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Restaurants in Salem Ma

mrmurphy13 Mar 30, 2010 09:21 AM

I used to go to Salem almost every weekend, but haven't been in 5 years or so. Anything new? Is the Lyceum still good?

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  1. mtm7654 RE: mrmurphy13 Mar 30, 2010 10:20 AM

    I'd be interested as well in anticipation of a trip to the Peabody Essex. There's a pub right near the museum that sounds good-the name escapes me now........

    7 Replies
    1. re: mtm7654
      Taralli RE: mtm7654 Mar 30, 2010 10:23 AM


      1. re: Taralli
        mtm7654 RE: Taralli Mar 30, 2010 10:36 AM

        That didn't sound quite right (although I love the name-reminds me of a story about my grandmother). Anywho.............it's The Old Spot. http://www.theoldspot.com/

        Anyone been? "Sounds" good..............

        The Old Spot
        121 Essex St, Salem, MA 01970

        1. re: mtm7654
          noradeirdre RE: mtm7654 Mar 30, 2010 10:42 AM

          Th Old Spot is pretty decent- british/irish themed pub food, but slightly fancier. good beer list. Every once in a while I'll go there because of cravings for their roast pork or corned beef sandwich. Get myself a Harpoon 100 Series that's on tap, sit back, and relax. I think it's a nice atmosphere and good service.

          The Old Spot
          121 Essex St, Salem, MA 01970

          1. re: mtm7654
            Pegmeister RE: mtm7654 Mar 30, 2010 10:50 AM

            The Old Spot is one of those places that I generally stop at when in Salem. Good pub fare. Also, like Witches Brew which is very local, yet friendly with some surprisingly good food coming out of the kitchen. Friendly banter at the bar as well. I also like Finz if only to go in for drinks and their buffalo calamari. One not to miss place is the AJ King bakery. It's worth the trip just for the croissants.

            The Old Spot
            121 Essex St, Salem, MA 01970

            910 Washington St., Dedham, MA 02026

            Witches Brew Cafe
            156 Derby St, Salem, MA 01970

            1. re: Pegmeister
              noradeirdre RE: Pegmeister Mar 30, 2010 10:57 AM

              They also have great sandwiches, which are nice to grab and wander with.... they're on baguettes, so super portable and quite yummy. Then, cupcake for dessert!

              I would probably say my Top 5 favorite eateries in Salem are: Sixty2 On Wharf, Old Spot, A&J King, A Passage to India, and Bagel World.

              The Old Spot
              121 Essex St, Salem, MA 01970

            2. re: mtm7654
              Splendid Spatula RE: mtm7654 Apr 1, 2010 09:34 AM

              Just ate at Old Spot on Sunday, since the selection at the PEM cafe was pretty slim. Good, fresh - be forewarned that "items to share" are exactly that, huge! So don't order the ploughman's lunch for just yourself. (That was perhaps the least consistent item we had, some bits great, but just a blue cheese instead of stilton, not so great.) Fish sandwich and fish and chips got high marks.

              The Old Spot
              121 Essex St, Salem, MA 01970

              1. re: Splendid Spatula
                opinionatedchef RE: Splendid Spatula Aug 1, 2011 06:39 PM

                Problem w/ Old Spot is that they only serve lunch fri-sun.

                The Old Spot
                121 Essex St, Salem, MA 01970

        2. noradeirdre RE: mrmurphy13 Mar 30, 2010 10:43 AM

          I will, of course, recommend Sixty2 On Wharf due to its overwhelming awesomeness in the areas of food, value, drinks, atmosphere, and service.

          3 Replies
          1. re: noradeirdre
            noradeirdre RE: noradeirdre Mar 30, 2010 10:45 AM


            Sixty2 on Wharf
            62 Wharf Street, Salem, MA 01970

            1. re: noradeirdre
              mtm7654 RE: noradeirdre Mar 30, 2010 10:50 AM

              Sixty2 sounds perfect for the poster, and The Old Spot sounds perfect for me and my Anglophile friend!

              The Old Spot
              121 Essex St, Salem, MA 01970

              1. re: noradeirdre
                saridt RE: noradeirdre Mar 30, 2010 04:56 PM

                I had an excellent meal recently at 62 on Wharf...I dream about that bolognese...went with four people and all of our apps, meals & desserts were remarkable...

              2. n
                Northshoregirl RE: mrmurphy13 Mar 30, 2010 12:56 PM

                The Lyceum has a new chef and a new menu. We were there for dinner a couple of months ago and really enjoyed it (full review on our blog). Like the other posters, I also highly recommend Sixty2 for upscale dining. Old Spot is my favorite for pub food as well.


