Address: 60 Dorrance St., Providence, R.I.
Signature Dish: Rhody Calamari
Located in a former Union Trust bank built in 1901, the Dorrance immediately charms with its history. The interior features the bank’s original Italian marble floor, stained glass windows and ornate ceiling. You’ll even find the double-door vault around the corner from the bar.
One look and there’s no question as to why it’s such a popular wedding and special events venue. For a typical night out, it’s unpretentious and reasonable, while still providing an air of extravagance.
The food is globally and seasonally inspired, with decent-sized potions of organic and locally sourced ingredients. Whether you consider yourself a picky eater or more of the adventurous type, there’s something to satisfy every type of palate.
The most popular menu item is the Rhody calamari, a regional favorite and Rhode Island’s official state appetizer (it’s a thing.) The Dorrance keeps its fairly traditional, serving fried Point Judith squid with pepperoncini, garlic aioli and fresh squeezed lemon for the perfect profile of tanginess and bite. Calamari has been a mainstay on the restaurant’s dinner menu for six years and on the special events menu since they opened in 2011.
For a main course, the housemade pastas are not to be missed. Pastas change seasonally, typically with two to three varieties available at a time. The cacio e pepe with spaghetti alla chitarra and the ricotta cavatelli with heirloom tomato sauce, parmesan and breadcrumbs are two house favorites that return to the menu frequently and are often available as specials.
The Dorrance is also well-known for its craft cocktails. Pair your meal with a hickory cherry Old-Fashioned or any one of the signature drinks. You’re sure to get a kick out of reading the creative names almost as much as you’ll enjoy the drinks themselves.
House-Made Carrot Cavatelli
3 cups bread flour
3 cups semolina flour
3 cups carrot juice
- Combine all ingredients in a large mixing ball. Mix with a fork.
- Once combined, move dough to a flat surface and knead for 15-20 minutes.
- Allow dough to rest for 30 minutes
- Roll dough out into a ½-inch sheet and cut into ½-inch squares.
- Shape the dough between your thumb and a cavatelli board.
- Boil for 2-3 minutes and toss with your choice of sauce.
For more AAA-approved signature dishes, visit AAA.com/DiamondDish.