There’s something perfect about a waterfront dinner at the end of a long summer day. That’s why so many people are trying to get those tables in the middle of July. Check out these seasonal restaurants that stay open long past summer, minus the wait.
You don’t always need a water view for a memorable night. DePasquale Square on Federal Hill is one of the state’s most picturesque places to have dinner. Venda Ravioli and Costantino’s Venda Bar and Ristorante are Providence institutions, serving up delicious Italian classics with a modern food philosophy. While during the summer the outdoor tables can have quite the wait, especially on nights when live music is playing in the square, the same tables are much easier to get in the fall. Thank the tourists for going home as you’re sitting by the Italianate fountain, sipping an after-dinner espresso martini. Venda Ravioli: 265 Atwells Avenue, Providence. 421-9105. Venda Bar: 265 Atwells Avenue, Providence. 528-1100.
Aspire Seasonal Kitchen, in the Hotel Providence on Westminster Street downtown, knows how to keep things entertaining. The restaurant hosts live jazz every Friday night. On warm nights, which generally last into October, the jazz moves outside to Aspire’s courtyard, a picturesque space with a fountain and flowers, perfect for taking in city sights while listening to great music. 311 Westminter Street, Providence. 521-3333.
The hottest table in South County on a summer day is at Matunuck Oyster Bar. If you’ve ever tried to go on a Saturday afternoon, only to discover there was a two hour wait, you know that particular pain. Matunuck Oyster Bar serves delicious local seafood, with ￼￼vegetables from the restaurant’s own farm. The oysters, straight from the restaurant’s oyster flats in Salt Pond, don’t get any fresher. Once the tourist crowd heads back to, well, wherever they came from, there’s a lot more room for us locals, both inside and out on the waterfront patio. 629 Succotash Road, South Kingstown. 783-4202.
Wickford Village is a serene and picturesque place... unless it’s dinnertime, and you’re waiting for a water- front table at Tavern By the Sea. This Mediterranean-American restaurant on Wickford Harbor is housed in a historic mansion – but while the weather holds, take advantage of the expansive patio and enjoy your Shrimp Olympus al fresco. 16 West Main Street, Wickford. 294-5771.
You know what it’s like: you’ve spent a long day basking in the sun at the beach. You’ve got salt on your skin and sand between your toes. The only thing in the world that you want is a basket of perfectly fried clams, with a side of clam cakes and chowder. Yeah, you and the 200 other people in front of you in line at that clam shack. What you might not realize is that most of the clam shacks in the East Bay and in South County are open well into the fall, some year-round. Champlin’s in Galilee (256 Great Island Road, Narragansett. 783-3152) is one of the year-round places. Fish comes straight off the boat, into the fryer, to be enjoyed by you (even in the coldest temperatures) while you watch the Block Island Ferry set sail. In the East Bay, Evelyn’s Drive In (2335 Main Road, Tiverton. 624-3100) stays open year round. The patio overlooks Nanaquaket Pond, but the indoor dining room stays nice and warm in the cooler weather. Just down the street is Gray’s Ice Cream (16 East Road, Tiverton. 624-4500) has some of the best ice cream you’ll ever taste, and is open 365 days a year – because, as they say, “ice cream is good every day.” Quito’s (411 Thames Street, Bristol. 253-4500), on a dock in Bristol Harbor, has possibly the most enviable dining spot in the East Bay. It serves – what else? – incredibly fresh fish, and specializes in Italian preparations of it. While Blount Clam Shack in Warren (335 Water Street, Warren. 245-3210) is only open seasonally, their Providence outpost (371 Richmond Street, Providence. 228-7746) is open year-round.
After a long, involuntary absence from the local dining scene (thanks, Hurricane Sandy) The Coast Guard House is finally, fully reopen. While the dining room is open year round – and after the storm renovations has a better ocean view than ever – the deck has the added benefit of Vitamin D while you sip your cocktail. Now that the crowds have dispersed, you have plenty of time to stay and enjoy a second one before heading downstairs to watch the sunset over dinner. 40 Ocean Road, Narragansett. 789-0700.
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