pascal, Providence

When people think of romance, the French immediately come to mind. Something about all that wine and food and fashion make them seem to be more romantic than we are. Well, this Valentine’s Day why not get the best of both worlds? How about a talented local chef maintaining the French traditions of fresh and local? We count ourselves lucky to have a restaurant like Chez Pascal in town to save that Providence to Paris airfare. We know it’s not the Left Bank, but you will not find a better French onion soup around. They have cheese and pate and croquettes and escargot. Chef and owner Matt Genuso has taken this little neighborhood bistro and turned it into destination dining by combining the freshest local foods with French technique to great success. The care he takes with something as minute as the French onion soup is an example of the thought he put into everything. Each soup is heated to order. It may take longer that way but soup sitting in a warmer can evaporate and make it salty. Never a problem here. And all that anticipation makes scooping the cheesy goodness heavenly. 960 Hope St. 421-4422, www.chez-pascal.com

Restaurant Bouchard, Newport

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The city by the sea boasts many romantic restaurants. The water views, the history, the cobblestone streets, it all helps to lend a romantic atmosphere to any visit. Whether it is summer or winter, you can count on a tasty meal and romance. We have several chef friends who make this their special event restaurant. They go for birthdays, anniversaries and special date nights. Chef/Owner Albert Bouchard has made a local restaurant that is true to his French roots. He was like a child prodigy in the kitchens of France, first being noticed at age 15 and he has grown into a chef that other chefs love. When you’re in culinary school you learn a lot of classic dishes and techniques that you never put into practical use. It takes a lot of talent for a chef to make classic dishes that modern diners will eat, and Chef Bouchard has made his name doing just that. The restaurant is small and oozes romance. The closeness of the tables lends itself to leaning in, getting close and whispering. The Bouchards also operate an inn upstairs so, you know, if things go well, you can make it a weekend! 505 Thames St. 846-0123, www.restaurantbouchard.com

Capriccio, Providence

Since the late 1970’s, Capriccio has been a go-to destination for continental cuisine prepared in a dark, romantic setting. For almost 25 years chef Nino D’Urso made Capriccio an ideal stop for romantic dining. The candlelit basement dining room, with its stone walls, makes the perfect setting for that romantic date. Today, Chef Gustavo Granados has made Capriccio his own by honoring Nino’s legacy and taking the menu to new heights. Nothing is as romantic as tableside dining, and nobody around does it as well as Capriccio. The old-world feel of having salad, entrée and dessert prepared right next to you is truly unique. All that fire and sizzle certainly sends the right subliminal messages! Chef Granados’ menu encompasses all his travels throughout the Mediterranean. Opulent ingredients like caviar and truffles and old school, dishes like Dover sole and Boeuf Wellington make any old Tuesday feel romantic. Finish with a tableside flambé and pull that date close. It works wonders. 2 Pine St. 421-1320, www.capriccios.com

The Little Inn, Johnston

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This one is a true Rhode Island hidden gem. The Russo family has been running the Little Inn for more than 40 years and they have maintained a high level of food and service all that time. They wanted a restaurant that felt like it was in the city and never compromised because of a rural locale and, as the crowds can attest, they’ve done that. The entire region in the Northwest corner of our little state has been using the Inn as their special date spot for years. They have killer food and warm, romantic fireplaces to add the needed spice to heat up a cold-or slightly cool-Winter night. Classic dishes reign here with rack of lamb, veal saltimbocca and chicken francaise being some well prepared versions of the classics. The pasta dishes feature nicely al dente pasta. The one drawback--and its only a drawback on a night of romance--is the portions are huge. A night of romance is not always enhanced by consuming a large portion of steak. But look at it this way, have dinner…romance time…late night snack! You’re welcome. 103 Putnam Pike, 231-0570, www.thelittleinn.com


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