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Boston Restaurant Blog >> January, 2013 >> blog entry

Boston Restaurant Blog -- January, 2013

Thursday, January 24, 2013

A Trip to Pakarang and L'Elizabeth in Providence

I have been to restaurants in many sections of Providence, but have never really explored the area at the base of College Hill around South Main Street for dining. Recently, however, I got around to visiting a Thai eatery and a dessert place on South Main, with both being excellent (with one big caveat, however).

photo of Pakarang, Providence, RI We started out our Providence trip with dinner at a quiet little restaurant called Pakarang Exquisite Thai Cuisine, which is a few blocks north of Route 195 on a stretch of South Main that has a string of upscale and elegant shops, though relatively few dining places. The restaurant had an almost cave-like feel to it due to the high ceiling and acoustics, and a bit of an industrial look (the building appeared to be quite old). We were immediately seated and our server quickly took our order, and within a few minutes we were dining on a savory glass noodle soup as well as a "Golden Harvest" appetizer, which consisted of veggie tempura with a side of turnip sauce. The battered carrots were especially good, with the broccoli, cauliflower, and zucchini being nearly as satisfying. Our main course came out just as we were finishing up with the deep-fried vegetables, and it was all very impressive, with the smoky pad Thai being one of the best I've tried in recent memory and the white-hot basil fried rice not being for the squeamish (they added jalapeno peppers into the already hot dish, pushing it nearly over the edge) but having some rich tastes coming through the heat. Drinks included a sweet-tasting Kirin beer which cooled the palate (which definitely took a beating from the latter dish). Our server was friendly and efficient throughout, and prices were relatively cheap considering the high-rent area in which the restaurant resides.

photo of L'Elizabeth, Providence, RI After dinner, we went to an unusual dessert place/cocktail lounge on the same block called L'Elizabeth. This place was absolutely gorgeous, with low lighting, comfortable chairs, couches, and sofas, and a very low noise level which made it perfect for quiet conversation. The person behind the bar took our order of dessert items and drinks and we were soon enjoying chocolate cake and a torte, along with a hot buttered rum and a bourbon alexander. The pastries were rather large--and delicious--while the bourbon alexander was well made and rather strong. The hot buttered rum was extremely rich and creamy, which, while tasty, was difficult to finish in part because of its size. We took our time with the pastries and drinks, soaking up L'Elizabeth's elegant atmosphere, then decided to call it a night and asked for the check...and wow, did we ever receive it. The total bill was almost comically high, with the two desserts and drinks being much higher (around $65) than our entire dinner at Pakarang (under $40). It felt like we were indeed at the o ya of dessert places when we saw the bill, which would certainly make me think twice about coming here on a regular basis.

Having said that, L'Elizabeth is surely worth checking out at least once, as the desserts and drinks are quite good, and the sultry atmosphere is tough to beat. And Pakarang is definitely a must if you like Southeast Asian food, as it is a place that has a lot going for it--good food, friendly service, low prices, and a nice overall feel. You can surely hit the two places in one evening as we did, but be forewarned, the sticker shock of L'Elizabeth may be especially tough to take after the very reasonable prices of Pakarang.

Related Blog Entries: Providence restaurants, Rhode Island restaurants, Thai restaurants

NA said:
How could you be surprised by the bill at L'Elizabeth? Aren't the prices shown on the menu?
Posted on 1/28/13
MH said:
Nope. No prices on the menu.
Posted on 1/28/13
MJG said:
L'Elizabeth has never had prices on their menu. Years ago, probably 15 at least, we stopped in after a Historic House Tour. One of the husbands asked how much something was, when we got the answer we vamoosed quickly, have never been back.
Posted on 2/14/13

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