Romantic Rhode Island: The Best Restaurants and Hidden Gems to Feel the Love
February 14, 2023
What Rhode Island lacks in square miles it makes up for in romance. Rhode Island is chock full of art and architecture, Gilded Age mansions, hundreds of miles of coastline, century old libraries (if you don’t think libraries are romantic, you need to sit down and watch Breakfast at Tiffany’s stat), and idyllically placed tables for two from Woonsocket to Westerly.
At Rhode Island Red Food Tours, we work so closely with the culinary community that we have an insider’s view when it comes to some of the best places to wine and dine. Whether you’re meeting up with a longtime friend who fills your heart, a new love interest, a first date, a modern day meet-cute, a getting-to-know-you outing, a plant-based partnership, a Coffee Meets Bagel connection or a casual day date with the love of your life, we rounded up how some local Rhode Island restaurants that might just put a little love in your heart.
A Taste of Paris
Ah, Paris – the city of love! Almost instantly, you get the romantic vibe when you walk through the double glass doors at Ellie’s, a Parisian-inspired restaurant open for breakfast, lunch and Confections, Cocktails, & Coffee, Thursdays through Saturdays, in downtown Providence, Rhode Island. Ellie’s has been a longtime stop on our Downcity Providence Food Tour and always wins rave reviews. Working with local farms and food artisans, Ellie’s just makes you want to slow down and take it all in (just like the French!). A great idea for date night is experiencing one of Ellie’s monthly baking classes themed baking classes. Unleash your inner pâtissier with intimate, hands-on workshops led by Ellie’s talented pastry chefs! Ellie’s is also the perfect spot in advance of a show at the Providence Performing Art Center (a.k.a. the PPAC).
Tea for Two
While jet setting to the Far East may not be a feasible first date, we can at least get a taste of Taiwan at Charuma Tea Bar, a tea shop in downtown Providence. Offering iced and hot bubble teas in addition to traditional Taiwanese street food snacks, Charuma uses tea as the base to mix with various ingredients to make specialty drinks, which they call (taking a cue from cocktails) Teatails. In lieu of romancing with flowers, sip floral teas with interesting flavors such as rose, lavender and elderflower – considered by some to be an aphrodisiac. Galivant with a galpal or connect with a colleague at this cool little creative sipping shop.
Perro Salado in Newport, which is always a favorite among those on our Newport Neighborhood Food Tour, is best known for its fresh, authentic Mexican cuisine. But romance? Well, this isn’t your average Mexican eatery. The restaurant is in a home dating back to the late 1700s, complete with creaky, wide-planked wood floors, huge hearths and nooks and crannies aplenty. In the winter months, cozy up to the fireplace either in the dining room or in the moody, dimly-lit bar area. Come spring, some of our favorite tables are the ones placed under the canopy of the towering tree that juts out of the patio. Keep the passion at an all time high with a house-made passion fruit margarita.
We love a best-kept secret and Plant City’s 345 is the Ocean State’s only plant-based and vegan speakeasy lounge. The clandestine cocktail bar is located next door to the main Plant City building and offers a chill vibe with just an intimate bar with interesting drinks (including a robust mocktail list) and elevated eats – even though you have to go downstairs to get there. One thing you have to get at 345? A reservation. Be sure to book in advance to score a seat.
Jamestown makes a great day date as exploring Beavertail State Park and taking in the panoramic views from the lighthouse make for an appetite-inducing adventure. Since opening last year in an iconic space, Beech has been winning over hearts and bellies. With five distinct dining areas, couples can choose the area of the restaurant that feels like the best fit, but we suggest dinner at the bar. Order the Island Diablo, a cocktion of Espolon tequila, blackberry shrub and ginger beer with fresh lime, for a libation you won’t soon forget.
We have the Romans to thank for Cupid, but we have the Greeks to thank for Eros. In classical mythology, Eros was the God of love, but not just any love – mischievous, passionate love, was Eros’s wheelhouse. Hence, the origins of the word “erotic,” and at Yoleni’s on Providence’s, you’ll find no shortage of Greek stories and authentic Greek flavor. To call this two-story space in the historic Tilden-Thurber jewelry company building just a restaurant is an understatement. It’s also a marketplace and celebration of Greek culture. So many dishes here make beautiful shareables making for a romantic meal. Try the dolmadakia (stuffed grape leaves), a Greek delicacy. Share a plate of saganaki cheese topped with honey and black sesame and pair it with a bottle of Akakies Sparkling Rosé, a Xinomavro sourced from Amynden in the Florina regional unit of Macedonia. Opa!
With cathedral ceilings, industrial-meets-ethereal design, modern cuisine menu and creative craft cocktails, Stoneacre Brasserie sets the mood for a romantic night out in Newport. The sister restaurant to the decidedly more playful Stoneacre Garden on our Neighborhoods of Newport Tour, the Brasserie sits on historic Washington Square and is known for its curated and always-evolving seasonal menu. Fan favorite starters include the smoked trout deviled eggs, the escargot and of course the ultimate aphrodisiac, a dozen local oysters!
Looking to keep things hot and spicy? Enjoy the authentic Jamaican jerk chicken at Humming Bird in Newport your next night out. Born and raised in Jamaica, chef Dezna Bowen brings family recipes to life at this beloved Broadway eatery. Meat pies, oxtail, and brown stew chicken and other flavors from the Caribbean are a savory way to feel somewhere sunny, warm and faraway.
Chocolate, Strawberry and Beer, Oh My!!
The Malted Barley on our Downcity Providence Food Tour is known for their outstanding beer selection but also their from scratch, hand-rolled and baked-to-order artisan soft pretzels Flavors include garlic and parsley, everything, asiago and parmesan, bacon and cheddar, jalapeno and cheddar, mozzarella and tomato, and chipotle pepper and smoked gouda, but the very apropos pretzel of the month is chocolate chip paired with strawberry shortcake dip. Chocolate, strawberry and beer? Sounds like a great date to us!
Persnickety Palates Need Not Apply
And for up-for-anything palates, mark a Mystery Monday at Metacom Kitchen on your calendar. Chef Rick Allaire struts his culinary stuff weekly on this three-course tasting menu for just $38 per person. See and savor what chef has been cooking up to add to the regular menu or enjoy a new twist on a Metacom classic.
Rhode Island is a state with romance around every corner – and exploring them all is one of our favorite things to do in Rhode Island!