[This article was originally posted on May 5th, before the boats arrived in Newport].
At this moment, the seven high performance sailboats of the Volvo Ocean Race are cutting through the currents in the Atlantic, headed from the Caribbean, up the eastern sea board to their only destination in North America: Newport, Rhode Island. The teams, including U.S.-Turkish Team Alvimedica, have endured extreme temperatures and little sleep on this risky, nine leg voyage that began in Alicante, Spain in October. On top of braving the elements, the sailors played a role in climate science research when they dropped data-collecting robotic buoys into the Southern Ocean during leg five of the journey.
The boats are due to arrive in Newport early in the morning on May 7th, where they will stay for 12 days and participate in a number of exhibition regattas and mini races in Newport Harbor and Rhode Island Sound. Spectators can catch the action from Race Village at historic Fort Adams, where there will be concerts, celebrity appearances, interactive oceanic exhibits, and a number of activities hosted by big brand sponsors. The arrival of the Volvo Ocean Race yachts will undoubtedly be the biggest sailing event in Newport since it last hosted the America’s Cup races in 1983.
Keeping with the race’s around-the-globe theme, we’ve brought together some of our favorite worldly spots to dine and drink in Newport County. Most are a bit off the beaten path – read: Won’t be tourist traps.
Perro Salado (Mexico)
19 Charles St, Newport, RI 02840
The race arrives in Newport on or near Cinco de Mayo – a perfect excuse to head to this bi-level eatery and indulge in one of their blood orange margaritas. Inside, warm lighting and whimsical Mexican décor bring a unique ambiance to the cozy rooms of this refurbished 18th century home.
Le Petit Gourmet (France)
24 – 28 Bellevue Avenue
Newport, RI 02840
A tiny nook of a café serving outstanding coffee, pastries and ever-changing lunch options from locally sourced ingredients. Try their cold brew. If you really love it, you can get a growler to go. Shop the adjoining gourmet grocery – Newport Wine Cellar – for high end cheeses, jams, oils, handmade pastas and other epicurean delights from around the world.
The Red Dory (Western Mediterranean/Northern African)
1848 Main Rd, Tiverton, RI 02878
Opened last year by acclaimed Boston chef Steven Johnson, the Red Dory in Tiverton offers stunning panoramic views of the Sakonnet River and unique Western Mediterranean and Middle Eastern dishes. Try fresh the skate wing, Point Judith squid, or Spanish octopus. Vegetables like salad greens, carrots and beets are sourced from local farms.
Meg’s Aussie Milk Bar (Australia)
111 Bellevue Ave, Newport, RI 02840
Come here to experience an authentic Aussie brekkie. Enjoy a flat white and if you’re brave enough, try to enjoy Vegemite toast. Meat pies are made from local, vegetarian fed meat with no added hormones or antibiotics. Two walls covered in memorabilia from down under are dying to be Instagrammed.
Trattoria Simpatico (Italy)
13 Narragansett Avenue
Jamestown, Rhode Island 02835
Just over the Claiborne Pell Bridge on Jamestown, Simpatico’s large wine selection coupled with a Mediterranean inspired menu make for a fine Italian dining experience. The pergola overlooking Narragansett Avenue is the perfect place to dine and talk on a warm night.
New Sea Shai (Japanese/Korean)
747 Aquidneck Ave
Middletown, RI 02842
This award-winning sushi spot is a local favorite and just a short distance from Newport’s beaches. Fresh, local caught fish set their sushi and sashimi apart from the rest, and you’ll be hard pressed to find another restaurant nearby with so many Korean dishes to choose from. Voted Rhode Island’s Best Sushi Bar and Asian Restaurant as well as Best Asian & Best Sushi for eleven consecutive by Rhode Island Monthly Magazine.
Fastnet Pub (Ireland)
Newport, RI 02840
There are several Irish pubs in Newport, but only at this one can you enjoy live Celtic music during the Traditional Irish Session held every Sunday evening from 6-9pm.
Mission Burger (American/German)
29 Marlborough St
Newport, RI 02840
For a good old American hamburger (without forgetting the hamburger’s German origin), choose one of three options at Newport’s premiere burger joint: the classic burger, cheeseburger or bacon cheeseburger made in-house with locally sourced meats. Each is served with “mission sauce” a homemade sauce made with aioli and ketchup, cornichons, herbs, capers and brandy. If you have room after that, try their homemade sausage.
White Horse Tavern (America)
26 Marlborough St
Newport, RI 02840
If you go to Perro Salado or Mission Burger, you don’t want to miss this piece of American history across the street. The White Horse Tavern – the oldest tavern in America – was built in 1652 and opened in 1673. In its early days, the tavern was frequented by colonists, British soldiers, Hessian mercenaries, pirates, sailors, and founding fathers alike. Stepping inside this former inn is like stepping back in time. Sip on an Old Fashioned in the cozy downstairs bar, and the bartender will tell you about the building’s haunted past.