Rhode Island’s 10 Best Foodie Neighborhoods
It's a beautiful day in these neighborhoods, where food and drink are the major draws.
Population: 81,202 (in Cranston) ◆ Food and Drink establishments: 16 (Rolfe Square)
Go around the world in Cranston’s Rolfe Square, where more than a dozen international restaurants and markets make up the eclectic neighborhood. One of our favorite spots is Mesa Cafe and Grill, serving the best huevos rancheros we’ve had in these parts with a generous side stack of warm corn tortillas. Over at Kings Garden, a procession of dim sum dishes can be devoured, including everything from paper-thin pockets of shrimp shumai to crispy taro root. Get your fix of healthy sandwiches, soups and vegetarian salads, plus catered and prepared Middle Eastern foods at DELIcious Deli or opt for some wood-fired pizza topped with prosciutto, sausage and roasted red peppers at newcomer Bettola, from the same owners of Basta. Also located in the square are several international food markets, including the Jerusalem Meat Market, which sells halal meat and Middle Eastern products, and the European Food Market, where people can get a taste of their homeland with products imported from Russia, Ukraine, Poland and Central and Eastern Europe. Further down on Park Avenue is the Chinese American Mini Market, which also stocks Japanese and Filipino groceries. Right next door is Freedom Seafood, offering fresh fish and sea creatures that are considered Chinese specialties for all your “Top Chef” home challenges.
Where to park: Street parking on the square. Free parking on evenings after 5 p.m. and weekends at the 400-space lot located directly behind Cranston City Hall.
Shop: Skip Home Depot and get tools and materials for your fixer-upper or DIY project at Durfee True Value Hardware. Ladies can get measured for the most perfect-fitting bras at Ruth’s Lingerie, where customer service still exists.
Cup of coffee: Take a cup to go at DELIcious Deli or settle in for some espresso at Bettola.
Hidden gem: Around the corner from the square is Sonia’s Near East Market and Deli, serving Middle Eastern specialties, sandwiches, falafel and more.
Grab a drink: Try the mystery beer challenge at Bettola to win a free Mug Club membership, or sip wine or a fancy cocktail with friends. —Jamie Coelho