Gay Travel Information: Mediterraneo Caffe – Providence, RI – Gay & Lesbian Hot Spot!

Mediterraneo Caffe / 134 Atwells Ave / Providence, RI 02903 / (401)-331-7760

A Must Visit When in Providence, Rhode Island!

When I think of Federal Hill, Providence, RI’s “Little Italy” neighborhood and the place where I was born, raised & lived for over 30 years, I can’t help but think of Mediterraneo Caffe.
 
Mediterraneo Caffe dominates the beginning of Federal Hill. The beautiful building stands out with it’s black, mustard yellow and cobalt blue decor and modern design. It has become a must do for out-of-town visitors, a hot spot for celebrities and a go-to spot for locals….and with good reason.
The food is delicious. The staff is friendly. The vibe is pulsating and the location is prime.
 
Mediterraneo serves everything from charcoal grilled filets, chops, steaks & seafood to cooked-to-order pastas and has Rhode Island’s only authentic antipasti bar. They also offer fresh salads and made-to-order desserts. The restaurant is home to more than one hundred and fifty Italian & Californian wines as well.
 
I was lucky enough to have dinner here last week with one of my favorite dining companions — my mother (a.k.a. “the mama”). 

Waiter Franchesco and my mother, Linda.

 
We were greeted by the manager, Chris, and shown to our table where our waiter for the evening, the charismatic Franchesco was waiting.
 
I had been to Mediterraneo before, but this time I truly soaked in the ambiance. The blue & black ceiling.
The striped lamps & hanging stars.
The way the cobalt blue glasses sparkle when the sun hits them. The array of impressive wines and how busy they were (and always seem to be). The vibe was truly bustling.
There were couples on dates, children dining with parents, friends and even a large party celebrating a 60th birthday!
I finally stopped snapping pictures and began to focus on what to order for dinner!
 
While looking over the menu, we were served delicious,  fresh Italian bread with olive oil and red pepper flakes.
 
For appetizers I chose the Melanzane Della Mamma which is sliced eggplant lightly battered and pan-friend, topped with San Marzano plum tomato basil sauce and homemade mozzarella  baked ($9).
 
My mother chose the Antipasto Della Casa which included a mixed selection of imported Parma proscuitto, hot soppressata, sharp imported provolone, Parmigiano-Reggiano, housemade mozzarella, stuffed cherry pepper, grilled marinated eggplant, olive tampenade crostini, red & yellow picked peppers, potato croquettes and assorted marinated imported olives. She ordered the small size (serves 1-2 people $14).
 
The appetizers alone are reason to come here! Mediterraneo does not skimp on anything. I was thoroughly impressed with the presentation and quality of food.
 
The Melanzane Della Mamma was crispy on the edges, tender on the inside and melted in my mouth. The San Marzano tomato-basil sauce was super flavorful and light. It is the kind of sauce that would make your “grandmother” proud! 😉
 
Basically what I am trying to say is:
 
OH. MY. GOD. THE. SAUCE. THE SAAAAUCE! SOOOOO GOOD.
 
Yeah.
 
After sampling my appetizer my eyes shifted to my mother’s plate. There was such an array of choices on her plate! I sampled the marinated, grilled eggplant and couldn’t believe my taste buds. It was tangy, yet sweet – almost pickled, but not!? Deeeelicious! I then moved on to the potato croquettes. These fantastic little creamy balls of carb were to die for! I pretty much hijacked them from my mother’s plate.
 
It took all the willpower we had to STOP eating our appetizers to save room for our entrees. We had Franchesco wrap them up and savored the flavors until our dinners came out.
 
For dinner I ordered the Penne Al Pesto which is pen-shaped pasta tossed in a basil pesto cream sauce with plum & sun-dried tomatoes, pignoli nuts, diced chicken and grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese ($20).
 
My mother ordered the Misto “Mare Mediterraneo” Al Forno which is their baked seafood medley consisting of jumbo shrimp, scallops, little neck clams & filet of sole, all with stone crab stuffing and a half-baked stuffed lobster tail. The dinner is also served with mashed potatoes and green beans. ($35).
 
I’ve said this before and I will say it again, there are certain times where I wish I was an elegant food critic that wrote for Bon Appetite Magazine because I am sure there is some poetic way to describe the explosion of flavors that we both experienced.
 
