Experience: Coastal European Cuisine at Celeste in Narragansett

A tour of South County’s highly anticipated seaside eatery


Celeste wears the crown of being Narragansett’s most anticipated restaurant opening this spring. Fortunately, eager diners didn’t have to wait too long for Newport Restaurant Group to elegantly reinvent the space formerly home to Trio Kitchen + Bar, trading its upscale tavern concept for a “coastal European” approach to both design and dishes.

As in the past, dining is spread out across multiple spaces, with the substantial rectangular bar anchoring the interior and an open kitchen lending a peek at the energetic pace behind the line – but that’s where any hint of the past concept stops. Light and airy, Celeste’s interior seamlessly blends into its seaside environs, with natural light pouring through ample windows, Mediterranean-inspired tilework, shiplapped walls, natural textures like woven rattan chandeliers, and wallpaper with a nod to Botticelli’s famed “Birth of Venus” painting featuring the goddess perched atop a scallop shell (more than a handful of friends who’ve already visited commented about that fabulous wallpaper).

This time of year, the eager anticipation for the opening of the completely reconfigured patio and outdoor bar with water views is palpable. The outdoor space extends the main bar’s Mediterranean vibes, only with the salty air drifting throughout. With the diversity of dining nooks all under one roof that also includes cozy banquettes and casual hightops, Celeste is perfect for everything from date night or GNO (girls night out, to the uninitiated) to a family outing. Speaking of, kudos to ownership for offering a multi-course kids menu that includes the expected – cheese pizza, crispy chicken strips, penne pasta, a cheeseburger, and grilled chicken – but also, pan-roasted cod, plus a hummus and carrots starter, dessert and drink.

Under the command of executive chef Andrew Gould, the menu inspiration straddles the intersection of coastal European delights and Rhode Island culinary trademarks. Raw bar aficionados won’t be disappointed as they’ll find both local oysters and wild Rhode Island clams here, as well as a Sicilian-style tuna crudo with capers, Castelvetrano olives, and anchovy, as well as Jonah crab with Calabrian chili vinaigrette.

Nearly a dozen shared plates encourage diners to create a veritable customized smörgåsbord of international flavors and textures. The Moules Mariniere in a white wine and mustard-shallot broth is a take on the classic coastal French favorite, the Saffron Arancini with melty Grana Padano served atop a swath of almond romesco sauce is a nod to both Italy and Spain (the sauce), and both the Whipped Feta and Lamb Meatballs bring Mediterranean flavors to the conversation.

The dark horse on the shared plates menu is easily the Spicy Cucumber and Carrot dish, which includes radish, served with a light sprinkle of almonds and chervil (an herb best described as parsley-meets-tarragon). While heartier dishes like the Calamari Fritto Misto might be attention grabbers, this artfully presented light veggie dish perched in a peri peri sauce is not only a light, fresh, palate cleanser, it’s interesting and insanely Instagrammable with its bold pink, green and orange hues. 

In a town where the population swells by the thousands in the summer months, Celeste is tasked with balancing that well-known space of being a stalwart for locals but also offering a diverse menu for vacationers and seasonal residents alike. While the menu could stand alone without a pizza menu offering more than half a dozen varieties, it’s a bonus that it’s there. On my visit, the Margherita, Spicy Calabrese, and the Fig and Prosciutto all jockeyed for attention, but Gould recommended the Potato and Rosemary Pie with Narragansett Creamery mozzarella, mascarpone, preserved lemon, roasted onion, Grana Padano, and chives, and one bite proved he didn’t steer me wrong.

For lighter fare, the menu also has an impressive lineup of sandwiches, salads, and soup, but main dishes here are showstoppers. It shines a spotlight on seafood with dishes like Romesco Cod with crispy potatoes, roasted garlicky broccolini, and almond peri peri sauce; Couscous Avec Fruit de Mer with clams, mussels, cod, calamari, fregola, and tomato fennel broth; and a Whole Roasted Fish. But there’s nearly the same amount of selection for landlubbers, including Chicken Milanese, Pasta Genovese, and a burger with beef from Rhode Island’s own Blackbird Farms.

Lastly, don’t skip on the Berry Clafoutis, a French country classic that’s both subtly sweet and delicate. Celeste’s version is made with lemon curd and fresh berries and is worth saving room for as your dining experience’s grand finale.

A substantial restaurant with 156 seats indoors and 64 seats on the expanded patio and new outdoor bar, Celeste is open for dinner Monday through Friday but also serves lunch on Saturdays and Sundays.



15 Kingstown Road, Narragansett

792-4333 • CelesteRI.com



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