Looking for the BEST restaurants in Salem Massachusetts to eat at during your visit? We’ve got you covered!
In October, this picturesque harbor town comes alive with events and activities that allow visitors to immerse themselves in the area’s haunted history and witchy affiliations.
However, Salem is not only known for its spooky attractions. There are tons of things to do in Salem, but you may not know that Salem has everything you could want to eat if you’re planning a foodie trip!
Seriously: some of these Salem MA restaurants are truly amazing.
And don’t worry – almost every one of these Salem restaurants has a bit of a spooky flair, though most of them are open year-round.
Looking for a high-end vibe with trendy, gourmet food choices? Head to Ledger. Looking for a tiny but authentic Italian atmosphere with amazing pasta? Bella Verona is your place. But don’t worry: there are so many more restaurants in Salem MA, though these are definitely two of our favorites!
Salem is heaven on earth for any foodie. If you aren’t convinced, let’s jump straight to this list of the 31 best restaurants in Salem, Massachusetts, to find your new go-to spot!
31. Village Tavern
168 Essex St, Salem, MA | American, Vegetarian Friendly, Vegan Options | $10 – $35 | Monday to Friday 11:45 am – 1:00 am (next day), Saturday and Sunday 11:00 am – 1:00 am (next day)
Across from the Peabody Essex Museum, this lively restaurant is well-known for its traditional American pub fare and fun atmosphere.
Inquire among the locals, and you’ll hear that it’s one of the top restaurants in all of Salem. As a food lover, you won’t just be satisfied by the delicious steaks and pizzas. Plus, the bar’s pool tables and sports on TV create a great atmosphere for sports fans.
The Rodeo Burger is a fantastic choice for a leisurely Sunday brunch. With every bite, the beef patty practically dissolves in your mouth due to its extreme tenderness. The meal has the perfect flavor, and the special sauce makes it taste out of this world.
This is definitely one of the more casual restaurants in Salem Massachusetts, so head here if you’re looking for a “local” pub vibe.
30. Gulu – Gulu Cafe
247 Essex St, Salem, MA | American, Bar, Cafe | $11 – $30 | Monday to Wednesday 8:00 am – 8:00 pm, Thursday to Saturday 8:00 am – 12:00 am (next day), Sunday 8:00 am – 8:00 pm
Gulu-Gulu Café, a relative newcomer to Salem’s dining scene, is one of the few restaurants in the city to serve all three meals of the day. However, it is well-known for breakfast and lunch.
The café is small, has a bohemian vibe, and has a cozy, homey atmosphere; it’s a great place to snag a coffee, a sandwich, or some sweet or savory crepes. Take a seat by the window for the best people-watching.
The Strawberry Fields salad combines arugula, spinach, and the Santa Fe crepe, which is vegan and filled with black bean spread, both highly recommended. The Beyond Burger with onions, peppers, and salsa will complete the meal.
Don’t leave without having some of the warm, fruit and spice-scented banana bread that is light and airy. And if you want to indulge in an alcoholic beverage, don’t worry: the Gulu Gulu does serve alcohol and has some awesome coffee drinks.
There are also live performances at Gulu-Gulu, such as music, drag happy hours, and a zany take on bingo.
29. Ledger Restaurant
125 Washington St, Salem, MA | American, Contemporary, Vegetarian Friendly | $31 – $60 | Wednesday to Saturday 5:00 pm – 10:00 pm, Sunday 10:00 am – 2:00 pm and 4:30 pm – 8:30 pm
Ledger is a great place to take a date because of its convenient location in the city center and high-end vibe.
Fantastic food, high ceilings, and a speakeasy vibe from the Roaring Twenties all come together in this gorgeous restaurant. It’s definitely one of the trendier restaurants in Salem MA.
The blue cheese butter sauce, sautéed spinach, and mushrooms atop a 20-ounce porterhouse steak with garlic mashed potatoes are some of the highlights of the restaurant’s best-selling main course.
However, the cheesy Brussels sprouts appetizer is always a crowd-pleaser. Even though neither of us particularly enjoys Brussel sprouts, we can’t resist ordering a small portion of this starter every time.
If you want to go outside for a special occasion and dress to the nines, Ledger is among the best restaurants in Salem, Massachusetts to check out.
28. Howling Wolf Taqueria
76 Lafayette St, Salem, MA | Mexican, Southwestern, Vegetarian Friendly | $11 – $30 | Monday to Wednesday 11:30 am – 9:30 pm, Thursday to Saturday 11:30 am – 10:00 pm, and Sunday 11:30 am – 9:30 pm
Seeking out a top-notch Mexican restaurant in the Salem area? If so, head over to Howling Wolf Taqueria, located on Lafayette Street.
Flavorful and freshly made from scratch Mexican delicacies are served in a modern setting accented with vibrantly colored and creative art pieces.
The flour & corn tortillas at Howling Wolf Taqueria are fresh daily, guaranteeing you’ll never get a bad taco or burrito. Even the bits and salsa are with care; they are fried fresh throughout the day.