                12 Replies
                1. re: Northshoregirl
                  opinionatedchef RE: Northshoregirl Sep 25, 2010 12:41 AM

                  we are big fans of 62 Wharf, but did i recently see somewhere on CH that there's a new salem restnt that begins with an A? th you.

                  1. re: opinionatedchef
                    opinionatedchef RE: opinionatedchef Sep 25, 2010 01:01 AM

                    maybe my memory is junk; i did see a small post about The Great Escape. anyone been?

                    1. re: opinionatedchef
                      fesenjan RE: opinionatedchef Sep 25, 2010 05:39 AM

                      That's Adriatic, in the space that was formerly Edgewater Cafe on Washington St. Haven't been there, though.

                      1. re: fesenjan
                        opinionatedchef RE: fesenjan Sep 25, 2010 11:47 AM

                        thanks much, fes. by the way, i've alw wanted to ask you, do you cook/eat your moniker? i made it once in the '80's; pretty darn rich stuff! only once in my life was i was lucky enough to have someone prepare for me the rice dish with the potato crust on the bottom of the pot. yuuuuum. now why have i not pursued a recipe for that........

                        1. re: opinionatedchef
                          fesenjan RE: opinionatedchef Sep 26, 2010 10:43 AM

                          I've (only once) cooked a very loose interpretation of chicken fesenjan in an effort to use some pomegranates we had. I've eaten the real thing a few times in restaurants, but as you say, yeah, it really is a bit overwhelming as a whole entree.

                          However, I thought it was a name not likely to be taken already!

                    2. re: Northshoregirl
                      opinionatedchef RE: Northshoregirl Sep 25, 2010 09:32 PM

                      hey, you 2 talented No.Shore blogger girl/gals, why haven't you tried Adriatic yet? i find no website.
                      Please report to us about it soon! We want to know what you think!

                      1. re: opinionatedchef
                        NSDishGal RE: opinionatedchef Nov 10, 2010 04:47 AM

                        Hi opinionatedchef!

                        Have been crazy busy and not keeping up with Chow as often as we'd like, so just saw this now.

                        We have heard terrific things about Adriatic, but haven't yet been. They are high on our list to check out, though, and maybe now that Salem's October crush is over we'll make our way there.

                        Their web site isn't up yet, but they do have a facebook page. http://www.facebook.com/pages/Salem-M...
                        Have you been yet?


                        1. re: NSDishGal
                          opinionatedchef RE: NSDishGal Nov 10, 2010 06:42 AM

                          no, haven't been yet. waiting for you!!

                          1. re: NSDishGal
                            opinionatedchef RE: NSDishGal May 27, 2011 07:59 PM

                            dishgal, i want to find 3 best lunch spots and 3 best dinner spots in salem, w/ and w/o car.

                            what do you think ?(plse CHs, chirp in):

                            3 Best Salem Lunch Spots:

                            Lobster Shanty, Lyceum, Old Spot? (American(?) BBQ w/ car?)

                            3 Best Salem Dinner Spots:

                            62 Wharf, Grapevine?, Strega? (Tryst and 5 Corners w/ car)

                            What about Adriatica? you must have tried it by now?

                            The Old Spot
                            121 Essex St, Salem, MA 01970

                            1. re: opinionatedchef
                              PinchOfSalt RE: opinionatedchef May 27, 2011 08:40 PM

                              OC, how do you define best?

                              - bang for the buck?
                              - highest quality chow?
                              - most creative?
                              - caters to the widest audience?
                              - etc?

                              It's really an individual and situational thing, so perhaps some more explanation of what you are looking for would help get the most useful answer.

                              1. re: PinchOfSalt
                                opinionatedchef RE: PinchOfSalt May 27, 2011 09:10 PM

                                highest quality food.

                        2. re: Northshoregirl
                          opinionatedchef RE: Northshoregirl Sep 25, 2010 09:41 PM

                          i read your 12/09 review of the 'new'Lyceum. have you tried it again or heard reports? anyone?
                          the menu looks promising but i'd like to know the restnt backgnd of this chef.

                        3. Boston_Otter RE: mrmurphy13 Nov 10, 2010 06:24 AM

                          Whenever I'm in Salem I make sure to stop in at Polonus Deli for a Polish snack. Their Bigos ("Hunter's Stew") is outstanding.

