Health & Wellness | Nutrition

Dining Well with Dietary Restrictions

Vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, lactose intolerant – wherever you are in Li'l Rhody, you’re bound to find a dining option that meets your needs.

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Vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, lactose intolerant – these aren’t just buzzwords anymore. That being said, restrictive dietary concerns need not impair flavor or a dining experience. There is an abundance of well-rounded restaurants that cater to pretty much any palate. Wherever you are in Li'l Rhody, you’re bound to find a dining option that meets your needs.

For the Gluten-Free Among Us

Providence has no shortage of pizza joints catering to the gluten-impaired. The Pizza Gourmet (357 Hope Street, Providence. 401-751-0355, thepizzagourmetri.com) is just one of them. They have wood-grilled, gluten-free and whole wheat thin crusts to top with everything from a pink vodka sauce to more traditional options. If you’re heading over to Thayer Street, you’ve got a few choices. The Flatbread Company (161 Cushing Street, Providence. 401-273-2737, flatbreadcompany.com) has healthful choices like a gluten-free crust, dairy-free cheese and nitrate-free toppings. Nice Slice (267 Thayer Street, Providence. 401-453-6423, niceslice.com) also has a gluten-free crust and completely vegan pizzas like the Figgy Stardust, which highlights figs, arugula, vegan cheese and extra virgin olive oil, or build your own vegan pizza any which way you choose. They even have vegan sandwiches available on their house-made focaccia bread. On the West Side, Pizza J (967 Westminster Street, Providence. 401-632-0555, pizzajprovidence.com) has gluten-free pizza crusts, vegan cheese and plenty of meat-free toppings and appetizers like the Tempura Vegetable Basket.  They even have a cauliflower crust like the ones you’re seeing in all those Facebook videos and dreaming about making at home.

Federal Hill is getting in on the alternative cuisine game, too, with Pane e Vino’s (365 Atwells Avenue, Providence. 401-223-2230. panevino.net) full Italian gluten-free menu. Think Mushroom and Sweet Pea Risotto or Point Judith Calamari pan-fried with tomato, white balsamic and hot peppers. Of course dessert is always on the menu, so stop by Pastiche Fine Desserts (92 Spruce Street, Providence. 401-861-5190, pastichefinedesserts.com) for their seasonally rotating menu with house made, all natural pastries. Their Torta di Cioccolata is gluten-free and made with almond flour, which means you can indulge in the chocolatey goodness with no fear of tummy woes.

South County has plenty of options, too. For example, The Grille on Main (50 Main Street, East Greenwich. 401-885-2200, grilleonmain.com) offers a gluten-free menu and a gluten-free to-go menu. Plus, their chicken wings, pizzas, sandwiches and tuna melts can be made gluten-free.  The Celestial Cafe (567 South County Trail, Exeter. 401-295-5559, celestialcaferi.com) is the epitome of farm-to-table dining that includes dietary restriction awareness. There’s really nothing better than Fish and Chips, unless it’s made with a cornmeal batter so that everyone can enjoy it. TwoTen Oyster Bar and Grille (210 Salt Pond Road, South Kingstown. 401-782-0100, twotenobg.com) also offers an extensive
gluten-free menu, which means you can have any burger or sandwich on a gluten-free roll, Stuffed Oysters with gluten-free bread crumbs and Chicken Parmigiana with gluten-free pasta and garlic toast. Hop on over to Jamestown for dozens of gluten-free versions of your favorite treats such as Boston cream pies, Venetian clouds, scones, cakes and café sandwiches at Slice of Heaven (321 Narragansett Avenue, Jamestown. 401-423-9866, sliceofheavenri.com).

If you’re East Bay bound, head over to the Blue Kangaroo Cafe (328 County Road, Barrington. 401-289-2292, bluekangaroori.com) where they have a slew of gluten-free wraps, rolls and bagels. They also bake up tasty gluten-free pastries daily. For a sweet or savory gluten-free treat, stop by Crepelicious (60 Maple Avenue, Barrington. 401-337-5945, crepeliciousri.com) for one of their gluten-free crepes. Stuff it with anything from banana and honey to ham and cheese. And wouldn’t it be nice to have a specialty vegan and gluten-free tasting? Eli’s Kitchen (40 Market Street, Warren. 401-245-1809, eliskitchenwarren.com) read your mind. Pam’s Dinner is a totally tailored dining experience catered toward any food sensitivity.

