Newport Dining Update: Too Good to Miss, Sadly Gone and Not Worth the Trip

Food — By Mike Virgintino on September 18, 2010 at 11:43 am

Newport is well known for its large number of excellent restaurants. Most of them have created distinct personalities and developed special features while maintaining a dedication to some of the best local and imported seafood.

Here are a few observations to consider for an upcoming visit.

Too Good to Miss

  • The Black Pearl on Bowens Wharf

The Black Pearl is considered one of the most popular and one of the best restaurants in Newport. At peak times, reservations are required, or the waiting time can be long. At other times, a table might be readily available or the wait can be less than 15 minutes.

The dining room has about 20 tables plus a small bar. Seating is tight and the room is noisy, but the menu makes any wait, coziness and noise worth it. A separate Commodore’s Room has a different menu, as does the establishment’s outside dining area (weather permitting), which offers lighter fare.

Tried and enjoyed: mussels appetizer (enough for one as a main meal with a vegetable side, or to serve two as an appetizer), trout, tuna steak, lobster tails and scallops. The key lime pie is exceptional, but now the price is a bit rich at $8 per slice. Burgers, sandwiches, steak and Sheppard’s pie also dot the menu.

  • O’Brien’s Pub

On Thames Street, O’Brien’s was voted “best bar” for 2010 by local Mercury magazine. Besides the bar tab, it features the regular pub ingredients with a few unique twists. These include Cajun chicken quesadilla, a variety of sandwiches and wraps, pasta, ribs and fish dinners, oven grilled pizza and menus specifically for children and for those who require gluten-free fare.

Tried and enjoyed: seafood cakes (contained more shrimp, scallops and crab and less breadcrumbs) and the lobster roll with slaw.

O’Brien’s is pet-friendly, so bring along a well-behaved doggie to enjoy the bar area or the outdoor dining patio.

  • Evelyn’s Drive-In

A great place for a casual lunch or dinner that is away from the crowds and noise of the wharf area is a roadside stop known as Evelyn’s Drive-In. Located in Tiverton (about 20-30 minutes from downtown Newport), it is easy to reach for repeat visits.

Since Evelyn’s is seasonal (April-September), a more comprehensive profile of this small indoor/outdoor/takeout restaurant will have to wait until the beginning of the 2011 season. Right now, place it high on your dining list. Visit the website to learn more and check back during early 2011 for additional information.

Sadly Gone

The Rhode Island Quahog Company on Thames Street was found to be closed a few weeks ago. The sign in the window did not provide an explanation or any details if it would reopen. The bar and restaurant had a few additional outdoor tables, but the place always seemed less than half full over the last several years.

The food was good, especially the lobster macaroni and cheese. Luckily, various twists on this dish, with a considerable amount of lobster, can be found at other nearby restaurants.

Not Worth the Trip

The Olneyville N.Y. System is a fast-food stop that is famous for wieners. Established during 1946 and with outlets in Providence, North Providence and Cranston, it appears to be a hit with locals.

The wieners come with meat, mustard and onions. While the meat and onions did not have any distinct flavor, one out-of-towner did comment that the bun was tasty.

[Images: Mike Virgintino]

Tags: Black Pearl, dining, Evelyn's Drive-In, Newport, O'Brien's Pub, Olneyville N.Y. System, Rhode Island Quahog Company, Tiverton