The Phoenix Network:
 
 
About  |  Advertise
Adult  |  Blogs  |  In Pictures
 

Maria's Seaside Café

The place to be in Misquamicut
By JOHNETTE RODRIGUEZ  |  May 27, 2009

The recent mini-heat-wave that made us all optimistic that summer really would roll around again set us to thinking about seasonal restaurants along Rhode Island's shore. One of our favorites is back, in full stride in its 14th year: Maria's Seaside Café in Misquamicut. Amidst the clam shacks and ice cream stands of Rhody's own mini-Coney Island, Maria's is an oasis of understated, tasteful décor and fabulous Italian dishes that keep customers coming back for more.

MARIA'S SEASIDE CAFÉ |401.596.6886 | 132 Atlantic Ave, Misquamicut | Lunch 12-4 pm, June 27-Aug 29; Dinner 5-10 pm through Sept 19 | Major Credit Cards | Full Bar | Sidewalk-Level Accessible

Though there are two large outdoor seating areas, the chilly ocean breezes sent us inside for maximum comfort, where you can choose between a bar/lounge area, a medium-sized dining room, and a small one tucked in between. All are low-key and informal, with warm cream-yellow walls, red flower-print curtains swagged on the upper half of the windows, natural wood tables and chairs, large cloth napkins, and bottles of olive oil placed strategically next to the salt and pepper.

On the menu, the "M" next to certain items indicates their continuing popularity as well as the chef's pride in them. Such items include the lobster bruschetta and the sun-dried tomato/basil pesto dip for appetizers; among the pastas, the rigatoni vodka (with or without grilled chicken, shrimp, or scallops) and the frutti di mare with shrimp, clams, mussels, calamari, and scallops in a roasted tomato sauce; and among the entrées, the cioppino (tomato fish stew over orzo) and pan-seared Stonington sea scallops.

The latter described a drizzle of black truffle essence over Italian couscous with lobster meat and asparagus ($26.95) and that lured Bill right in. Five large scallops with large-pearl couscous that had bits of sweet red pepper and sun-dried tomatoes, along with the promised lobster and asparagus, kept him very happy.

In a less flashy way, so did my ravioli fatti in casa ($15.95) — house-made ravioli with a roasted eggplant and ricotta filling that was delicious and satisfying. The five expansive ravioli were covered in a mild but very flavorful tomato sauce, and they had the remarkable feature of not having rubbery, underdone edges while the middle pasta was cooked through. A great culinary feat!

But, wait, I've jumped ahead. Before our main events, we shared an order of calamari fritti ($9.95) and a Maria's salad ($8.95). The calamari was one of the best I've had, simply because the coating was like a crumb-batter — all crunch, no grease — and the squid rings were very tender. The accompanying basil leaves and hot pepper rings received the same batter and quick-fry treatment.

The salad is a Maria's special which tosses finely chopped Romaine and iceberg lettuce, Belgian endive, radicchio, cukes, tomatoes, and Granny Smith apples with chunks of feta cheese and a balsamic vinaigrette. It's always a treat to eat a chopped salad without messy cutting and fishing around. Other salad possibilities at Maria's are field greens, Caesar with homemade dressing, Caprese with local tomatoes in season, and arugula with pears.

The house-made desserts are crème brulée, tiramisu, and bread pudding (with golden raisins, hazelnuts and hazelnut gelato). Gelato flavors are from Bindi, flown in from Italy. The crème brulée ($6.95) was creamy with plenty of vanilla flavor and a large strawberry for a garnish.

1  |  2  |   next >
  Topics: Restaurant Reviews , Culture and Lifestyle, Beverages, Food and Cooking,  More more >
| More


[ 07/28 ]   BridgeFest  @ BridgeFest
[ 07/28 ]   "Graphic Design: Now in Production,"  @ RISD Museum
ARTICLES BY JOHNETTE RODRIGUEZ
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   MESMERIZING MOVES  |  July 23, 2014
    Island Moving Co., Newport’s contemporary ballet company, has always been adventurous.
  •   LIVES ON THE EDGE  |  July 02, 2014
    No one would dispute the fact that Hester Kaplan’s writing is effective and well-crafted, as she digs into the underbelly of American society in her latest book of short stories, ' Unravished .'
  •   EMOTION IN MOTION  |  April 02, 2014
    When Festival Ballet Providence started their in-studio series, “Up Close On Hope,” more than 10 years ago, the vision was to give up-and-coming choreographers and dancers a stage less overwhelming and more intimate on which to find their footing.
  •   A SOUND APPROACH  |  March 05, 2014
    When the Brooklyn-based Mark Morris Dance Group takes the stage at the Vets this Saturday at 8 pm, the audience will get a lot more than just the expressive movement of dance.
  •   THE EVANGELIST OF TAP  |  January 29, 2014
    “Tap dance has been around since air,” Glover says, “and I want to bring more awareness and seriousness to the art form."

 See all articles by: JOHNETTE RODRIGUEZ



  |  Sign In  |  Register
 
thePhoenix.com:
Phoenix Media/Communications Group:
TODAY'S FEATURED ADVERTISERS
Copyright © 2014 The Phoenix Media/Communications Group