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Coming to Salem, MA this weekend

Looking for a real nice place within reasonable driving distance if not closer. Italian (not a red sauce joint), something ecelectic, or maybe a little of both. We love coming here and hope someday to be officially transplanted. To give you some idea of where we have been and our tastes:

Lyceum, Salem: Generally good, but erratic
Wild Horse Cafe, Beverly: Had potential, great beer, may go back
Bella Verona, Salem: Mediocre at best
Old Spot, Salem: Love it for snack and beer/wine, but not dinner
LoGrassos, Rockport: OK food, nice people, BYOB a +
Cygnet, Beverly: Very nice, been a few times
Finz, Salem: We like, esp. when seated outdoors
Strega, Salem: Been there once and enjoyed, but unusual atmosphere
In A Pig's Eye, Salem: Poor food on a Mexican night, wanted to like but alas....
Tavern On The Green(Hawthorne), Salem: Pretty bad, had to order the children's pizza

To name as many as I can remember at the moment. I hope this helps. Any and all recommendations would be appreciated.

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  1. have you tried The Grapevine in Salem? http://www.grapevinesalem.com/ i've always had good experiences there

    3 Replies
    1. re: cambridgeMike

      I second The Grapevine. My wife and I have eaten there a few times and, from the food to the service, it has always been fantastic.

      1. re: cambridgeMike

        We had a very disappointing dinner at The Grapevine. I would NOT go back there again and would discourage anybody else from going there. I'm usually pretty mellow and forgiving, but at these prices I was ticked off. The place was VERY noisy, not just the bar but even a side room with a door. Through the whole dinner I was regaled by an egotistic braggart 20 feet away and could hear every word. The service was disorganized, very slow, and inexperienced. The young man waiting our table was running very hard all night, but mostly he was carrying 1 or 2 dishes at a time. We worked through 2 baskets of bread before getting any food. After placing my order, the waiter came back from the kitchen telling me they were all out of my choice of salmon-asparagus ravioli (at 8:30 pm on a Friday night, not late) and urged me to take the squash ravioli without offering me a menu. I foolishly let him push me into this, responding to his sense of haste. After eating more bread, I had misgivings and managed to flag him down (after several tries) and asked for something with protein such as pasta bolognese (to avoid having a meal that was solid carbs). He dashed back to the kitchen and said the chef was already cooking my ravioli. Would I accept some cut-up chicken wings meat on top. I agreed. The whole thing did not hang together and it was really bad - starchy and flavorless. My husband had 2 glasses of wine, but both glasses were less than half way full, a real rip-off. My husband's onion soup and chocolate mousse were just OK. The only good thing was his lamp shanks ossobucca that was well done. Oh and the first bread was pretty good. Another big negative: My meal included absolutely no vegetables (unless you count the blobs of squash in the ravioli). My husbands ossobucca had 1 small piece of broccoli and a spoonful of spinach. Yuck. What a waste of $100. Avoid this place!

        1. re: londonderrylaura

          Your experience seems to be an exception to the norm and maybe you just caught it on a bad night. I have eaten there many times and it has always been fantastic. A friend of mine lives nearby and he is a "regular" there and has also never been disappointed,

      2. Have you tried Pellana in Peabody? Italian its not, more of a high end steakhouse in the burbs. They also have some very good seafood offerings with different specials each evening. Actually, their filet is melt in your mouth delicious and their baked stuffed shrimp is excellent, no bread crumb type stuffing, they use lump crab. Their sides are large and meant to be shared. Its quickly become one of our favorite restaurants.

        1. Try Pellinos on Washington Street in Marblehead.

          Also, Grapevine is a must for Salem dining.

          2 Replies
          1. re: kate used to be 50

            Thanks for all the recommendations. We actually have been to the Grapevine and it was indeed good (except for the bread pudding LOL). Any more suggestions for Italian would be appreciated. Checked out Pellino's menu and it sounds good albeit a bit pricey

            1. re: thaichile

              A co-worker of mine from Marblehead recommends Pellino's as well as Caffe Italia:

              http://www.caffeitaliarestaurant.com/...

              I guess they own a restaurant in East Boston as well.

              Hope this helps!
              Tom

          2. For Thai I really like Sticky Rice in Marblehead, excellent Drunken Noodles

            1. Try:
              Ristorante Gioia
              140 Washington Street, Salem, MA, 01970
              (978) 744-7333

              It specializes in northern Italian cuisine, and is pretty much in the heart of the downtown. You can walk there from most of the torist attractions and the communter rail.

              1. I LOVE beverly! They have an amazing restaurant scene and it is so close to Salem. A few of my favs:

                Tryst: http://trystbeverly.com/
                Organic Garden Cafe: http://www.organicgardencafe.com/
                Mandrake: http://www.mandrakebeverly.com/music....

                I have not yet been to Grapevines or Soma but they are both suppose to be wonderful. If you dine in Beverly you will not be disappointed.

                4 Replies
                1. re: JNice

                  I heard that sixty2 on wharf was opening this Saturday. The menu looks good and so does the restaurant. I pass it on my way to work, there was a ton of construction and it's finally done

                  1. re: elmariachi

                    where is this??? salem, beverly, marblehead?

                      1. re: kate used to be 50

                        thank you! lets hope it is a good restaurant!

                2. Got in last night and had I delicious dinner at the Old Spot in Salem. We have been there many times before but were not thrilled with their dinners but just go for snacks and their great selection of microbrews. This time we had a chicken and a scallop dish and were completely satisfied with both. Tonight, Soma or Tryst. Will check out Sixty2 on wharf to see what's doing there. Anyone heard anything about Evenfall in Haverhill. It won a couple of Best Of's but the individual reviews I have read on line were not very positive. Definately will go back to the Old Spot for the Ploughman's Lunch ! Thanks for all the replies thus far.

                  1. Hi this may be too late but you can add to your docket for next time. In Swampscott (about 4 miles away) there is a great italian place called Cafe Paradiso. They own a place in East Boston too so its "wicked good italian". Decor isn't great but the staff is friendly and you will leave satisfied