                          6 Replies
                          1. re: Boston_Otter
                            opinionatedchef RE: Boston_Otter Nov 10, 2010 06:47 AM


                            had never heard of bigos, so wanted to see if it tempted me. this recipe certainly does. BO, is this like theirs?


                            1. re: opinionatedchef
                              NSDishGal RE: opinionatedchef Nov 10, 2010 07:13 AM

                              FYI, Speaking of Polish food, Cafe Polonia just opened a location in Salem and friends have told me that the wurst platter and the pierogi are excellent. Another one on the list!


                              Cafe Polonia
                              611 Dorchester Ave, Boston, MA 02127

                              1. re: opinionatedchef
                                Boston_Otter RE: opinionatedchef Nov 10, 2010 10:46 AM

                                Sounds kinda like it! Bigos is basically a really rich and thick stew -- it's a "national dish", which means everyone has their own version. The one at Polonus is a sauerkraut dish with kielbasa, bacon, and all kinds of other smoked meats; it tastes like it's been cooking on the back of the stove for days. And unless I'm wrong, Cafe Polonia (which NSDishGal mentioned) is run by the same family as Polonus Deli.

                              2. re: Boston_Otter
                                opinionatedchef RE: Boston_Otter Nov 14, 2010 08:12 AM

                                hi, otter, we got the bigos and had it last night, so thanks for the tip. My take on it is this:
                                it certainly was cheap($8 qt.) and this is why: 90% cabbage, 8% sausage, 0% stewed meat; 2% dried mushrooms.Very good flavor but now i know that with the next qt.(in the freezer now) I'll be adding lots more sausage, some stewed pork,sauteed onions and dried mushrooms. we served ours over scallion pasta and topped it with generous amounts of sophia's 'yoghurt' ( store in belmont) which is sour cream by any other name.

                                1. re: opinionatedchef
                                  Boston_Otter RE: opinionatedchef Nov 15, 2010 05:32 AM

                                  That sounds like it'd be fantastic :) I usually just get a little bowl of it with some summer sausage to snack on. Last time I got it, it seemed amazingly thick and rich, with chunks of sausage and bacon; maybe it depends on how long it's been stewing and what sausage/meat is available that day.

                                  1. re: Boston_Otter
                                    opinionatedchef RE: Boston_Otter Nov 15, 2010 08:18 AM

                                    oh it's thick for sure, but thick with silky shredded cabbage!

                              3. resipsaloquitor RE: mrmurphy13 Nov 11, 2010 08:50 AM

                                I liked the Lyceum the last time I was there -- the menu has been nicely updated, the food was fresh and tasty, and of course, the decor makes me feel like a Robber Baron.

                                Question: I saw a place in Salem called The Lobster Shanty featured on Triple D the other night. Has anyone been? Is it worth going out of my way?

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: resipsaloquitor
                                  NSDishGal RE: resipsaloquitor Nov 11, 2010 02:04 PM

                                  We like the Lobster Shanty. It's tiny and dive-y but the outdoor seating is fun in the summer. The food is better than you'd expect from what looks like a dive bar. Dee Dee and Lee Wolf bought it from the original owner some years back and she's a terrific chef. I've not had the pulled pork that Fieri featured on DDD, but they know how to do a lobster roll right.


                                2. n
                                  nlg RE: mrmurphy13 Nov 16, 2010 08:42 AM

                                  I know this is in reply to a rather old post, but wanted to add something about Green Land Cafe. My son and I went there a couple of weekends ago for lunch. Maybe dinner there is better...but, lunch was ordinary at best.

                                  I started with the Smoked Pumpkin Bisque - which actually was fabulous. Smooth, smokey, sweet pumpkin flavor, topped by crunchy carmelized pumpkin seeds. For our meal, my son got the New England Turkey sandwich, I got the Chipotle Crab sandwich. My roll was toasted way too long - burned and black. I had to scrape it off (note: waitress offered to bring a new sandwich, but I declined - I hate to waste food; scraped, the sandwich was ok). His was in a similar burned state, but not quite as bad. His sandwich was also served on a brioche roll instead of a ciabatta roll, which even his child eyes noticed. The extreme dryness of his sandwich (dry deli turkey meat and dry toast-like roll) was calling out for mayo, which was not served with the sandwich and he had to ask for. The cranberry compote was from a jar, and the potato salad was ordinary and probably not house made. The crab cake on my sandwich was good - nice chunks of crabmeat, but it and the bisque were the only positives I can say about our meal. So, again, here's hoping that dinner is better, because I want them to do well. Salem is coming along with some nice new restaurants and I like the locally grown concept of this place.

