Inside Maharaja Indian Restaurant, the air is heady with the scents of traditional Tandoor-grilled Indian meats and flavorful curries, all served in a dining room done in striking hues of royal blue and canary. It's easy to feel like you've been whisked away to somewhere in Bombay, but if you look outside, you can see sweeping views of Rhode Island's Narragansett Beach. The restaurant occupies an upper floor of the Village Inn, a stone's throw from the shoreline. Beach views provide a temporary distraction, but the menu commands most of the attention, with spicy lamb vindaloo, Halal goat biryani, vegan channa masala, and ten different types of naan bread.
India Restaurant's chefs modify iconic South Asian staples to eliminate excess fat, cholesterol, and calories while still ensuring that the dishes are delicious enough to win various accolades. The chefs craft each authentic dish with locally sourced seafood and produce, and they avoid frying any dish, eschew butter entirely, and only cook with canola oil. Yet their nacho-like papri chaat appetizer has been called "truly addictive" by the Providence Phoenix, which also called the restaurant’s biryani “a veritable feast for the senses.” To make their cuisine even more inclusive, the chefs prepare an array of vegan-friendly and gluten-free dishes.
The decor strives to be similarly accommodating, presenting diners with numerous seating options, each with a distinctive ambience. A projection screen playing subtitled Bollywood films dominates the main dining area, smaller tables surround each of the three roaring fireplaces, and more than 200 flickering candles line the bar area. During the warmer months, the garden courtyard tempts patrons with its swings for seats, lush gardens, and bubbling water fountains. The sidewalk seating allows guests to dine alongside their dogs and pet lobsters; a doggie menu offers hamburger-and-rice dishes and yogurt pops for canine companions.
Traditional belly dancers drift throughout the space on Friday and Saturday evenings, and the restaurant's global jazz ensemble entertains diners with its contemporary melodic stylings.
Under the ownership of Federal Hill native Christopher Conti, Blush Winebar pours half and full glasses from hundreds of red, white, and sparkling libations. The upscale watering hole offers more than 100 wines by the glass, each with its own distinct flavor notes and secret cheese crush. A champagne bar highlights the bubbly beverage with glasses, full bottles, and three-flute samplers as well as a selection of champagne-based cocktails, such as the Blush Boom Boom, a mixture of Moët champagne, pomegranate liqueur, Grand Marnier, and orange juice. Executive chef Jacen Scungio blends fresh, local ingredients to create the flatbread pizzas, sliders, and handmade pastas that populate the wine bar’s tapas menu and keep hungry imbibers from trying to stomp their wines back into grapes.
McFaddens Restaurant and Saloon combines the warm atmosphere and decadent fare of a family restaurant with the all the rowdy good times of an old-fashioned saloon. In the dining room, the wait staff shuffles around plates of classic fare for both lunch and dinner, including Black Angus burgers, roasted vegetable flatbread pizzas, and slow-roasted prime rib, with a few treats for kids, such as grilled-cheese sandwiches, cheeseburger sliders, and ice-cream pie for dessert. After dark, the bar comes alive with trivia and karaoke on Wednesday nights, supplemented by liquid courage in the form of beer towers and Ciroc ultra-premium vodka. Weekends start on Thursday with a live DJ and wrap up on Sunday with game-day specials during NFL games and professional rock-paper-scissor smack downs.
Providence Byblos is a family owned and operated hookah lounge and restaurant, offering two floors, two ceilings, three dimensions, and one patio's worth of smoke and satiation space. Prepare your palate for a Lebanese feast with the fruity flavors of a hookah, including apple, blueberry, raspberry, grape, melon, mango, and the daily special ($18 for one flavor, $21 for a mixture of two flavors), complemented by a refreshing jellab (traditional concoction of grape juice, molasses, and raisins, $2.99). Providence's "mama-style" menu serves up a wide variety of traditionally tasty appetizers, salads, paninis, and desserts. Start with a savory serving of fatayer (pita pies stuffed with organic spinach and onions, $7) or a plate of soujouk (dried beef and lamb sausages sautéed with tomatoes and onions, $8) before moving on to a crisp Greek salad ($8) or a chicken tawook panini (chicken breast, lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, and a homemade garlic sauce, $8). Cap off the meal and quell a nagging sweet tooth with a flakey slice of homemade baklava ($3) or a sweet date-stuffed maamoul ($2).
The casual bistro charm of Cafe Paragon’s dining room, its dark wood furnishings and glowing box lamps setting an easygoing mood, translates faithfully onto dishes that Gayot deemed “healthy and flavorful renditions of Mediterranean and American staples.” The prosciutto panini pairs grilled apples with brie cheese on French bread beneath a balsamic glaze, while the French burger tops off at 8 ounces of Black Angus beef, with applewood-smoked bacon and boursin cheese filling in the margins of the pillowy onion roll. Entrees such as a 16-ounce rib eye topped with garlic blue cheese butter and butternut squash ravioli testify to the diversity of the menu, which balances nicely between fresh eats such as blueberry salads and hearty steaks and fish.
At night, the space transforms into something of a nightclub. Bartenders augment the Mediterranean mezzes and filet sliders with specialty martinis, wine, and cocktails. Club music, meanwhile, booms through the speakers, willing guests to let their hair down, order a specialty drink, and dance.