The Phoenix Network:
Food and Beverage
A dining hall with food not worth fighting for
In a year of bad restaurant ideas done surprisingly well, Vapiano is a mediocre idea done disastrously.
| May 25, 2012
Review: Cafe Longo
Like Mama used to make
I suppose there are braver things to do. Perhaps charging a machine gun nest or serving a loosely wrapped braciole to a Sicilian grandmother. But open yet another Italian restaurant on Federal Hill, as Café Longo did in spring of 2009, sounds like diving off a cliff.
| November 03, 2010
Review: Tierra Restaurant & Lounge
Covering lots of ethnic ground
Here's a welcome addition to the ongoing revitalization of Pawtucket.
| October 06, 2010
Reviewer's notebook: Tavolo and Sanette’s Karoo Kafe
Much more than pizza in Dorchester, and South African delights in Provincetown
Tavolo snuck under my radar because Chris Douglass, then well-known for Icarus, had made his first Dorchester move with Ashmont Grill, an admitted bistro.
| September 13, 2010
Review: Trattoria Simpatico
A pleasant view wherever you look
It’s not only the real estate biz where location means enough to repeat the point.
| August 10, 2010
Review: Pasta Beach
A winning combination of spaghetti and sand
The name of this popular Italian eatery conjures up several images. Do you drop by for take-out pasta or pizza and take it down the hill to First Beach?
| August 04, 2010
Review: Café Luna
An urban culinary oasis
You don't expect to find fine dining in a shopping center, but Café Luna does its best to make the Garden City Center live up to its name as you approach, with flowers and window boxes and hanging planters taking the edge off the urban location.
| July 07, 2010
An average North End destination with a sweet ending
The North End can be touristy, it can be posh, it can be authentically Italian, it can be nostalgically Italian-American, it can be snooty white-sauce Italian, and sometimes it can be charmingly (or not so charmingly) vulgar.
| June 20, 2010
A complicated conception with a delicious finish
One of the strange features of the Great Recession is the incredible complexity of down-market maneuvers.
| June 28, 2010
JP’s Bistro offers a trip back to the Gilded Age
America has reached the point where strip-mall dining can make us nostalgic.
| May 12, 2010
Exemplary Italian fare in East Greenwich
The first thing to say about La Masseria is that, despite its name meaning “farmhouse” and its décor focusing on earth tones with exposed brick and pitchfork tines hanging on one wall, it’s a beautiful space.
| May 05, 2010
La Galleria 33
A new, old-school-style addition to the city’s longest-thriving dining district
As you go deeper into the North End on Salem Street, the pretense drops toward the levels of old, pre-gentrification “Little Italy.”
| April 28, 2010
South End Buttery
From Viennoiserie to veal: a local bakery grows up
South End Buttery started with cupcakes and coffee, but opened up a dining room below street level two summers ago, and has since gradually taken on more serious cheffery.
| April 29, 2010
For neighborly gourmands
The Edgewood Café's slogan is "casual neighborhood dining with a gourmet touch," and every adjective is scout's honor true.
| March 05, 2010
Careful, but not fussy
Considering that Westerly has a large population with Italian heritage, it's curious that the town is not known for good Italian restaurants.
| February 10, 2010
The brunch quandary
In Portland, there's always one more place you haven't tried
There seems to be an endless number of places to try in Portland. So many, in fact, that I keep discovering well-established restaurants that I didn't even know served brunch. One of those places was Vignola.
| February 03, 2010
Walking a narrow path to success
Another week, another gastro-pub. Okay, Post 390 technically bills itself as a Back Bay "urban tavern," and is bigger and glitzier than most, but it has the same combination of comfort food with a twist, a few bits of high cheffery, serious drinks, and playful desserts found throughout the city so frequently these days.
| January 20, 2010
Nothing quaint and everything delicious at Belmont's 'country house'
Il Casale — the "country house"— may be more rustic than Chef Dante de Magistris's magisterial and experimental restaurant Dante in the Cambridge Royal Sonesta, but it ain't no hometown spaghetti shack.
| January 06, 2010
A terrific Monday night special, and more
Restaurants come and restaurants go.
| November 23, 2009
Gennaro's 5 North Square Ristorante
A former tourist trap proves its worth
The owners of Caffé Vittoria and the Florentine Cafe took over this venerable tourist trap that looks out on North Square a year ago, renamed it for their son last May, and quietly spiffed up the rooms and the menu.
| November 25, 2009
Brick Oven Meatballs
Secretly, but deliciously, Italian
You can imagine them arguing about whether to ’fess up before they named the restaurant.
| November 04, 2009
FRA’s Italian Gourmet
Ever have that kind of day when you need to start your lunch with a chocolate chip cookie?
| October 29, 2009
The Knightsville section of Cranston is an undeniable haven for Italian home-cooking, where legendary portions (Marchetti's), chic hotspots (Caffe Itri and L'Osteria), and marquee chef/owners (Tony Papa's) have successfully rubbed elbows along a suburban Cranston intersection. But don't forget the little guy on the corner -- Antonio's Trattoria.
| October 21, 2009
Traditional cuisine updated
Being a ristorante on Federal Hill is a lot like being just another olive tree in the grove.
| November 02, 2009
Flavors mingle at The Corner Room
Since all three of Harding Lee Smith's restaurants are on corners, one wonders why he chose to name his newest one The Corner Room.
| September 30, 2009
The chef of Five Fifty-Five bids adieu to summer
With Labor Day weekend behind us, so goes the high tourist season here in Maine. While this means less crowded beaches and the possibility of finding a weekend parking space in the Old Port, it signifies a major transition for restaurateurs around the city.
| September 09, 2009
Junction Trattoria and Bistro
Peerless pizza and much more
On a recent rainy Friday evening, we were calling around for a place to eat dinner. One restaurant had no reservations till 9 pm (it's still tourist season); another was farther away than we'd realized, and we might end up eating at that same hour.
| September 09, 2009
Big on family atmosphere
In far eastern Pawtucket, almost Massachusetts, sits a 30-year-old family-owned restaurant that's a great hit with locals.
| January 07, 2009
Family dining for cheapskates
Sunday’s daily special at Spirito’s, an all-you-can-eat roasted chicken deal that borrows from the Blackstone Valley tradition, includes pasta, as well as French fries and salad — for $9.95. You read that right.
| October 22, 2008
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