Don’t forget to order an expertly mixed specialty margarita to go with your Howling Wolf Burrito, whether you prefer eating inside or out on the charming patio of this Salem restaurant.
The Jalapeno Margaritas at Howling Wolf are some of the best in the city. Plus, this is usually a fun place with a bar-like atmosphere.
27. All Souls Lounge
282 Derby St, Salem, MA | American, Bar, Pub | $11 – $30 | Monday to Friday 5:00 pm – 1:00 am (next day), Saturday and Sunday 11:30 am – 1:00 am (next day)
The menu at this brand-new cocktail lounge and restaurant in Salem leans more on hot dogs and grilled sandwiches.
Spreads like sweet brown mustard, cream sauce, and bacon are to dress up the hot dogs. Moreover, the sandwiches come with pineapple, Cheddar cheese, and teriyaki sauce.
The Fish House Punch, which combines rum, cognac, or peach brandy, dates back to 1732, and the tequila-based El Diablo, which features crème de cassis & ginger beer, dates from 1947.
And the general atmosphere? Records are spinning in the background when the music box is quiet.
Your visit to All Souls will not let you down. We both enjoyed the pretzels, queso dog, and patty melt we ordered.
We went to the bar as well. The fact that the songs were from records that the bartender turned in was fantastic. Definitely some excellent musical taste there.
26. Red’s Sandwich Shop
15 Central St, Salem, MA | American, Diner, Vegetarian Friendly | $11 – $30 | Monday to Saturday 7:00 am – 3:00 pm, Sunday 7:00 am – 1:00 pm
Just one block from the Salem Willows Beach traffic circle on Commercial Street is where you’ll find Red’s Sandwich Shop. It is a small, independently owned business in the heart of downtown Salem, Massachusetts.
Red’s is the place to go for delicious sandwiches or other treats, as they offer a wide variety of flavors and toppings. The lines are often out the door, whether you’re there for breakfast or lunch.
The Philly Cheese Steak is a popular choice among their specialty sandwiches, and it features thinly sliced beef, fried onions, green peppers, and melted cheese. Hot sub sandwiches in various sizes (Footlong, SuperFootlong, and MegaFootlong) are another specialty of Red’s well-known staff.
What we had here was nothing short of amazing. A friendly face and a warm welcome abound as we enter. As we look around, we notice that everyone here enjoys the place.
The “In Like Flynn” breakfast large plate and French toast were delicious. Surprisingly ample portions of food were in order.
If you go, you should also try some grilled pumpkin pastry with a touch of caramel. Once you try it, you’ll understand why.
Try Red’s if you’re looking for a great place to eat breakfast or lunch. The atmosphere is simple and homey, almost like a diner, and the food is outstanding.
25. Turner’s Seafood at Lyceum Hall
43 Church St, Salem, MA | Seafood, Vegetarian Friendly, Vegan Options | $10 – $40 | Monday to Wednesday 1:00 pm – 9:00 pm, Thursday 12:00 pm – 9:00 pm, Friday and Saturday 12:00 pm – 10:00 pm, Sunday 12:00 pm – 9:00 pm
In terms of traditional New England cuisine, with an emphasis on seafood, Turner’s is one of the top restaurants in the downtown area. But it’s also one of the coolest kind of spooky and cozy atmospheres!
You can pick from traditional and creative seafood dishes prepared by Chef Yale Woodson. In any case, you are confident that the restaurant only uses seafood caught in local waters.
Lovely high tin interiors, stone walls, & oak floors create a memorable atmosphere reminiscent of Salem’s historical past.
The Lobster Pie we had was delicious. A delicious tangy flavor is released as the lemon juice permeates the tender white meat of the claws, tail, and knuckles.
Apart from the delicious dishes, they also serve tasty drinks. Their Speciality Margarita is made with jalapeno triple sec & blood orange, making it an excellent choice for those who enjoy spicy beverages. And the espresso martini, a favorite of mine, is always amazing!
288 Derby St, Salem, MA | Italian, Pizza, Vegetarian Friendly | $11 – $30 | Monday to Thursday 11:30 am – 8:30 pm, Friday and Saturday 11:30 am – 9:30 pm, Sunday 11:30 am – 9:00 pm
When you’re craving a slice of pizza that will take you back to Italy with every bite, look no further than Bambolina Restaurant.
This pizzeria prides itself on preserving the ancient art of pizza making by adhering to a canonical set of guidelines established in Naples. Your taste buds and eyes will thank you for improving the pizza’s flavor and appearance.
The harmonious blend of arugula, smoked mutton, grilled tomato, parmesan cheese, and mascarpone on It’s Pizza Special makes it a fan favorite. The spicy flavor of the Calabrian chili elevates the pizza to the level of culinary delight.
We always arrived early and usually chose to sit inside to avoid standing in line, though the small outdoor area is great for people-watching.
The burrata dish is the best we’ve had in a long time. Besides the divine pesto, the tomatoes were perfectly ripe and flavorful.
This is a great casual restaurant to come for beer/sangria (there isn’t a full bar) and artisanal pizzas.
