Foodie Journal

Dining Destinations for the Summer

From sustainable seafood to fig vodka cocktails, these newly opened restaurants are must-tries for the Rhody foodie

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While you’re spending most of the summer eating at cookouts, new restaurants are opening up all over South County. When you’re ready to give your grill a break, here are three eateries that recently opened and are worth trying.

SafeHouse Modern Neighborhood Eatery occupies the space formerly inhabited by Chianti’s in East Greenwich. It’s still owned by the Martucci Group, but they decided to transform the classic Italian American vibe of the restaurant into a contemporary, fun lodge-themed venue. There are dark wood tones throughout, plush leather seats, cool ambient lighting and hanging barn doors to complete the new feel.

The menu is updated as well, and includes hand-cut steaks, fresh pastas and sustainable seafood. However, some of Chianti’s Italian classics remain, like their Signature Parmesan with chicken or bone-in veal and Signature Calamari with hot pepper rings and garlic butter. Some new dishes are the Butternut Squash Pappardelle, Fried Oysters, Center Cut Rib Eye and Cajun Swordfish. In keeping with the lodge atmosphere, S’mores are on the menu for dessert along with Chocolate Chip Skillet cookies.

Coming to you from the owners of Rocco’s Pub and Grub in Smithfield is Rocco’s Bistro. The Bistro has a more refined, modern concept and makes its home on Main Street in East Greenwich.

Think Steak Tartare and Bistro Crispy Spare Ribs to start with. Then move on to a few oysters and littlenecks from the raw bar or try one of their bistro pizzas. For an entree, you can’t go wrong with the Steak Frites, with your choice of steak. You can even add on a lobster tail for funsies. There are plenty of pasta options as well and desserts to dig into like the Lemon Berry Trifle. Their cocktails are on point, too, like the chic Notorious F.I.G. with fig vodka, St. Germaine, honey, mint and a squeeze of lemon.

Finally, the long-vacant Tim Horton’s building off of Route 1 in Charlestown has a new occupant: Gemelli Bistro. The casual Italian American restaurant is utilizing every inch of the former coffee shop including its drive-through, but not in the traditional way. Gemelli is offering fully prepared Italian dinners, soups, sandwiches and salads at the window. And anything can be available for pickup as long as it’s ordered ahead of time.

Owner Nicole Manfredo’s goal is to cater to busy families who want quality time around the table. She also keeps the environment in mind, given the restaurant’s close proximity to the ocean, by using eco-friendly packaging that can be put in the microwave or a 400-degree oven.