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Best Dining in Rhode Island | 2014 Editors' Choice Awards

Best Dining in Rhode Island | 2014 Editors’ Choice Awards
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Hungry? The Ocean State offers plenty of restaurant options for hungry residents and visitors alike. Here are our picks for the best food & dining in Rhode Island for 2014.

BEST MEXICAN ROADSIDE STAND:
TACOS DON NACHO, Pawtucket

The Old West chuckwagon pulled by a fiberglass horse certainly makes an arresting sight on the roadside borderland between Pawtucket and Central Falls. If you stop, you’ll be rewarded with authentic Mexican food served from the window of this diner trailer. Rich tacos and tamales are the rule during the week, but crowds come on weekends for menudo (tripe) and barbecued pork. Tamales and tacos: from $1.25. 234 Barton St. 401-688-2932

BEST HEALTHY LUNCH:
SONIA’S NEAR EAST MARKET & DELI, Cranston

With its wonderful array of Armenian, Lebanese, Turkish, Syrian, and Greek food, Sonia’s specializes in the Eastern Rim edition of the Mediterranean diet. Order a “Sampler Heaven” plate to feast on hummus, tabouleh, stuffed grape leaves, two kinds of olives, feta cheese, marinated eggplant, cracked-wheat salad, and falafel with sesame–tahini dressing. Sandwiches and plates: from $7. 816 Park Ave. 401-941-9300; soniasdeli.com

BEST RHODE ISLAND CLAM CHOWDER:
DiMARE SEAFOOD MARKETPLACE, RESTAURANT & BAR, East Greenwich

Real Rhode Island clam chowder has no cream (that’s New England chowder) and no tomatoes (that’s Manhattan chowder). DiMare’s version of Rhode Island “clear chowder” is based on the recipe of the owner’s father, a retired U.S. Navy commander. A bowl with a jumbo stuffie makes a meal. Entrées: from $12. 2706 South County Trail. 401-885-8100; ridimare.com

BEST SPLURGE:
SEASONS, Watch Hill

The Ocean House resort hotel perches high above the Watch Hill beach, which means diners at Seasons restaurant get a splendid view of the Atlantic with every morsel of fluke crudo with yuzu chili, butter-poached lobster with potato risotto, or ricotta-and-lemon gnocchi with summer vegetables and lobster mushrooms. Entrées: from $32. Ocean House, 1 Bluff Ave. 401-584-7000; oceanhouseri.com

BEST CONTEMPORARY ITALIAN DINING:
PLUM Pt. BISTRO, Saunderstown

This welcoming bistro near the Saunderstown–Jamestown bridge features bold, simple dishes such as homemade pappardelle with hen-of-the-woods mushrooms, fire-roasted tomatoes, vermouth, green peas, and just a dab of mascarpone. Chef/owner Ralph Conte gives a locavore/New American twist to Italian classics, with plates such as cornmeal-crusted native cod. Entrées: from $12. 1814 Boston Neck Road. 401-667-4999; plumptbistro.com

BEST BREAKFAST:
BUSKERS IRISH PUB & RESTAURANT, Newport

Buskers’ traditional Irish breakfast is so good and so filling that it’s available all day. The meal of eggs, rashers (bacon), bangers (link sausages), black-and-white pudding (more sausage), Irish baked beans, homemade brown bread, and grilled tomatoes goes nicely with an imperial pint of beer. Irish breakfast: $13. 178 Thames St. 401-846-5856; buskerspub.com

BEST BYOB:
THAMES STREET KITCHEN, Newport

The menu at this 40-seat dining room, a couple of miles from Fort Adams, is brief and unapologetically local, changing weekly with the harvest, the catch, and the available meats. There are only four or five entrée choices, but every dish (such as scallops with fennel and horseradish) is perfect. BYOB. Entrées: from $25. 677 Thames St. 401-846-9100; thamesstreetkitchen.com

BEST ROOFTOP BAR:
TOP OF NEWPORT BAR AT THE HOTEL VIKING, Newport

Rooftop bars are perfect for the multitasker. Grab a cocktail and a few nibbles, maybe take in some live music, and continue to check off the must-see sights in the City by the Sea. The view of the Newport skyline is stunning at sunset, and the signature frozen drinks aren’t half bad, either. 1 Bellevue Ave. 401-847-3300; hotelviking.com

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