23. Sea Level Oyster Bar
94 Wharf St, Salem, MA | Seafood, Vegetarian Friendly, Gluten Free Options | $10 – $25 | Monday to Wednesday 11:30 am – 9:00 pm, Thursday 11:30 am – 10:00 pm, Friday 11:30 am – 11:00 pm, Saturday 11:30 am – 10:00 pm, Sunday 11:30 am – 9:00 pm
Sea Level Oyster Bar, on the Wharf and adjacent to the water, features a gorgeous view. This is one of our favorite Salem MA restaurants to visit in the summer, though they’re open year-round and have some great fall selections!
One of the best lobster bisques is here, and so is a wide variety of other seafood. The menu options are fish burritos, oysters, fried ravioli, shrimp & grits, and many others. The chowder fries are fantastic. Seriously: if you get nothing else, choose the chowder fries!
Sea Level is hip and cool, but it’s also a laid-back place to unwind. We recommend sitting upstairs for the best views.
Huge floor-to-ceiling windows allow diners to take in the scenery year-round. Upstairs, in the summer, there is a deck with outdoor seating.
Not only is Sea Level Oyster Bar one of the best seafood restaurants in Salem, MA, but it also has gorgeous harbor landscapes. It’s also one of the less-crowded restaurants in Salem MA during the fall because it’s down by the wharf.
22. O’Neills Pub & Restaurant
120 Washington St, Salem, MA | Irish, Bar, Pub | $9 – $24 | Monday to Thursday 4:00 pm – 1:00 am (next day), Friday to Sunday 11:00 am – 1:00 am (next day)
Are you yearning for a Guinness but can’t find one? Upon entering O’Neill’s Pub, you might find yourself craving a pint of the world’s most famous Irish stout, even if you don’t usually drink beer.
O’Neill’s serves standard pub fare in a lively setting that they say will make you feel the “wicked good craic” they strongly believe. A full schedule of live performances, trivia nights, game evenings, and more shows how seriously they take their craic.
New England dishes like clam chowder sit alongside Irish pub standards like bangers, mash, and shepherd’s pie. You can get a cocktail made to order from the bartenders or use the high-tech equipment at its Build Your Own Bloody Mary bar to create one at home.
After eating at O’Neill’s Pub & Restaurant on Washington in Salem, Massachusetts, you will feel like you’ve got a little Luck o’ the Irish yourself.
21. Casa Tequila Mexican Restaurant & Bar
300 Derby Street, MA-1A, Salem, MA | Mexican, Southwestern, Bar | $11 – $30 | Monday to Wednesday 11:00 am – 10:00 pm, Thursday and Friday 11:00 am – 11:00 pm, Saturday and Sunday 12:00 pm – 10:00 pm
A family-run business, Casa Tequila serves up traditional Mexican fare. It’s located right in downtown Salem, making it an easy choice. Many options include appetizers, tacos, cheese enchiladas, burritos, grill specials, and more.
The cuisine is fantastic, and we can’t get enough of it! The restaurant has excellent value for the money. There isn’t much in the way of upscale dining or drinking here, but the atmosphere is fantastic, and plenty of outdoor tables make for a good time.
We always go for the Diablo margarita because we love the kick it gives us. Next, we cut the steak burrito in half. The steak was perfect with its flavor. The beans and rice were delicious.
The grapefruit margarita is another delicious option. The flavor is excellent, and it’s not overly sweet. Even more delicious is the chile Verde. The food was perfectly cooked, flavorful, and generously portioned.
This is definitely one of the best restaurants in Salem Massachusetts if you’re looking for a lively time with lots of appetizer choices right downtown.
20. New England Soup Factory
140 Washington St, Salem, MA | Quick Bites, American, Soups | $8 – $16 | Monday to Friday 11:00 am – 8:00 pm, Saturday and Sunday 12:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Those searching for quaint restaurants serving delicious soup, sandwiches, and salads need to look no further than New England Soup Factory. This is more of a fast-dining cafe or takeout vibe, but it’s perfect for a warm cup of soup on a cold day!
You can try them before you buy, and the soups are delicious no matter what’s in season at the local Soup Factory’s weekly produce market.
If you’d like a hearty meal to kick off your day, they have some excellent breakfast options, such as omelets and burritos. We can attest that the baked products are delicious. They offer a wide variety of muffins and loaves of bread, and their croissants are outstanding.
It’s one of our favorite locations to grab a bite during the day in Salem, Massachusetts, despite its tiny size and counter service. Try it and find your new favorite taste there.
19. Bella Verona
107 Essex St, Salem, MA | Italian, Vegetarian Friendly, Vegan Options | $11 – $30 | Monday to Saturday 4:00 pm – 10:00 pm, Sunday 4:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Looking for super authentic, high-end Italian food? Bella Verona is straight out of the North End and is one of our absolute favorite restaurants in Salem Massachusetts. Delicious red-sauce dishes are the specialty of this cozy downtown institution, which serves authentic Italian cuisine in the traditional style.
