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Ristorante Romanza (CLOSED)

312 Wickenden Street, Providence, RI 02903

Photo of Ristorante Romanza, Providence, RI It seems that the Providence restaurant scene is giving the Boston restaurant scene a run for its money. From the Italian bistros of Federal Hill to the classy places downtown to the funky dining spots around Brown University, Providence indeed has something for everyone. This writer, however, keeps returning to two Providence restaurants in particular: One is Apsara, which may just serve the best Southeast Asian food in New England; the other is the cozy, romantic Ristorante Romanza, located in the artsy Wickenden Street district of Providence.

Ristorante Romanza resides in a charming, historic house a few blocks south of Brown University. Each of the restaurant's tiny rooms has a large fireplace, adding to the intimate atmosphere. Patrons regularly bring bottles of wine (Ristorante Romanza does not have a liquor license) to complement the delicious Northern and Southern Italian meals served here. Some dinners served at this dining spot include tortellini stuffed with pumpkin in a cream sauce; homemade pasta in a delectable pink vodka sauce; and specials such as pork medallions served with chicken and prosciutto pasta pockets. This last meal is so good that it is a shame Ristorante Romanza does not serve it every night. If you somehow have room after dinner, try one of their tasty desserts. The ice cream and brownie combination with hot fudge is particularly good, though they don't have it every night.

As is the case with many listings on Boston's Hidden Restaurants, Ristorante Romanza is a restaurant that has yet to be discovered. A search of Ristorante Romanza on the Internet yields little information, which brings to mind another great restaurant--Rino's in East Boston. While Rino's does not have the cozy atmosphere of Ristorante Romanza, both serve fresh, inventive Italian meals and yet receive little press. Perhaps it is time to discover the Rino's and Ristorante Romanzas of the region. Just don't tell TOO many people; this writer wants to be able to grab a fireside table at Ristorante Romanza on a Saturday night without having too much of a wait.