10 Best Restaurants and Dining Venues in Newport, Rhode Island
By Amber Nolan
Out of all the restaurants in a city, 10Best narrows the options to those places with the most appeal and the best reputations. We offer carefully vetted selections to let you explore Newport dining on your own. If time is really tight, though, and you don't have the leisure to look through all our offerings, we present our Newport Best Restaurants list. Here, we distill the best businesses down to a special selection of ten. These places promise a stellar experience and a taste of the city that you just can't miss. Many of Newport's dining venues are set in timeless colonial homes, and the White Horse Tavern is one of the oldest in the United States. Some hotel restaurants like the Bouchard Restaurant Inn have outstanding menu selection in a classic setting, and Muse's celebrity chef Jonathan Cartwright brings fresh, new twist on Newport's dining.
As a port town, you'll have your pick of seafood restaurants like Scales and Shells or 22 Bowen's. While seafood graces most of the menus, but for a change of pace try Perro Salado, which serves Mexican dishes with flair! Be sure to visit when of Newport's many waterfront restaurants like the Clark Cook House for outdoor seating and spectacular views of the sunset.
10 Perro Salado
Fresh, organic produce and ingredients - grown locally - are found in the Mexican inspired-dishes. Chef Dan hall worked in kitchens in Miami and New York City before adding his own twist on the authentic Mexican cuisine at Perro Salado (the Salty Dog). The restaurant is set in an authentic, colonial home with an inviting atmosphere with a hearth to sit by on the colder Newport nights. Live music and tangy margaritas combined with large portions of enchiladas, tamales, and fish tacos. At brunch, opt for the c;assic huevos rancheros or scallion corn cakes with eggs, black beans, and salsa. ((401) 619-4777)
9 Muse by Jonathan Cartwright
While not entirely a seafood restaurant, Muse's small, prix fixe menu contains a twist on traditional seafood starters such as lobster bisque with lobster wontons and creme fraiche, and Day Boat scallops in a champagne broth. For mains, try the poached lobster with vegetable ragout or the veal medallions with ratatouille ravioli. The new fine-dining restaurant opened in 2011 under the direction of acclaimed chef, Jonathan Cartwright, who is also the chef at a sister hotel in Maine (the White Barn Inn and Spa). Located in the Vanderbilt Grace - the historic mansion that boasts 33 rooms and suites - Muse offers an elegant atmosphere that is ideal for a romantic night out or a special occasion. (401-846-6200)
8 22 Bowen's Wine Bar & Grille
For a thick steak that's grilled just the way you like it, plan a trip to this Bowen's Wharf favorite. This notable dining room also boasts a raw bar and excellent selection of fresh seafood. Outdoor, seaside dining provides outstanding views of the port area. Dark woods and gleaming brass lend an old world, nautical feel to the place. An expert wine list stands ready to serve your need for the perfect wine to go with your T-bone or Porterhouse. The list includes over 600 varietals, with about 35 available by the glass. They are a part of the Newport Restaurant group, which includes eight outstanding venues. (401-841-8884)
7 Scales and Shells
With a name like Scales and Shells, you'd expect to find a hearty roster of some of the best seafood to be had in this port city. And, you'd be right. The word on the street with suppliers is that this spot accepts only "top of the catch" seafood. It's a casual sort of place that has a menu packed with goodies from the sea. The open kitchen allows guests to check out what's on the menu for the night, prompting many to make their dinner decision on the spot. Try the mesquite grilled tuna, the broiled scrod or the plenteous raw bar. A second floor dining room called Upscales is a bit more formal than the main level. (401-846-3474)
6 Café Zelda
Gracing downtown Newport, this casual cafe favors guests with its fine American cuisine, from signature gourmet burgers to fresh seafood, sizzling steaks and hearty sandwiches. Try the roasted beef and marinated goat cheese sandwich, the spinach salad, the chicken fried lobster or the garlic and herb roasted chicken breast served with a side of Zelda's infamous mac n' cheese. The wine cellar is quite large, with a fine collection of French, American and Italian wines. Appetizers and light fare are served in the bar starting at 3pm daily, and the restaurant serves brunch on Sundays. Be sure to ask about the summer specials! (401-849-4002, 401-846-4578)
The newest find on Broadway's burgeoning restaurant row is Malt, an American fare restaurant and gastro pub which opened in summer 2012. Expect entrees like slow-roasted Scottish salmon with pomegranate vinaigrette, and Black Angus rib-eye steak. In addition to mains, Malt serves tapas-style selections like Thai shrimp nachos, mushroom risotto, and duck spring rolls. The Malt Bomb is the house special, which is a chocolate mousse cake encrusted in a chocolate shell served with malt ice cream and creme Anglaise. Beer lovers will appreciate the 28 draft beer selections, and the specialty cocktails are made with fresh fruit juice and herbs. On Saturday and Sunday they also offer brunch. (401 6191667)
4 White Horse Tavern
White Horse is the city's longest operating tavern, dating to 1673. It claims to be the "birthplace of the businessman lunch", and is still serving guests in fine style. Fireplaces take the edge off chilly days, and the American cuisine abates the appetite. Start off with escargots and sweet garlic butter and then try the New England lobster or paupiettes of sole. They also serve brunch items like cranberry pecan French toast and grilled breakfast pizza. For a private small dinner party, inquire about the intimate dining space that accommodates four to six people. The dress leans toward the formal, with jackets recommended for men. (401-849-3600)
3 Black Pearl
Choose to dine in the formal Commodore's Room or the more informal tavern or waterfront patio, complete with bar, pub-style eats and first class views of the harbor. Any way you slice it, the Black Pearl has the best clam chowder in the city. In fact, it's now canned and served in gourmet food stores and has been featured in "USA Today." The formal dining room serves a menu of classic American cuisine atop linen-draped and candle-adorned tables. Try the twin New England lobster tails, the veal chop or the Nantucket Scallops. Executive chef Daniel Knerr was even named chef of the year by The American Culinary Federation. (401-846-5264)
2 Clarke Cook House
A Newport institution, the Clark Cooke House is located at the popular Bannister's Wharf and includes a wealth of dining and entertainment options, from the upscale Porch dining room to the Candy Store Lounge and rocking Boom Boom Room. Enjoy a formal meal with excellent views in the top floor dining room, dancing and a party atmosphere in the Boom Boom Room, and plenty of drinks and appetizers on the main level, the Candy Store. They offer an award-winning wine list with over 400 selections and menu selections such as butter poached Kobe sirloin beef and lobster ravioli with wild mushrooms and leeks. (401-849-2900)
1 Bouchard Restaurant Inn
This French classic makes an excellent destination for a celebratory event. Job promotions, anniversaries and birthday milestones are all celebrated in style at Bouchard's. The menu includes the likes of re-stuffed, roasted lobster and scallops with truffle, gruyere cheese and lobster sauce and roasted rack of lamb with a light mustard crust and herb red wine sauce. The wine list provides good company with a selection of French and American red and white wines, champagne, ports, cognac and dessert wines. The setting is a historic Georgian-style home just steps from the harbor with French provincial decor and business casual attire. (401-846-0123)
About Amber Nolan
Originally from upstate New York, this restless traveler has a knack for befriending interesting characters. You can usually find her just about anywhere that has a hammock. Amber's favorite places are Iceland for its remoteness; Panama for its parties; and Peru for its history. Her work can be found on MSNBC.com, Frommers, and Sherman’s Travel, where she served as the Cruise Editor and Senior Producer. She is currently working on a comic novel about her shoestring travels as she hitchhikes on airplanes across the country in an effort to visit all 50 states. See Jethiking.com.
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