Hearty bolognese and seafood linguini are the perfect complements to the cozy atmosphere. Takeout orders of lemon-sauced chicken and pepper-sauced pork loin are just as delicious as those enjoyed in the restaurant with carafes of Chianti.
I especially love the decor of Bella Verona. The restaurant is tiny (so get there early) and feels like it’s right out of Italy, but they usually have some really interesting, vintage spooky decor up, too.
After dinner, we also appreciate the excellently brewed expresso as well as the homemade desserts.
It is a magnificent hidden gem in the center of Salem, with excellent Italian cuisine, friendly service, and reasonable prices.
18. Bit Bar Salem
278 Derby St, Salem, MA | American, Bar, Contemporary | $10 – $25 | Tuesday to Thursday 4:00 pm – 12:00 am, Friday and Saturday 12:00 pm – 1:00 am (next day), Sunday 12:00 pm – 12:00 am
Snack favorites like burgers and salads are on the menu at this lively restaurant in the heart of downtown Salem. If you want to have a fantastic but casual meal while playing arcade games, you should visit this restaurant.
This restaurant is sure to be crowded for some time due to the presence of more than 30 vintage arcade cabinets & pinball tables.
The Beyond Infinity Burger is superb, thanks to its succulent and flavorful beef patty. With the addition of onion rings and barbecue sauce, this dish becomes the pinnacle of culinary perfection.
We checked out the bar’s cute theme and menu as soon as we got there. Apart from the food, we also ordered various drinks, all of which were excellent.
One of our meals was a Korean take on fried chicken. We can’t say that this tastes exactly like KFC, but it’s still delicious. We savor every bite!
Even the ambiance was superb. The video playing in the bar was a hoot; it featured various fictional characters from different media fighting each other. There was a sizable audience of bar patrons watching the film behind us.
Overall, there is fantastic service, delicious food, and libations. We had a wonderful moment and would love to return!
17. Adea’s Mediterranean Kitchen
90 Lafayette St, Salem, MA | Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, Israeli | Under $11 | Monday 11:00 am – 3:00 pm, Tuesday to Thursday 11:00 am – 4:00 pm, Friday 11:00 am – 3:00 pm, Sunday 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
Adea’s is excellent for both serious eaters and those just looking for a good meal at a reasonable price.
This newcomer to Salem’s dining scene is only open during the day, so plan accordingly. The menu at Adea’s isn’t extensive, but all we’ve tried there has been delicious. Those who enjoy felafel will appreciate any of Adea’s variants.
You can get your food on a sampler platter of baba ghanoush and stuffed grape leaves or in a pita with lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, and tahini. All of the hummus is fresh daily from the kitchen.
Sabich, a highlight of our most recent trip, was a crispy eggplant, boiled eggs, tomato, pickles, lettuce, and tahini. Shakshuka, consisting of poached eggs inside a tomato-based sauce and served with a warm pita, is the perfect dish for a chilly day.
The huge portions and excellent fare are both standouts in this restaurant. This is one of our favorite lunch restaurants in Salem Massachusetts that isn’t usually too crowded!
16. Longboards Restaurant and Bar
72 Wharf St, Salem, MA | American, Bar, Seafood | $10 – $30 | 11:00 am – 1:00 am (next day) daily
Longboards, a restaurant near Salem’s downtown on the Wharf, is fantastic.
There are plenty of outdoor picnic tables, making them ideal for a warm day in the summer. Whenever we visit Longboards, we always order fish tacos. Hands-on, this delicacy is impressive.
Their crab cakes, which are in-house, are another top seller. With the addition of the crab relish sauce and avocado mousse, these cakes have become one of our favorite dishes.
For lunch or dinner, Longboards is the place to be. Live music is performed on select evenings, adding to the lively atmosphere. You can’t visit downtown Salem without eating here!
Longboards is one of the restaurants in Salem Massachusetts that has a clear pub vibe, though it’s down by the wharf so it’s usually a bit less crowded.
15. Flying Saucer Pizza Company
Lappin Park, Salem, MA | American, Pizza, Vegetarian Friendly | $11 – $30 | Monday to Thursday 12:00 pm – 10:00 pm, Friday to Sunday 11:00 am -11:00 pm
If you’re looking for great pizza and a good time in Salem, look no further than Flying Saucer Pizza Company. Flying Saucer Pizza calls themselves “nerdvana,” Their menu and decor reflect that with items like Spaceballs and references to Star Wars and Doctor Who.
A few delicious dishes you can order are the Soylent Green spinach & artichoke dip and the musical meatball appetizer. While Nick Fury, a pizza topped with cream syrup, buffalo chicken, hot sauce, mac ‘n cheese, bacon, and scallions, is the clear favorite among customers.
Pizza lovers in Salem will be happy to know they have plenty of vegans, veggie, and gluten-free options in this restaurant.
There is outdoor seating and a convenient location on Washington Street, just next to the Bewitched Samantha statue. There’s a full bar, which is excellent, and the theme is fantastic.
