It should come as no surprise that the “Ocean State” is filled with an abundance of seafood. Yet, that’s not all the famous food and drinks you’ll find in Rhode Island! In this part of the United States, taste everything from Clam Cakes to Pizza Strips as you dive into the local cuisine. So exactly what food is Rhode Island known for? Let us take you through all the seafood classics, plus some New England dishes that Rhode Island has its own awesome take on.
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Best Food in Rhode Island
1. Clam Cakes
Crunchy on the outside, but light and airy in the center. Clam Cakes are truly a Rhode Island summer classic! For your first time eating a clam cake think of it more as a soft-fried bread ball with a hint of clam flavor.
2. Clam Strips
While clam strips might share the Rhode Island seafood component with clam cakes, they couldn’t be more different. Long strips of salty and chewy clam are battered, deep-fried, and crisped to perfection. You can order them as a meal with fries, coleslaw, and tartar sauce shown below, or even on a bun!
3. Pizza Strips
The name might immediately make you think you’re about a massive pizza party, and that can totally be arranged! Large squares of thick focaccia-style bread are baked with a red sauce. Yes, no cheese on this pizza, but we found that the mouthwatering sauce more than made up for that.
4. Del’s Lemonade
There’s nothing more refreshing on a hot summer day than an ice-cold lemonade, and Del’s is king! Del’s lemonade first opened in 1948 and has since expanded across New England.
Here you can buy it from beach trucks, convenience stores, and supermarkets. Del’s is a great refreshment to go with the best food in Rhode Island. They even made this summer splash into a beer!
5. Rhode Island Calamari
Do you love fresh calamari? If so, you can’t leave without trying this Rhode Island seafood! This is a great example of a New England classic that the state has put its own twist on.
Topped with garlic butter and hot cherry peppers, RI calamari hits all the foodie boxes and taste buds. Indulgent, savory, and crunchy, with a hint of spice. Yum!
6. Stuffed Quahogs
This might be the most unique of all the famous food in Rhode Island. Also known as “stuffies,” these massive Quahog shells are quite the catch! Typically they’re topped with a breaded mixture of Quahogs and spices. Depending on where you get this Rhode Island staple the flavors and fillings may vary.
Some Quahogs just have chili flakes and paprika while others add in a spicy sausage. You can find them at most Rhode Island seafood shacks as well as at the local markets.
7. Hot Wieners
You can’t talk about the Rhode Island food scene without mentioning these fun-sized hot dogs! Hot wieners have taken on a life of their own in the state, as places like Olneyville in Providence have perfected the style.
Although slightly smaller than a normal hot dog, hot wieners are soft, chewy, and explode with flavor. Also, you should know there’s only one way to order a hot weiner… And that’s “All the Way!” This guarantees the soft steamed bun comes loaded with chili, onions, and celery salt.
8. Rhode Island Clam Chowder
When you think of this specialty in New England, most likely a thick and creamy chowder comes to mind. Yet, this is one famous food in Rhode Island that’s done a little differently. That’s because Rhode Island clam chowder is actually a clear broth.
That’s right! It’s not the thick and creamy broth seen in places like Cape Cod. Still, don’t knock it until you try it! It’s super tasty and not as filling as the traditional New England style. The classic New England clam chowder can still easily be found at most Rhode Island seafood restaurants.
This one took us right back to the local fair growing up! Round donut-sized pieces of pizza dough are deep-fried and dusted with a sugary coating.
The most popular place to try this Rhode Island food treat is Iggy’s Doughboys and Chowder House in Warwick. The property holds the title of the oldest beach stand in Rhode Island, first opening under the name Gus’s in 1924.
10. Coffee Milk
Now that you’ve heard what food Rhode Island is known for, how about another local drink? Just as the name suggests, this Rhode Island refreshment is thick and creamy milk flavored with a splash of coffee. You can order it out at breakfast, or stop into a local store and pick up a pint to go.
Made from cornmeal, the Johnnycake is popular breakfast food in Rhode Island. The unique style of pancakes is served up across the Ocean State at both local diners and everyday homes. Depending on what part of Rhode Island you’re in, there is a debate on if they should be served thick or thin. How do you like your Johnnycakes?
More Famous Food in Rhode Island
While the list above is specific to the state of Rhode Island there are plenty of other general New England treats that can be found throughout the state. You can find everything from lobster rolls and mussels to apple cider donuts, and more. One thing is for certain… You won’t go hungry while exploring this part of New England!
→18 Fun Things to Do in Newport Rhode Island
Did we miss any of the best food in Rhode Island? Let us know in the comments below!
Brigitte & Jake
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OMG, I was born in RI and have eaten and enjoyed every food on the list except the calamari which I had an unreasonable phobia about. The local bakeries were fantastic. Strips and doughboys every other Sunday after mass. Aunt Carries clam cakes, Georges chowder, and the Olneyville New York System wieners. I moved to AZ in the mid 70s to be with an enclave of Rhode Islanders and whenever one of us went back to visit they had to bring back wieners and Eclipse coffee syrup. Cece’s bakery in Silver Lake had the most fantastic Sicilian bread and snail salad. The last thing you forgot to mention is Saugys hotdogs, the best!
Wow! Thanks for sharing and the amazing recommendations. We will have to try Saugy’s on our next visit (-:
Love ALL of these Rhody favorites ! They are all wonderful , we enjoy them all year , but especially
in our Summers YUMMY !! ♥️♥️♥️