Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Providence, Rhode Island Eating and Drinking Guide (UPDATED 3/30/17)

Providence is rapidly developing as an excellent food and cocktail town, below are some of my recommendations while you are there.

Restaurants

North Favorite casual dinner place. Asian-inspired dishes to share, huge spices, herbs and heat.  Everything is great, easily my favorite place to eat in PVD.  Chefs are formerly from Momofuku in NYC.  I crave their food all the time.
Birch Incredible dinner only restaurant.  Tiny, 18 counter seats, service is from behind counter.  Local, farm to table ingredients, but clever execution excellent flavors and textures in every dish.  Tasting menu is cheap too ($49pp for food, choose each dish for 4 courses).  Serious dinner with exceptional wine list, but casual enough for any night. 
Julian's Funky, odd little diner-like restaurant serving brunch and dinner every day.  Great food, great obscure beer list.  Lunch was excellent, haven't been for dinner yet.
Nick's on Broadway Upscale-ish, brunch Wednesday through Sunday, dinner Wednesday through Saturday.  Excellent brunch, attentive, calculated service, not hectic like many brunch places.   Haven't been for dinner yet.
Geoff's Sandwiches Casual lunch spot. WOW. TONS of specialty unique sandwiches to choose from, fantastic Providence staple, 2 locations.
Haven Bros. Food Truck When you need food (like the monstrous Triple-Murder Burger) after the bar at 2:30am, this is the place.  Located downtown, near the Biltmore
Murphy's Bar and Deli  Giant deli sandwiches to go, from inside an Irish bar.  Sounds weird, but the sandwiches are no joke.  I chose the "Death By Reuben" and it almost killed me. Also awesome for keno and beers during the day.
Olga's Cup and Saucer Decent breakfast/brunch spot.  Great coffee and baked goods, plated meals were not as great- stick to simple stuff.
Rancho Grande (Olneyville) Great Mexican, better than most or all of Boston's Mexican offerings.  Definitely recommend the Shrimp Cocktail, anything in Salsa Verde and the Mariscos appetizer in Salsa de Arbol in particular. Great tequila and mezcal selection, great cocktails at night.
Providence Coal-Fired Pizza Excellent, chewy pies, can't wait to go back.
Persimmon Now in their new location in Providence- for a serious white-tablecloth dinner out. Excellent experiences here, great wine list too.
Oberlin From Birch owners Ben and Heidi- oberlin sounds amazing, haven't been yet.

Bars

Avery Great cocktail bar, dim, dark, asian decor.  Conveniently located across the street from North.
E&O Tap Also around the corner from North and Avery. Hipster dive bar, cheap Miller High Life, loud music, funky vibe.  Lots of fixies out front.
Lili Marlene's Young, very dark bar, great for later at night. Pool table, a few round booths, get some PBR and Fernet and chill out after working the dinner shift.
The Hot Club Daytime drinking on the water.  Funky old building, all glass to the water, outdoor waterside seating and outdoor bar on the deck as well.  Busy at night.
The Eddy Newly built, classy little cocktail bar.  Very small, slightly pretentious bartending, but good drinks.  They sometimes offer a bucket of High Life ponies and a half bottle of Fernet for $32.
The Dorrance Old-school, stunning dining room and bar, in an old bank building.  Haven't eaten here yet, but everyone who comes to Providence should come here for a drink before dinner and check out the room. Often closed for private events, maybe call first.
Red Fez Great mellow beer bar upstairs downtown, great place to hide from all the drunken college kids on the weekend.
Wild Colonial Tavern Nice old pub, lots of seating, play some cards and drink some pints.
Nick-A-Nees Spacious dive bar/music venue, cash only, live music regularly, awesome spot!
Justine's Speakeasy-style, beautiful small cozy room, good bar, but bartenders not necessarily up to par with Dorrance/Eddy caliber peeps. Go just to check it out and have a cocktail (many are $5!)
The Grange Vegetarian-focused restaurant, but they have a great cocktail bar, open during the day!
Rooftop at G Feels like Miami Beach up here on the roof on the 7th floor in downtown Providence.  Products available are basic, but worth a trip up on a sunny day just for the view and the scene.




Saturday, June 22, 2013

Portland, Maine- Dining and Drinking Recommendations From A Professional From Boston (Updated 9/30/15)

Welcome to Portland!  We all know this is one of the best day or weekend trip destinations in  New England, with great dining and drinking spots.  My goal with this post is to highlight the best spots in the restaurant and bar scene in Portland, from a Boston restaurant industry professional's point of view.  Hopefully this list will help you enjoy your next visit, and I'll try to revise it as time goes by!  

Breakfast/Brunch

Scratch bakery in South Portland, incredible bagels and bialys.
Porthole (local joint on the water, huge portions of solid breakfast food, full bar) 
Bayside American Cafe (Formerly Bintliff's- more gourmet, think mango-stuffed french toast).

