The Best Restaurants In Newport, Rhode IslandWaterfront spots, extremely fresh seafood, and more to explore in this small Rhode Island port town.
Here are some things you’ll see in Newport during the summer: cocktail parties on boat decks, live music at every other bar, people drinking margaritas in flip-flops, and people drinking martinis clutching Prada totes.
This small and close-knit Rhode Island town, which sits at the opposite end of Narragansett Bay from Providence, has cobblestone streets, lots of colonial history, and a mix of centuries- and decades-old restaurants alongside new spots gaining traction along the wharves of downtown. Most menus take the city’s Portuguese and Irish roots seriously: you’ll find chorizo alongside shepherd’s pie in addition to plenty of traditional New England seafood dishes.
Read on for all the best restaurants in Newport. Our list includes a slightly lopsided house-turned-restaurant, a picturesque lawn where you can sip champagne, and dimly-lit pubs where you can go to town on a plate of fish and chips.
CASUAL & CLASSIC NEWPORT
This spot is named after the centrally-located Brick Alley area, where sailors once spent afternoons at port, and grandparents share memories of rowdy nights from their youth. They have both a pub and a dining room, the latter of which is a nostalgic trip—there’s sports memorabilia, antiques, an old Chevy truck, and a menu filled with burgers, pizzas, and beef short ribs. The dining room is a good move for a family of five, while the pub is more casual and a great place to stop for an on-tap beer and plate of nachos—especially if you’re a little hangry from bobbing and weaving through pedestrians on Thames Street.
The Red Parrot is a good place to grab a bite while out and about in the middle of the day. Ask for a spot on the street level where you can watch the busiest corner in town, which might include frustrated drivers in Lamborghinis, Aston Martins, and Mazaratis stuck between tipsy pedestrians navigating the crosswalk.
The dim interior of this kid-friendly restaurant is lively, with a breeze wafting through open windows that overlook Thames Street and the wharf beyond. Almost every dish on the extensive menu is solid, but you want to order anything that includes lobster—specifically the nachos and the ravioli. Other favorites include crab cakes, Jamaican and jerk chicken, coconut shrimp, and sandwiches.
As one of the oldest pubs in the city, The Fastnet still has that feel of old Newport. Sit at the bar, a booth, or one of the high-top tables and order things like fish and chips, bangers, or curry fries. This is also a good place to catch whatever sports game is on, especially if it’s a nice day, since you won’t be trapped in the usual dim sports bar scene as the large doors open to the street. Their backdoor patio and beer garden is one of the best places on the island to meet friends, play darts or pool, and enjoy the sunshine with a beer in hand. Most weekends have live music or a DJ, and they also put on other performances during the week, too.
Flo’s is conveniently located on Easton’s Beach and has been serving clams for almost a century. They have a rooftop deck where you can enjoy Newport beach-elite vibes in the glass-enclosed space while you sample fried clam strips, fried oysters, fried calamari, and…really any fried seafood. They also do great sandwiches, lobster rolls, and local classics like stuffed quahogs (a type of clam that is also the state’s official shellfish), clam cakes using said quahogs, and brothy Rhode Island-style clam chowder. Wash it all down with a pitcher of beer at the kitschy bar that shows off retired buoys and fishing nets studded with random memorabilia.
Anthony’s in Middletown serves some of the island’s best seafood, and you’ll most likely always encounter a line. Place your order, and then make your way over to the first-come, first-serve picnic tables and enjoy the bustling fishmarket-meets-beachfront lobster bar. All the fish is fresh and delicious, whether you’re in the mood for lobster, scallops, and steamers. There are a few solid kid- and land-lover-friendly options on the menu, too, but you're really here for some classic New England seafood.
Castle Hill sits at the halfway point along Newport’s famous 10-mile-long Ocean Drive loop. You’ll feel like you’re making your way to the end of the earth as you pull up to the Agassiz Mansion, home of the Castle Hill restaurant, where you’ll be greeted by a valet and guided to the elegant wood-and-leather studded lobby of the hotel and dining room.
