Ah, Rhode Island, that tiny titan of the Northeast, where the culinary scene punches well above its weight class. As a connoisseur of good eats and a parent to three teenage black holes—where food disappears faster than my will to cook every night—I’ve embarked on a quest. Not for the Holy Grail, but for something equally elusive: restaurants in Rhode Island that can satisfy the voracious appetites of my offspring and still tickle the refined palates of us, the bill-paying, discerning adults. From seafood shanties dripping with New England charm to hipster hideouts where the fusion food is as unpredictable as my teenagers’ moods, I’ve scoured the Ocean State to bring you the crème de la crème. So, strap in, dear readers. Whether you’re a fellow parent in the trenches, a culinary adventurer, or just someone who loves a good meal, you’re in for a treat. Let’s dive into the best places to eat in Rhode Island, where the only thing small about them is their location on the map.

Rhode Island Food Bucket List

1. Ocean Mist

Ocean Mist Beach Bar in Matunuck, Rhode Island.

Where: Matunuck, Rhode Island

Ocean Mist epitomizes the quintessential Rhode Island experience, making it a favorite spot for locals and visitors alike. Whether you’re there for the drinks, tacos, or a revitalizing hangover brunch, this establishment promises a relaxed atmosphere complemented by friendly staff, an engaging owner, and an unbeatable location. The culinary offerings, particularly the ‘Coffee with Love’ brunch drink, are both delightful and potent, ensuring a leisurely day ahead. For a taste of their brunch menu, the California Benny comes highly recommended. But Ocean Mist is more than just a dining spot; it’s a vibrant venue that hosts themed nights adding to its appeal. Bingo nights offer a chance to win prizes while enjoying cheap tacos in a fun atmosphere, and Ticket Tuesdays transform the space into a lively reggae dance party, complete with affordable drinks. Given its popularity, making reservations is strongly advised to secure a spot at this beloved locale. Whether you’re seeking delicious food, engaging entertainment, or just a place to relax and enjoy the Rhode Island vibe, Ocean Mist stands out as a must-visit destination.


2. Iggy’s

Iggys-Rhode-Island

Where: Warwick, Rhode Island & Narragansett, Rhode Island

Iggy’s Chowder Houses stand as beacons of culinary delight in Rhode Island, with their two strategically placed outposts in Warwick (Oakland Beach) and Narragansett. These havens are a testament to the Ocean State’s gastronomic genius, offering a plethora of local delicacies that have earned them a legendary status. From the heartwarming clam chowder to the crispy calamari, from the iconic clam cakes to the sinfully delightful doughboys, Iggy’s menu is a treasure trove of flavors waiting to be explored. For those not native to the New England shores, Iggy’s presents a golden opportunity to embark on a chowder quest, with varieties spanning the robust Manhattan (red), the creamy New England (white), to the uniquely Rhode Island (clear).

Dubbed as an essential Rhode Island summer escapade, Iggy’s doesn’t just feed you; it immerses you in a cultural experience that’s hard to find elsewhere. The Oakland Beach location is particularly convenient for those craving a taste of the sea without the journey to South County. But here’s the pro tip from a seasoned local: Iggy’s allure is no secret, leading to lines that snake long before you can say “I’m starving.”


3. Monahan’s Clam Shack

Close-up of a delicious lobster roll served with lemon at Monahan's Clam Shack in Rhode Island.

Location: Narragansett, Rhode Island

Monahan’s Clam Shack, perched gracefully by the sea, is not just a dining destination—it’s the holy grail for lobster roll aficionados across Rhode Island and beyond. Here, the lobster rolls reign supreme, served in two delectable styles: hot, bathed in luxurious drawn butter, or cold, dressed with a refreshing blend of herbs and chilled mayo. It’s a culinary conundrum I face each visit, flipping between the two, as choosing a favorite seems an impossible task. Beyond these majestic rolls, Monahan’s menu is a celebration of Rhode Island’s seafood heritage, featuring everything from the crispiest calamari and heartwarming clam cakes to rich chowders and exquisite crab cakes.

But, let’s whisper a little secret between us foodies: patience is the key ingredient to a meal at Monahan’s. Particularly after a sun-drenched day at the local beaches, expect to join a merry band of like-minded souls, all waiting for their turn to dive into seafood nirvana. It’s a testament to Monahan’s unmatched quality and the communal ritual of ending a perfect beach day with the perfect meal.