                                  1. 3catsnh RE: mrmurphy13 Apr 3, 2011 06:17 AM

                                    Lots of these places sound interesting. I would love any recent updates on these--and any new ones--for lunch. I am not a meat-eater. Also where do you recommend for good coffee?

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: 3catsnh
                                      drewinmrblhd RE: 3catsnh Apr 4, 2011 01:29 PM

                                      Gulu Gulu has a great selection for non meat eaters and they have great coffee and other beverages. It's a hip place that has open mic night and movie night. Salem has a great deal of places to eat but I truly like the vibe at Gulu Gulu. My second rec would be Howling Wolf for tasty Mexican food at reasonable prices.

                                    2. opinionatedchef RE: mrmurphy13 Aug 3, 2011 12:35 PM

                                      an update in 8/2011; Howling Wolf Mexican w/ some v good things. and open weekday lunches:


                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: opinionatedchef
                                        opinionatedchef RE: opinionatedchef Aug 19, 2011 10:57 PM

                                        After finding the Tryst menu disappointingly boring, we came back here for dinner tonight. Best dishes:
                                        pork tacos with red colorado sauce;chicken chile verde soup. Also the Christmas red sauce. All these had an excellent non-bitter richness and layered complexity of flavors.The chef is from Guadalajara. Very generous portions for little money. The owner-made red sangria was good, not too sweet or full of carbonated filler. At 9pm on a mid-August Fri., the place was hoppin'. If you order correctly here, you should be v. happy.

                                      2. b
                                        BeachBum143 RE: mrmurphy13 Jun 4, 2012 06:20 AM

                                        I think it may be time for an update to this post. Planning to take friends to Salem for lunch in September. What looks good? We don't need fine dining, but wouldn't turn it away, either. Just looking for fresh, simply prepared (not fussy), delicious food. I've enjoyed lunch at The Lobster Shanty, also been to Witch's Brew, In A Pig's Eye and Salem Beer Works (nice beer, but we can skip SBW). TIA!

                                        6 Replies
                                        1. re: BeachBum143
                                          11earl RE: BeachBum143 Jun 4, 2012 08:50 AM

                                          I surprisingly enjoyed Red Lulu a few weeks ago. Above average service, nice surprise at start and finish of meals, very tasty shrimp tacos and lobster quesadillas.

                                          Also had a very pleasant meal at Bella Verona this past Saturday night. Fresh food and affordably-priced with a North End feel to the place.

                                          1. re: BeachBum143
                                            Pegmeister RE: BeachBum143 Jun 4, 2012 09:00 AM

                                            I still really enjoy the Old Spot, and always go for the Ploughmans lunch. Also, while I haven't tried the Salem location, Cafe Polonia (at least the S Boston location) is really good. My favorite thing on their menu is the Gypsy pancake which consists of hungarian goulash sandwiched between 2 potato pancakes. Maybe someone else will post their experience at the Salem location.

                                            1. re: Pegmeister
                                              Boston_Otter RE: Pegmeister Jun 4, 2012 09:13 AM

                                              My friends and I go to the Salem location fairly regularly, and I've always enjoyed the food there. The Gypsy Pancake is wonderful (and massive), the pierogis are very tasty, and their bigos (hunter's stew) is a favorite, as well. The lunchtime kielbasa sandwich special is probably the most (and best) food for the money you'll find in downtown Salem.

                                              1. re: Boston_Otter
                                                Pegmeister RE: Boston_Otter Jun 4, 2012 12:15 PM

                                                That's great to hear. The South Boston location is consistently good. Lovely people, and I would have expected the same at the Salem location. I assume they probably have a good selection of Polish beers as well?

                                                1. re: Pegmeister
                                                  Boston_Otter RE: Pegmeister Jun 4, 2012 12:48 PM

                                                  Decent selection of Polish and western European beers, yes -- my favorite is their house special, the Żywiec (pronouced "zee-viets", more or less) with raspberry syrup added. The chocolate babka is also delicious, though after a Polish sampler plate or Gypsy pancake and bigos, I rarely make it that far :)

                                              2. re: Pegmeister
                                                opinionatedchef RE: Pegmeister Jun 4, 2012 02:07 PM

                                                ooh that Gypsy Pancke sounds just terrrrrible :-}
                                                I WANT!! thk you.