14. Goodnight Fatty
1 Washington Square, Salem, MA | American, Desserts, Bakeries | Under $10 | Friday and Saturday 5:00 pm – 11:00 pm, Sunday 8:00 am – 10:00 pm
Goodnight Fatty, makers of insanely delicious cookies (or “fatties”) on the weekends need to be on your radar.
Fans flock to the tiny, hidden shop on Saturday nights for popular treats like the Midnight Fatty, a cocoa cookie stuffed with toffee and pecans, and the Cinnamon Toast Crunch, a cinnamon sugar cereal studded with white chocolate chips.
Have a penchant for dunking? Unlimited milk is another perk they provide.
The success of Goodnight has spawned a new breakfast line: Good Morning Chubby. These buns resemble bagels and are either flavorful (cheddar cheese shallots) or spicy (jalapenos) (hot vegan sausage).
And if you stay in one of Salem’s six neighboring towns, you can use your phone to order “drops” delivered straight to your door.
It is a perfect spot in Salem. All of its indoor and outdoor seating is adorable.
We tried some of their freshly baked, piping hot cookies, which were delicious. We’d love it if they’d expand their selection beyond the weekend’s standard three cookies, as we’ve had some excellent varieties and would like to purchase them again.
13. Fountain Place Restaurant
232 Essex St, Salem, MA | American, Diner, Vegetarian Friendly | Under $10 | 8:00 am – 3:00 pm daily
This restaurant has been a staple in Salem for over 17 years, providing locals and visitors with delicious, hearty fare like soups and sandwiches.
Delicious, authentic food has made this spot popular with the neighborhood regulars. Enjoy your meal while gazing in awe at the vintage photos of Salem that adorn the walls.
If you’d rather eat outside, you can do so on the patio, which offers a lovely view of historic downtown Salem.
Delicious thousand island dressing complements fresh corned beef’s sweet and tangy flavor in a Reuben Sandwich. The dish will be incomplete without the sour and salty combination provided by the sauerkraut.
Despite its modest name, our meal here left us feeling quite satisfied. Our meal consisted of a chicken kebab wrap, a Portobello mushroom Panini, and a side of French fries. Also, we all snacked on some fruit.
The chicken was flavorful and well-marinated, and the French fries were light and airy. Incredibly satisfying, the Panini was full of gills with fillings. Our favorite part was that despite being made entirely of vegetables, the sandwich was anything but dry.
The trip was enjoyable for the most part. The waitress was delightful and kept asking if we needed anything else. It’s a must that you visit as well!
2 Lynde St, Salem, MA | French, American, Mediterranean | Over $61 | Monday to Saturday 5:00 pm – 9:30 pm
Settler, a restaurant called “New American,” fuses regional ingredients and modern preparation methods with European classics. No one should come here expecting a cheap and speedy meal. However, if you’re in the mood for a relaxing splurge, make your booking before you arrive in Salem.
The decor at Settler is some of the most attractive you’ll find in any Salem restaurant. It has a high-contrast color scheme of black, white, and shades of gray and is with cozy wood and leather banquettes. It’s sultry without being gloomy, with an air of refined ease.
The entire seasonal menu at Settler looks and sounds incredible. Popular dishes right now include the Nova Scotia halibut, served with a tangy, caper-and-lemon-based seasoning and the crunch of hazelnuts; the Pumpkin-Ricotta Gnocchi; and the Moroccan Spiced Squash Veloute.
We came here on a balmy Friday night and enjoyed the patio seating. The staff was accommodating, knowledgeable, and pleasant.
We sipped on some delicious sangria and watermelon daiquiris. Then, we started with the Mediterranean trio and some octopus for appetizers. The coffee-rubbed steak and the lamb chop were delicious main courses. We ordered ice cream and creamy brûlée as dessert.
We’re looking forward to returning because the food was among the best we’ve ever had. If you’re considering going, you should plan and make a reservation.
87 Washington St, Salem, MA | American, Bar, Sushi | $11 – $30 | Monday to Thursday 5:00 pm – 9:00 pm, Friday 5:00 pm – 10:00 pm, Saturday and Sunday 11:30 am – 9:00 pm
Opus is the place to go if you have a passion for sushi. Outstanding sushi that is consistently tasty and satisfying are the highlights here, plus it’s located right downtown.
Opus is a place where you can go to feel completely on-trend. When you’re in the mood to get dressed up and enjoy an adult beverage, this is one of the top restaurants in Salem, Massachusetts, for a night out with friends or a special someone. And the sushi is too good to pass up.
We usually get sushi rolls, but we’ve never had a bad meal at this restaurant. The spicy tuna and avocado roll is a crowd pleaser. It would be best to try it on your own to believe how good it is.
If you visit this establishment, you absolutely must order the Salmon Bowl. It was one of our favorite Boston-area meals due to the excellent quality of the ingredients, the thoughtful preparation, and the beautiful presentation.
Even though it looked like a full house, we could find a booth far away from the other diners to have a pleasant conversation.
The bar on the lower and upper levels lights up, making the beverages look glowing. On the way out, we noticed the veranda was even cuter thanks to the string lights.