4. Haven BrothersHaven Brothers

Where: Providence, Rhode Island

Haven Brothers doesn’t just serve food; it’s a rite of passage in Rhode Island, home to the legendary, perhaps initially perplexing, hot wiener. But dispel any notions of the ordinary; this isn’t your backyard BBQ hot dog. Envision instead a culinary masterpiece: a frankfurter artfully adorned with a seasoned meat sauce, a scatter of finely chopped onions, a bold streak of yellow mustard, all crowned with a whisper of celery salt. If the description alone raises eyebrows, let your taste buds be the judge. Haven Brothers prides itself on offering the quintessential hot wiener experience, an original recipe that’s stood the test of time.

Stepping up to order? Go for “three all the way.” It’s the insider’s mantra for diving headfirst into this iconic dish, a perfect blend of flavors that’s both a challenge and a charm to the uninitiated.

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5. Del’s Lemonade

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Del's Lemonade

Where: Statewide

Del’s Frozen Lemonade isn’t just a beverage; it’s a slice of Rhode Island history, a frosty thread woven into the state’s cultural fabric since 1948. Born from the culinary genius of the DeLuca family in the sun-drenched streets of Naples, Italy, this original recipe crossed oceans, bringing a taste of Italian summer to Rhode Island’s shores. Today, Del’s is more than just a drink; it’s a statewide phenomenon. With mobile stands dotting the landscape, finding a Del’s is as easy as spotting the ocean on a map, each serving up that iconic, refreshingly natural lemonade that’s become synonymous with Rhode Island summers.

For those looking to dial up the experience, Del’s offers a cheeky twist: blend it with vodka for an adult concoction that marries the innocence of a childhood treat with the sophistication of a summer cocktail. It’s this playful versatility that has cemented Del’s Frozen Lemonade not just as a local tradition, but as a must-try experience for anyone visiting Rhode Island.


6. Brickley’s

Brickley's Rhode Island

Where: Narragansett, Rhode Island & Wakefield, Rhode Island

For those wanderers with a penchant for the sweeter things in life, a pilgrimage to Brickley’s is akin to finding your own sugary nirvana on a sweltering day. Nestled in the heart of South County, Brickley’s isn’t just an ice cream parlor; it’s a custodian of homemade bliss, churning out more than 45 flavors right on the premises of its original Narragansett locale. Among these, Butter Brickley stands out—a flavor so rich and beloved, it could very well be the epitome of ice cream perfection.

With two locations firmly planted in South County, Brickley’s beckons to all—from the local devotees to the intrepid travelers—promising a respite filled with creamy, dreamy delights. Each scoop is a testament to Brickley’s commitment to quality and flavor, an invitation to indulge in a moment of pure joy.


7. Castle Hill InnCastle-Hill-in-Newport

Where: Newport, Rhode Island

Castle Hill Inn stands as a beacon of luxury, a Relais & Châteaux property that whispers tales of grandeur and fine dining. For those venturing through the southern realms of the state with a palate yearning for culinary excellence, the Dining Room at Castle Hill Inn offers an encounter that transcends the ordinary. Here, each dish is a celebration, presented through a prix-fixe menu that dances with the seasons, always in harmonious step with the availability of the finest local ingredients. This commitment to quality extends to their cellar, boasting an impressive wine list that has consistently charmed the discerning eyes of Wine Spectator for a decade.

At $92 per person, the three-course tasting menu invites a moment of pause, a consideration of indulgence. Yet, what awaits is an experience far beyond the confines of ordinary dining—views that stretch into the ocean’s embrace, culinary creations that dazzle the senses, and an atmosphere steeped in exclusivity. This is not merely a meal; it’s an event, a baller date night that promises to etch itself into the memory. Castle Hill Inn doesn’t just serve food; it curates moments.


8. Wright’s Farm

Entrance to Wright's Farm Banquet Hall in Rhode Island.

Where: Burrillville, Rhode Island

Wright’s Farm is not just a dining destination in Rhode Island; it’s an institution, a beacon for families seeking not only nourishment but an experience to cherish. This beloved restaurant and event venue has carved its niche with a simple, yet profoundly satisfying offering: the family-style chicken dinner. At an accessible $16.25 per adult, this feast unfolds with an endless parade of freshly baked rolls, pasta draped in a robust marinara sauce, golden French fries, crisp salad, and, the star of the show, succulent baked chicken. It’s a testament to the simple pleasure of dining together, where the food is as heartwarming as the company.

