After coffee with a friend and talking RI restaurants, I was intrigued. The place she'd been the most jazzed about? That people were whispering about being 'the NEW Al Forno'? Call it timing being on my side, or some kind of lucky streak, but eventually we did get there for dinner (a very big deal no matter how you slice it guys).
Yeah, don't let anyone tell you otherwise, Enoteca Umberto, 256 Atwells continues to be THE most popular restaurant in Rhode Island. Hands down. I hear some ppl wait weeks, up to a month or more even, for a table. (Reaching the owners usually means calling and leaving a message about securing a table.) It's the equivalent of the current quest for tix to Springsteen's new one man show on Broadway. Unlike the space at the Walter Kerr Theater in NYC, however, we're talking about maybe only 18 to 20 available spots, not including the al fresco dining set up along the sidewalk in the milder weather. (The unseasonably warmer weather this fall could work in your favor, if you're a fan of sitting outside.)
As someone who frequents area restaurants on an almost daily basis, I will tell you that the food was off-the-charts outstanding. We had arugula salads, an antipasto (I don't eat meat.), eggplant (not parm style which was so refreshing), a cannellini bean dish, 2 diff pastas, a polenta that you might mistake for lasagna, and a slice of cake from Scialo's, which was divine. Along with a few glasses of vino. (Advice for any aspiring bloggers out there? Write drunk and edit sober.)
It's a winning combo of an authetic Mediterrean menu built on old world, family recipes (There are special, off the menu dishes too, and pretty sure those accounted for half of the plates on our table that night.) and a small plate-ish aesthetic, all by way of Southern Italy. (The marrieds responsible for the restaurant have deep roots there.) As a matter of fact, all the wine - and some of the delicacies - we enjoyed was actually shipped over from The Boot. (Yes, you can taste the difference.)
So...start dialing for those reservations and buona fortuna!
Photo Credits: All photos courtesy of PattyJ.com
**Updated and revised from the original post which appeared on the blog in the fall of 2016.**