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Lunch in Salem, MA

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Will be visiting Boston area with family who want to spend Sat 10-28 in Salem. Any good Chowish recs for lunch? Two teenagers and 2 adults. Kids seem to think there is special Halloween themed stuff to do in Salem that day. How much time to allow for sightseeing? Any other things to do nearby? Planning on dinner in North End Sat night, Antico Forno still good? Other recs? Where to park rental car in North End? TIA!

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  1. Salem will be a nightmare that day. Literally, figuratively and fantasy-wise. If you MUST eat in Salem that day, pack a lunch. There will be thousands of people roaming the streets and the restaurants will mostly have limited menus because they have to in order to keep up. Use public transportation. The train station is close to the Lyceum, a great spot for lunch. Sounds like your kids will want to be "where the action is" and if you go along with it, you'll be in lines, and surrounded by who knows what on the Common, and around Derby, Congress and Essesx Strreets. Let me re-iterate that you really want to use the train and walk, don't even think of driving to Salem the weekend before Halloween.

    1. I like Finz for the Buffalo Calamari and it's right on the water. Victoria Station is also a good lunch choice. Salem will be busy for the entire month of October because of Haunted Happenings. If you don't want to take the train in, there is also a ferry that leaves from Long Wharf. Check out Hauntedhappenings.org for more info.

      1. I think "In A Pig's Eye" would be a casual, fun place to try, but it'll be busy. http://www.inapigseye.com/

        1. Folks, please keep the discussion here about chow. Dicussion of transportation, parking and sightseeing is off topic for this site. Thanks.

          1. We've been to the Witch's Brew on Derby a few times and it's been great each time. If you get there at 11:30 you'll be seated.

            I love Salem but I won't go near it in the month of October.

            1. I'd try The Old Spot at 121 essex, near the common and accross from the hawthorne hotel. Where Mcswiggins used to be. Been there a couple times the past few weeks and have been impressed with the food. Much better then most of the offerings in Salem and fairly affordable too. Great beer list!

              1. Tried The Old Spot yesterday and loved it. I had the Ploughman's Lunch which you don't find on too many menus these days. There was a selection of 3 cheeses (generous portions)along with pate; hard boiled egg; chutney; sliced green apple and enough bread to make a delicious meal. The staff was extremely welcoming and efficient. Stopped at the Witches Brew for a glass of wine since I had a few minutes before catching the ferry back to Boston. The atmosphere is cozy; comfortable chairs at the bar; and the food came out of the kitchen steaming; but the bar staff couldn't even crack a smile. Next trip I'll try In a Pig's Eye.

                1. Can you give me an idea what the menu is like at the Old Spot? I live in Salem, but haven't been downtown in about a month....looking for someplace new and I'm curious about the type of food. Is it a pub style menu? Thanks.

                  1. Definitely a pub style menu. Not too many items to choose from, but I was there at lunch and the dinner menu looked a little more varied. At lunch they had a french onion soup that looked interesting with a slice of rye toast and swiss cheese carefully balanced on top. I saw a number of people who were ordering this. My friend had a burger which came medium as ordered with french fries; and another had the curried chicken salad on marble rye that looked delicious. They also had a grilled chicken sandwich; chili and the sausage of the day which was served with cabbage. As I said, my Ploughman's Lunch was great and it was really a comfortable place to relax.