In just 1,500 square miles of land, Rhode Island has packed tons of iconic food and refreshing drinks. It’s got the crispiest calamari and the creamiest coffee milk, and features a surprising number of impressive restaurants for harboring so little space. We’ve rounded up the best of the state’s eats as part of our second annual guide to the best food and drink in every state.
Like much of New England, Rhode Island is famous for its seafood. It’s called the Ocean State for a reason — featuring 400 miles of coastline, Rhode Island attracts fishermen and seafood chefs from far and wide. Its vibrant foodie scene has transformed Little Rhody into a big personality. Nicknames for food such as Awful Awfuls, Del's lemonade, stuffies, cabinets, johnnycakes, doughboys, and clam cakes are all part of the local vernacular. Never heard of them? You must not be from New England.
The many food traditions of Rhode Island have baffled many with their ability to thrive there and stay there — despite the limited room for expansion. Few foods invented and perfected in Rhode Island have stretched past the state’s borders, instead concentrating into a vibrant food culture that’s filled with pride.
Rhode Island certainly has a lot to be proud of. Their many methods of cooking clams, hot wieners (a food they refuse to call by to the more popular term “hot dog”), and unexpected delicacies like stuffed quahogs are all alarmingly underrated parts of the American food scene.
Over the course of the past year we’ve honored everything from its best hot dogs and brunch spot to its best bar and craft beer in our comprehensive and wide-ranging lists and rankings, compiled through extensive research and with input from a wide network of site contributors, bloggers, journalists, and chefs. We’ve compiled these into individual slideshows celebrating the best food and drink in every state, and you can find our Rhode Island gallery here.