Rhode Island, the smallest state in the Union, is chocked full of originality, a gorgeous coastline and great people. Newport, the city on the sea, is not a pass-through location, it is a destination. Perhaps because there are no major interstates bringing change running through it, or even near it, Newport has kept much of its historical flavor and appeal.
There is an underlying sense of relaxation about the town. Visitors create the bustle while the town locals welcome them with open arms. One of the best things, besides visiting the mansion museums, strolling down the shop laden narrow streets or going to the beach, is the food. Newport is a culinary treat!
When here, and you must come if you’ve not been, you have to indulge in the seafood. Most places offer a non-fish alternative if there is one in your group that is anti-fish, but if not, keep our BEST list marked for your visit. They are all unique and appealing in their own right, it all depends on what tickles your fancy.
Scales & Shells – Best Fresh Fish prepared anyway you want it
Open kitchen, busy, active and the menu is on a giant blackboard. If you like fish, this is a must!
Anthony’s – The Best Take Out and Fresh Fresh Market
Super casual, be prepared to see a line, but it goes quickly. Anthony’s Seafood Market also distributes to the restaurants. Don’t ask them what day the fish was caught, ask them how many hours ago.
Aquidneck Lobster Bar – The Best Lobster Salad
The front of this old wharf building is where the lobstermen bring their catch, the back of it on the water is where you’ll head. Seaside ambiance is an understatement.
Black Pearl – The Best Clam Chowder
This is a Newport landmark. The Pearl’s chowder has won awards year after year and the rest of their menu is pretty darn good, too. Ya gotta go because anyone who has visited Newport will ask if you went to the Black Pearl. You want to say yes.
The Moorings – The Best Raw Bar
A great, diverse menu within an old boathouse like setting right on the water. In the winter, a fire is always roaring in the front room inviting you to sit and stay a while. The food will make you go back again for more.
Gary’s Handy Lunch – The Best Fish & Chips ( lunch only)
A throw back to the 50’s, Gary’s has great basic American diner fare and their fish & chips is the best! Gary has been there forever and everyone who works there are family or honorarily adopted. These folks are the real deal Newporters and they don’t make them much better than this. Go say hi.
The Port Grille & Rawbar – The Best Fish or Lobster Tacos
Look for it right off of lower Thames street on Ann Street Pier and enjoy fresh fish with a margarita or a Dark & Stormy – the sailor’s drink.
22 Bowens Wharf – The Best Seafood Appetizers
A stellar menu with a romantic ambiance on an 18th century wharf. Eat inside or out at Portside, where you can watch yachts come and go in Newport Harbor.
Flos Clam Shack – The Best Fried Seafood
Right off of Easton’s Beach just outside of town, Flo’s Clam Shack is where you can wear a cover up over your bathing suit with flip flops. Go to the window to order your food and get it when your number is called. Founded in 1936, Flo’s has been wiped out by hurricanes 6 times, but always comes back !
Eating at Home
Much of the time, vacationers rent houses in Newport or adjacent Middletown and eat in. Whether in Newport or if you just want to pretend you are (and you really live in Des Moines), here are some summertime recipes that will make you feel like a Newport local. Eating fresh and local is a big part of it, so if you can buy your corn, potatoes and veggies locally, get the fish where ever you can and have a Newport dinner at home.
Summer Seafood Menu:
This is a super easy meal to make, it’s just a bit messy and totally worth it!
FRESH CORN ON or OFF THE COB
COLESLAW OR SALAD
MUSSELS IN NARRAGANSETT BEER SAUCE (recipe below)
STEAMED LOBSTERS WITH DRAWN BUTTER ON THE SIDE
FRESH HOT CRUSTY BREAD
- 3 pounds of 'PEI' Prince Edward Island mussels or 2 pounds of larger local mussels - scrubbed & de-bearded. If any mussels are open, throw out, they are bad
- 1 can of Narragansett Beer- take a swig and use the rest for cooking the mussels
- 3 tablespoons of unsalted butter
- 4 -5 cloves of garlic, minced
- Melt the butter in a large pan or large stockpot and sauté the garlic until soft
- Add, just dump, the scrubbed mussels into the pot
- Pour in the beer, cover the pot
- Steam until all the mussels are open, about 5 New England minutes
- Pour into large bowl, serve family style - be sure to have some empty bowls for the empty shells
- Have PLENTY of hot crusty bread for dipping in the sauce
You can add whatever ingredients you like to make this your own – chopped parsley, some hot peppers, whatever you like. We use very few, very fresh ingredients because we wanted the individual flavors to shine through and they did! Sometimes the simplest way is the best way. You decide!