Whether you’re head over heels in a still-new relationship or you’ve been married forever, February is for celebrating love. Providence may feel like a frozen tundra right now, but we’re here to encourage you and your sweetie to skip the last-minute dollar store chocolates and heart-shaped balloons to instead express your adoration for each other in the form of tuna tartare and spicy noodles, white-clothed tables and shared appetizers, right here in your home city. Book a reservation at any of these eclectic picks for a culinary date night you’re not soon to forget – and why not roam the neighborhood for more romantic adventures while you’re at it?
Follow along with Angie and Jeff's foodie escapades on Instagram: @providencedatenight
For the honey who has a taste for the finer things, look no further than Bellini. A truly glamorous experience right here in our little city, this mainstay from the Cipriani family is guaranteed to level up your Valentine’s night. Along with booking a dinner reservation, why not a room while you’re at it? Bellini and The Beatrice share a roof – and a knack for sophisticated elegance and old world charm.
The moment you set foot inside, you and your partner will be immersed in the aromas of fine Italian cooking and feel taken care of by their passionate staff. Bellini is the epitome of glamor, going above and beyond with every detail, from the white linen tablecloths to the luxury embellishments at every corner.
Naturally, their food is unrivaled as well. You can’t lose with a first course of the simple-yet-exquisite creamy burrata and heirloom tomatoes with a basil drizzle. We’ve eaten a lot of iterations of this dish and were impressed by the balance achieved between the acidity of the tomatoes and the buttery center of the fresh cheese. On this special day dedicated to love, Bellini’s Valentine’s Day menu includes aphrodisiacs like oysters with a Champagne mignonette, tuna tartare with avocado mousse, and filet mignon with a gorgonzola demi glace. Don’t skip out on dessert – a luscious heart-shaped chocolate ganache. It doesn’t get sweeter than this.
If you’re like us and need a reason to dress up or splurge on a fancy new bag, Bellini offers the ideal excuse! Don your elegant attire and feel fabulous sipping a peachy-pink drink from a gold-rimmed coupe glass (a bellini, of course!). This is how to do date night in style.
Angie and Jeff’s Picks
Bellini Cocktail or Mocktail: Their signature drink for a reason
Tagliardi with Tartufo Nero di Norcia: Hands down the best truffle spaghetti we’ve ever had, anywhere
Grilled Langoustines: An elevated seafood dish (think small, sweet lobster) served with roasted fennel
Clementine Cocktail Bar, Downtown
Whet your appetite with craft cocktails at the newest destination in Providence’s bar scene: Clementine. An enchanting lounge in the middle of downtown’s sparkling after-hours scenery, Clementine is conveniently located across from Trinity Rep (drinks before a show, anyone?) where birch restaurant used to be.
A multi-sensory experience that begins with exquisite colors and almost-too-pretty-to-eat garnishes, general manager and mixologist Cristian Cantaragiu curates concoctions worth savoring with every sip. Cantaragui describes the menu as “an expression of who I am,” and we’re here for that.
Start the evening off with a Sea Gibson, a boozy and vegetal drink made with American Dry Gin and then maybe finish with something on the lighter side like the Clementine Fizz made with tequila, orange blossom flower, and clementine soda. Along with these staples, their Valentine’s Day menu will include limited-edition cocktails and mocktails like the booze-free Love Potion or His & Hers, an elegant duo featuring a bourbon-forward drink for “Him” and a well-balanced take on a cosmopolitan made with house-infused fresh oregano vodka for “Her” – though gender-swapping is certainly allowed!
Cantaragiu’s attention to detail carries over into the intimacy of this dimly lit space, which easily evokes date-night vibes, setting the mood for a full night on the town. Talk about a seductive interior: a stark-white exposed-brick wall (with works by local artist Zach Prosser on display) leads your gaze up to the enchantingly tall ceiling and the star of the room, a gold chandelier hanging in the center of it all. It doesn’t matter where you snuggle up at one of the 16 stools at the bar – every seat is the best seat in the house.
Angie and Jeff’s Picks
21 Lighthouses: Artfully prepared with a delicate bubble of smoke on top
Sunset Limited: This alcohol-free mocktail is prepared with fresh clementine juice and Lyre’s Aperitif Rosso
Jahunger, Fox Point
Calling all noodle lovers! Jahunger is Providence’s only restaurant highlighting Uyghur cuisine, which includes spicy hand-pulled noodles and deeply satisfying potstickers and buns. Nestled on Wickenden among Fox Point’s foodie scene, you’ll warm up right away in the charming, intimate eatery that recently remodeled their expansive second floor, decorated in bright and sultry colors.
Though Uyghur people are native to Northern China, leave any preconceived notions of Chinese dining at the door – you’re in for a surprise. Jahunger’s small-ish menu is broken down into a few sections: appetizers, noodle entrees, and wok specialties.
Fresh noodles of any kind hold a place in our hearts, but these are taken to a new level. Piping hot and distinctly fragrant with the smoky flavor of the wok, the signature Jahunger house-made noodles are tender, with a chewy, al dente texture, retaining a spiciness that builds with every bite. We chose tofu as our protein and each piece was perfectly seared and accompanied by wok-charred onions, chives, and chilis. I found the spice level to be just perfect, sichuan peppercorns and all!
On Valentine’s Day, Jahunger offers a prix fixe menu of two appetizers, two entrees, a dessert, and prosecco, all for $88. We recommend starting with steaming lamb or leek and egg dumplings and crispy Scallion Pancakes before digging into a hot bowl of Jahunger noodles for your main. For the couple who’s addicted to the rush of spicy food or curious about trying a style of cuisine that might be unfamiliar, this spot is for you. But be mindful – they don’t take reservations.