Wright’s popularity is no secret, often buzzing with energy and anticipation. While reservations are a luxury reserved for parties of ten or more, the wait becomes part of the adventure, especially with a sprawling gift shop that promises to keep the little ones engaged and enchanted.


9. Coast Guard HouseCoast-Guard-House

Where: Narragansett, Rhode Island

The Coast Guard House in Rhode Island is not merely a restaurant; it’s a landmark, a testament to resilience, and a guardian of culinary tradition. Striking a harmonious balance between the laid-back charm of Monahan’s and the opulent elegance of Castle Hill, it has been a beacon of locally-sourced seafood excellence since the 1940s. To call it an institution might just be an understatement; it is, in every sense, the soul of Rhode Island’s dining scene, woven into the very fabric of the state’s history and its people’s hearts.

The scars left by Hurricane Sandy in 2012, which ravaged its structure and the iconic seawall, became the seeds of rebirth. The subsequent renovations infused the Coast Guard House with an upscale ambiance, elevating the dining experience without sacrificing its intrinsic character. The pièce de résistance, however, is its rooftop deck. Here, amidst the casual breeze and under the open sky, guests are treated to breathtaking views of historic Narragansett Bay—a panorama that weaves together the past, present, and future of Rhode Island.


10. Ocean House

Ocean-House-Watch-Hill

Where: Westerly, Rhode Island

Westerly, Rhode Island, is a gem tucked away near the Connecticut border, a place where the allure of pristine beaches, delectable cuisine, and the occasional celebrity sighting—yes, we’re talking about Taylor Swift’s summer retreat—blend into a captivating coastal narrative. At the heart of this narrative is The Ocean House, a storied hotel that caters to a kaleidoscope of culinary desires and budgets with its diverse dining options. Yet, among its myriad offerings, the traditional Ocean House lobster boil stands out as a quintessential summer experience not to be missed.

These celebratory lobster boils, held on select weekend nights throughout the summer, are more than just meals; they are festivals of flavor and fellowship. Before you set your heart on this adventure, a glance at the calendar is wise to align your plans with these special evenings. Imagine dining on a private beach, the air filled with the harmony of live music, the sky lit by the dazzling display of fireworks—all while indulging in a feast that captures the essence of New England summer.

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The buffet offers a bounty of flavors: German potato salad, house-baked cornbread, crisp coleslaw, refreshing tomato salads, sweet corn on the cob, slow-smoked ribs, succulent roasted chicken, and a seafood medley of steamed clams, mussels, and, of course, whole-boiled lobsters. The feast culminates in a delightful array of desserts, each a perfect finale to the sumptuous meal. While the price tag of $115 for adults and $65 for children may give pause, this experience is more than a meal—it’s a celebration of summer’s bounty, a memorable splurge that promises to be as enriching as it is indulgent.


11. Food Truck Friday

Where: Providence, Rhode Island

Food Truck Friday at Roger Williams Park isn’t just an event; it’s a vibrant celebration of Rhode Island’s dynamic culinary scene, a weekly tradition where the community comes together to revel in fun, friendship, family, and, of course, an array of mouthwatering food. With the allure of free admission, this festive gathering beckons foodies and families alike to explore the culinary delights of over 15 local food trucks, a lineup that promises new tastes and surprises as it evolves throughout the season.

This gastronomic fiesta is more than just eating; it’s an experience. Guests are invited to bring blankets or lawn chairs, claiming their slice of the grassy knoll to settle into the festive atmosphere. As the sun dips lower, the air fills with the melodies of free live music, adding a soundtrack to the sumptuous feast laid out under the open sky. Running from April through September, Food Truck Friday offers a unique opportunity to taste the best of Rhode Island’s food truck fare in one place, making it a cherished staple of the local community’s social calendar.


12. White Horse Tavern

White-Horse-Tavern

Where: Newport, Rhode Island

The White Horse Tavern is not just a restaurant—it’s a portal to another era. Established in 1673, this venerable establishment proudly holds the title of ‘America’s Oldest Tavern,’ offering more than just a meal but a journey through the pages of history. As you step through its doors, you’re greeted by an ambiance that exudes authentic charm, where every beam, fireplace, and flagstone tells a story of centuries past.

This historic treasure doesn’t just rest on the laurels of its age; it’s a vibrant testament to the farm-to-table ethos, showcasing a menu that’s as seasonal as it is locally sourced. The culinary offerings are a celebration of Rhode Island’s rich bounty, with dishes that weave together the freshest ingredients from nearby farms and waters, ensuring each bite is a reflection of the region’s gastronomic heritage.

