Graduation is a right of passage. It’s a time to reflect upon fond memories at Brown, and get ready for the real world. It’s a time for speeches and hugs and gifts. And, oh yes, food. Lots of that. Lucky for us, Providence is a foodie haven. And we’ve got it all mapped out for you with places intersecting Brown’s campus, a scenic walk away, and worth the drive.
On Thayer Street
If you’re a little tired from a week of straight celebrating, this place offers the perfect cozy getaway. The Wood-fired oven, wooden booths, and warming, friendly waiters give this restaurant a homey feel. And watching your organic flatbread be prepared and cast into the oven reminds you just how fresh and authentic it is.
Order a no-boundaries salad alongside whatever flatbread you choose. Equipped with caramelized red onions, Maine sea kelp, sulfate-free sun-dried tomatoes, and black beans amongst other organic veggies, this salads puts all others to shame. The tea is also on point.
Pro tip: Always, always, always check out the specials. It’s in your best interest to make half of the pie the veg offering (veggies), and the other half the carne offering (meat). Yes, you’re allowed to go halfsies.
If you can’t all agree on what kind of food to get, this is your best bet. The menu is extremely comprehensive, catering to all sorts of preferences. Picky eaters approve. A restaurant connected to a lively bar for locals, its interior is super modern with leather accents and dulled lighting.
Ordering burgers, pizza, salad, pasta, seafood, or steak plates, everyone wins. Portions are generous, and the heat and flavors are always just right. Appetizers are definitely well worth your while. Check out the mini sliders. Too cute.
Item not advertised on the menu: baked sweet potato. It comes with a side of cinnamon cream. Beautifully cooked, it’s the perfect side-dish to any entrée.
For a light, early dinner try Andrea’s Restaurant. The outdoor seating is a major plus when the weather is nice, and the plating is simple but elegant. With its menu comprised of both burgers and kebabs, this spot offers a perfect cohesion of Greek and American favorites.
Choose one of the truly cohesive dishes like the greek burger. You can never go wrong with beef dressed in feta cheese, bacon, and veggies on a ciabatta. On the even lighter side, they offer more than just the traditional Greek salad (though that is a prime option, too), including ones with grilled figs, toasted pine nuts, or sun-dried tomatoes.
If you’re up for some nice spice and heat, this is your pick. The place has vegetarian, meat, and seafood options to go with almost all of the signature sauces. Many can be made vegan on request. Tandoori and tikka marsala are personal favorites, but feel free to experiment. They do buffets on Sundays.
Pro tip: Order a side of rice or flavored naan bread if your meal does not come with it. It’ll help you capitalize on all the great Indian flavors of the sauces, and make sure you don’t leave hungry.
A Stroll Away
If you want to feel like a kid again, Small Point Cafe is the destination. Inside, the booth tables have chalkboards so you can draw on the walls. This may be the last time you do. Surrounded by crafty, local shops perfect for window shopping, this is a brunch-time hotspot. And the menu caters to cravings both savory and sweet.
If you’re going for something sweet, try out the local yogurt parfait with gluten-free, honey-sweetened granola and fresh fruit, or a baked good. On the savory side, get one of their signature sandwiches on the cutest little pretzel bun you’ve ever seen. They also have a great selection of coffee, tea, juices, and everything in-between.
If you’re up to feeling like an adult, try out Hemenway’s. With a plethora of open windows, classy decor, and good lighting, this is definitely a restaurant that screams mature. It’s perfect for the seafood lover, but also has a good variety of other options. Everything on the menu is super fresh with sauces worth saving your bread to dunk into.
I recommend trying a few different raw bar selections and steamed mussels alongside the local farm plate. A chef specialty, this dish far more unique dish than just some grilled up veggies. The yellow fin tuna is also fair game. And the tea comes with individual teapots, too cute.
If you’re looking to play it safe, Red Stripe is your go-to. Serving up French-inspired cuisine with a modern spin, this place has a knack for retaining customers. It has to be the most recommended restaurant for family weekends on Brown’s campus. The flavors and heat are well balanced, and the menu features innovative takes on several comfort foods.
I recommend the grilled salmon finished with dill créme fraîche (creamy dill sauce). The heat of the salmon and freshness of the cream pair perfectly. The sweet potato latkes, though they seem sort of out of place on the menu, work well as a side to just about any dish.
For the adventurous, Local 121 is where it’s at. Staying true to the ideals of local, sustainable, and organic ingredients, each component on the menu feels super fresh and innovative. But be weary picky eaters, you won’t find your basic mac n’ cheese. Instead, they’ll be things like coffee-roasted kabocha squash and mussels seasoned with beer and mustard.
The restaurant boasts a spacious yet intimate dynamic with its smaller rooms, large mirrors, and modern architectural accents. Definitely a place where you’ll have to ask the waiter a bunch of menu questions, but no worries, they always enjoy happy customer tips. Or be bold and just try something you can’t pronounce. You’ll be glad you did.
Pro tip: You’re definitely going to want to go family-style with this one. Try ordering multiple small plates as opposed to just a couple large ones, it’s well worth your while to experiment with as many flavors as possible.
Worth the Drive
If you want Italian food—good Italian food—this your place. The exterior is a taste of Italy itself, complete with greenery and brick walls. It holds its own amongst other Italian cuisine around Federal Hill by using super fresh, often organic, ingredients and playing up its specialties.
Famous for their grilled pizza (yes, you have to try it), this place has perfected just about all the Italian favorites. Many of their pastas and breads are handmade, and they’re generous with both food portions and sauces. But there won’t be any leftovers.
This is a perfect pick if you’re looking for a guilt-free, satisfying brunch. Surrounded by the Italian hard-hitters of Federal Hill, this trendy brunch place has unique urban-meets-agriculture interior accents. With its focus on sustainable and local foods whenever possible, the food is always fresh and flavorful.
The menu has multiple egg dishes that can be substituted with tofu, and offers a sweet potato cauliflower hash alongside the classic potato hash. Juices and smoothies are served in mason jars, and the drink menu is fairly comprehensive. If there’s a wait, enjoy a coffee from the cute bakeshop inside, equipped with comfy couches and benches.
If you have some vegetarians amongst you, head here. Owned by the same people as The Grange, The Garden Grille excels at catering to the vegetarian crowd (vegan or gluten-free on request), but is also perfectly satiating for the meat-lover. It has both individual booths and a community table if you feel like branching out from your crowd.
I recommend the mushroom and sweet potato tamale. Perfectly seasoned with an herb chimi churri and artfully presented in a steamed corn husk, this dish makes you wonder why every other restaurant isn’t onto the same trend.
Pro tip: hold off on dessert and go to Wildflour Vegan Bakery a few doors down. It’s under the same owners and has a wider selection of treats.