Everyone has their favorite restaurants that have the dishes they crave month in and month out. We all have these go to spots that offer up good times and fond memories. You may even have a reoccurring date night specific restaurant list. While it is never a bad thing to be intentional about date nights, there is always some room for a little change. Sometimes we all want to feel a little fancy and treat ourselves to something nice. Mill’s Tavern in downtown Providence offers an inviting atmosphere with a seasonal menu that always impresses.
One of the obvious things that makes this restaurant great for a special occasion is the atmosphere. Don’t let the word tavern deter you. It’s far from that. Huge windows that let in the evening light, beautiful stone and wood walls, and soft romantic lights really set the tone for the night. Not to mention valet and overwhelmingly great service make the night feel seamless, special and relaxed.
We began our evening with wine and appetizers. Additionally, the cocktail list offers many different options often times seasonally inspired. Now for us, we generally order calamari at many places around Providence and Rhode Island simply because banana peppers and fried squid taste great together AND no one does better calamari than Rhode Island restaurants. Mill’s Tavern offers their own spin on this dish and it is something delicious with its lightly fried batter, acidic artichoke hearts and balsamic drizzle all balanced with a creamy red pepper aioli. We also ordered the cheese plate. It is presented on a black slate plate with 4 different cheeses and other sweet, flavorful accents and crackers to emphasize the varying textures and tastes of the cheese. Seriously order this if your love cheese. Your taste buds will thank you.
The main entrees are always changing by season but offer up locally sourced and fresh ingredients. My wife had the duck which was cooked to a perfect medium rare and served with a side of fresh spring vegetables. The skin of the duck was salty and crunchy which nicely complemented the sweet meat and plum sauce.
I, on the other hand, have been on a chicken kick as of late and tried Mill’s variation. The chicken was perfectly cooked with no hint of dryness. Paired with the chicken was a cold cous cous salad mixed with confit chicken thigh, sundried tomatoes, and rosemary demi-glace. The savory chicken blended well with the slightly sweet and refreshing salad.
Other dishes we’ve tried there include Alaska king salmon (pictured at the top of the post) that was cooked to juicy perfection and served in a savory tomato dashi, and the braised Black Angus short rib served on a polenta cake. The meat was so tender and offered a fancy take on an American comfort food classic.
We ended the night with decadent desserts. My wife had the lemon meringue and what came to the table was not what we expected. You’d expect a pie with meringue on the top. What came out of the kitchen was a work of art with crumbled poppy seed shortbread and a dollop of blueberry sorbet.
For myself, I happened to be in a sweet and chocolaty mood so I went with their Affogato. I’ve had this before in other places and I expected the usual combination of espresso and ice cream. Mill’s version was way beyond my expectations featuring ice cream, caramel, fudge sauce and a hot churro. Ice cream with a little crunch is always a great pairing.
With all of that said, we highly recommend Mill’s Tavern for any special date night or celebration. This has become one of our favorite places to celebrate birthdays or when we need to have a nice night out. Between the superb service, the romantic atmosphere and the delicious locally sourced menu, you’ll walk out of Mills as happy as us.
Have you been to Mill’s Tavern before? Let us know what you think.