Adding to its allure, from Sunday to Wednesday, the White Horse Tavern presents a three-course prix-fixe menu—an inviting opportunity at only $35 per person. This thoughtful offering allows diners to embark on a culinary exploration that is both affordable and steeped in the flavors of the season.


13. Allie’s Donuts

Allies-Donuts

Where: North Kingstown, Rhode Island

In a world where the gourmet donut scene is burgeoning, with hipster bakeries popping up on every corner, Allie’s Donuts holds its ground as the original game-changer in Rhode Island. Since 1968, Allie’s has been mastering the art of donut making, blending the airy, flaky, and sticky-sweet perfection reminiscent of a Krispy Kreme with the unmistakable passion and dedication that only a small business can muster. This isn’t just baking; it’s a labor of love, sweat, and tears, delivering a product that transcends the ordinary.

Don’t be swayed by the simplicity of their menu. Allie’s commitment to traditional flavors isn’t a limitation but a testament to their mastery. Each donut, devoid of pretension, stands tall among its contemporaries, boasting a texture and flavor that rivals, if not surpasses, the competition. It’s a reminder that true culinary excellence doesn’t rely on complexity or novelty but on the quality and care imbued in each creation.


14. PastichePastiche-Providence

Where: Providence, Rhode Island

In the culinary tapestry of Providence and its environs, Pastiche sets the gold standard for dessert aficionados. My journey with Pastiche began in childhood, yet it’s far more than nostalgia that cements its place on my list of culinary treasures. This beloved dessert shop has garnered a reputation that stretches across Rhode Island and beyond, celebrated for its sublime, ethereal treats that are crafted on-site, from scratch, with a commitment to freshness that is palpable in every bite.

Among the plethora of divine creations, the fresh fruit tart shines as a beacon of their regular offerings, a harmonious blend of crisp, buttery crust, luscious cream, and the bright burst of seasonal fruits. Yet, it is within their rotating specials that Pastiche truly dazzles, showcasing an innovative spirit and a keen responsiveness to the rhythms of the seasons and the bounty they provide.

One such marvel, the mango shortcake with its coconut biscuit, stands as a testament to the artistry and innovation at the heart of Pastiche’s kitchen. This particular creation, with its succulent mango and subtly sweet, coconut-infused biscuit, is not just a dessert; it’s an experience, an indulgence that transcends the ordinary and leaves a lasting imprint on the palate and the memory.


15. Broadway Bistro

Outside of Broadway Bistro, with their red, white and black sign showing a dog painted on the building.

Where: Providence, Rhode Island

Broadway Bistro holds a special place in my culinary heart as the quintessential dinner spot in Providence. This gem artfully elevates comfort food to the realms of fine dining, creating a symphony of flavors that resonate deeply with those who dine here. It’s not just the food that sings; the innovative cocktails, a wine list that can only be described as “legit,” and the very essence of affordability combine to curate an experience that’s both enriching and accessible.

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The ever-evolving menu is a testament to the creativity and passion driving the kitchen, ensuring that each visit offers a new discovery. Yet, amid this constant innovation, Broadway Bistro knows how to keep its patrons anchored with the occasional return of beloved favorites. Among these, the ribs and grits stand out—a dish so perfectly executed, it transcends its humble origins to become a must-try for any visitor.


Rhode Island Beer & Wine

16. Sons of Liberty

Where: South Kingstown, Rhode Island

Sons of Liberty stands as a beacon of innovation in the heart of South County, Rhode Island, redefining the craft of whiskey making with a focus that is as unique as it is captivating. This local distillery has carved out a niche for itself by specializing in innovative single-malt whiskeys distilled from beer, alongside a variety of seasonal offerings that showcase the rich tapestry of flavors unique to the area. Before the world shifted on its axis, the distillery’s tasting room served as a sanctuary for both locals and visitors alike, providing a perfect end to a beach day or a cozy retreat on a rainy afternoon. In these changed times, though, Sons of Liberty has adapted, offering curbside pickup and ensuring their flavorful spirits are stocked in local liquor stores for those eager to sample their artisanal creations.


