A Day of Local Seafood in Providence: RI Style Chowder

Craig Fear and I decided to take the day off and embark to Providence with an edible “wish list”. We completed all of our wish list items in one day. Because I am tired of reading blog articles that are too long, I decided to break our day into 3-4 shorter blog articles. Here’s the second article about Craig’s experience with RI style chowder. (the first article is all about my wish list item #1 - the dogfish sandwich at Dune Brothers).


After our feast at Dune Brothers, Craig and I needed a break to walk around and rally before moving onto our other wish list items. Time was spent getting a cappuccino and walking around the few Italian shops left on Atwells Avenue. As delicious as all the Italian goods looked, we were saving our appetites for seafood. By the time we felt we could eat again, it was happy hour and Providence Oyster Bar was showcasing $1 oysters and offering Craig’s #1 wish list item - Rhode Island style chowder.

RI Style Chowder

If you are not sure what RI-style chowder is then join the club!
New England-style chowder? Of course!
Manhatten-style? Sure, that’s with tomatoes, right?
But Rhode Island-style? What does that mean?!

Simply speaking, Rhode Island-style chowder is made with a clear broth and does not incorporate any dairy or flour. This type of chowder really interested Craig. While he wrote this epic post about different New England chowder (which includes a recipe for a homemade Rhode Island chowder!), this was his first experience tasting a RI chowder that he didn't make himself.

I was still pretty full from Dune Brothers so I ordered a dozen $1 oysters and Craig excitedly waited for his cup of chowder. Then something fun happened - the kitchen turned his “cup” order into a “bowl”. I love it when that happens : )

OK. To be frank, RI-style chowder does not have the best curb appeal. It’s a bleak and grey looking soup. There’s not much color or contrast. And because it is light broth, all of the “goods” in the soup sink to the bottom. It makes sense why you don’t see this type of soup all over Instagram.

Rhode Island Style Chowder from Providence Oyster Bar. Photo by Craig Fear

Rhode Island Style Chowder from Providence Oyster Bar. Photo by Craig Fear


HOWEVER, it does have an addictive flavor! Craig and I kept grabbing our spoons and going back for more! There was a light peppery flavor within the rich clam-based broth. Unlike Dune Brothers chowder, the potatoes were tiny cubes and it was not as salty as I expected. And it does not make you feel heavy like some cream-based chowders can do. If it was a cold fall/winter day, this is what I would be craving!

We finished most of the bowl and we slurped down true $1 oysters - not the prettiest, deepest, or the biggest, but the brine was there!! After I learned and wrote about the time and effort that goes into cultivating oysters, I was happy to pay $1 for the Canadian oysters. Providence Oyster Bar also offered local oysters at full price.

2 wish list items down - 2 to go. On to the next item just a few blocks away - Fearless Fish Market!