6 Places for Summer Date Nights
Impress your sweetie with these destinations.
The Revolving Door
Steak frites at The Revolving Door. Photography by Dominic Perri.
Make it a date night at the Revolving Door. Sit at the bar and watch the chefs cook and bartenders mix edible and drinkable works of art, or head outside for an al fresco affair. There are a couple of staple menu items, but most dishes change as guest chefs rotate, providing a new dining experience every time. After dinner (and most definitely dessert), extend the night by getting cozy beside one of the outdoor fire pits. Order a Malt Whitman, Revolving Door’s signature cocktail, or have the famous local mixologist Jason Kindness make you the DeWolf of Thames Street with rum, coconut milk, mint, miso and orgeat.
509 Thames St., Newport, 846-0400, revolvingdoorri.com
If sharing a whole roasted sustainable fish — eyeballs and all — isn’t a bonding experience, then maybe a little more sake will set the mood. Sit at a sidewalk table by Grant’s Block, and start with the freshest fish landed by Rhode Island’s fishermen, served sashimi or crudo-style, heightened by fresh herbs, citrus, radish, chilies and more. Choose from varieties that may include raw scallops, fluke, black bass, scup, mackerel or a combo platter beautifully plated with simplicity. Housemade traditional pastas appease tamer palates, but don’t skip the Lyonnaise pike quenelle dumplings or ravioli, which miraculously contain no flour at all, subbing in fish trimmings for texture. Ice cream and dough for desserts are painstakingly made from scratch using cream and butter from grass-fed Jersey cow’s milk from Appleton Farms. Finish the meal off properly with a playful take on the johnny cake.
186 Union St., Providence, 588-8755, oberlinrestaurant.com
It’s a restaurant by the water that uses ingredients from the water. A “parking lot patio” provides distant river views (and a grand sunset if you time it right), but it’s really the quaint neighborhood feel of historic Warren and the food that’s the draw. The restaurant, owned by local couple Brian and Kate O’Donnell, plans a frequently changing menu based on what’s seasonally available and the chef’s whimsy. Finch Farm in Rehoboth, Massachusetts, provides special crops just for Bywater. From halibut served with chilled Thai noodles, marinated cucumber and miso butter to seared sea scallops with kumquat and brown butter sauce, Bywater reinvents our favorite summer staples and turns them into first-time experiences. Don’t miss Monday dollar oyster nights for briny bivalves from Walrus and Carpenter, Quonnie Point, Onset and more.
54 State St., Warren, 694-0727, bywaterrestaurant.com
Diners come from all over the area and some travel from Boston to reminisce about and appreciate chef and owner Steve Johnson’s cuisine. He ran Cambridge’s fine dining mainstay Rendezvous for nine years, then retreated from hectic city life to pastoral Tiverton. The atmosphere is summer casual with servers in striped T-shirts touting the raw bar, seasonally driven dinner menu and $6 Sunday tapas and lunch menu. Distant travelers turn into regulars with choices like cornmeal-crusted fried oysters and skate wing, bluefish, black bass or swordfish glazed in sauces like Meyer lemon brown butter and topped with capers, plus one terrific wood-fired grilled steak. Take a seat at the eclectic outdoor deck with twinkle lights and a view of the Sakonnet River across the way. The fresh herbs growing in the planters might just make their way onto your plate.
1848 Main Rd., Tiverton, 816-5001, reddoryrestaurant.com
Admire Ocean Drive’s beauty while winding your way to Castle Hill. Arrive early for your reservation to have a cocktail in one of the Adirondack chairs on the lawn overlooking the sea. Live in a romantic fairytale sipping and watching sailboats drift beyond the cliffs. Once inside the inn, you’ll be treated like royalty by the staff and blown away by the native seasonal cuisine including ingredients grown in the onsite garden, paired with wines. With panoramic views of Narragansett Bay, the sunset won’t be missed at any table. As you dine, you and your partner will feel as if it’s just the two of you in another world, and it will be worth every penny.
590 Ocean Ave., Newport, 849-3800, castlehillinn.com
The Restaurant at Weekapaug Inn
The location of the Weekapaug Inn alone is worth a day trip. Even if you can’t spend the night in the outdoorsy upscale atmosphere adjacent to Quonochontaug Pond, you can enjoy all the pleasures of the inn at the restaurant. Thursday night clambakes in July and August take advantage of the prime waterfront location, steaming all the best things to eat straight from the sea. Nights have been known to end with a bonfire and s’mores by the water.
25 Spray Rock Rd., Westerly, 855-679-2995, weekapauginn.com