Ella’s Fine Food & Drink, Westerly

Part of the charm of Ella’s, for those who remember, is the juxtaposition between what now resides at 2 Tower Street and some of its former inhabitants. For years, it was Capizzano’s, a beloved but dark and forbidding fiercely local place known for traditional Italian. Then it was Nicola’s Uptown Cafe, a short-lived, pan-global venture. So imagine the surprise, when award-winning chef Jeanie Roland and her husband James in 2012 set up shop across the street from the Westerly High School football field to produce what many consider to be one of the best restaurants between Providence and New York.


Asian influenced, with pronounced French elements, the closest reference would be Yam’Tcha in Paris. In the end, however, the dishes are singularly Jeanie’s. You like duck and duck fat. Jeanie likes duck and duck fat. In winter, the menu may include duck confit, duck risotto, or a Duck a Deux Facons with breast and leg. A sourcing philosophy ensures the menu reflects the season and region. How’s this for an entree: Miso infused salmon with toasted coconut “forbidden black rice.” Yet there are comfort classics too, including steak frites, burgers (with foie gras if you wish,) and fried chicken (of course, fried in duck fat.) Inventive cocktails. Dinner only. Reservations recommended although there is bar seating. The restaurants offers a weekday $25 per person prix fixe menu of two courses and two glasses of house wine for $10. Think of that: $35 for one of the best meals on the seaboard. Ella’s is special. There’s a reason Jeanie beat Bobby Flay in a cookoff and has been nominated seven times for a James Beard award. Oh, and speaking of awards, Taylor Swift has piles of  Grammies. Guess who T-Swizzle asked for private cooking lessons?


By Dan Pearson


2 Tower St, Westerly, RI


Photo Credit: Ella’s Fine Food & Drink

Read more about Westerly in Winter.