Your Rhode Island Foodie Bucket List

Fifty-nine culinary experiences you need to have before you die.

There’s no shortage of dining options in Rhode Island, but we’ve whittled down the choices (while fattening up our waistlines) to present you with those local dishes you must experience before you kick the aforementioned bucket. Here’s the checklist: Now fill up your gas tank, loosen your belt and begin your statewide dining adventure.

Portuguese Steak at Madeira

You may know what it’s like to have a good steak, but have you ever had a thick, marbleized sirloin topped with a gooey fried egg and beef gravy and served with crisp round french fries that soak up said gravy? No? Then add Madeira’s bitoque, an eight-ounce version, or the larger twelve-ounce bife a casa topped with a slice of ham and an egg, to your bucket list of must-eats for carnivores.
288 Warren Ave., East Providence, 431-1322, madeirarestaurant.com

Fish and Chips at Evelyn’s Drive-In

Rustic picnic tables or patio, there isn’t a bad seat surrounding this waterside landmark where the food measures up to the view. Time your visit just right for sunset, and you’ll be digging into dinner and a show over Nanaquaket Pond (just watch out for seagulls that expect you to share). Our top picks include clam cakes — of course — but the real standout is the lightly battered fish and chips made with fresh cod and served with french fries and coleslaw. The restaurant reopens April 11.
2335 Main Rd., Tiverton, 624-3100, evelynsdrivein.com

Shabu Shabu at Ebisu

Shabu shabu stands for swish-swish. A piping hot broth cooks your soup on the spot at this Japanese mainstay. Choose your protein or veggie option, then swish the raw ingredients around in the pot, and we’ll let you take credit for the cooking. Customized orders can come with meat, seafood or veggies, a choice of one of five different broths and udon, bean thread noodles or rice, plus dipping sauces.
38 Pontiac Ave., Providence, 270-7500, ebisuri.com

Root Beer Float at A and W

The world around us may change, but the A and W stays the same. The oldest carhop joint in Rhode Island, the Smithfield restaurant has been serving car-side burgers, fries and floats since 1959. The must-order item is the root beer float complete with a frosted mug filled with soda that’s made on site with a bobbing scoop of melting vanilla ice cream. It’s just as you always remembered, and something you’ll never forget.
460 Putnam Pike, Greenville, 949-9892, smithfieldaw.com

Crepe at Duck and Bunny

The snuggery is like sneaking away to Paris on your lunch break. The restaurant is located inside a blush pink historic home complete with fireplaces and interesting art with a duck and bunny theme — Duck with a Pearl Earring, anyone? Crepes are whisper thin and packed with sweet or savory ingredients like the Angelina (blueberries, cloumage and raspberry chocolate jam) or the Distinguished Lincoln: Black Forest ham, gruyere and caramel mustard. Carpe diem at Duck and Bunny.
312 Wickenden St., Providence, 270-3300, theduckandbunny.com

Pretzels at the Malted Barley

We’ve all had the trademark hot pretzel at the movies or a local fair, but you haven’t truly experienced a real pretzel until you tear into the Malted Barley’s version. Each one is freshly made with ingredients like asiago and Parmesan cheeses, caraway seeds, or stuffed with jalapeños and cheddar and mozzarella and tomato. Banish goopy orange cheese sauce forever with dipping options like spinach and artichoke, spicy brown house beer mustard and blue cheese, or try the pretzel buns as part of every sandwich. Dessert versions inlcude a waffle pretzel served with nutella and ice cream or cinnamon and sugar with cream cheese frosting.
42 High St., Westerly, 315-2184; 334 Westminster St., Providence, 490-0300, themaltedbarleyri.com

Ceviche at Los Andes

Los Andes’ signature appetizer and Peru’s national dish arrives in an elevated, clear martini glass. “It is a sexy presentation,” says Cesin Curi, chef and co-owner of Los Andes, allowing diners to better admire the seasonal whitefish, squid, mussels and shrimp tossed with Peruvian spices and fresh-squeezed lime juice and punctuated by choclo Peruvian corn and the crunch of cancha (like corn nuts), along with rocoto peppers, red onions, garlic and cilantro. Bottom’s up to this meal in a glass.
903 Chalkstone Ave., Providence, 649-4911, losandesri.com

Fruit Tart at Pastiche

The crisp buttery shell filled with custard and fresh seasonal fruit (blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, kiwi, mango and sometimes blood orange) is a rite of passage for Rhode Islanders. “It’s still our number one seller after all these years,” says general manager Amy Foster. “We go to the market three or four times a week so that we can pick out which strawberries are the best.” Visit the European-style cafe for dessert and cappuccino, or order one of the cakes or tarts to go to be an instant life of the party.
92 Spruce St., Providence, 861-5190, pastichefinedesserts.com

Thali Indian Combination Platter at Kabob and Curry, Rasa and Rasoi

Experience the ancient tradition of an Indian combination plate including portions of up to four dishes served on a silver platter. Whether you choose the vegetarian or meat version, you’ll get a taste of menu favorites like chicken tikka, lamb curry, saag paneer, mango curry with vegetables and other specialties paired with brown or basmati rice and naan bread, plus dessert. “It gives you a variety of different things to try,” says Sanjiv Dhar, owner of the three Indian restaurants where you can experience different styles of Thali. “The whole idea is to tantalize your palate and create a balance in your diet.”
Rasoi, 727 East Ave., Pawtucket, 728-5500
Kabob and Curry, 261 Thayer St., Providence, 273-8844
Rasa, 149 Main St., East Greenwich, 398-2822, indianrestaurantsri.com

Broker and Co-owner of Penrose Realty as well as Penrose PM&D