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Restaurant Review
Faial: Fine food with a Portuguese flair
Don Fowler

Providence Restaurant Weeks always gave us an opportunity to try a new restaurant. This year, our top pick was in Smithfield.

We had heard about Faial, a cozy restaurant in a shopping mall on Route 7, where seafood, poultry and meats are served with a loving Portuguese flair.

We went for lunch, where smaller portions are available at more than a third off the dinner prices. If we were served the smaller portions, where just about everyone was taking home a “doggie bag,” we know we couldn’t finish the food at dinner time.

Joyce enjoyed red clam chowder, while I loved the Portuguese soup, which was loaded with chourice, kale, beans and potatoes ($4.99 cup/$5.99 bowl).

Faial has a large selection of seafood dinners served scampi, zuppa, baked and fried.

Joyce chose the spicy Red Clam Zuppa (also available in white sauce), served over linguine, with clams in the shell, shrimp, scallops and littlenecks ($12.99 lunch/$20.99 dinner).

I had the same ingredients in my dish, Seafood Scampi, but mine was served in the butter, garlic spiced scampi sauce for the same price. My only complaint was the chewiness of the clams, which Joyce eagerly took off my hands. An added treat was loads of tiny shrimp mixed in with the linguine.

We both loved our dinners and worked hard to finish, and finish we did, with still room for a fantastic Portuguese flan pudding dessert.

We noticed people enjoying smelts, an item not often found on seafood menus.

The menu has a large list of sandwiches, served with French, Portuguese and sweet potato fries, ranging from $10.99 for steak to $6.99 grilled cheese and bacon.

There are nine specialty Portuguese dishes on the menu, plus a number of beef, chicken and fish dishes with no luncheon prices, ranging from $18.99 for baby back ribs to $26.99 for Portuguese filet mignon. For our money, the 30 luncheon specials are the best bargains.

Faial has the atmosphere of a friendly neighborhood restaurant. At a Tuesday luncheon, the place was nearly full, mostly with senior citizens who took enough of their meals home for Wednesday.

Service was a bit slow, but we didn’t mind sitting in the pleasant air-conditioned room with temperatures outside over 90.

Faial is a short ride up Route 295 to 970 Douglas Pike at Routes 7 and 116. For reservations call 231-1100 or check them out online at www.faialrestaurant.com.


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