VRA*31: Providence Dining

Consistently recognized as an interesting and exciting city for food—from Four-star to French to Food Trucks, Providence offers a variety of appealing cuisine with varying price points both in immediate proximity to the Providence Biltmore hotel and within a short walk or ride.

Any given area of the city will have plenty of offerings to satisfy your appetite, taste buds, and wallet. Keep in mind that many upscale restaurants offer an affordable lunch menu, including all those steakhouses near the statehouse. While Rhode Island law prohibits Happy Hour-style drink specials, many restaurants offer appetizer specials in the early evening hours.

Yes, there will be a guide for conference attendees but start salivating now…

Downtown (often called “DownCity”) offers a dizzying array of dining destinations all within a five-minute walk:

East Side (literally just across the river) offers many options along North and South Main Street in the oldest section of Providence and through the heart of the RISD campus, all within a five-to-ten minute walk.

Federal Hill, aka Providence’s Little Italy, is west from the Biltmore and can be reached in ten-to-fifteen minutes by foot (not unsafe, but crossing past the convention center and over I-95), a very short taxi, or the public trolley. With back-to-back restaurants lining both sides of Atwells Avenue (striped down the middle in red, white, and green), it is one of the largest intact Italian neighborhoods in the US. Resisting gentrification where you’re as likely to hear Italian as English, Federal Hill is still more Sinatra than “Jersey Shore”. With too many restaurants to cover here, visit the Federal Hill website and mouse over the Dining tab to begin to understand why tourists and residents alike stroll under the La Pigna archway and savor menus transported from and inspired by the old country.

Need more?!? A budding restaurant and bar scene is springing up in the nearby Jewelry District (15-minute walk south of the hotel) with best-restaurant contender CAV; Thayer Street near Brown University (20-minute walk east *up* College Hill or trolley) offers more restaurants including Andrea’s (Greek), Soban (Korean), Cafe Paragon, Meeting Street Cafe, and arguably the best tea and coffee in the city at both Tealuxe and Blue State Coffee; and Wickenden Street (25 minutes by foot) at the base of College Hill boasts some of the best pizza at Fellini Pizzeria, great suds at The Point Tavern where you can have dinner delivered, A Taste of India, Angkor (Cambodian), Z Bar and Grille, Sakura Japanese and Sushi Bar, Abyssinia (Ethiopian), and The Duck & Bunny snuggery (look it up).

For further impressions or Foodie-level research, check out Yelp’s interactive restaurant guide based on the location of the Providence Biltmore.

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