Lunch

Duckfat for rich sandwiches and duckfat fries.
Portland Lobster Company for fried stuff or lobster, on a deck over the water,sometimes with a band.  Warm weather only.
Miyake's PaiMen Ramen spot for awesome pork buns, good sushi, decent ramen. 
Eventide Oyster Co. (lunch and dinner) excellent for raw bar (get the kimchi ice with the oysters), brunch and lunch. also recommend crudos, brunch cauliflower dish, hot buttered lobster roll, breakfast bun, and whole maine shrimp when in season.
Fishermen's Grill Lobster rolls here are made with lobster picked to order, so it takes 20-30 mins, but it's soooo worth it.
East Ender (lunch and dinner) great food, beer, wine, and cocktails, next door to Duckfat.

Dinner 

Street and Co. Older Portland standard, same owners as Fore Street.  Great for oysters and champagne at the bar before dinner somewhere else
Central Provisions (lunch and dinner) Inspired food from Chris Gould, formerly of Uni in Boston
Fore Street (same owners as Street and Co) (VERY IMPORTANT- sit at bar, stick to all of the small plates and charcuterie.  Order all of them.   Will the dark haired bartender with glasses is incredibly knowledgeable and hospitable)
Miyake (crazy good sushi/omakase tasting menu).  
555 (very good, new american)
Emilitsa Excellent Greek food, nice atmosphere, Greek wines.
Boda Excellent Thai food, cute place, half-price menu available after 9:30.
Bill's Pizza This is your 1:30am late-night pizza spot

Bars

The Top Of the East, on the top floor of the Westin Portland Harborview Hotel (formerly known as the Eastland Park Hotel). Come here to the 15th floor of the hotel for a nighttime whiskey and a view of the whole city from the top floor of the hotel, which is on the highest point of the city, good stuff.
Central Provisions Also a restaurant, but the bartenders make a mean cocktail.
Portland Hunt and Alpine Club is a new cocktail bar on Market Street.  Easily the most serious cocktails in town.
Novare Res Belgian beer bar, hundreds, they have a beer garden.  Top 5 beer bars in New England.
Portland Lobster Co. Their outdoor bar on the deck is sunny and on the water, often with live music.
Porthole Their outdoor deck and bar often have live music, also on the water.
Sebago brewpub, Gritty McDuff's brewpub, Shipyard brewery tour.
Great Lost Bear is supposed to be a great beer bar, haven't been there though.
Bull Feeney's Irish bar, with incredible whiskey selection, all sorts.  Irish food, live music in the summer.
Bonfire Country bar.  Heavily-themed, lots of drunk young people. 
Empire Dine and Dance (often live music)
Sonny's is a solid cocktail/beer bar. 
Rivalries Sports Bar
Brian Boru Public House
If you want to get down and dirty with the locals at the bar, check out Rosie's, Mama's Crowbar (Cash only, beer only), Shay's Pub, J's Oyster (only order steamers if anything, no oysters!!!), DiMillo's Floating Restaurant (bar), Fore Play Sports Pub, or for that matter any other place that looks grimy.

Other honorable mentions

Grace has good food and drinks, AMAZING atmosphere (was a church before), worth visiting. 
Vignola for a glass of wine before dinner, all glass windows in front, good list.  
Shopping at Leroux kitchen, Black Tie Market, and Aurora Provisions
Yosaku has good sushi as well.  
Ri Ra Irish Pub is a chain but decent irish bar. 
LFK Think Fernet, PBR, burgers, looks pretty chill. I hear the burger is solid.  


On my list, yet to try:

The Snug cozy bar on East End
The Dogfish Bar and Grille
Slainte Pub
Matthew's Pub
Ruski's local dive bar, open early, food
The Bearded Lady's Jewelry Box Nathaniel Meiklejohn's new cocktail bar
Vinland Strictly local dinner menu (no olive oil, black pepper, or lemon!)
Tao Yuan Dumpling house, opening soon in old West End Deli space next to old Miyake space.
Schulte and Herr BYOB German restaurant
Hot Suppa Breakfast, lunch, dinner and cocktails
Blue Rooster Sandwiches, hot dogs, tater tots, all gourmet
Piccolo Italian fine dining, tiny spot, from owners of Blue Rooster.
Public Market House for deli sandwiches
Small Axe food truck. Breakfast and Lunch.
In'finiti brewery/distillery/restaurant.
Becky's Diner Breakfast every day.
Holy Donut
Dutch's for breakfast and lunch
Susan's Fish n Chips
Taco Trio
Honey Paw World noodles and stuff
Tempo Dulu Indonesian/french
The Lobster Shack
Market Street Eats breakfast and lunch
Snow Squall
Elsmere BBQ and Wood Grill
Slab


Hope this is helpful, and feel free to email me weissjesse@gmail.com with any questions or suggestions!