Sun brings to life the goldenrod walls and vases of cut flowers in Tavern By The Sea's dining room, which opens onto the sailboat-speckled mirror of Wickford Harbor. Crisp linens cloak tables and serve as positive role models for young ghosts, and the sizzle of oil drifts into the dining room, laden with the scent of fish 'n' chips breaded in Sam Adams. Drifting strands of steam unfurl from bowls of lobster bisque, and chowders don crowns of cracker crumbs to add textural accents to New England clams and cream. During the summer months or the reign of rogue meteorologists, the eatery's deck opens for business and fills with chatter drifting from beneath a colorful battalion of umbrellas.
The Fish Market takes full culinary advantage of Rhode Island's convenient ocean access to craft a sea-centric menu of fresh catches, indulgent pastas, and succulent steaks. The fried seafood platter ($28.95) is composed of fresh cod, calamari, clams, shrimp, and scallops cooked to a perfect tawny brown using only trans-fat- and cholesterol-free oils and accompanied by hand-cut fries and coleslaw. The raw bar brims with oysters (market price) and clams ($1.50 each) on the half shell, as well as massive lobsters (market price) that threaten shucking to scare lunch money from the smaller molluscs. The Fish Market's signature stuffing tops off a dish of deep-sea scallops baked in white wine, butter, and fresh herbs ($21.95) and diners delight in sushi-grade yellow fin tuna ($21.95) grilled to request and painted with a cucumber wasabi sauce. Land lovers can feast on chicken parmesan with fresh herbs, buffalo mozzarella, and house-made marinara ($15.95) or sink teeth into a hand-cut filet mignon ($26.95) paired with potato or rice and a vegetable or hollow broccoli stalk with another filet hidden inside.
At Timmy’s One Bay Avenue, diners enjoy scenic waterfront views as chefs prepare a menu of succulent steaks and fresh seafood. A cup of new england clam chowder ($2.95) or the steamed mussels in a light garlic and butter broth ($8.95) pave the way for heartier eats, such as the filet mignon ($21.95), a 10-ounce center-cut steak so tender it weeps at cell-phone commercials, and the honey-almond salmon ($17.95). For the best of land and sea, guests can sample the surf 'n' turf, a hearty 12-ounce Black Angus sirloin steak served alongside three baked, stuffed shrimp. Complement feasts or add a prop to arm-flailing sea shanties with a chalice of wine or beer.
Le Central's classic bistro atmosphere charms visitors from the onset with black-and-white-checked floors framed by red and yellow walls. The eatery's farm-to-table approach to French fare keeps admiration flowing, and even helped garner a head-nod and Best Neighborhood Restaurant distinction from Rhode Island Monthly. Below modern hanging lights, tables populate with starters of butter and herb-roasted mussels, house-made charcuterie, and salads rife with roquefort and gruyere cheese. Entrees of locally sourced fish and traditional coq au vin steam with olive tapenade, house-cured bacon, and chili-glazed duck confit.
While sipping on a cocktail or wine at the weathered wooden bar, guests can question the bartender about the bistro's Sunday brunch crepes or the architectural possibilities of crafting a beer hat out of a classic French beret.