17. SakonnetSakonnet-Vineyards

Where: Little Compton, Rhode Island

A picturesque landscape that stretches over 150 acres, Sakonnet Vineyards has been a cornerstone of Rhode Island’s viticulture since its founding in 1975. This venerable winery not only offers an expansive exploration of land and vineyards but also serves as a testament to the unique maritime conditions of its location, cradled between two waterways. The wines here are a mirror to the environment, characterized by low sugar levels, pronounced acidity, and a distinct minerality that speaks volumes of the terroir’s influence.

For those eager to immerse themselves in the Sakonnet experience, the tasting room awaits from Thursday to Monday, between 12:00 and 16:00, offering a curated journey through their exquisite wine selection. It’s an invitation to savor the nuanced expressions of their vineyards, where each sip tells a story of dedication, craftsmanship, and the unique climatic conditions that cradle this little piece of viticultural heaven. Note, however, the tasting room’s repose on Tuesday and Wednesday, a brief pause in the rhythm of discovery and delight.

An insider tip for those plotting their pilgrimage to this oenophilic oasis: considering the journey back to Providence takes a leisurely 40 minutes, arranging for a designated driver or an Uber is prudent. This ensures that your visit to Sakonnet Vineyards remains a fond memory, unmarred by logistical concerns, allowing you to fully indulge in the serene beauty and the remarkable wines that make Sakonnet a jewel in Rhode Island’s crown. Whether you’re a seasoned wine enthusiast or new to the wonders of wine, Sakonnet Vineyards offers a gateway to an unparalleled viticultural adventure.


18. Whaler’s

Where:  South Kingstown, Rhode Island

Whalers Brewing Company, a beacon of innovation in Rhode Island’s craft beer scene, has swiftly risen through the ranks since its inception in 2011. Despite being one of the newer entrants on the scene, it has distinguished itself through an exceptional array of craft beers, each style a testament to their dedication to quality and flavor. The diversity of their offerings ensures that every visit to their tap room is a journey through the art and science of beer making, with seasonal rotations adding an element of surprise and discovery.

For those looking to immerse themselves in the Whalers experience, the tap room stands as a vibrant showcase of their brewing prowess. Open Tuesday through Sunday, it’s not just a place to sample beer; it’s a destination, a gathering spot where aficionados and newcomers alike can unite over the shared language of hops, malt, and yeast. The atmosphere is as inviting as the brews are diverse, making it a highlight on the Rhode Island to-do list for both locals and visitors.

To ensure the most current experience, a quick visit to their website for updated hours is recommended before embarking on this flavorful expedition.


19. Mews TavernMews-Beer-Flight

Where: South Kingstown, Rhode Island

Mews, a storied staple of Rhode Island’s social scene since 1947, holds a special place in the heart of locals and visitors alike. As a personal favorite hangout, it embodies the spirit of community and camaraderie that defines the best of what the state has to offer. Its claim to fame, an awe-inspiring selection of over 69 beers on tap, represents a meticulous curation of rare finds, limited editions, and seasonal brews, making it a veritable paradise for beer enthusiasts.

But the Mews offers more than just an exceptional beer experience. With three distinct bars, each with its own unique vibe, and a dining room that welcomes families with open arms, it caters to a diverse crowd seeking quality time and good cheer. The ambiance seamlessly blends the casual with the convivial, creating spaces where memories are made over pints and plates.

Speaking of plates, the Mews surprises and delights with its culinary offerings. Far from being an afterthought, the food here is a star in its own right. The pizzas, lauded for their deliciousness, are a must-try, while the thermonuclear sauce offers a fiery challenge to those daring enough to test their spice tolerance. It’s this combination of outstanding beer, inviting atmosphere, and unexpectedly delightful food that cements the Mews as not just a fixture of Rhode Island but a beloved destination for anyone seeking the authentic flavor of local camaraderie and cuisine.

As we wrap up this culinary odyssey through Rhode Island, it’s clear that this little state is a big deal on the food scene. From the quintessential clam shacks by the shore that have mastered the art of the perfect fry, to the avant-garde eateries pushing the boundaries of what a dining experience can be, Rhode Island proves that size really doesn’t matter when it comes to flavor. For my ravenous teens, the endless variety means that even their fickle tastes are satisfied, while I get to indulge in the kind of culinary craftsmanship that turns a meal into a memory. So, whether you’re navigating the tricky waters of teen parenting or simply in search of your next great meal, remember this: Rhode Island may be small, but its bounty is vast. And as for me and my crew, well, we’ll be back. After all, there are always more dishes to discover, more flavors to savor, and let’s be honest, my teens are probably already hungry again.

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