For most New England Patriot fans, it was tough to see Rob Gronkowski retire in Foxboro but then return to the field for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. This six-foot-six, 265-pound NFL player is an absolute beast with an appetite for success like no other. Speaking of appetite, I'm almost certain this man can shovel down some grub. I should know, I'm about the same size – minus two inches of height and a rack of abs.

However, like Gronkowski, I too have a palate that craves the fine dining that Providence has to offer and I've never felt more closer to the big guy than I do now. Thanks to ESPN reporter Mike Reiss, the word is out on Gronk's favorite go-to places in Rhode Island and it's quite the compliment to the chef and a nod to Federal Hill.

Gronk never specified which restaurant he preferred along Atwells Avenue, he simply mentioned how enjoyable the Italian food was in general. Locals will tell you that it's a gold mine for those who enjoy Italian cuisine and I agree.

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Admittedly, I've only personally experienced a handful of the restaurants that fill Atwells Ave with delicious smells and exquisite homemade cooking. Chances are, if Gronk stopped by at least one of these fine dining spots, then I can relate from one foodie to another. Here are just a few suggestions that crown Federal Hill when it comes to good food:

  • Andinos: the eggplant rollatini is zesty, the  lobster ravioli is fresh, and the gnocchi comes smothered with a housemade pink vodka sauce (Gronk's go-to).
  • Camille's: their bolognese is loaded with meat, and their ricotta gnocchi melts in your mouth.
  • Massimo Ristorante: the veal chop parmigiano is as tender as it is tasty and the homemade meatballs are complimented with Narragansett Creamery ricotta.

Again, these are my choices, but I'm sure Gronk would appreciate these recommendations judged by his confessed love for Providence food.

Olneyville New York System got a shoutout as well with their hot wieners that get smothered in mustard, onion, and special sauce. And just as any local will tell you to do, Gronkowski washes them down with a styrofoam cup of coffee milk.

With almost 800 places to eat in Providence and an appetite like the one Gronk has, I'd be honored if I were praised, too. Kudos to Federal Hill.

The Dishes to Try Most at Over 100 SouthCoast Restaurants

From the freshest seafood you can find to some of the best dang Portuguese dishes outside of Portugal itself, there are so many dishes to enjoy and love here on the SouthCoast, and we put 'em all into one spot. Check out more than 100 of the SouthCoast's favorite restaurants, and let us know if your favorites made the list.