28 Best Seafood Restaurants in Rhode Island
Photography by Angel Tucker
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What to Order: Who says the business lunch is dead? Go with a group and share the Shellfish Tower (serves four to six) bedecked with local oysters plucked from New England shores, littleneck clams, cold baby lobster, jumbo shrimp cocktail and the kicker, Alaskan King Crab legs. Just two of you? The shellfish platter will do.
What’s Special: We often send out-of-town visitors (read: Midwesterners) here for a real lobsters-and-clams experience. The restaurant is also working with the Department of Environmental Management and the Rhode Island Shell Fishermen’s Association to promote and serve sustainable top neck clams.
Fun Perks: Half-price raw bar on Mondays with the purchase of an entree in the dining room, or a beverage at the bar. Or do a power lunch, Monday through Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., and enjoy an appetizer, entree, French pressed coffee and a cookie (coffee can be taken to-go) for $22.
121 South Main St., Providence, 401-351-8570, hemenwaysrestaurant.com
DeWolf Tavern and Hemenway's
What to Order: While lobster alone can stand on its own two feet (err, ten legs?), it is elevated to new heights inside the warm, light and airy pastry that is the lobster popover.
What’s Special: The 1818 renovated warehouse sits harborside, and the outdoor patio is a prime location for watching sailboats bob along the water.
Fun Perks: Weekly specials abound, including the Super Sunday three-course meal with a glass of wine or draft beer for $28 per person. Monday is $1 oyster day at the bar, noon to close.
259 Thames St., Bristol, 401-254-2005, dewolftavern.com
Mijos Tacos food truck
What to Order: The L.A.-style food truck is famous for grilled local fluke, bluefish, mackerel or squid (whatever’s available from the local guys, really) in soft tortillas trimmed with onions, fresh cilantro, housemade salsas and topped with lime wedges and fresh radishes.
What’s Special: Local fishermen from Brown Family Seafood hand deliver whole fish (fluke, cod, mackerel), caught in Rhode Island waters to chef Peter Gobin, who fillets and grills it.
Fun Perks: Mijos Tacos can be found around town for lunch or dinner, he caters private parties and weddings, and he makes appearances at many summer festivals in Providence. Follow him on Twitter at @mijostacos to become a bona fide taco stalker.
@MijosTacos, Providence, 752-9942, mijostacos.com
Matunuck Oyster Bar
What to Order: The lobster roll is the best around: chunks of claw and tail meat accented by nothing more than a little light mayo, the snap of lettuce, and stuffed in a buttered, toasted hot dog roll.
What’s Special: There’s not a bad seat in (or outside) the house. Views of Potter Pond frame the interior windows; the outdoor patio captures the beauty of the waterfront where those very same oysters were plucked.
Fun Perk: A mountain of Matunucks greets guests from the raw bar (where there’s usually a burly man showing off shucking skills and building his forearms in the process). Take advantage of buck-a-shuck all summer long — $1 oysters — from 4 to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday.
629 Succotash Rd., South Kingstown, 401-783-4202, rhodyoysters.com
Amaral’s Fish and Chips
What to Order: The sign says fish and chips, so for the love of all that is holy, get the fish and chips — and not just during Lent, if you’re Catholic. Crisp light-battered pieces of New Bedford-caught haddock (supplied by Tony’s Seafood in Warren and Seekonk) that never get soggy are the name of the game.
What’s Special: The decor’s nothing fancy and we like it that way: a couple of nautical ship wheels and unpadded orange booths are plenty good enough for us. The family-run spot has been in business for thirty years, so they’re doing it right.
Fun Perk: Orders are usually ready in five minutes, but it can get busy, so call ahead for pick-up to avoid waiting.
4 Redmond St., Warren, 401-247-0675, amaralsfishandchips.com
What to Order: The waterfront spot takes an Italian spin on seafood with your choice of shrimp, mussels, littlenecks or calamari served zuppa (marinara with olive oil and garlic) or scampi-style (white wine and garlic butter) over pasta. Seafood comes from local markets like Foley Fish in New Bedford and Tony’s Seafood in Seekonk. Littlenecks are delivered by Andrade’s Catch and chopped clams come from Galilean Seafood, both in Bristol.
What’s Special: Quito’s started out as a fish market and evolved into the dining room and dockside patio it is today. Those looking for a more casual approach can order basic seafood items (and gelato!) at the takeout area out front.
Fun Perks: The restaurant’s location boasts sunset views, and it sits next to Independence Park and the East Bay Bike Path, perfect for pre- or post-dinner strolls (may we suggest you bring a blanket and have a takeout picnic?).
411 Thames St., Bristol, 401-253-4500, quitosrestaurant.com
What to Order: You have to trust the seafood’s as fresh as you can get when the restaurant’s selling the good stuff straight from the sea at its onsite retail market. To get a sampling of everything (cooked, that is), the combo platter is piled high with fried flounder, scallops, shrimp, whole belly clams and clam strips, plus French fries or steamed red bliss potatoes.
What’s Special: Dining room renovations include an enlarged bar, immense glass windows showcasing the view and new tables with benches big enough for the whole family. They’ve also increased outdoor seating with two water-view decks and an outdoor raw bar.
Fun Perks: You can pick a large live lobster in the market downstairs to be cooked upstairs for dinner. You can even ship the market’s fresh seafood overnight to loved ones across the country who need a Rhode Island fish fix.
256 Great Island Rd., Narragansett, 401-783-3152, champlins.com
The Lobster Pot
What to Order: The salmon specials are where the chefs’ creativity shines. The flaky pink fish might be pistachio-crusted or seared with vanilla and curry.
What’s Special: It’s been in business since 1929 and the dining room’s sprawling maps and photographs illustrate Bristol’s sailing past, while vast windows and an outdoor patio showcase Narragansett Bay’s prime sunset panoramas.
Fun Perk: They’ve teamed up with 2nd Story Theatre in Warren to offer guests a 10 percent discount on a pre-theater meal if they present their tickets for that night’s show.
119 Hope St., Bristol, 401-253-9100, lobsterpotri.com