                                            2. n
                                              nyc_to_ma RE: mrmurphy13 Feb 12, 2014 07:34 AM

                                              The last update to this thread is from almost two years ago... So, is there anything new or good in Salem these days? I may be heading over there this weekend.

                                              11 Replies
                                              1. re: nyc_to_ma
                                                BeachBum143 RE: nyc_to_ma Feb 12, 2014 09:04 AM

                                                My recommendations: Gulu Gulu Cafe, the Old Spot, Flying Saucer Pizza, the Naumkeag Ordinary, Finz, and the Salem Screamery for ice cream.

                                                1. re: BeachBum143
                                                  huuvola RE: BeachBum143 Feb 12, 2014 09:34 AM

                                                  I'll second the recommendations for Gulu Gulu and Flying Saucer (next door to each other; same ownership). Great beer list and solid food. Gulu Gulu has been packed when we've stopped by on a few saturdays, but Flying Saucer had space.

                                                  The ambiance at the bar of Naumkeag Ordinary didn't hit me right on our one visit, but service was friendly and the food looked OK. Worth a look (and note that it's also next door to Gulu Gulu).

                                                  1. re: huuvola
                                                    Boston_Otter RE: huuvola Feb 12, 2014 09:48 AM

                                                    Definitely recommend Gulu Gulu,

                                                    The folks at Naumkeag Ordinary are in the former Polonia spot, and just before opening, posted about how they'd taken over the spot with plans to offer a selection of the popular favorites from Polonia's menu, and that they'd taken on several staff members from that restaurant. They seem to have reneged on both of those things before they opened. Not classy.

                                                2. re: nyc_to_ma
                                                  opinionatedchef RE: nyc_to_ma Feb 12, 2014 12:40 PM

                                                  i think you may have missed a thread or 2.
                                                  Scratch Kitchen
                                                  ? -new lolita's outpost

                                                  i started looking but can't find the threads i remember contributing to....
                                                  unfortunately the 'salem' search also brings up 'salem street' in boston. phooey.
                                                  sorry. will look more later.

                                                  maybe the thread has north shore in the title....

                                                  1. re: opinionatedchef
                                                    huuvola RE: opinionatedchef Feb 12, 2014 02:00 PM

                                                    This thread may be what you're looking for:
                                                    __More North Shore MA dining__

                                                    Also helpful:
                                                    _Scratch Kitchen and Comida Mexicana in Salem?_

                                                  2. re: nyc_to_ma
                                                    phatchris RE: nyc_to_ma Feb 12, 2014 01:52 PM

                                                    Firenze Trattoria

                                                    1. re: phatchris
                                                      opinionatedchef RE: phatchris Feb 13, 2014 12:30 AM

                                                      oh yeah, chris; good call! that is the former chef from the well loved Trattoria Toscana near Fenway.

                                                      also, nyc, our fav place- Five Corners Kitchen in Mrbhd- only a short drive from Salem. Great brunch and dinners.

                                                      1. re: opinionatedchef
                                                        nyc_to_ma RE: opinionatedchef Feb 13, 2014 06:28 AM

                                                        Thanks, all. Five Corners Kitchen looks really fantastic.

                                                        I can't seem to find a menu for Firenze Trattoria online, but maybe I'll try it out.

                                                        Lastly, has anyone tried a new place called "A&B Burgers"?

                                                        1. re: nyc_to_ma
                                                          phatchris RE: nyc_to_ma Feb 13, 2014 07:35 AM

                                                          I've tried A&B and I won't rush back. It was a mediocre fast food style burger.

                                                          1. re: nyc_to_ma
                                                            opinionatedchef RE: nyc_to_ma Feb 13, 2014 02:23 PM

                                                            nyc, here's some good CH reports on Firenze Trattoria:


                                                            so far, their website has no posted menu; sorry:


                                                            that said, if you only had one dinner, i'd def steer you to 5 corners kitchen. The room itself is gorgeous; makes you feel special. the food and service are wonderful. They also serve a brunch that is our fav in the boston area.

                                                            p.s. nyc, if you haven't ever been to Marblehead, it is easily one of (or the )prettiest town in MA. You could drive down to its harbor and around that part of town for 20 minutes, and see most of its picturesque 18th and 19th c. character.

                                                            1. re: opinionatedchef
                                                              phatchris RE: opinionatedchef Feb 13, 2014 02:57 PM

                                                              5CK is my new go to restaurant seeing as its about a mile from my house and just awesome. Firenze is much smaller, more intimate and Italian while 5CK is lively and French inspired.

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