Ten Date-Worthy Restaurants

From L to R: dishes from Hoof’s, La Condesa, Aspara, and Corner Cafe.

Each of the restaurants on this list, which is organized from south to north, is a fitting location for a date, but what kind of date? After all, dates come in different sizes, shapes and colors. They vary greatly by degree of romantic sizzle, phase of the relationship, agenda of one party or the other, and of course, costliness. What you read below will give you all the information you need to find a location perfectly matched for your upcoming occasion. Another way to use this list is to just eat your way through it, solo-style. You won’t regret a single bite.


This restaurant is so far south it’s actually in Connecticut, but only by about 50 feet. It serves mouth-watering Italian food that is pricey, but absolutely worth it. The ambiance is sleek, with a slight Vegas, Rat Pack vibe. There is a prominently displayed, blown up mugshot of Frank Sinatra. Did anybody except Frank look this good in a mugshot?

Perfect for a 30th anniversary date. Your youngest kid has left for college! You’re empty nesters! By the end of the meal you will have decided to rent a villa in Tuscany.

Your date will be impressed that you researched the menu and can pronounce “Pappardelle Bolognese.”

Although it’s located in a strip mall, the Bluebird has a lot of personality. Much of the artwork on the walls makes reference to New Orleans, Mardi Gras, and jazz. In addition to regular breakfast fare, the menu offers a couple of cajun-inspired options. It’s a lively place, very popular with locals, and the service is friendly and energetic. It can be noisy. It’s cheap.

You met her online, and you’ve gotten together three or four times. You are surprised and a little taken aback by the strength of your attraction. You say to yourself, “Whoa there, cowgirl! Pull back on those reins. This ain’t your first rodeo.” However, another voice keeps whispering, “She’s the one! She’s the one! She’s the one!” You plan a whole day with her, just to talk and be together. The Bluebird Café is the perfect spot to start off, followed by a long walk at Black Point down to Scarborough Beach. By the time you’ve taken in The Point Judith Lighthouse, and gone to Ocean Mist to hear some music, you’ve decided to drop the reins and ride this pony wherever it takes you.

You’re impressed that she lets you pay for breakfast, but then goes back in and buys you a Bluebird Café T-shirt, which is lovely!

Across the Newport Bridge, to an excellent breakfast/brunch/lunch spot. Perhaps it’s called The Corner Café because you are going to spend a half hour or so hanging out on the corner before you ever get in the door. It’s very popular and justifiably so. There is an extensive menu of omelets, scrambles, bennies, breakfast burritos, french toast, etc. – all of it put together more creatively and full of flavor than at any run-of-the-mill breakfast joint. It’s going to cost you about $15 for more food than you can eat in one sitting.

This is perfect for a morning date when you want to convey, “Hey, I just like being with you. I don’t give a damn what we do as long as we’re together.” If you’re free for the afternoon, one of the prettiest walks in Rhode Island can be found at Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge which is about 20 minutes away.

You’ll be impressed with how good your box of leftovers tastes the next morning.

It’s hard to keep track of how many Seven Stars have popped up around Rhode Island. The website says five. Certainly they are all good if you are after bread. (Have you tried their olive bread? Oh my god!) However, if the bread is secondary to the date, stick to the one on Hope Street. It is the Mecca of first dates.

Not only is it a first date, it is a blind date; meaning you’ve never seen the person before nor have you seen a picture of them. In the age of social media, has anyone actually been on a blind date in the last 10 years? If not, it is a loss, because negotiating how you will recognize each other is a great exercise in self revelation balanced against playing it close to the chest. Consider the difference between someone who says, “I’m 40, I have short brown hair, and a mustache.” And someone who says, “I’m going to wear my Cirque du Soleil T-shirt that I got from my friend Jimmy when he was working for them in Vegas.”

After you’ve connected and had a coffee, if you want to extend your time, there is an impressive stroll available down Blackstone Boulevard, and into Swan Point Cemetery. If you make it as far as the Lownes Angel Monument down by the Seekonk River, you’re pretty much assured of a second date.

For the northernmost point in our search for date-worthy restaurants, we again cross into another state, but only by a mile or so to Blackstone, MA and Goodstuff Smokehouse.

Meat, meat, meat, and more meat. There are also some sides to die for like cornbread, candied sweet potatoes, mac and cheese, and collard greens. Oh yeah, plenty of beer, too. Every check should have a cardiologist’s business card attached to it, but how can you resist a restaurant whose motto is “We smoke the good stuff!”

