Experience: Authentic Mexican Dining at Francesca’s on Broadway in East Providence

The second location of a Pawtucket mainstay, this iteration includes dinner and drinks

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hen I took my seat at Francesca’s on Broadway, I didn’t realize it would be an evening of firsts for me. Along with tasting some new-to-me authentic Mexican dishes, owner Edgar Barillas walked my friend and me through each entree, from preparation to pronunciation.

We visited Barillas’ second location, which is in East Providence – the original opened over six years ago in Pawtucket, where customers were so satisfied with the breakfast and lunch spot they encouraged him to expand. Francesca’s on Broadway offers dinner options, too.

Chatting with Barillas, I learned that the namesake behind the establishments is his mother, who he describes as a phenomenal cook whom people would often ask to cater their events. “This inspired me to name my restaurants after her, to honor her hard work and dedication to her family,” said Barillas. “I also want to thank my wife and kids for their support throughout our journey, which is very important to me.”

With the guidance of our server, Jennifer Ramos, my friend and I got to taste firsthand what makes Francesca’s so special. We started with a first bite typical of many Mexican restaurants – chips and salsa – but this tangy salsa with lingering heat, along with fresh, lightly salted house-made guacamole, was just the beginning of great flavors to come.

My friend is a Horchata fan, so she was glad to see this traditional creamy cinnamon drink on the menu. She raved about its sweetness and slight spice, comparing the taste to rice pudding. I found the Passion Fruit Mojito delightful and refreshing with its cool, minty notes, tart lime, and hints of passionfruit.

Next was dinner. Our entrees arrived in large portions, plated beautifully on rustic dishes. My friend enjoyed the Quesa Birria, three tacos containing tender stew beef topped with gooey cheese, accompanied by a beef stock-based consomé for dipping the tacos, which was pleasingly rich and aromatic. My Carne Asada featured a delicious, savory grilled
Angus flap steak, served with spiced Mexican rice, well-seasoned refried beans, and a simple but yummy salad of crunchy iceberg lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, and ranch dressing.

We were surprised we still had room for dessert, but my friend insisted we get the Homemade Flan. It was my first time trying the dessert, and I found the creamy vanilla custard topped with caramel to be divine. It was also my first time trying churros, and I was particularly delighted by the presentation of the hot cinnamon sugar sticks stacked in a neat tower, resembling a little campfire. This came topped with vanilla ice cream, the
perfect accent to the churros’ crunchy outer layer and soft, fluffy interior with yet another surprise – a strawberry center.

If you’re searching for authentic Mexican food for any meal of the day and an experience that dazzles all the senses, look no further than Francesca’s.

 

Francesca’s

East Providence:
525 N Broadway • 401-854-1558

Pawtucket:
526 Pawtucket Avenue • 401-724-9900

FrancescasOnPawtucket.com

 

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