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Help, I'm stranded in Salem!

Hi All,
I've just moved to Salem, MA from Boston and am having a hard time finding some good good places to eat, especially when I'm craving a greasybreakfast/brunch a la Zaftig's or S&S. Does anyone have any suggestions? Thanks for your help!

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  1. Red's was a breakfast institution when I lived there years ago. Real diner food and lots of it. Try the Grapevine for lunch or dinner and you will be amazed at how good the food is. Otherwise, stay away from the wharf as the rest of the establishments there are hit and miss at best. For REAL local flavor, go to the Pigs Eye on Derby. Surprisingly good food and the best drinks in Salem. Enjoy!

    10 Replies
    1. re: Cheffrank

      Reds is still good for breakfast and lunch; so is Brothers. There are not too many old-school breakfast joints but you should try the Salem Diner over by the college. Johnny Pesky may be holding court there if you time it right. The chow is workingman's good and basic diner fare.

      I like Bangkok Paradise for Thai and sushi. The Pad Thai there is really good. The Chinese place behind Samantha the TV Series Witch is also good. Avoid the Edgewater Cafe (Mexican) unless you like bland formulaic gruel. There is a better Mexi place, Cilantro, in Beverly on Cabot St, a short hop from Salem. There is nothing like Zaftigs or S & S; you may want to try Larry's Kosher Meats in W. Peabody on Lowell St. if you crave the Jewish deli basics. Marblehead has Shubie's and Manhattan Sandwich Co, both in the ballpark for a Chow-worthy experience. Also down Lowell St is Su Changs, by far one of the best Chinese restaurants in the area. Welcome to the N. Shore. There is Good Chow if you know where to 'hound it!

      1. re: ipsofatso

        Actually, Cilantro is on Derby Street next to the Dunkin Donuts (across the street from Brothers). I recommend it. Their margaritas are terrific, and their menu is creative. I also recommend Cielito Lindo, which is the one in Beverly on Cabot Street. It's more traditional, but very good. You might want to try Caffe Italia on School Street in Marblehead. The food is quite good, and they open up the bar to street in good weather, a la the North End. Also, a new NY-style deli just opened on Smith Street in Mhead. I haven't been there yet but plan to go soon.

        1. re: ipsofatso

          I'm going to second Brothers. They will whip up anything you want for breakfast(in a greasy spoon sort of way) as long as they have the makings.

          1. re: ipsofatso

            I grew up in a town right next to Salem and we use to get breakfast at Reds almost every weekend. I fondly remember all their delicious, greasy-spoon cuisine, especially the pancakes.

            Brother's was always good but my last trip there was a little disappointing. Not a whole lot of flavor (outside of the grease lol).

            For really good sushi my family always goes to Asahi (now located across from the Peabody Essex Museum). My parents go to some Indian restaurant across the street from Dunkin Donuts almost every week. I can't remember the name but they LOVE it and it has a great bartender.

            In Marblehead there are a number of yummy, not too expensive restaurants. My personal favorite is Flynnies and The Barnacle. For great sandwiches in Marblehead check out Munchie Man's and get the Jose Jr. (SO good! We use to get these and take them to the beach when I was a kid.)

            Also I recall a good, funky little restaurant a little past Grapevine awhile back. I can't remember the name or the type of food but I remember it being good. The place was small with a bar. Painted red everywhere if I remember correctly And I'm pretty sure there were huge paintings of naked women in the women's bathroon (anyone remember)?

            And for great ribs in a dive atmosphere we always use to go to the Lido.

            1. re: Elyssa

              Passage to India is the Indian restaurant. Very good!

              1. re: Elyssa

                Elyssa, the funky little restaurant a little past Grapevine (which is an excellent place) you're trying to think of was probably the T Restaurant, which served more or less French inspired cuisine. It's now closed.

                1. re: bachslunch

                  It was Red Raven's Love Noodle or something like that before it was T. Hence the walls and paintings.

                  1. re: PrincessBakesALot

                    I may be wrong on this, but I think Strega is now where Red Raven used to be. Not a fan of the food or service at Strega, myself. T Restaurant was across the bridge and down the street from Grapevine, more or less around the corner from Harbor Sweets.

                    1. re: PrincessBakesALot

                      Yes Love Noodle. That's what I was thinking of. Guess it's not longer...too bad. That place was pretty good and a fun place to eat.

                2. re: ipsofatso

                  Cilantro isn't located in Salem anymore? The last time I was there it was on the same street as Salem Beer Works and Brother's....but this was at least over a year and a half ago.

