Updated: Jan 30
Over the holidays, I had the chance to cat and house sit for a couple at a beautiful 1920's style condo in historic Providence, Rhode Island. Growing up in Boston, I've loved having this vibrant city close by, to experience the culture and cooking that it's known for.
It's been a couple years since I've been to Providence, and back then I wasn't living a plant-based lifestyle. So now that I am, I did my research to see what they had to offer. I was so impressed! In fact, I knew it would be an experience to remember when my host recommended a plant-based restaurant very close to the apartment plus a popular doughnut shop. All within 5 minutes drive!
I was able to see plenty of art and a monument during my stay, so I'll share my recommendations on what to do there too.
Here are some plant-based options for you to try in Providence (note that some are not 100% plant-based, but offer options):
This new all-plant-based food hall from Matthew Kenney Cuisine opened in summer of 2019, and has a unique atmosphere. It offers a few different cuisine types plus a market that I'll break down for you! Plant City is also starting to offer plant-based cooking classes and events in 2020, one being with Chef Chloe Coscarelli, popular vegan chef behind the By Chloe chain. (PS, there's now a By Chloe in Providence too)
First when you walk in, there's a casual American bar to your left, called New.Burger. They offer nachos and chili fries, plus burgers - all plant-based. They have something for everyone's taste and TV's to watch.
Then to your right, is a market full of plant-based and some non-plant-based groceries and cookbooks. They had some interesting items I hadn't seen before like this plant-based tuna below! I ended up getting a Daiya mac and cheese and some black forbidden rice pad thai noodles to cook at the house sit.
In front of the market is a cafe, which offers drinks and pastries such as a smore's pop tart (which looked delicious) and croissants. Then to your right, there's a seating area and another casual restaurant called Make Out which offers buddha style build your own bowls. This isn't a sit down restaurant, you pick up your food and eat it in the seating area.
Upstairs there's an Italian restaurant called Double Zero, with plant-based pizza and pasta options, like cacio e pepe. Yum! I had already had a Daiya pizza on my first night so I didn't here, but it's top on my list of try here.
Also upstairs is a Mexican and Latin inspired restaurant called Bar Verde that offers the usual Mexican fare, like nachos, burritos, enchiladas and tacos, plus some delicious looking mushroom quesadillas.
There's truly something for every type of taste, which actually made it hard to choose. While I didn't have a chance to try everything, I know I'll be back for the novelty of it! I like that it's making plant-based options available for people that aren't living this lifestyle yet.
Helpful hint: You can order from the Plant City app ahead of time and then pick up your order. I would recommend this because the reason I didn't go to most of the restaurants was the long line. Wish I found this out sooner, it was only on my last day when I did! You can also call ahead to order to pick up too.
The Grange is a vegetarian restaurant in Federal Hill, and this was one spot that my host recommended. The menu isn't entirely plant-based, but has plenty of plant-based and vegetarian options. It's a cozy interior and they also offer brunch and craft cocktails. You can tell it's a popular spot for locals!
The Grange also has a Mindful Mondays option where you can save 10% off your dinner bill when you check your phone with the host on Mondays - I love this so much!
Knead was recommended to me by someone I met at a class at Divine Barre during my stay (funnily enough). It didn't disappoint, and here's why! While there was only one plant-based option, a vanilla doughnut, it was so incredibly delicious, fluffy and crunchy at the same time.
They do simple really well. I had a delicious Super Fruit berry tea there, from the brand Teapigs, which was free along with the doughnut from checking in on the Yelp app so make sure you do that! They also offer unlimited coffee. There's multiple locations, I went to their newer location in West End close to where I was staying, and this one didn't have wifi. However, if you were looking to work out of Knead, the person I met told me the other locations do have wifi.
This is the first specialty doughnut shop in Providence and there's a lot of hype around it. They carry 3-4 vegan doughnut options, with the flavors changing monthly. There's some pretty creative flavors like cookie butter, dirty chai, and birthday cake.
My palate has changed and while these flavors used to excite me when I was younger, I now find them super artificial tasting, but if that's your thing then go for it! I prefer simple flavors, as I don't typically eat them anyway. PVDonuts update their Instagram each month/daily with the specials on their story highlight.
PVDonuts typically has a long line, so you want to get there early to snag a vegan doughnut! When I went Christmas Eve afternoon, they were out of all the vegan doughnuts so I got a cookie-butter doughnut hole.
I actually went to Den Den a few years ago, and it was so delicious so I made to sure to include it here. It's an Asian cafe that's perfect for plant-based and meat eaters alike, with meat, fish and veggie options for many dishes. They serve starters, bibimbap, ramen, kimchi bowls, and yaki soba bowls. Their signature dish is the Den Den Soft Tofu Stew, and I believe a few years ago I got the Soba noodles with broth. I highly recommend this spot!
This is a plant-based ice cream shop. It's closed from Dec 23 - Feb 13 in the winter, though I will definitely be back when I'm there in the summer. They also have an events-based food truck called Betsy Loo, covering Rhode Island, Massachusetts & Connecticut. Like No Udder offers hard ice cream, shakes, soft serve, blizzards, baked goods, homemade candy bars and some plant-based retail items. They offer cashew, coconut or peanut bases for their ice cream and I like that they use a minimal amount of ingredients for the highest quality taste. All their ice cream is made in house, and they have 8 constant flavors and 4 rotating flavors. Check in on Yelp for free toppings!
Here's a few other spots that aren't fully plant-based, but offer options:
Here's some things to do and areas to check out during your stay in Providence:
Hope Artiste Village: This is an indoor farmers market in the winter, in an art studio collective. It features many of Providence best food names like Seven Stars Bakery and Knead. I loved meeting the art gallery owners, sampling food and getting lost in the maze of goods.
Benefit St.: Historical street near Brown with some beautiful buildings
Thayer St.: Full of unique shops and restaurants close to Brown Campus.
Federal Hill: Lots of restaurants and an Italian neighborhood
Wickendon St.: Cute vintage shops, free parking lot behind Coffee Exchange and street parking too
State House Visit: Free to visit and you can book a tour on their website
Rhode Island School of Design Museum: Free on Sundays!
Providence Place Mall: Huge mall with restaurants and an IMAX movie theater and Dave & Busters