Review: Anna D Café

A creative spin on classic comfort food
By JOHNETTE RODRIGUEZ  |  May 19, 2010

A roadside diner on a busy thoroughfare like Route 138 on Aquidneck Island has a captive audience of New York-to-Cape Cod travelers and summer visitors to nearby vineyards (Newport and Greenvale). To hold onto that clientele, it must prove its mettle with solid versions of the classics while also tossing a few creative sandwiches and salads onto the menu.

ANNA D CAFÉ | 401.683.6338 | | 954 East Main Rd, Portsmouth | Mon-Sat, 6:30 Am-8 Pm; Sun, 7 Am-8 Pm | Major Credit Cards | Beer + Wine | Sidewalk-Level Access
Anna Dimattino has been doing just that for the past four years at her Anna D Café. She just opened the adjacent ice cream stand in April, so it’s a full-service stop at her eatery: gourmet coffee (and its espresso incarnations) with house-made pastries; a wide array of paninis, grinders, and wraps; then ice cream (Hershey’s Supreme) or gelato (local Cold Fusion).

Breakfast sandwiches, on toast, bagels, English muffins, croissants, or in a wrap are available all day, and for me they were filling enough to have for two meals. Bill had Anna’s signature “breakfast wrap” with two egg patties, bacon, sausage, and ham, plus cheese, onion, and tomato ($7.50). One egg with cheese and one meat is $3.85, so his wrap was a bargain and a very filling breakfast.

The Mexican breakfast wrap is listed with two egg patties, plus sausage, bacon, pepper jack cheese, caramelized onion, tomato, and sour cream ($7.50). I had a yen for the Mexican spiciness but not the meats, so I requested it without, and it was quite good.

I also indulged in one of the giant homemade muffins, the cranberry orange ($2.05). I have a weakness for muffins, especially moist and light ones (which this was). Its buttery taste was complemented by the orange flavor and there were plenty of cranberries, plus walnuts. The fact that there were no muffin crumbs to carry to the car with my leftover breakfast wrap was ample testimony.

There are many other muffin incarnations, and the carrot raisin is almost like a small carrot cake, which is what brought staffer Liz Carnevale and her sister to work with Anna D. They brought their mother’s carrot cake (crushed pineapple in the batter and cream cheese frosting) to a local party, where they met Dimattino, an émigré from the shores of Manhattan. She was so impressed by the cake that she asked the sisters to work for her . . . and to bring along the carrot cake recipe.

Though that specialty wasn’t available for me to taste on the days when I stopped by Anna D’s, I did ogle the other homemade pastries, including a cinnamon-walnut coffee cake, a lemon pound cake, large chocolate chip or oatmeal cookies, scones, cinnamon rolls, and a pan of brownies (I got one to go, and it was fudgy with chips — terrif!).

After our breakfast sandwiches, we took home an Asian salad with grilled chicken ($8.50) and the “my big fat Greek wrap,” also grilled chicken but with feta, lettuce, tomato, and tzatziki sauce ($7.95). Bill’s salad had shredded cabbage tossed with chopped Romaine, broccoli, carrots, cucumbers, and scallions. It was topped with chow mein noodles and cashews. The dressing — a chili Thai peanut variation — was on the side, and Bill thoroughly enjoyed the salad for his supper.

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