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Jan 31, 2006 01:15 PM

Mexican in Salem

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I saw a couple of Mexican restos in Salem, one was Cilantro and the other I cannot recall the name. Are any of them any good?

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  1. The other is Edgewater Cafe, which used to be in Magnolia. They are pretty good, but both are expensive for Salem and very expensive for Mexican.

    They are, however, a big step up from the usual Tex-Mex places in the suburbs, such as Border Cafe.

    1. When Edgewater was in Manchester (Raymond Street), it was a funky, BYOB, wait-for-an-hour-outside-in-your-shorts-with-a-beer kind of place. Great homemade Mexican, and the kitchen was right behind you to prove it. Tore that building down and made condos.

      Edgewater in Salem, although the same owners, shares only the name. The 'Mexican dirt bar' atmosphere is forced, the food is mediocre, and you can no longer bring your own 'ritas'

      Cilantro. High end (they put tablecloths on the table), yet in a blind tasting, I would be hard pressed to tell the difference between it and Edgewater.

      Now, that said, you have to consider the source... I actually LIKE Border Cafe in Harvard Square!

      3 Replies
      1. re: 1K Diner

        ah, the old edgewater cafe.... i think it was magnolia through?? i could be wrong, it was a long time ago. what a great place that was.

        1. re: roxgirl

          Nope... Manchester.

          1. re: 1K Diner

            Roxgirl has it right, it was in Magnolia. Magnolia encompases both Manchester and Gloucester and starts at the little turn after the Coolidge reservation. The kids who rented above the Edgewater went to Gloucester Public Schools, but the restaurant could have been under Manchester juristdiction due to some weird boundary laws. I lived one street away and used to babysit for the original owners, who used to give free chips and salsa to neighborhood kids. The place went downhill when the Peloquins were ousted by their business partner. He cut corners with freshness and quality. When he took over was about when the lines stopped snaking down the street.
            Interesting tidbit, all of the recipes were Mark Peloquin (though they may have changed by now). He was a real free spirit and toured the country on his motorcycle in his late teens and early 20s, picking up recipes from Southwestern and Mexican friends he made on the way.
            Damn, I miss his cooking...

      2. I've been to both once at that was 1x too many. At least the Border Cafe makes no pretense - it is what it is. Both Salem mejicano joints are brutally bad but they pack 'em in.

        Go home, open a can of refried beans, green chilies and a package of tortillas, jack cheese. Got a broiler? Spread the refritos, add chilies and shredded jack cheese, maybe add a chopped jalepeno on top of the totrilla. Put it under the broiler for about 90 seconds and you got the Edgewater. Add some fresh chopped cilantro and you got Cilantro's. The fact they survive is proof that no one up here knows mexican from shinola. 'cept me of course. Well, and you. When your latino friends have you over for Mexican Night...that's the way to go.

        8 Replies
        1. re: Ipsofatso

          Well... I've been to to both Cilantro and the Edgewater.

          I went to Cilantro quite a while ago and thought the margaritas were excellent .. perhaps the best outside my own.(straight up... no sour mix.. and fresh lime juice). The food was OK, but way overpriced... I haven't returned.

          I've been a fan of the Edgewater forever... back when it was in Magnolia, and now that it is in Salem. Is it perfect gourmet food from Mexico?? Of course not. But I do think SEM is being overly harsh and saying that their food is straight out of a can.

          Their salsa is made fresh, but is a bit too mild. Their Queso is probably fake (think Velveeta) but I cannot resist it.

          For entree's.... My family adores the chicken Chimichangas.... very mild white meat chicken, wrapped in a flour tortilla and deep fried. Served with a nice Bechemal sauce.

          I get one of two things.... the Pork Tingas or the Colorado Chili. Both are quite spicy and very well done (not well done in the sense of being overdone!).

          The sides are not great... I like the rice OK (mild) but I've been told the beans are pretty poor... but that's OK with me, because I think beans, in any form, are perhaps the most vile substance on earth!!!

          Don't bother with the margaritas at the Edgewater (I do miss the days of BYOM(argaritas) in Magnolia.

          I'm not sure why SEM feels the Border Cafe outdoes those dreaded Salem restaurants (I actually love to take my kids to the Border Cafe too) but the food is much better at The Edgewater.

          To each his own, I guess...


          Give it a try


          1. re: gusman

            The old Edgewater was in Manchester, not Magnolia, which is Gloucester. Although the Gloucester town line was only several yards away, it was the town of Manchester that had the problem with the health code violations.

            1. re: 1K Diner

              Regardless of where the first one was, apparently they have another location in Magnolia, on Lexington Ave---that's the street that runs perpendicular to the water in downtown Magnolia and used to be full of shops and restaurants like 50 years ago.


              1. re: DoubleMan

                Wow! that must be really new (less than a month)... they just opened a Dunkin Donuts on the tip of Lexington Ave where Birds of a Feather used to be (next to the Magnolia Post Office. We're going to try this one out and report back.

                1. re: DoubleMan

                  Just drove down Lexington Avenue and couldn't find the Edgewater. Went to the Post Office, where they said Edgewater took over the 'restaurant' side of JD's Pub. There is no sign outside. And the two people at the Post Office were very quick to add that it was not worth going to... the food was worse than Salem. And that was without prompting or discussion!

                  1. re: 1K Diner


                    One less reason to go to that area now.

                    1. re: DoubleMan

                      Up the road is Jalapena's on Main Street. It is the same (which is a good thing) quality as the original Edgewater, with similar atmosphere, and reasonably priced. It IS worth the trip 'up there'. (Its a few doors down from the Franklin)

                      1. re: 1K Diner

                        I've enjoyed Jalepenos the couple-a-times I've been there.

          2. I cannot recommend Edgewater. I was so excited to see that the owners of the very good Magnolia location opened their 2nd restaurant in Salem but aside from their sanrgria,which is good, the restaurant has nothing to offer. Restaurant has no personality - I felt like I was eating in a cafetaria. And it's expensive for what you get. Skip it...