Several RI restaurants to be featured on Travel Channel

(WJAR)

There's a reason why Travel Channel food explorer Andrew Zimmern came back to Rhode Island a few weeks ago: to have great food at establishments that made his list.

One of them is O Dinis in East Providence.

"The Portuguese culture has simple ways of cooking," said manager Natalia Paiva-Neves. "Obviously, we're heavily based on the onion, the garlic, the olive oil, the wine, the paprika, the crushed red pepper. That's some of the base of our food. But we have a lot of other spices that we use outside of that norm."

It's the simplicity and freshness of the food that's the draw at the authentic, old world, generations-long family-owned Portuguese restaurant, which serves recipes gleaned from the historic colonizations of other lands.

"I think the Portuguese cuisine is definitely a melting pot of lots of other things we've been out there doing," said Paiva-Neves.

O Dinis was featured on the Travel Channel once already about three years ago.

"That was a huge success for us. We are absolutely grateful to him for having even put us on the face of the map," saidPaiva-Neves.

Prior to that, business was good, "but then it exploded," she said.

Now, there are travelers that specifically make plans from all over the country just to come to the restaurant, now rubbing elbows with the locals.

Other establishments that make "The Zimmern List" -- which airs at 10 a.m. Saturday -- include Al Forno; the relatively new Bayberry Beer Hall on West Fountain Street in Providence; Birch, which is located across from Trinity Rep; and North, on Fountain Street, which one customer called, "Excellent. Lots of little plates and hard to get a table."

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