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What: The Ocean State is, predictably, rich in local seafood, and we don’t just mean the omnipresent quahog (see stuffies). Locally sourced oysters, littleneck and cherrystone clams, calamari, mussels, bay scallops, and local fish like cod and flounder are among the delectables you can find around here, and—news flash!—they don’t always have to be fried. While we love ourselves a good clam shack, this is a perfect opportunity to try some more formal, chef-driven restaurants—and get a sense of why Providence, for one thing, has recently been spotted on some “best foodie city” lists.
Where: A great upscale-but-casual spot for local seafood is Providence Oyster Bar (283 Atwells Ave., map), in the capital city’s downtown Federal Hill district. It’s always a good sign when a beautiful raw bar greets you upon entering a restaurant.
When: Mon, 4pm-10pm; Tues-Thurs, noon-10pm; Fri-Sat, noon-11pm; Sun, 11:30am-10pm
Order: Pictured is a selection of local oysters ($2.75 each)—small and briny Umami oysters, from East Passage, Narragansett Bay—and salty local littlenecks ($1.50 each); the restaurant also offered local cherrystones and a few other Rhode Island (and East Coast) oysters. Outside the raw bar, there are Point Judith calamari and lots of fish, including native cod, on the menu (we also enjoyed the Rhode Island clear clam chowder and the surprisingly good bread basket, served with hot sauce-infused olive oil).
Alternatively: Another well-regarded spot in Providence for local seafood (and produce, when possible) is Nick’s on Broadway (500 Broadway, map), where the seasonally inspired, locavore-friendly offerings might include roasted wild Narragansett Bay oysters, native mussels and bay scallops in a winter vegetable broth, and a corn-crusted wild Point Judith flounder sandwich. In Newport, try The Mooring (1 Sayers Wharf, map), with a nice raw bar and a seafood-heavy menu that includes native scallop chowder and Portuguese roasted cod, or market-driven Tallulah on Thames (464 Thames St., map), where seasonal prix fixes start at $68 for three courses.
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