The Way I Was

A Day of Eating Inexpensively on Federal Hill: Good News for starving artists, budget-minded tourists and skin-flint curmudgeons

DePasquale Square, Federal Hill in Providence
DePasquale Square, Federal Hill in Providence

Have no fear of Federal Hill, penny-pinchers! Tracy Lee Karner has sleuthed out food bargains just for you! You can follow my meal-plan and eat a lot of good restaurant food for $26 for the whole day (you need  to click here, to hear the mighty mouse theme song right now)!

9:00 Breakfast: Caffe Dolce Vita (faces DePasquale Square). For $2.99 on weekdays, you get two jumbo farm-fresh eggs cooked expertly to order, with home fries and a large order of Italian or whole wheat toast. Served on a classy Italian square plate in a hip Italian-vibe caffe, by friendly staff. Buon appetito! 

12:00 Lunch: Cassarino’s Ristorante (177 Atwells Ave).  For only $3.95 you can have a large bowl of Chicken Escarole Soup with a bread basket (with real butter!) In my opinion, there is no better chicken soup in Providence. You get large chunks of poached breast meat in a chicken-rich broth, with a hearty helping of diced carrot, celery and onion. And the fresh escarole is added to order so it stays nicely crisp/tender. Why do some restaurants think we want slimy escarole.? We do not! Here, your pleasant server will top your pretty-as-a-picture (crisp-escarole) soup with as much freshly ground pepper and parmesan as you like. Plus you get to dine in lovely atmosphere for less than street-vendor prices, and they bring you free water, with ice, in a very nice glass (at food trucks you have to buy bottled water in yucky plastic bottles!)–un vero affare! (what a deal!)

Since I’ll be snacking mid-afternoon and because I ate a filling breakfast and plan on eating a multi-course dinner, a bowl of soup with bread will be plenty for me. But heartier eaters will want to also order a house salad with Italian dressing ($3.95).

3:00 Snack: Wise Guys Deli (133 Atwells Ave). Just $2.00 will buy you a yummy pizza slice. The cheese is stretchy-gooey-delicious and the sauce is fresh-tomato-juicy. The name and decor humorously parody Federal Hill’s old gangster-notoriety. Notice the fake bullet holes on the door and enjoy being crooned to by Frank Sinatra.  Mangiare (eat)!

6:30 Dinner: The Bombay Club (145 Dean Street) $13.99 gets you a multi-course, nutritious, Vegetarian Thali. You’ll enjoy Chana masala (potatoes and garbanzo beans), Matar Paneer (peas and farmer’s cheese in a tomato based sauce, spiced with garam masala) and dal Makhani (Black Lentils and Red Kidney Bean and cream). Served with mulligatawny soup, raita, poori and rice. Next, Gulab jamun (fried pastry in scented syrup) will sweeten your taste buds while you relax with a cup of after-dinner tea or coffee. Carnivores can order the meat Thali dinner for $15.99. Students with ID’s get a discount. Quasi incredibile (almost unbelievable)!

Late Night Snack: head back to Caffe Dolce Vita (DePasquale Square) where for $2.99 you can indulge in a low-fat, fruity, mixed berry or lemon sorbet and thereby make a nice little circle-story out of your day’s food journey. Reflect on where you’ve been from the place where you started. Isn’t that a perfect little wrap-up to a delicious, wholly-satisfying food day on Federal Hill?

Three meals plus two snacks–all for Just under $26.00 (not including taxes and tips)! Eccezionale! (Outstanding!)

What are your strategies (other than going hungry) for dining out all day on the cheap in a tourist hot-spot? 

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34 thoughts on “A Day of Eating Inexpensively on Federal Hill: Good News for starving artists, budget-minded tourists and skin-flint curmudgeons”

  1. These eateries all sound dee-licious, Tracy – well sourced (sauced!) price wise.
    In response to your final question – my strategy for eating cheaply in one of our tourist hot spots is to take sandwiches! 😉

    1. Yep–I often resort to that, too. 😉

      Or, if I’m traveling away from home/kitchen, I’ll stop at a grocery store or deli and get the ingredients to make them. So much cheaper than eating out, especially when traveling with children/teens.

  2. Three meals for under $26.00–and charm, to boot!–you’ve outdone yourself this time, Tracy. The title is fantastic, and as usual, the information is excellent. You really should be writing a book of “travel: dine, wine, sightsee and sleep.” I loved this.

  3. Nice cheap food finds for an entire day! I’m impressed! I almost always pack snacks in my purse if I know I’m going to be somewhere all day – or really splurge on a gigantic breakfast and eat lightly the rest of the day/evening. Sometimes it works…sometimes not so much!

    1. Since my husband’s retirement, we’ve gotten pretty good at sleuthing out where to find the good stuff on a shoe-string. It’s a game for us. But it definitely takes time. Packing snacks is always a good idea–takes care of the eventuality that there just isn’t anything good for a price we’ll want to pay.

    1. Honestly, it took me a number of trips to that area to find just these places and offerings. I often looked at the prices and went home to eat (because I could, it’s only a short drive away from my home).

      But tourists can’t just bop on home. That’s why I published it; hopefully it will be helpful to others.

  4. Wow, I love your posts Tracy! This is incredible, what a fantastic day out with such little expense and great food too! When I think how expensive things are here in the UK I agree with Jenny. We pack a picnic.

    I wanted to let you know that I’ve nominated you for One Lovely Blog Award, because you and your blog are lovely and I’m so glad that we met. Here is the link: http://sherrimatthewsblog.com/2013/11/13/first-frost-melts-in-the-heat-of-dragons-loyalty-award/

    Congratulations, you deserve it 🙂

      1. Congratulations Tracy, and you are so very welcome and deserving. I could say that you right click on the logo and save it to your images file then post it onto an image widget which will place it on the sidebar of your blog site but that probably sounds really difficult to understand and I have done mine by lots of trial and even more error!

  5. Tracy, you offer some great, budget-saving tips. When we were in Paris, we grabbed baguettes, quiche and coffee from the bakery near our hotel. We’d try to dine inexpensively at lunch, too. For dinner, that was our splurge.

    1. And that’s how I get from the little New England jewel to the big one–commuter rail.

      The rail is one of our treasures, I think. I love public transportation. (Hope to bump into you sometime FLG).

  6. My trick is to just use my company card… Only kidding. I try to aim for hotels with a free breakfast. That’s about it. I like food too much to penny pinch here. Plus, I like my beer and wine which also raises the price.

    1. You’re blessed– not to have to penny-pinch; and to have a company card to charge things off to…. 😉

      There are times when I definitely don’t want to go cheap, and won’t. But in order to afford those, I save up by pinching in places where I can.

      But I like my beer and wine, too, as you know; not that’s not affordable (in a restaurant) when I’m pinching for the day.

      1. I fall into that penny pincher category at times. Many of the restaurant reviews I do are on the road for work. At home? Coupons!

        For finding deals on beer and wine while travelling, try the app called Happy Hour. It pinpoints the best deals near you.

        1. What’s an app?

          Just kidding. But I don’t have a cell phone, believe it or not. Another one of my penny-pinching weirdnesses. I could afford one, and maybe someday I’ll have to, but for now I’m resisting, out of sheer eccentricity I suppose.

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