              2. coffee time bake shop on bridge st has great bismarks. other sweets too

                1. For pizza, I always liked Engine House Pizza.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Infomaniac

                    If you like good Italian, I can recommend Bella Verona on Essex Street (across from the Hawthorne Hotel). It's a little pricey but not too (if that makes sense) and the food is excellent. It's our special occasion place--just had my birthday dinner there. :) We've never had a bad meal there. It's a tiny place, so you may want reservations to ensure you get a table.

                    Cielito Lindo in Beverly is good for Mexican, and they do a Mexican brunch as well. Jack Tar's in Marblehead is also very good "american" food. The tips are good and the mac and cheese is addictive.

                    Leslie's retreat is a good spot for breakfast when you want a break from Red's :) and they have some different stuff. Dottie and Rays is good too and they have locanico (greek) sausage, if you like that. The Pig does a sunday brunch that's nice.

                    That's all I got for now.

                    1. re: LittleBrownCat

                      Is Cielito Lindo in Beverly new? I don't recall ever seeing a Mexican place on Cabot or having heard it mentioned. Would love to know more!

                  2. I can't speak to greasy/breakfast....but In a Pig's Eye Pub is a good place to hang.
                    148 Derby St. Come to think of it they do have a Sunday Brunch.

                    1. No such thing as being "stranded" in Salem.

                      Leslie's Retreat is great for comfort stuff.

                      Cilantro makes a great margarita.

                      Lots of great late nite stuff pretty close together so you can walk pretty much everywhere.

                      And I love Salem Lowe's at the Willows for Chinese if you can make it quick before they close up for the season.

                      1. Ristorante Gioia on Washington St. across from Passage to India serves good Italian food. Just celebrated my birthday there and everyone enjoyed their meal from chicken parm to shrimp margarita.

                        1. Went up to the Peabody Essex Museum a few times last summer (btw Salem residents get free admission- very nice museum) and once we determined we couldn't face museum food we went over to Pickering Wharf and went for the view. We ended up on the patio of a place that turned out to be Victoria Station and it was really okay for lunch plus the harbor is beautiful. We stuck with basics- Bloody mary, caesar salad, chowder and a burger. I understand this place is no longer part of a chain as the chain no longer exists. Don't know if this means it's really a local spot or not.
                          An acquaintance who lives in Salem says they go there for a buffet on Thanksgiving rather than cook at home. It seems like a decent local spot to bring out of towners
                          Finz is around the corner but the view isn't nearly as good and my DH doesn't eat fish..
                          I can think of worse places to stranded in.

                          1. Grapevine. I think it is closed for lunch, though.

                            1. For great live entertainment and decent pub food checkout Dodge Street Bar & Grill

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: hargau

                                I always use to love their waffle fries. Haven't been there in ages though...use to go as a teenager/kid.

                              2. Try the Old Spot (Tavern) for their lunch menu-- I recall some brunch type items--- they also make a nice Bloody Mary for your lunch-- I like their menu overall.

                                1. Brother deli is just so so anymore, reds is OK, but it's really greasy and they pack you in like sardines.

                                  There's a breakfast & lunch place right by the fountain and rockafellas, simple fair, pretty good. Also there's a convience store right past the Post office in Beverly that's has a breakfast & lunch counter.

                                  +1 for The aformentioned Indian food place, taste of Asia, Cilantro, grapevine, bella verona and cafe gratzianis, su changs. I think I've eaten at all the lunch cafe's in down town at one time or the other and they seem OK.

                                  I occasioanally like to visit the hot dog place by the courthouse. I like the southern slaw dog.

                                  Greasy burgers are best and Major Magleashes, it's kinda a dive though.

                                  Best beef tips at Champions grill in peabody.

                                  Try Ziggy's donuts, corner of web and Essex, everyday except saturdays. Get a jelly and you'll be converted. Dube's seafood people rave about.

                                  Finz, victoria station and captains is just OK, Service can be iffy. I given up on the pig's eye, between bad service a a cook that can't cook.

                                  Witch's Brew is a "regular's" kind of place food is good, service can be iffy.

                                  There's a new place opened up right around the corner on the same block as taste of asia, called Gou Gou's or something like that. Wife likes it, crepes, sandwiches that kind of thing.

                                  She likes Cafe Yaho for coffee and such down on derby wharf.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: dave_chis

                                    If you want an awesome bakery there is A&J King Artisan Bakers on central st. , just down the street from reds.
                                    in beverly on cabot st. Soma is an excellent choice if you want something a little fancier.