Overall, it was an enjoyable experience.
10. The Tavern
18 Washington Square W, Salem, MA | American, Vegetarian Friendly, Vegan Options | $14 – $34 | 11:00 am – 11:00 pm daily
Although situated in what is the best place to stay and the most haunted area of Salem, the Tavern at Hawthorne Hotel is more reminiscent of a classic New England inn than a spooky ghost town.
The Tavern is an irresistibly cozy Salem restaurant with an oak-paneled facade and a wood-burning fireplace, perfect for a leisurely meal in the beautiful Old World dining hall or a quick cocktail at the lovely bar.
For example, the hotel’s signature Seafood Chowder is loaded with shrimp, mollusks, haddock, clams, and potatoes, and it’s well worth the substantial price tag.
Plus, you never know; maybe you’ll experience some of the hauntings that rank The Hawthorne among the Top 20 Haunted Hotels in America.
But the great taste of food here will keep you coming back, not the scary stuff.
We had the Crispy Chicken Sandwich for dinner, which consisted of a grilled brioche bun stuffed with fried chicken, pineapple slaw, trimmed red onion, and sesame aioli, and comes with a side of their expert French fries. We were able to leave that evening satisfied and full.
Everything about our stay here was excellent. All the team members we interacted with were helpful and polite, and they served our food quickly and in ample quantities.
9. Jolie Tea Company
316 Derby St, Salem, MA | Tea, Pastries | $11 – $30 | Wednesday to Sunday 11:00 am – 5:00 pm
In the tradition of Parisian tea salons, you’ll find some of the best desserts in the city at Jolie Tea Company. People who appreciate fine tea will particularly love this location.
Indulge your senses with one of more than three hundred house-brewed teas. Tea and French macarons in those flowery chairs make for a memorable dining experience.
Pair its Autumn Cranberry Black Tea with a Pumpkin Spice Macaron and satisfy your sweet tooth all at once. The dessert’s gingery flavor is even more delicious when paired with the sweet and tangy tea.
For high tea, we scheduled a table at this establishment. Everyone we interacted with made us feel at home and provided excellent service. Each customer is served a pot of tea from various options.
We were given four macarons & five finger sandwiches for two people. Two madeleines & two lemon scones, which are smaller and more round than regular scones, were also included. You can eat the scones with the included jam.
The high tea is excellent all around!
8. Finz Seafood & Grill
86 Wharf St, Salem, MA | American, Seafood & Grill | $18 – $28 | Monday to Wednesday 11:30 am – 9:00 pm, Thursday to Saturday 11:30 am – 10:00 pm, Sunday 11:30 am – 9:00 pm
Finz is yet another highly recommended restaurant in Salem. It’s a seafood restaurant with a great selection of fresh fish at affordable prices, and it’s located right on the Wharf.
Other tasty options include steamed calamari, oysters, and mussels. As one of the most delicate lobster dishes in town, lobster mac ‘n cheese is a popular choice among guests.
Finz has a laid-back, beachy ambiance and serves indoor and outdoor meals. Although owned by the same people, the atmosphere here differs from that at Sea Level.
The spicy margarita was our first drink of choice. In our opinion, it stands out from the crowd.
The sea scallops were out of this world. Truffle sauce goes wonderfully with it. Ultimately, we try their baked oysters, which come with cornbread crumbs and a jalapeno lime crema. The baked oysters and sea scallops were delicious, but in different ways, and we couldn’t pick a favorite.
It is among the top restaurants to try in Salem. You can even sit outdoors to view the gorgeous marina and boats as you dine!
288 Derby St, Salem, MA | Japanese, Asian, Vegetarian Friendly | $11 – $30 | Monday to Thursday 11:30 am – 8:30 pm, Friday and Saturday 11:30 am – 9:30 pm, Sunday 11:30 am – 8:00 pm
Kokeshi, located in Salem, is a fantastic Asian restaurant known for its choice of delicious ramen and other bold & flavorful Asian street staple foods.
Kokeshi has a shopfront at Bambolina, the Italian sister restaurant, on Derby, besides its central location on Lafayette. Thanks to its industrial yet vibrant design aesthetic, it has an excellent, inviting atmosphere, but the real draw is the food.
The owners’ dedication to infusing novel flavors with flexible Asian staples is evident in dishes like the salty Osaka Street Corn served as an appetizer and ramen featuring pork loin and Colonel Sanders’ fried chicken.
We sampled various dishes from the menu, and everything we tried was fantastic. Dumplings filled with chicken and lemongrass were perfectly balanced in flavor.
With heirloom tomatoes, the best fresh ricotta and mozzarella cheeses, and the addition of crispy garlic, the Caprese salad was simply divine.
Also delicious: the sausage pizza, the back alley ramen, and the tiramisu.
We found something else interesting: how pleasant and helpful our waitress was throughout the meal. As we departed, our bellies were full and our spirits high. We will return in the future for sure!
