Just when it's time for lunch or dinner and you think you'll get a brief respite from the rigors of having to decide what to do next, you'll find that the local restaurant selection once again leaves you with decisions, decisions, decisions.
If you eat chowder in only one place, make it The Black Pearl (Bannister's Wharf, 401-846-5264, www.blackpearlnewport.com). This crowded, noisy, casual tavern is an especially good choice for lunch. For a traditional New England lobster dinner, the Atlantic Beach Club (55 Purgatory Road, Middletown, 401-847-2740, www.atlanticbeachclub.com) is always a solid choice, or take the kids to Aquidneck Lobster Company (31 Bowen's Wharf, 401-846-0106), Newport's closest thing to a lobster zoo, and select some tasty crustaceans to take home for a souvenir dinner. Scales & Shells Restaurant and Raw Bar, (527 Thames Street, 401-846-3474, www.scalesandshells.com) is another favorite with seafood lovers. If you're spending time at Easton's Beach, be sure to sample the fried clams at the ultracasual Flo's Clam Shack (4 Wave Avenue, Middletown, 401-847-8141).
Pizza, chicken nuggets, and burgers may be the mainstay of most kids' vacation diets, but in Newport, you really should challenge them to try something new. There's spicy food on the menu at the Newport Blues Café (286 Thames Street, 401-841-5510, www.newportblues.com), where kids eat free before 7 p.m. with the purchase of an adult entrée. Unfortunately, live music doesn't start most nights until after young ones' bedtime.
The Red Parrot (348 Thames Street, 401-847-3800, www.redparrotrestaurant.com), housed in a former meat-packing house built in 1898, serves dishes with Caribbean flair, and your kids might just try the shark bites on a dare.
Meals on the Move
For a completely out-of-the-ordinary dining experience, book passage aboard the Newport Dinner Train (19 America's Cup Avenue, 401-841-8700, www.newportdinnertrain.com). You'll enjoy a lovely meal served in a luxury dining car while you ride the rails for twenty-two miles along the scenic shore of Narragansett Bay.
Luncheon and dinner outings aboard the Newport Cruise Company's Majestic (2 Bowen's Ferry Landing, 401-849-3575, www.newportcruiseco.com), a yacht that plies the waters of Newport Harbor and Narragansett Bay from May through October, are fine way to combine eating and sightseeing.
JUST FOR PARENTS
The White Horse Tavern (26 Marlborough Street, 401-849-3600, www.whitehorsetavern.com) is America's oldest continuously operating tavern — it's been hosting guests since 1687. But don't let the tavern moniker and the restaurant's rustic New England appearance fool you. This is one of Newport's most sophisticated dining enclaves featuring cuisine that highlights fresh local ingredients. Reservations are a must.
Boston and Cambridge, Massachusetts