Rhode Island’s 10 Best Foodie Neighborhoods

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

Minerva Pizza is known for Greek-style pies. Lunch at the bar at the Salted Slate. Photography by Wolf Matthewson.

Wayland Square

Providence
Population: 3,691 ◆ Food and Drink establishments: 15

Wayland Square is its own three-block wonderland of food, set up to serve the sprawling residential area that surrounds it. On the surface it feels like a quaint 1950s town in which everyone greets each other by first name and asks about the kids. That’s certainly the vibe at Wayland Diner where a Western omelet still clocks in at less then $10; L’Artisan Cafe, which offers spinach pies and sandwiches by the bushel at lunch; and Minerva Pizza, which welcomes regulars at 2 a.m. for Greek pizza and a beer. Even McBride’s Pub — an Irish bar attached to a family funeral parlor — feels like home to those in need of a draft and some Guinness-laced beef stew. But the culinary scene has evolved exponentially over the past fifteen years and Wayland Square now hosts everything from Italian gnocchi at Pasta Beach to new American. (Ben Lloyd’s Salted Slate is the centerpiece of town, offering everything from a traditional steak tartare to a sublime Magret duck breast with miso glaze.) What endures is that families are everywhere, either getting their sushi fix at Haruki and Lim’s or eating the state’s best truffle fries at Red Stripe. As if we needed even more reasons to take up residence on the East Side.

The Scoop:
Where to park:
There are metered spots on Wayland Avenue and Angell Street but also plenty of residential street parking if you’re willing to travel three blocks.
Shop: Paper Nautilus bookstore has an amazing collection of vintage books along with
a small selection of antique gifts, retro clothes and archival photos. Sniff out organic scents at Providence Perfume Company, and nab Valentine’s Day gifts at Mrs. Robinson lingerie shop.
Cup of coffee: L’Artisan will hook you up with a shot of espresso or a chai latte, but be warned that the line gets long on weekend mornings.
Hidden gem: Wayland Bakery is an old-school homage to the holidays any time of year: platters of Italian cookies, cannolis and tiramisu are time tested at this ninety-year-old mainstay.
Grab a drink: Providence Wine Bar if you’re comfortable at ground level or Mare if you want to look over the awnings from the rooftop garden. —Karen Deutsch

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