Let’s say that you and your sweetie are big. This is the perfect place to go on a date unapologetically celebrating your size. Flaunt it! Dress in a way that makes the statement, “Hell, yeah, I’m big and proud of it!” Eat off of each other’s fingers, swap a couple of greasy kisses! Oh all right, skinny people can come too, but you’ll have to split an order.

You’ll be impressed when the celebration continues at the gym the next day. “Hey y’all, look what this big ol’ body can do!”

Let’s not beat around the bush. This is one of the best restaurants in Rhode Island, arguably the best. You can’t beat it for high end seafood. It’ll set you back $25 – $35 per entrée, but one bite of their oyster stew or jambalaya and you’ll willingly take out a second mortgage. You’ve got to plan ahead, especially in the summer, because it gets booked up weeks in advance.

Perfect for a meet the parents date where his folks and your folks get together for the first time and much is revealed. Go in the morning and take the boat tour of the oyster farming operation. Hard to believe, but it is fascinating. Stay for lunch. Over dessert let the parents know you’ve moved in together.

You’ll be impressed by how amicably the parents decide to split the check.

Going a little further north and taking a right hand turn to the east, we go across the Jamestown bridge, get, on Narragansett Avenue’s and find Tallulah’s. The locals are nostalgic for the days when these very good tacos and burritos were sold out of a literal shack down by the town boat yard. There was nothing there but a crushed shell parking lot, a couple of picnic tables, and a port-a-potty. It has been in a new location for a few years now. While it is somewhat of an upgrade, it is still a very basic fast food service. You order your food, beer, and margaritas at a counter and eat at tables on a deck. While you are waiting for your buzzer to signal you to pick up your order, there are corn hole games a plenty to keep you entertained. It is a popular spot where families with kids and dogs come to hangout. The food is all tasty and it is cheap.

Perfect place for a second date! If you want to extend beyond lunch there are two interesting art venues within walking distance:; The Jamestown Arts Center and Out of the Box Gallery and Studio. If one or both of you have kids, there is a top notch playground near by.

You’ll be impressed by how the afternoon just flows on by.

Back to the West Bay and still headed north. This list perhaps shows a slight preference for Latin American cuisines. No apologies for that especially when it comes to La Condesa, another strip mall restaurant that is way better than your average south of the border eatery. Furthermore, it is the restaurant where you can get things off on the right foot by ordering “The Don,” an outstanding margarita, (well, two outstanding margaritas really because they serve you a glass full and leave you a shaker containing an equal amount). It’s a big menu, with all the food you expect to find at a Mexican restaurant. What comes to your table is consistently well prepared, tasty, and plentiful. They can be a little heavy on the salt, but which Mexican Restaurant isn’t?

Perfect for a date at any stage of your relationship. Go. Get a little tequila buzz. Fill your belly. Let contentment fill your heart. Barriga llena, coraozòn contento. Look into your date’s eyes and remind yourself how lucky you are to be having a dinner like this with a person this special.

You’ll be impressed with how quickly you’ll start thinking about going back.

Apsara has been around for a long time and has many very loyal customers, some of whom don’t let a week go by without a visit. According to the website, it was founded in 1986. Some patrons will tell you that over the years the quality has varied. However, anyone who has been there recently will vouch that the food is as good as ever, meaning damn good, and the restaurant has gotten a facelift and is looking pretty spiffy. If you like spicy food you can’t go wrong, but it has a huge menu with something delicious for every taste. It’s cheap. The clientele is very diverse and it is a friendly and relaxed place.

An old flame has shown up again and some kind of rekindling doesn’t seem out of the question. You used to frequent Apsara, so it seems like the perfect place to check out how the new possibilities, bounce off the old possibilities.

In keeping with Apsara being prettied up these days, she’ll be impressed that you’re looking good and are as feisty as ever.

Yes! It’s a hole in the wall! A totally unpretentious, unselfconscious, family establishment, that just happens to serve the best pozole you’re ever going to taste. Listed on the menu as “Pork Hominy Soup (red, White Or Green)” the owners will be glad to discuss the difference between the three varieties with you. Speaking a little bit of Spanish helps at Taqueria Lupita, but the cross lingual and cross cultural communication is a big part of the reason to go.

Set this date up early in your relationship, because, really, how much time do you want to spend with someone who isn’t down for an experience like this?

You’ll be impressed that relationships may come and go, but the pozole de Taqueria Lupita will be yours forever.

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