But alas, I am a travel writer/blogger/travel agent that can simply tell you that the food was incredible!
 
The serving sizes were abundant (and provided a nice second day lunch for the both of us).
 
My Penne Al Pesto was extremely creamy with a nice spicy kick. The chicken was tender and the pasta was thick and tasted homemade. Honestly? I wanted to stop stand up and shout how absolutely unbelievable this dish was but I figured that wouldn’t be professional! 🙂 I loved that the pesto wasn’t overpowering and that the dish wasn’t saturated with tomatoes. There was just enough of each ingredient so that you could distinguish each flavor.
 
Now, I am not a seafood eater, but wow, my mother’s dinner sure looked impressive!
 
She tried everything on her plate and said it was some of the best seafood she had ever eaten (and “the mama” knows seafood). She couldn’t get over how much lobster meat there was or the flavor of the stone crab stuffing. The butter served with the dinner was a nice compliment, however, the seafood was seasoned so perfectly, it wasn’t even necessary.
 
Yet again we had plenty of leftovers for Franchesco to wrap, as we wanted to make sure to save room for dessert!
 
Ah, dessert. One of life’s pure pleasures! 🙂
 
We both ordered cheesecake ($7). Mine was a mascarpone – almond flavored cheesecake and my mother’s was a New York style strawberry cheesecake.
Both were extremely dense and rich and worth the splurge and saved stomach space! 😉
 
To top everything off Mediterraneo gives you free house-made shots of Limoncello with the check! This sweet and tart Italian lemon drink was the perfect ending to a spectacular meal.
 
GOOD TO KNOW:
 
  • Mediterraneo Caffe is open Monday-Friday 11:30am to 9pm; Saturday lunch 1pm-3pm; dinner 3pm-10pm; Sunday 5pm-9pm.

  • Attached to Mediterraneo Caffe, THE BAR is the newest addition to Federal Hill’s bustling nightlife scene. Stop in after work for free appetizers with the purchase of a cocktail from 3-6pm.
  • During warmer months you can dine al fresco!
  • Mediterraneo Caffe is set up to host private events. Whether your special occasion involves 20 or 120 guests, the staff at Mediterraneo is prepared to make it a memorable event for all. Exclusive use of their private room is available and will be accordingly with purchase from their Buffet or Prix Fixe menu. This room is not available on Saturday nights. Smaller groups may secure exclusive use of this room with or without catering by paying a special room fee. You can find out more information HERE.
 
MENU:
  • Click HERE for Mediterraneo’s menu.
 
GAY & LESBIAN FACTOR: Mediterraneo Caffe is very gay friendly. As a matter of fact I was speaking to one of the owners, Gianfranco Marrocco, and was told how they plan on having a “gay night” at Amici Bar & Grille (also located up Federal Hill) and one of their bar/lounges, Karma. This is a work in progress and will hopefully be up and running very soon. I would feel very comfortable dining here with my partner and/or friends. Providence, as a whole, is very gay & lesbian welcoming. This is a MUST stop when visiting the Providence area.
 
I am hereby “OUTING” Mediterraneo Caffe as LGBT friendly and worthy of our business!
 
I feel very fortunate living in such an amazing state known to have some of the top restaurants in North America. Mediterraneo is one of these restaurants.
 
As I said at the beginning….
 
The food is delicious. The staff is friendly. The vibe is pulsating and the location is prime.
 
Can’t wait to return!
 
Desiree Sousa
Comments
2 Responses to “Gay Travel Information: Mediterraneo Caffe – Providence, RI – Gay & Lesbian Hot Spot!”
  1. Is gay friendly good enough? I want to go to places that are gay owned and managed. Straights often treat us with disdain so why go to their places

    • Hi –

      Thank you for your comment! Although I can understand where you are coming from and, of course, support LGBT owned establishments, that would be limiting. There are so many amazing restaurants, hotels, businesses and events to experience. That is our goal at Gay Travel Information. To review establishments that, although not gay owned, do indeed identify as LGBT friendly, which I find extremely important. I haven’t felt any disdain at any of the establishments/events I have reviewed, which is a beauty thing and something that unfortunately doesn’t happen everywhere, hence the importance of reviews like these! 🙂

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