Newport’s White Horse Tavern - Special Day or Any Day

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The food is as contemporary and current as the restaurant is old. For 350 years the White Horse Tavern has been serving local patrons. Originally opened in 1673 as a restaurant, the tavern was constructed in 1652 as a private home. 

No building is believed to be more typical of colonial Newport than the White Horse Tavern, with its clapboard walls, gambrel roof and plain pediment doors bordering the sidewalk. Inside, its giant beams, small stairway against the chimney, tiny front hall and cavernous fireplaces are the very essence of 17thcentury American architecture.

The White Horse Tavern is the “oldest operating restaurant in the U.S.” and is acknowledged as the 10tholdest in the world. It is a National Historic and The White Horse Tavern is the “oldest operating restaurant in the U.S.”, and acknowledged as the 10tholdest in the world.

Coming over the Newport Bridge for Mother’s Day, we thought that this was just the coziest spot to enjoy our late lunch on this rainy, chilly Sunday afternoon. Convenient “backyard parking” and street parking are a treat in this city with so little accessible - and free - parking. Greeted at the door with that distinct scent of a fireplace, we were escorted upstairs to our table. One had to notice that there were only small electric candle-type lights and no overhead lighting. We wondered if this dining room is used in the evening (and if it is, well, it could be one of the most romantic spots - ever - to go!).


There was a small bar upstairs - matching the larger one downstairs. Stairways were small with the safety of handrails, while the wide floor boards were sturdy and safe to walk on.


For Mother’s Day we shared the Rhode Island Mushroom Sauté, with Black Garlic Puree, Grilled Baguette, Grey Barn Blue Cheese, Madeira, Herbs and Cultured Butter. The combination of flavors was perfect and a great starter to our rainy, chilly visit. Another appetizer delight was the soup de jour, which was a lobster bisque, a modest portion of bisque with generous amounts of lobster, served in extra-large serving platters with the tiny mid-portion for the actual soup.


Entrees were Pan Roasted Gianonne Farms Chicken ​Brussels, Shallot and Bacon Hash, Butternut Puree and Chicken Jus - Crispy Duck Breast, Sweet Potato Puree, Kale, Caramelized Parsnip and Port Glaze - and a special Grilled Swordfish surrounded by Caramelized Roasted Root Vegetables. Dessert was a Butterscotch Bread Pudding (with 3 spoons). Service was perfect speed, allowing us to linger and enjoy.


Nothing like Newport in the rain - and to hear my dining companions (my daughters) say - this might just be the best meal we’ve ever had - made this Mother’s Day very special. The White Horse Tavern is a not to miss nod to the history of this wonderful city (for the tourists, you can even pick up some items from the tiny gift shop window).