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Just Dis-placed From Portland to Salem....

What is up with this town and the food ?!?!?
Olive Garden being the Best Restaurant for Three Years running....does anyone have any recommends besides the Ram and Bentley's at the Phoenix Inn downtown ???
Your suggestions would be greatly appreciated.


Starving in Salem

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  1. I'd suggest a search on the boards. I know there is a past post about stuff in Salem.

    Try the Off Center Cafe for breakfast. I've had a couple good meals at the Old Europe Inn. There are a bunch of great Mexican places around, too.

    5 Replies
    1. re: BallardFoodie

      And if you're willing to drive, downtown Woodburn has some excellent informal Mexican at Luis's and the bakery place one street over.

      1. re: chefguy

        Ahhh... you must be talking of Sandoval's, Good Tamales !!
        Been to Luis's they are good as well. Thanks guys

        1. re: chefguy

          Just ate at Luis' last week and the vegetarian quesadilla with cotija was fabulous. (My boss was there a few months ago when Obama dropped by-very exciting!)

          1. re: girlwonder88

            Not familiar with Luis' place ...are they downtown ?

        2. re: BallardFoodie

          Thanks I will have to try the Off Center Cafe, & Old Europe Inn.

        3. Drive out to Silverton and try the Silver Creek Grille.

          1 Reply
          1. re: jpc8015

            Thanks for the tip I have not been to SCG in Silverton...while I'm ther I just might stay at the New Oregon Garden Hotel and try the Restaurant. I heard that the Chef from SCG moved over to the Oregon Garden Hotel.

          2. Take back road to Dayton, Joel Palmer house.

            1 Reply
            1. re: duck833

              News to me, I'm in the car as we speak,... right after this reply. Thanks

            2. Breakfast - Busick Court, on Court St. between Commercial & Front (look for the line).
              Lunch - Adam's Ribs (12th and State)
              Dinner - Best Little Roadhouse (S. Commercial & Owens St.)

              Pizza - come out to Stayton to Apizza (3rd and Ida) or either Paddingtons
              Teriyaki - Love Love Teriyaki (Sunnyslope Mall on S. Liberty or Target mall on Center)
              Mexican - Las Palomas Mexican, (Rickey & S. Lancaster, near Mission/Hwy22)
              Italian - Carusos (Keizer, Inland Shores off N. River Rd)
              "fast food" - Burger Basket (Mission & 25th)

              5 Replies
              1. re: Foamer

                Foamer, You sound pretty familiar with this little place. Thanks for the eight tips this will keep me busy for a while ... as I haven't tried any of them.

                1. re: caseypons

                  I was born in the area, lived here most of my life.... and I'm married without kids. We eat out a lot. I live a mile from Apizza... and work 2 blocks away.

                  For high end dining, there is J. James at Pringle Plaza, and Morton's out in West Salem on Edgewater.
                  (full disclosure: Jeff James is an acquaintance from church)

                  1. re: Foamer

                    Thanks for the good tips, I shall try them.

                2. re: Foamer

                  We just ate at Caruso's a week or so ago; hadn't been there since they moved. It wasn't fabulous, but it was pretty darn good. Good service, tolerant of our toddler but also a nice place for adults-only dining.

                  1. re: girlwonder88

                    I appreciate all your help. You have been around for sure.

                3. Yes, Salem is no Portland, caseypons, and never will be. Salem is basically a lunch-bucket, blue collar town with a thin veneer of slightly more upscale state employees and Willamette U folks. That's just the way it is. Be that as it may, there are decent eats to be had. If you search this board you will find mention of a lot of them. To save you the trouble, here are some that haven't been mentioned yet:

                  Jr's Taqueria (corner of Jefferson and Fairgrounds) -- very good, cheap Mexican food like you would find if you drove to Woodburn; try the carnitas tacos, chicken sopes, and tortas.

                  Salvadore's Bakery (Silverton Rd.) -- another great, authentic Mexican place. Take home a dozen delicious pork tamales for $12 and throw in a slice of tres leches cake for dessert.

                  Thai Beer Restaurant (S. Lancaster Rd) -- is there a better, stranger name for a Thai restaurant? The food here is as good as most of what you would find in Portland.