The prix-fixe, six-course menu starts at $165 per person, but is worth it for things like meyer lemon and peppercorn oysters, Rhode Island fluke prepared with truffle and caviar, or venison with summer beans. When the weather cooperates, grab a lawn seat and watch the boats as they sail so close in the narrow channel that it feels like you could have a conversation with those waving on deck. This is your summery daytime spot to enjoy sweeping views of Conanicut Island, Narragansett Bay, and the Newport Bridge with a drink in hand, much like the Vanderbilts probably did back in the day.
The White Horse Tavern has been in continuous operation for 350 years, or you know, longer than America has officially existed. And perhaps related, some people even say they’ve encountered ghosts while eating there. Maybe those wandering spirits just want some company, or maybe they want to get in on the New England farm-to-table dishes like rich duck scotch eggs and pan-seared scallops with mushroom farro. Whether you prefer the historic feel of the colonial dining room or fresh air on the outdoor patio behind a screen of flowers and shrubs, make reservations for a table in advance.
Clarke Cooke House is the type of place where you’ll find couples stopping in for a break from their yacht, businessmen and women power lunching in the downstairs dining room, and a summertime-only sushi bar. There’s a lot happening, but prioritize a table upstairs where you’ll get a great view of the harbor and a pricey-but-excellent meal. While this is the place for classic Newport-style food like local oysters, lobster, and halibut, the steak au poivre and sauteed duck breast won’t disappoint either. Whatever you do, don’t miss their signature dessert: the snowball from hell. Big enough for two, it’s ice cream served in a chocolate-coated goblet and drizzled in chocolate syrup.
Mamma Luisa checks a lot of boxes on the cute, little Italian restaurant bingo card: there are old photos everywhere, knick-knacks lining the walls, and the intoxicating smell of sauce that’s been simmering on the stove long before you got up this morning. This is a great spot for a quiet romantic night out, where you should eat ravioli, spaghetti and clams, and tonno puttanesca, while always saving room for the dessert tray. They have a rotating selection of Italian classics—we love the pistachio cake, but if that’s not available, go with the tiramisu or tartufo. And if you went to Rome once and now can’t end a meal without an espresso, this is the place to order one.
Sure, you might find sweaty tourists on Thames Street, but The Mooring’s cool open-air patio is the place to escape all that. There are fans humming quietly above you, the energy is lively and upbeat but not rowdy, and all you can see is water and the boats in the harbor and Conanicut Island in the distance.
Order the local classic Bag of Donuts lobster-shrimp fritters to start. The scallops, fish and chips, and roast chicken with chimichurri are excellent, and they also do a very well-executed, warm-buttered lobster roll. Plus, your spicy mezcal cocktail will seem as though it was specifically crafted to balance the briny sweetness of local oysters.
GOOD DATE SPOTS
We can’t stress how important it is for you to come to Perro Salado during the summer and sip a cilantro-jalapeño margarita. Especially if you sit in the shade of the cherry tree that grows through the middle of their patio. This historic home-turned-Mexican restaurant is right in the middle of downtown Newport, and often has live music at the kitschy back bar where you should post up and snack on some chips and guac. Definitely stay for dinner and order the queso fundido, steak quesadillas, and weekend-only carne asada for two, but know the Sunday brunch is also excellent with sticky ribs, or chilaquiles and huevos rancheros. In the winter, request a coveted seat at one of the tables near the fireplace.
Sitting at The Black Pearl, you can almost hear the sailors from old-timey Newport singing and stomping on the floorboards. However, we’re confident the menu is leagues better than anything they were eating in the 1600s. You’ll see fresh fish and a raw bar, fancy pub food like chicken pot pie in a buttered pastry, and a great burger with rosemary onion confit. Tables are first come, first serve, so head here for lunch and grab a spot in the wood-trimmed dining room or one of their patio tables behind ropes in the middle of bustling Bannister’s Wharf. You can also always pick up a cup of their famous New England clam chowder from their takeout window and sit on a bench as you watch the boats sail by.
When the day is beautiful but the crowds are overwhelming, head to Newport Vineyards, which is just minutes from the beaches and downtown. In addition to the 25+-year-old winery, they also have a seven-barrel brewhouse where Taproot Brewing Company makes small-batch, hop-forward beers.
