Rhode Island’s 10 Best Foodie Neighborhoods

It's a beautiful day in these neighborhoods, where food and drink are the major draws.

By Jamie Coelho, Karen Deutsch, Samantha Labrecque and Jamie Samons
Photography by Wolf Matthewson

It’s a beautiful day in these neighborhoods, where food and drink are major draws. Live here, walk out the door and have dozens of restaurants and food markets at your fingertips. If you don’t already call one of these stretches home, then plan a day trip to check them out. Next thing you know, you might be moving in.

Enjoy a full Syrian meal of stuffed grape leaves and vegetable mezze at Aleppo Sweets. Find rare albums at Round Again Records. Pull up a chair for chess at the Coffee Exchange. Dolores serves terrific cocktails made with sustainable mezcal and tequila. Photography by Wolf Matthewson.

Fox Point

Population: 3,040 ◆ Food and Drink establishments: 39

(Sources: city-data.com, niche.com, google maps.)

As Thayer Street shifts more corporate with chains taking over many small business storefronts, Wickenden, Ives and Hope streets embody the quirky Providence vibe we know and love. Fox Point is filled with antiques shops, record stores, art galleries, tattoo parlors and great restaurants. The area has become an international food lovers’ haven with worldly cuisines representing India, Morocco, Thailand, Syria, Mexico, Portugal and more, but Wickenden Street has also long been home to dependable cafes and breakfast spots like the Coffee Exchange (established in 1984), Brickway on Wickenden and Amy’s Place (nineteen years in business). Tallulah’s Tacos and PVDonuts led the latest revolution of independently owned shops and restaurants choosing Ives, taking a chance away from foot traffic to settle on this quaint stretch near Noodles 102, Bee’s Thai and Captain Seaweed’s Pub. Customers line up for playful brioche doughnuts topped with all kinds of irrational toppings and corn tortillas stuffed with Jakes Rojas’s slow-cooked al pastor and carnitas. Recent additions of Aleppo Sweets with its trademark baklava and traditional Syrian dishes, the area’s only vegan ice cream shop, Like No Udder, Roman-style pizzas at Roma Capoccia and, soon to come, a second location of Chomp Kitchen and Drinks make this area a culinary destination that packs the punch of bigger cities. And for dessert, there’s always Portuguese bakery Silver Star, which has been making Portuguese sweet bread, cakes, pastries and cookies since Portuguese immigrants founded the business more than eighty years ago. Head further up Hope Street to Persimmon for locally harvested food made into remarkable multicourse meals, and across the way is Dolores, a contemporary, upscale Mexican restaurant with motherly Maria Meza in the kitchen cooking Oaxacan specialties like moles and stews served with housemade corn tortillas.

The Scoop:
Where to park: Skip the main drag and opt for parallel side streets like Armstrong Avenue and Sheldon Street, or way down on Hope Street. There’s also a lot behind the Coffee Exchange off Alves Way, if you’re visiting the businesses that border the lot.
Shop: Three Wheel Studio ceramics and gallery for artful platters, plates and bowls, Round Again Records for music and Mister Sister Erotica for unmentionables. Down on Ives is Twenty Stories bookstore and thoughtful bohemian gifts at Peaceable Kingdom.
Cup of Coffee: Coffee Exchange for a no-frills cup of joe served with the morning paper, and the Shop for a fancily poured lavender or maple latte alongside laptops and communal seating.
Hidden gem: Tea in Sahara serves Moroccan dishes like kefta meatballs, tajine and chakcouka (two eggs over cooked peppers in a spicy tomato sauce) as well as international teas and coffees.
Grab a drink: Sip whiskey and complex cocktails at the East End. —Jamie Coelho