                  Court St. Dairy Lunch (Court St. downtown) -- a downtown Salem classic since 1929, for breakfast and lunch. Try the "fixed" potatoes for breakfast! Sit at the counter and chat with the friendliest waitresses in town.

                  Momiji (S. Commercial) -- a pretty darn good Japanese restaurant; I get the miso soup, and order of edamame, and the very fresh and well-made sushi, with mochi ice cream for dessert.

                  Thompson Brew Pub (Liberty S.) -- yes it's just another McMenamins with the usual McMenamins menu, but it's a cool old house that's just really nice and dark and cozy in the winter months, kind of like an English pub, and in the summer you can sit out back on long picnic tables amidst the tall Doug firs and drink a lot of beer and eat the great fries.

                  I also agree with the other posters about Off Center Cafe and the Burger Basket. If you can't make it to Stayton for Appiza (worth the trip), our own Straight from New York Pizza is really pretty decent (3 locations). And don't miss the year round indoor farmers market on Rural St., especially the guy that sells wild mushrooms and truffles. And EZ Orchards, east of town on Hazel Green Road for the greatest selection of apples you've ever seen (this time of year) and killer freshly made apple cider donuts (eat your heart out Portland).

                  See caseypons, it's really not as bad as you think.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Amecameca

                    I guess I just need to get out and try these goldmines.

                  2. Mrbuffer and I work for Holiday Retirement and their corporate headquarters is in Salem. When we were out there last year, I remember that there was a fairly decent Thai restaurant downtown within walking distance to the Phoenix Grande, also there was a seafood restaurant nearby. Can't remember the names though.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: mrsbuffer

                      The Thai Orchid and the Thailand Restaurant are both in downtown Salem -- both not bad, but pretty ordinary. Thai Beer is a cut above. The original McGrath's Seafood Restaurant is in downtown Salem on Chemeketa St. As McGraths has become a regional chain, I find the quality of the food had declined and become more chain-like. There was a time when McGraths had great fresh seafood that was always well prepared and an excellent value. That was years ago.

                      1. re: Amecameca

                        I think it was Thai Orchid - it was on the second floor above street level and it was a cut above the food court stuff around there. Remember we flew out from CT at that time and after spending the entire day in meetings it was good to get out of the hotel.

                        Phoenix Grande has a relatively ok bar, though.

                      2. Alessandro's is always a favorite of ours.
                        La Hacienda Real has fantastic Mexican, as does La Margarita.
                        We walk to Momiji's on a regular basis, and Straight From New York Pizza just opened where Lefty's was next door. We still have some pesto chicken pizza from them in the fridge.
                        For friendly Italian, Gepetto's is a long-standing tradition, on Lancaster.
                        The Flight Deck is an old favorite of mine, I was there so often with my ex that we received Christmas Cards from them.
                        I'm a picky eater, and one place I always had trouble choosing between yummy entrees was actually The Brick.

                        Hope that helps!

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: tracylee

                          I have been to La Hacienda Real and it is very good, not tried La Margarita yet of the Brick, nor Momiji's. Are they (Momiji's) downtown ?

                          1. re: caseypons

                            They're out South by the Vista intersection where Liberty Splits from Commercial. Next to Straight From New York Pizza just North of, but in the same parking lot as Los Baez. Which is also a great Mexican place.

                            And dang, but Momiji's was closed for the day yesterday when we tried to go there! At least we didn't walk to it in the rain!

                        2. We took a trip through Salem last summer and were quite pleased with the restaurants we visited. Much better than our restaurant selection here in Bellingham.

                          I'd second the recommendation for Busick Court. We had a fabulous breakfast there, but be prepared to wait if you go on the weekend. It is packed!

                          Our favorite restaurant in Salem was Marco Polo Global Restaurant. Excellent for everyone and fabulous vegetarian menu. Best shrimp fried rice I've ever had. We ate at the old location and it looks like they've moved. Hopefully, the quality and value have remained the same.

                          Here's a link: http://www.mpologlobal.com/index.html


                          1 Reply
                          1. re: laurachow

                            Much better than Bellingham ?!?!? Whoa, OK !
                            I have not tried Marco Polo yet...and yes they just moved south a block.
                            Thanks for the tips. Good luck in Bellingham with your search.