I will start the discussion as to where are all the good honest cooking places in Newport and why places like The Bay Area, New York and even L.A have great owner operated/chef operated restaurants and we do not.
I think he makes great points about Mastro's and the like. I think a big reason is just how young of an area we are compared to city like San Francisco and New York. I think the immigrants that setttled in those areas are the main reason there are great restaurants.
I don't think that are affluence is what brings the corporate type restuarants to the area instead of a true chef's restaurant.
I wish it weren't so.
That being said, I do think there are some chef's restaurants that offer good casual honest French and Italian cooking.
I love Il Farro. A small family run Italian place.
I also really like Francoli. Also a small family run Italian restaurant.
While not in Newport but very close, Onotria is terrific. My wife and I went there on Saturday and had an amazing meal. I had Veal Osso Buco and she had Wild Boar Sweet Potatoe Gnocchi with a terrific bottle of Brunello di Montalcino. This meal would rate right along with my experiance at Angelini Osteria in L.A
Small good French Bistro restaurants are harder to come by in Newport. Here are a couple
Bistro de Crillon- A husband and wife own this place. He works the floor and she cooks. They have a pretty solid menu plus many things off the menu if you ask. The last time there she made up eggs and truffles and I had Gazelle!
Pescadou is another family owned French gem in Newport. Hardly like Balthazar in NY, but good fairly priced French. And yes both places have cassoulet.
I am sure there are places I am missing. I would love to hear of other suggestions. I am getting hungry!