Angie and Jeff’s Picks
Kavap: These marinated lamb kebabs are cooked with care using a family recipe
Jahunger Noodles: If your mantra is “the spicier the better” and you love tongue-numbing Sichuan peppercorns, this dish is for you!
Thousand Layers Honey Cake: An out-of-this-world complement to a rich, flavorful menu
Moonshine Alley, Downtown
Give your Valentine some Southern lovin’ at Moonshine Alley this year. Offering us northerners a taste of Nashville, the restaurant and music venue officially opened their doors in November and is quickly becoming one of downtown’s most exciting spots.
Right away, you’ll be lured in by the bright neon sign exclaiming “Giddy Up, Providence” as you enter the large open space reminiscent of a modern saloon. Acoustic and upbeat country sets are often playing from the massive stage, while the TV screens broadcast the latest sports games. Dancing and camaraderie are encouraged.
If you’re looking for something fun and casual, Moonshine checks those boxes in both vibes and menu, taking a page from the creamy, fried, and hearty cuisine the American South is known for. Once you have their signature Sangria – served on tap and made with Blackberry Moonshine – in hand, put in an order for a round of appetizers. We opted for Fried Pickles and Crispy Cheese Curds – you can’t go wrong dipping these in ranch dressing while taking in the buzzy atmosphere. For dinner, we fell in love with the Short Rib Grilled Cheese with sweet potato fries and for the main, bourbon-glazed Grilled Atlantic Salmon. But the table next to us raved about the signature Nashville Hot Chicken Sandwiches made with buttermilk chicken thigh, apple cider slaw, pickles, and a spicy honey drizzle. (Pro tip: order a cold beer with that.)
Tableside s'mores are a given and such a fun way to end the night by raising a toast to your love – while toasting marshmallows to squeeze between two graham crackers and chocolate. By then, you’ll no doubt be feeling the southern hospitality of this energetic joint.
Angie and Jeff’s Picks
Moonshine Flight: Apple pie is their most popular, but the four tasters let you decide for yourself
Cast Iron Skillet Cornbread: Drizzle with honey butter for a sweet snack with your sweetie
Chicken Pot Pie: The flakey pastry on top doesn’t get any closer to wholesome home cooking
Palo, College Hill
What better way to share your love than by splitting a smorgasbord of small plates? Spanish tapas are an inherently romantic genre of food perfect for breaking the ice with someone new or keeping things adventurous with a spouse. Housed inside a 200-year-old building amid the historic architecture of Steeple Street, Palo is the definition of cozy yet indulgent winter dining, with stone walls, a lively bar, and intimate nooks to dine in near private. The fun begins the moment you’re seated, perusing a list of delectable bites both curious and familiar.
Before curating your culinary exploits, choose a bottle of wine to split, perhaps a Tempranillo if you’re a fan of full-bodied reds. Then, chart a course of charcuterie: build your own board with your pick of several imported and local cured meats and cheeses like mahon, manchego, and 20-month-aged Jamón Serrano. You can’t lose on the classics, like Patatas Bravas – Spanish spicy potatoes – and Pan Con Tomate, a simple savory tomato toast.
Don’t cast your anchor on the night without first sampling the Costillas de Maíz, AKA corn ribs. Slivers of corn still attached to the cob are marinated, grilled, and served with elote accompaniments like paprika salt, roasted lime aioli, and queso fresco. This appetizer is perfectly sweet, spicy, and crispy, and perfect for the couple who isn’t afraid to get a little messy.
While many restaurants opt for elegant dishes for Valentine’s Day, Palo encourages hands-on communal experiences to share with your love. Large-format entrees like whole-roasted RI sea bass, bone-in lamb shank, and vegetarian plates let you and your date dare to feast.
Angie and Jeff’s Picks
All Seafood: Don’t miss grilled (not fried) calamari, garlic shrimp, swordfish kabobs, and halibut cheeks
Spanish Style Gin Tonics: Choose from a number of gins from around the world or let your bartender surprise you
PiANTA, Federal Hill
A newcomer amid many beloved Italian restaurants on Atwells Avenue, PiANTA does things a little differently. This vegan, kosher, and allergen-friendly spot can appease almost any eater – while still keeping things fun and fresh. The creative chefs behind PiANTA reimagine what you may think about plant-based foods, turning classic entrees you know and love into vegan delicacies without sacrificing flavor.
This welcoming and trendy-yet-classy joint is a must for the health-conscious couple looking to indulge – and have their minds blown by the dishes that can be composed out of only vegetables. Their standard menu includes a number of creative small plates like Steak and Egg Cheese Rolls, Corn Fritters, and Crispy Brussels Sprouts. When it comes to mains, portion sizes are on the bigger side, like staff-favorite Penne alla Vodka, with a creamy pink vodka sauce coating the pasta and touches of crushed red pepper, balsamic vinegar, fresh basil, and vegan parmesan bringing it together. Make sure you save room for dessert – sweet bites like brownies and crème brûlée are worth it. More of a brunch fan? PiANTA does that, too!
Not just for couples, their prix fixe Valentine’s Day menu is available for two or individuals, because self-love is worth celebrating, too! Specials change regularly so hit the follow button on Instagram, or check their website often.
Angie and Jeff’s Picks
Passionfruit Thai Iced Tea: The sweet tea you know and love but with coconut cream and a tangy kick
Steak and Egg Rolls: These crispy pockets of faux meat are a must try
Buffalo Chicken: Whether in a salad or wrap, their spicy “chicken” steals the show
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