Vegan and Vegetarian Options

Start the day the healthy way at Wildflour (727 East Avenue, Pawtucket. 401-475-4718. wildflourveganbakerycafe.com), a vegan bakery and juice bar. Not only are they Kosher certified, but their products are mostly organic and include plenty of gluten-free options like morning pastries, cookies, cakes, cupcakes and grab-and-go meals. In the same plaza you’ll find Garden Grille (727 East Avenue #7, Pawtucket. 401-726-2826, gardengrilleri.com), which offers vegetarian dishes like the Roasted Butternut Squash Quesadilla, as well as vegan and raw eats. Or head next door to Rasoi (727 East Avenue, Pawtucket. 401-728-5500, indianrestaurantsri.com/rasoi) for traditional Indian cuisine with a menu featuring vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options. They even have a vegan brunch buffet Saturday mornings. Right down the street is another Indian restaurant that has a slew of vegan and vegetarian options. India Restaurant (1060 Hope Street, Providence. 401-421-2600, indiarestaurant.com) has choices like Grilled Portabella and Basil Naan Pizza and plenty of vegetarians appetizers and entrees.

South County bound? No problem. With two restaurants under one roof, Tio Mateo’s Mexican Grille and Greenwich Bay Gourmet (537 Main Street, East Greenwich. 401-886-1973, tios-gbg.com) make everything in-house and give you plenty of vegetarian eats like the Roasted Veggie Wrap with Portobello, roasted red pepper, zucchini, yellow squash, fresh spinach and sun-dried tomato spread. Tucked away in Narragansett is Marko’s Restaurant (126 Boon Street, Narragansett. 401-783-9083, markosnarragansett.com), a cozy Mediterranean eatery with tasty vegetarian cuisine. This writer insists you try the Vegetarian Appetizer Sampler with hummus, spicy hummus, tzatziki, roasted eggplant dip, falafel, tabbouleh and stuffed grape leaves served with cucumber, tomato and and fresh pita bread. Just a few doors down is Crazy Burger Cafe & Juice Bar (144 Boon Street, Narragansett. 401-783-1810. crazyburger.com). Mainly known for their stuffed burgers, their vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free dishes are worth stopping in for. Their Birdie Mae vegan burger highlights grilled tempeh, purple sticky rice, sweet potato, roasted sunflower seeds and rosemary-pumpkin pesto all wrapped up in a tomato tortilla. Further west is Bridge Restaurant and Bar (37 Main Street, Westerly. 401-348-9700, bridgeri.com). This riverside dining locale offers vegetarians plenty of choices including their Black Bean Burger with guacamole, pico de gallo and cheddar cheese on a wheat bun. Sometimes you just need a hearty sandwich to satisfy hunger.

There are plenty of options in the East Bay, too. The Beehive Cafe (10 Franklin Street, Bristol. 401-396-9994, thebeehivecafe.com) has a plethora of vegetarian combos that can be served on house made, flaxseed gluten-free bread. Choose from an array of healthy salads to round out any meal. DeWolf Tavern’s (259 Thames Street, Bristol. 401-254-2005, dewolftavern.com) Indian influence on their cuisine translates to delicious vegetarian and vegan options. Vegetable simplicity is the star of the show in their Vegetable Sandwich. Spinach, sun-dried tomatoes, Brussels sprouts, English peas, potato and fresh mozzarella take center stage in this elegantly healthful dish. On another stretch of the East Bay along Route 6 is the newest member to the dining scene: The Aviary (2229 G.A.R. Highway (Route 6), Swansea. 508-379-6007, theaviaryrestaurant.com). Decorated like a childhood dreamscape come to life, give your palate a burst of flavor with the Black Bean Burger topped with guacamole, onion and tomato. Then there’s Avenue N American Kitchen (20 Newman Avenue, Rumford. 401-270-2836, avenuenamericankitchen.com) who have made it their mission to not only put out well-crafted meals, but also to highlight the best of the season in creative ways. Case in point, the Eggplant and Green Lentil Cassoulet. House made carrot cavatelli is dressed in poblano peppers and roasted tomatoes in a smoked paprika broth.

No matter what corner of the state you live in, there’s a healthy and delicious dining option for you.