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Lunch in Salem?

  • j

Looking for recommendations of a good yet inexpensive place for a Saturday lunch before visiting Peabody Essex Museum.

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  1. If you are looking for more of a very casual spot - the New England Soup Factory is great for lunch this time of year. The soups are delicious!!! They also have sandwiches and salads.

    1. The PEM has a decent, if not exciting restaurant and Pickering Wharf is a short walk and all of the restaurants there are inexpensive and most have water views. I've always wanted to try the Tavern at the Hawthorne Hotel, has anyone?

      1 Reply
      1. re: ghostcat

        The Tavern at the Hawthorne is fantastic. They have some high back comfy chairs and a fireplace. The waitstaff is great and they seem to actually enjoy their jobs. They also have a "burger of the month." A few months back they had a turkey burger that was to do die for.

      2. I enjoy the Old Spot for a casual lunch.

        1. I second Old Spot. Great atmosphere, good pub food. I found New England Soup Factory overpriced and overrated. If you like Asian, Fresh Taste of Asia is fantastic. Best on the North Shore, IMO.

          1. I'm actually heading up there tomorrow for a few days. So here's my plan:
            Old Spot for the Ploughman's lunch then Finz for oysters and a baked stuffed lobster at dinner. On Friday, I'm thinking it will be a late lunch at O'Neils so that I can be there for the Irish music or possibly giving InA Pigs eye a try and hanging around for the blues. Saturday will be reserved for bites at the Witches Brew and hopefully dinner at the Grapevine. I haven't been to the the Grapevine so if anyone has any suggestions that would be great.

            7 Replies
            1. re: Pegmeister

              Pegmeister...Last week, I stumbled on AJ King Artisan Bakers in Salem(near the center). I started a thread on it. Possibly the best croissant I've had since France many years ago...and I do order the frozen ones from William Sonoma. The ginger peach scone I got was wonderful too with nice sized bits of syrupy ginger pieces. The epi....good too! Makes me want to make another trip up there. They also have cookies, bread pudding, sandwiches, etc., but their main emphasis is bread. They use local ingredients.

              1. re: catsmeow

                Thanks so much. Their website looks wonderful. I could get in trouble here, especially with so many choices, sticky buns; bread pudding topped with chocolate and carmel, pecan shortbread or almond croissants! Can't wait!

                1. re: Pegmeister

                  Trust me...you'll get in trouble. :-)

                  1. re: catsmeow

                    Ok, I'm back from Salem and have to say that the almond croissants were amazing! Thanks so much for the suggestion. Other success stories would be the lobster pie at Witches Brew. Preparation was really basic, light on the butter and crumbs, plenty of lobster for $17. By comparison, the baked stuffed lobster at Finz was $30, and while good, it could have stayed in the oven a little longer so that the stuffing could have been a little more cooked. Buffalo calamari as always was delicious. Breakfast at the Regatta at the Salem Waterfront Hotel was also surprisingly good. Crabcake eggs benedict being my favorite. The only place I really didn't care for was the tavern at the Hawthorne hotel. I wanted to like the place, I looked past the french fries on the floor under the table, ignored the crumbs I felt on my chair, but when the server drops a menu down and disappears for 20 minutes before you order, I said the heck with it and left.

                2. re: catsmeow

                  AJ King ROCKS!

                  As does

                  Boston Hot Dog Co LLC
                  60 Washington St
                  Salem, MA 01970
                  (978) 744-2320

                  Which I posted about previously.

                3. re: Pegmeister

                  I had an awful meal the last time I ate at Pig's Eye. Stick with the booze and go elsewhere to eat. I had tagliatelle at Grapevine the last time I was there. It was divine, but that was a year or so ago.

                4. Aww, just go to O'Fado...It's in Peabody Square, ten minutes away.....

                  1. I'd also suggest Old Spot for a low-key lunch or Finz for something a little more elegant (though certainly not over the top). I also like Gulu-Gulu on Essex St. for a light lunch. Great salads, sandwiches, and crepes and an excellent Belgian beer list. The Soup Factory and Cafe Kushko are also good, but low on any sort of ambiance. If you like Asian, there's also Asahi, which has good sushi (though they skimp on the fish) and really delicious Japanese apps and entrees.
                    A & J King's is not to be missed! I'm partial to their walnut-date and their apricot-ginger scones, but you can't miss with anything there. They may only sell it on Sunday, but they have an apricot fennel loaf of bread that will blow your mind. Get their iced chai! It's perfection!
                    I'd skip In A Pig's Eye. It's a fun sort of "local bar" kind of place, but the food really isn't that good. As a warning, stay away from the chili. It's unpalatable.
                    And, if you are looking to get a coffee or something, do Gulu-Gulu or A&J King--Jaho should be skipped. There are much better options in Salem.
                    Have fun!

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: jandazza

                      I went to Gulu-Gulu cafe for the first time and had an amazing blue cheese, apple, red onion and walnut crepe the other day. I can't wait to go back. The space is comfortable, the cappuccino quite good, and the menu is really interesting and different. I followed it with a delicious cupcake at A&J King. I bought a fougasse and hot cross buns to take home. The quality is so good and the prices are reasonable. The fougasse was under $3.

                      1. re: jandazza

                        Have you been to the new Jaho at 60 Wharf? It has a great craic and they roast coffee right on the spot.

                        1. re: georgewpotts

                          I think that place is one of the most beautiful coffee places I've ever been to and the coffee and tea are superb. By the way, what's a craic?