It’s not often that I come to East Providence on a Monday afternoon during rush hour. The 61-mile trip usually takes me about one hour when in light traffic, during rush hour it’s more like two hours.
Well, it was a Monday night and I felt like having some great traditional Portuguese food while listening to Portuguese music, and couldn’t think of a better place than O Dinis Restaurant in RI.
I knew that David DeMelo, a well-known Portuguese popular music performer, would be singing at O Dinis. If that wasn’t enough of an incentive, I also found out that DeMelo had recently started singing fado.
The walls inside O Dinis are covered with photos of Portuguese performers who have visited or performed in this iconic restaurant over the years. Another wall has a collection of old radios from a bygone era. All of this decor is complemented by the unmistakable aroma of traditional Portuguese dishes and spices in the air as waitresses busily go from table to table serving food.
I ordered grilled “espadarte” (swordfish) one of the many specials on the board. It came with boiled potatoes and a salad. I also had a Super Bock beer to wash it down. The meal was delicious!
Tonight, David DeMelo was the evening’s performer. He recently started to sing Fado, and I was really looking forward to hearing him live.
O Dinis Restaurant is well known in the US Fado lovers community as the place to visit for an intimate Fado evening. It feels very much like a typical fado house in Lisbon.
Years ago Dinis Paiva, a widely known Fado singer and also the owner of the restaurant, started the tradition of having a Fado night at his restaurant every Monday night. His daughter, Natalia Paiva-Neves is now running the restaurant and keeping the tradition alive.
When DeMelo arrived I had an opportunity to sit with him, for a short period, and speak with him about his newly found love, Fado.
When asked what prompted him to start singing Fado. He answered: “I started singing Fado during one of my recent trips to Terceira” and he went on to say: “While I was there, several friends asked me to sing fado, and I complied”. He went on to tell me one of his favorite fadistas is Alfredo Marceneiro.
Today’s evening may be over, and I know that my trip home will be approximately one hour. But one thing is for sure, I had a great time and I WILL be back again because O Dinis makes me feel like I’m in a Fado house in Lisbon.
O Dinis Restaurant
579 Warren Ave, East Providence, RI 02914
Tel (401) 438-3769