6. Thai Place Restaurant
7 Church St, Salem, MA | Asian, Thai, Vegetarian Friendly | $11 – $30 | Monday to Thursday 11:30 am – 10:00 pm, Friday and Saturday 11:30 am – 10:30 pm, Sunday 12:30 pm – 9:30 pm
In 1990, the doors to this restaurant first opened. The restaurant is well-known for providing excellent Thai cuisine in a relaxed setting, making it among the best in Salem.
With its daring, fresh flavors and ideal synergy of spicy and sweet, every dish at this restaurant will give you a sense of Thailand. The restaurant alone will transport you to Southeast Asia with its wall decorations and on-display artifacts honoring the culture of that Asian nation.
Satay, skewered slices of chicken or beef served with a peanut and cucumber sauce, is a crowd-pleaser whenever available. The sauce’s silkiness pairs well with the tender meat. Every single one of your taste buds will adore this dish.
Keep an open mind; don’t be put off by the shopping center setting and simple decor. It has excellent food, and the service is quick and pleasant.
You simply must order the Thai Basil Chicken. This dish is so bursting with flavor that it easily eclipses the competition. You just can’t stop eating it because of how well its saltiness, spice, and natural sweetness all work together.
What stood out, though, apart from the food, was the server. The two small bags of candies brought along with the check shows how much they value their customers. We’ve never experienced such a heartfelt and professionally executed “thank you” from a restaurant.
Get to know this secret spot!
5. Adriatic Restaurant
155 Washington St #1, Salem, MA | Italian, Mediterranean, Vegetarian Friendly | $11 – $30 | Monday to Wednesday 4:00 pm – 10:00 pm, Thursday 12:00 pm – 10:00 pm, Friday and Saturday 12:00 pm -11:00 pm, Sunday 12:00 pm – 10:00 pm
We think Adriatic Restaurant is the best Italian restaurant in town for a special occasion. On Chestnut Street, you can find this establishment, which has a formal yet welcoming atmosphere.
The portions are perfect for sharing between two people, and the food is delicious. The calamari appetizer is a best-seller because of its preparation (fried in batter and served atop sautéed spinach). Customers also crave rice balls.
Adriatic’s prices may be higher than average, but the quality of their meals and drinks is consistently high.
Anyone who appreciates a tranquil setting will feel right at home here. The outdoor seating area is just so cute! We love the food too, especially any of the appetizers, the pasta, and the espresso martini.
I will say that the people at the front desk can be a bit difficult to deal with. More than once, our reservations have fallen through and we’ve been rudely turned away. So while I love Adriatic when Salem is quiet, it’s not the best choice during the busy months.
4. Ugly Mug Diner
122 Washington St, Salem, MA | American, Café, Diner | $7 – $30 | 8:00 am – 2:00 pm daily
Are you in search of a fantastic diner in the Salem area? Not only is the Ugly Mug Diner one of the top restaurants in Salem, but it’s also a terrific choice if you’re looking for a family-friendly dining experience.
Standard breakfast and brunch fares such as pancakes, waffles, egg sandwiches, and hash browns are available. Its This Ain’t No Chicken and Waffles is a nonstandard dish with a waffle topped with duck breast and candied pecans and served with Bourbon Maple Syrup Reduction.
Everything looked so good on the menu that it was difficult for us to decide. However, we gave in and ordered the pumpkin flavor pancakes. Similarly, we both enjoyed the Baymosas we called, in which the proportion of alcohol to juice was just right without being overpowering.
The pumpkin pancakes are light and tasty! Because of how delicious the maple butter was, we could have used a larger serving. However, the servings were so enormous that we barely scratched the surface of our pancakes. Also, it was reasonably priced, especially in comparison to similar restaurants.
The service was prompt and cordial. Even though there was a sizable crowd present, the wait staff maintained a pleasant demeanor. It is a great place.
231 Essex St, Salem, MA | American, Bar, Vegetarian Friendly | $19 – $40 | Monday to Thursday 11:30 am – 10:00 pm, Friday and Saturday 11:30 am – 1:00 am (next day), Sunday 11:30 am – 10:00 pm
Head to Rockafellas in Salem, Massachusetts, for a fantastic time with friends. There are awesome tunes, cheap drinks, and delicious food.
We’ve never met a server or wait staff member we didn’t like. Rockafellas is a fantastic choice for picky eaters because the menu is so extensive. The Margherita pizza, burgers, wings, seafood dishes, and sweets are all fantastic.
We like this place because they make their mozzarella cheese. As a bonus, they have excellent beers on tap, which we appreciate.
If you get to Rockafellas early enough during the day, you can save money on drinks by taking advantage of the daily specials. Get there late for dinner and stick around for the live music or DJ set; it’s a lot of fun.
We tried two cups of chowder, calamari, and crab cakes. The food arrived quickly and was delicious. As a final course, we all shared some drafts. Although the foods and beverages here are typically just fine, there are enough options to choose from, and the atmosphere is excellent.
There’s a good reason why this establishment has become a Salem, Massachusetts institution.
