The Italian restaurants in Newport RI that would be the pride of Tony Soprano
I wonder if Tony Soprano would like Pasta Beach?
He would love the food, there is no doubt about it. He goes into ecstasies over the Spaghetti alle Vongole and the Bolognese Lasagna. But sitting inside, he can feel a bit exposed, which is never ideal for a gang leader.
Anyone in Bellevue could spot her through the picture windows. The bright lighting would leave Tony little room to stay in the shadows, and it would be difficult for him to find a place where he could watch the door.
You could say the Prosciutto di Parma Pizze was worth it, but Tony still seemed to err on the side of caution. Again, in the Sopranos’ final scene, it was Tony’s weakness for good food (onion rings) that may have led to his ultimate demise.
Maybe Pasta Beach is exactly where you would see Tony Soprano and his family if they visited Newport.
Newport Culinary Scene:On the heels of the Tony Awards, celebrating our own Broadway
“The Sopranos” is enjoying a revival these days. Thanks to new streaming options, a pandemic that made the frenzy of watching a national pastime and an all-new prequel to The Sopranos (“The Many Saints of Newark”), the critically acclaimed series from the beginning of the 2000s found a new audience.
In a world where we need our escapes, take a trip to the screen in Newark and immerse ourselves in the life of a murderous antihero as he wades through family issues, anxiety and grief. local underworld is as good as it gets.
All this talk about the Sopranos may prepare you to dive back into the series. If you think about it, let me offer you this warning: it will make you hungry. Not greedy for revenge. Not greedy for power. But hungry for very good Italian food. Like any family, criminal or biological, good food is what brings us together. And no series has ever celebrated this more than The Sopranos.
Every meal they eat on the show looks delicious. And they still eat. Sandwiches from Satriale’s Pork Store. Carmela’s homemade lasagna. Osso buco à la buco d’Artie. Each scene makes you salivate. Of course, there is violence at every turn, but there are also sausages and “gabagool”. This is part of the attraction of the show.
The scenes are so intense that you almost have to turn to the food as a kind of release. Hit a few episodes and you’ll come away thrilled and anxious and ready to dip a piece of crusty bread in a nice Sunday sauce.
Fortunately, we live in a place where you can meet all of your Soprano-induced Italian food cravings. You don’t have to go to Federal Hill (where Tony may or may not have had a few associates); we’ve got you covered here.
Tony might be uncomfortable at Pasta Beach, but the rest of us can enjoy every minute and every bite. You can sip their Bucatini Cacio e Pepe as if you were Bobby Baccalieri.
Or you can head over to Sardella and dip in their aubergine parmesan topped with mozzarella and their signature marinara sauce with linguini on the side. Sardella’s is the kind of place Tony Soprano would love – great food, a long history in town, brick walls, and a cozy fireplace.
He could sit down with Johnny Sack and then bring home pizza from Imbriglio (Sardella’s pizza kitchen) to eat later while watching movies with AJ.
Lucia’s Italian restaurant is also always a good place. Their Gnocchi Rosa is everything you could possibly want on a cold fall night and their cozy location on Thames Street makes for a great meal.
In Lower Thames you have Mamma Luisa’s – another cozy place with delicious food. Fill up on clams and mussels with their Zuppa di Frutti di Mare, or opt for seared tuna in Tonno alla Puttanesca. You could see Tony and Carm having a date in one of these places.
Tony and the gang appear to be traditionalists, but they would also enjoy some of the modern Italian cuisine in town. Paulie Walnuts could be seen sitting outside at Bar ‘Cino, sipping a nice glass of Chianti while enjoying his Rigatoni Bolognese and his friend Silvio happily dipping into the Carnaroli Risotto.
Giusto’s innovative team at Hammets Wharf are also making some good impressions. Tony would love the beachfront location. He would set up important meetings there with important associates from out of town – anyone he wanted to impress. And if they ordered the Bucatini ai Frutti di Mare or the Mafaldine, they would be impressed.
Although we don’t have a pork shop in town, we do have Bottega Boccino, which offers fresh salumi and formaggi (Italian meats and cheeses). Tony could be seen sending Christopher here to buy him a Bologna Piadine (imported mortadella, mozzarella, tomatoes, arugula, oil and vinegar).
And if you’re looking for some great sausage, head to the Aquidneck Meat Market in Middletown for this and all your deli needs. Tony would love this place. He stocked up before every family meal where he knew he would be in charge of the grill.
Watching The Sopranos again is like receiving a visit from an old friend (like when Tony Blundetto got out of prison). This is the escape we all crave in this mad pandemic world. As viewers, we can appreciate the original series for its impact on pop culture and for the great storytelling and incredible acting.
It still holds out about twenty years later. In these strange times, the show fuels a hunger while also leaving us hungry. Thank goodness we have some great places here to satisfy our yen.
Dan Lederer is a Middletown resident with 30 years of experience in the New England restaurant industry. He continues to work locally behind the scenes of the industry and remains a staunch fan of all things food and hospitality. His column appears on newportri.com and Thursdays in The Daily News. Cheers!