120 Atwells Ave, Providence, RI | Directions 0290341.823150 -71.422016
Mon., Wed. - Thu. 11am - 10pm;Tue. CLOSED;Fri. - Sun. 11am - 11pm
Neighborhoods: Federal Hill
always great – I can't tell enough people about how good the food is at The Old Canteen...I have never had a bad experience. It's a simple process...walk in ask for a bottle of La Crema (pinot nior) get the calamari as an app., then anything off the menu will do. They are fast, courteous, and very helpful. Honestly if you need help with the wine...go to the bar, or read a book...or better yet pay $80+ a plate and see the sommelier...Sal and his group are a wonderful experience.
A Federal Hill Treasure – Our first time here and we are impressed to the extreme. An excellent-valued lunch of real home-style Italian fare. I had a wonderful haddock cooked Sicilian style (done that way especially for me) and my wife ordered her standard comparison dish of chicken cacciatore. Both are in a class by themselves regarding flavor and freshness. What differentiates this restaurant's dishes from the Vinny Ts and similar popular places is that here you taste all the natural ingredients -- the chicken, fish, and vegetables without them being overwhelmed with heavy garlic and oil coverups. This is the way my mother cooked and what I now seek out.
Their superb, endless bread basket starts the meal. True Italian bread with crispy crust and meaty center that is quite hard to find. Then came a homemade-style treat...their soups. We both chose the excellent broccoli rabe with bean offering - a large portion, seemingly freshly-made as the beans retain a nice firm texture while the rabe are cooked to tender, but not mushy. And then, along with the entrees mentioned, we could choose from several vegetable 'sides' or pasta. Again, we both took the same, penne as recommended by our waitress. Their gravy (if it comes out of a jar, it's sauce; if you make it yourself, it's gravy) is like everything else...first rate. Not salty, not burnt, not overly-seasoned like most other places. Our wine accompaniment was the house chianti, fine tasting to us but then we're not wine snobs, so maybe it was lousy. haha
We finished off with coffee, served in small pots so you had a couple of cups each without having to ask and wait, along with vanilla ice cream. All this, except for the wine, is included in the entree price in the $12 range. Several choices are less. For what more can you ask?
Last but not least our waitress, Angela, did all she could to enhance our dining experience.
Never go there! – The Old Canteen, has a great atmosphere, but horrible food and service. My wife and her family went there this past Saturday and had a terrible time. First the salads were extremely small, they give you more salad at the Olive Garden. Not judging quickly we pushed the salads a side and waited for the main course. I order a rare prime rib. I thought it would be a nice rare large piece of meat. Once I got it, it was about 10 oz and cooked well done!! I mean how hard is it to make a rare steak. The Outback can make a better piece of meat! My wife had the veal rollatini, thinking it would be stuffed with ricotta cheese and bread crumbs, they brought out a veal roll stuffed with ham and a little bit of cheese. Everyone makes it different which is not the problem, just they should have put the ingredients on the menu. She made a small complaint and the manager came over to make sure everything was ok and she said that she thought it was made with ricotta cheese and the owner said customers can make mistakes! Wow what a thing to say, especially to customers!! And that wasn't the end, we ordered tiramisu thinking how could anyone mess that up. Well it came out in a cake cut form and it tasted like death! Seriously how can anyone mess up dessert. Overall it was a horrible experience and the Old Canteen will never have my service again.
TRUELY DISSAPPOINTED – Sure, the place is "old Italian", we thought it would be great,the owner came over and introduced himself, and offered his future assitance -it was down hill after that. My husband explained to the waitress the type of Cab he wanted so the waitress offered a PREMIUM wine list. We thought she's be able to make suggestions-when she couldn't we asked if any one else could help, she shrugged her shoulders, then we asked that she check with the bartender, We should have left as soon as the bartender couldn't help either! But the waitress did inform us that she would not take back a wine if my husband did not like it. My husband ordered one bottle of wine and given another. Turned out it wasn't too bad. For desert we were told the tiramisu came from a commerical bakery and I asked for a cappuccino and was informed that they didn't have a cappuccino machine they served instant! We paid the bill-spoke to the owner and settled for a Dunkin Donuts Latte across the street!! Not worth the drive even if we lived in town.
Best homemade gnocchi and broccoli rabe. – There are not many restaurants left like the Old Canteen. It is like walking into a restaurant in Italy. Focus is not on the decor, which is simple, but on the food and service which is wonderful! There isn't anything they won't cook for you. In these modern days of "I'm sorry, it doesn't come that way." The Old Canteen is the opposite. Even though their menu is absolutely huge they will still honor your request. Their wait staff is terrific in suggestions because they know the kitchen can back them up. This is a restaurant that sets the bar high for food quality and preparation. We have been going there for 20 years. If you have an issue with this restaurant, well then let's say "you" have the problem....not the restaurant.
Try the Veal a la Mike, one of my favorites. I wish we had this restaurant in Connecticut. Magnifico!
Most disappointing dining experience – Four friends met at the Old Canteen to enjoy a meal together. We had all eaten there in the past, but not for several years. We started with a $60 bottle of Barolo and three appitizers . The wine drank like a $6 bottle off the shelf. Smelts were fried to sad burned brown chrisps. Snail salad and the "large"antipasto were OK but skimpy for the price. We ordered main courses (including specials) and took another stab at the wine list. BIG MISTAKE! The food, including the specials were not edable. Veal looked and tasted as if it had been overcooked in a microwave. We paid the bill,left a tip for the waiter and walked to a nearby resturant to get something to eat. With so many wonderful resturants, many within a stone throw from the Old Canteen, I don't think this resturant will survive unless they make some major changes. First time massage
Somewhat Overated – I had heard some good things about the restaurant but after eating there I feel the establishment is overated. The atmosphere is quite outdated and looks somewhat like an old oriental restauant. The pink walls are saddening. I had the lasagna and did not like the thick noodles or the taste of the meat. The sauce was good though! The waiter was forgetful and the portions are smaller than expected. Parking was horrendous even with valet!
You'll Always Come Back to the Canteen – Classic Italian with class - Joe knows everyone - because they're regular customers. For over 20 years I've been going to the Canteen; and maybe you wont find nouvelle Italian, or the trendy crowd, but you'll find 'the' crowd and the food is great. Returning customers are treated exceptionally well and the food is always consistent. Veal steak is a house specialty, try the calamari, fabulous soups, and Italian coffee made the old fashioned way with a cannoli - reserve seating for the left side as you enter, the side to sit on. It's because the atmosphere hasn't changed that makes it so enjoyable - upscale eateries are everywhere and all look alike, but the Canteen is a tradition. The waitstaff knows how to treat diners - portions are large so take your time and enjoy some of the best Italian cuisine there is.
AWESOME – The old canteen is a must for anyone who wants to know what real italian food and service is. Down the the extra care the waiters and waitresses give you and Mr. Marzilli greeting you at the door it is HIGHLY reccomended!
jackie48 – Truly the best restaurant in RI! Their 7 course meal, which incidently is only an extra dollar added to the regular price of the meal, is extraordinary in this day and age! Antipasto for 1, Bowl of Soup, Italian Bread, Entree, Pasta or Vegetable, Coffee, and Ice Cream Roll w/Claret Sauce! Average price....$24.00, plus tax & tip. Since finding my way back to the Old Canteen, I now will not eat anywhere else! Tres Bien!
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