Stop by any night for dinner and try things like gourmet grilled cheese with local spring onions and green garlic, pizzas with roasted vegetables, or sticky smoked chicken with hot potato salad and honey-butter cornbread. All their food is made with ingredients grown in their own greenhouse, or obtained from nearby local farms, so expect the menu to change often. Grab a seat at one of the outdoor firepits and watch the sunset over the island after a wine tour, Tuesday taco night, or a Wednesday Flight Night.
When you’re looking for a date-night dinner spot, a break from any super casual beachy dining, or both, come to Pasta Beach. Go for classics like a margherita pizza, a bowl of bolognese, their specialty dishes like orecchiette with sundried tomatoes and olives, and always end with a nutella pizza. Centrally located on Bellevue Ave, you could also use this spot for a nice, no-reservation lunch after an afternoon hitting the museums and shops on Bellevue.
BREAKFAST, LUNCH, & DESSERT
You’ll know you’ve found the Corner Cafe by the crowd milling about on the sidewalk from 7am onward. In addition to the influx of tourists, this is where you’ll find locals meeting with friends for a weekday brunch over fresh-squeezed BYOB mimosas, chatting at the counter about a recent article in Newport This Week, or fueling visiting relatives for the 3.5-mile cliff walk. Everything here is going to be good, like ovos acores, a Portuguese twist on eggs benedict, french toast stuffed with Canadian bacon, apples, raisins, and swiss, and blue corn breakfast tacos. They don’t take reservations, so if you pass by and don’t see a line, take it as a sign to get some brunch.
This small but bright and airy vegan spot is a cheery place to sit and enjoy a quick snack. Banana smoothies and watermelon and cucumber juice are the perfect hydrating pick-me-up on a hot day, while the grain bowls with sweet potatoes, raisins, and white beans are plenty hearty themselves. Their sandwiches (on the menu as “toasts“) are great, too—go with the banana almond joy, which is sweet and filled with peanut butter, bananas, coconut and cacao nibs, or the savory avocado toast topped with everything bagel seasoning and pea shoots. The owners, who you’ll always find chatting with people about what’s happening around town, also own Get the Scoop, which serves ice cream that’s churned onsite.
Newport Creamery feels like an old-school soda shop that married your favorite diner. Black and white pictures of the original 1920s creamery line the walls above families talking over placemat drawings, while locals sit between couples at the counter slurping Awful Awfuls, the Creamery’s signature milkshake-like “drink.“ Definitely pair the famous waffled grilled cheeses, Big Beef Burgers, or club sandwiches with their crispy tots. The ice cream window is also open all day and until 11pm on the weekends, making it a good stop after a movie or long day at the beach.
Each spring, everybody in Newport looks forward to the first Frosty Freez of the season. The same is true before they close in the fall, as everyone scrambles to get their last cone or sundae in before the season ends. They serve basically every frozen treat known to man: classic soft serve, a variety of hard ice cream flavors from different producers, hard and soft serve frozen yogurt, sherberts, slushes, and sorbets, as well as vegan, gluten-free, and no-sugar-added options.
It’s a convenient stop on Route 138 after a hot day on the beach, but also worth a drive from downtown on a hot evening. Although there’s no indoor seating, you’ll be in good company slurping your cone or sundae in the parking lot among families, first dates of all ages, motorcycle groups, and possibly a celebrity.
Del’s frozen lemonade is a Rhode Island tradition and unlike any “ice“ you’ve had before. It was first made in Naples in the 1840s by Great Grandfather DeLucia, who preserved winter snow in caves until summer, when he served it with ripe lemons. Although the current recipe no longer uses winter-preserved snow, you’ll still find tasty chunks of real lemon (our favorite), or watermelon, blueberry, or cherry in your Del’s. We also enjoy mixing lemon and another flavor (or spiking your Del’s with a shot of your favorite tequila) for a perfect afternoon treat.
Find Del’s trucks anywhere you might be craving a cool respite—at the beaches and state parks, at Brenton Point, and elsewhere around town. You won’t find a truck parked on crowded Thames Street, but you can visit their storefront there on the corner of Memorial.