Dining Review

Quay Serves Up Tapas With a View

A sharable, Mediterranean-inspired menu arrives along the Providence Riverwalk


Some of the most coveted tables in Providence are those with a view of WaterFire. I have a feeling the city will be fighting over the handful in the city’s new river-level restaurant, Quay, next spring. Pronounced like “key,” a quay, fittingly, is a waterside platform for loading boats.

We visited Quay on a weeknight. Most tables only seat two, so if your party is larger, you should consider a reservation. Quay’s menu is mostly small and shareable plates with a Mediterranean bent. Our party of three shared eight dishes and two desserts, and it was more than we could finish.

We started with two salads. The Grilled Halloumi Cheese with Arugula, Tabbouleh, Toasted Almonds and Lemon Vinaigrette was fresh and zesty. The Colossal Lump Crab Salad with Citrus Segments and Blood Orange Crème also pleased our palates and had an admirable amount of crab.

We continued with an order of Baked Feta Cheese with Roasted Tomatoes. This, along with many other plates, is accompanied by warm, fresh wedges of grilled pita bread. Served in a little crock, this dish had enough tomato sauce that we asked for extra bread. The pita also made quick work of our Brandade de Morue Salt Cod and Potato Spread. If you’re skeptical about salt cod, this spread might change your mind.

The large bar and tasteful lighting make Quay a good spot for a date or a casual night with friends. Though it’s easy to overlook Quay’s interior in favor of the views outside, a lot of effort clearly went into creating a natural vibe. Linen, wicker, curvy wood and beige tones warm up the starkness of the glass- and metal-forward new construction. Similarly, the cocktail list is sophisticated and classic. Our friend tried the Boulevardier, a whiskey-based cousin of the Negroni. The drink was potent and generously poured.

We continued with a Middle Eastern Mezze Platter for Two. Two bean dips, hummus and cannellini, are spread on the board, accompanied by tabbouleh, grilled halloumi and meatballs over labneh (strained yogurt). Along with the pita for dipping, it comes with ample crudités, which were especially impressive: a rainbow of seasonal vegetables, including purple cauliflower, red endive, broccolini and radishes pleased both our palates and eyes.

Our order of House-made Lamb and Beef Meatballs was deeply flavorful and the dish came with a small, bright salad. The meatballs paired well with my husband’s wine, the full-bodied Michael David “Freakshow” Cabernet, a house recommendation.

The heartiest selections on the menu are in the “Bolo Sandwich and Flatbread Pizza” category. We ordered the Lahmajun Pizza with Pine Nuts, Cherry Tomatoes and Yogurt Drizzle. This oval, thin-crust pizza was topped with ground lamb, halved cherry tomatoes and shreds of basil.

Quay’s dessert selections are creative and fun. The Baby Cardamom Meringues with Fresh Berries and Cassis Cream were sweet and simple, and not too much after a large meal. We also ordered the Salted Chocolate Mousse with Chocolate Fudge. This thick mousse, similar to a pot de crème, is served in a glass with hidden fudgy chunks throughout.

Though Quay will especially shine in alfresco dining weather and during WaterFire season, bring a friend now and you’ll get credit for finding a new tucked-away hot spot in a unique location.

200 Exchange Street, Riverwalk Level