2. Mercy Tavern
148 Derby St, Salem, MA | American, Bar, Pub | $11 – $30 | Monday to Thursday 4:00 pm – 10:00 pm, Friday to Sunday 12:00 pm – 1:00 am (next day)
Mercy Tavern is an excellent choice if you’re looking for a laid-back gastropub meal in Salem, Massachusetts.
Visitors and residents alike frequent Mercy Tavern in Salem, Massachusetts. It’s super cute and directly across the road from House of Seven Gables, so you can pop in after you’ve finished touring the historic home.
Mercy Tavern’s distinctive menu is one of the reasons it stands out among Salem’s other dining options. In particular, the Impaler Burger, a three-pound burger paired with jalapeno peppers, bacon, and cheddar cheese, is consistently famous.
The Tavern has a wide variety of burger plates, salads, pasta, and more. All of the food on the menu is grown or raised in some part of the state or country.
You can count on dining on some unique fare. Because of the Tavern’s extensive drink menu, you can try an unusual burger without worrying about being dried.
Dishes like the Tavern Burger, Reuben, and pumpkin ravioli are among the menu’s specialties. The food was delicious.
We would choose this burger as the gold standard. The meat was perfect, there was just the right amount of cheese, and the bun was top-notch, so we didn’t need any condiments.
Even the Reuben, which consisted of tender meat on toast, was delicious. Besides that, the pumpkin ravioli was the most flavorful and delicious we have ever tasted. The garlic fries were delicious, with a healthy dose of garlic seasoning.
Also, the staff was helpful and pleasant. Going to Mercy Tavern is something we wholeheartedly endorse doing.
1. Olde Main Street Pub
121 Essex St, Salem, MA | American, Irish, Bar | $6 – $25 | Tuesday to Sunday 5:00 pm – 11:00 pm
We recommend Olde Main Street Pub for a traditional pub experience in the middle of downtown Salem.
Classic American fare such as burgers, fries, sandwiches, and hot dogs are accessible here (and a few Salem MA specials). Also, they frequently offer cheap drink specials. You can order fried pickles and some tasty (if slightly spicy) mac and cheese to go with your meal.
If you’re looking for a place to use an evening socializing, this bar has pool tables; otherwise, there are televisions stationed strategically around the bar, so you won’t miss a moment of the game.
On our latest trip, we had the chance to taste some of New England’s finest cuisine. The burger we ordered was juicy, and even the fries were perfectly crisp.
As an appetizer, we shared the Gouda & goat cheese cakes, which were airy and savory, with an aioli that was absolutely bomb, and grilled tomatoes that provided a refreshing break in flavor.
We sampled a wide range of beverages, each with its unique flavor. Nonetheless, the quality of each was high.
The selection may be limited, but it’s delicious. Every time, we’ve had excellent service. The restaurant has a great selection of beers, fantastic cocktails, affordable prices, and a relaxing ambiance.
FAQs About These Salem Restaurants:
Should I make a reservation in October?’
Yes, it is highly recommended to make a reservation for restaurants in Salem during the month of October, especially on weekends and around Halloween. October is a peak tourist season in Salem, and the city can become quite crowded with visitors. Many restaurants, especially popular ones and those with outdoor seating, tend to fill up quickly during this time.
However, some restaurants don’t take reservations, leading to really long waits. This is changing constantly, so I recommend going through this list and seeing where you can get in.
What if I show up and can’t get in anywhere?
In that case, I have a few secret spots. Try heading to Sea Level over by the Wharf – it’s a waterfront restaurant instead of downtown (but still walkable) so the wait is typically shorter.
You can also try Bella Verona or any of the restaurants at the Hawthorne Hotel. Bambolina Pizza and Antique Table (both downtown) may have shorter waits, too, since they aren’t as popular.
Lastly, you may have more luck with breweries, since the wait is typically shorter, though the food won’t be as good.
What Salem restaurants have the best outdoor seating?
For outdoor seating, we recommend:
- Sea Level Oyster Bar (Located on Pickering Wharf, seating on the water)
- Brodie’s Seaport: Situated on Derby Street, Brodie’s Seaport features a patio area where you can dine outdoors
- Tavern on the Green: This charming restaurant is located in the heart of downtown Salem and has a cozy outdoor patio
- Adriatic Restaurant and Bar: Adriatic Restaurant has a lovely outdoor patio where you can savor Mediterranean and Italian-inspired dishes with upscale Italian lighting and chairs
- Gulu-Gulu Cafe: Known for its eclectic ambiance and diverse menu, Gulu-Gulu Cafe has outdoor seating available for lunch and early dinner
Which Salem restaurants are pet-friendly?
Several pet-friendly restaurants in Salem, MA welcome well-behaved pets in their outdoor seating areas. Some popular options include Sea Level Oyster Bar, Howling Wolf Taqueria, Far From The Tree Cider, Gulu-Gulu Cafe, and Bit Bar Salem.
Which Salem restaurants are best for day-drinking?
Salem, MA has a few restaurants that are great for day-drinking. Here are some options to consider:
Far From The Tree Cider: If you’re a fan of hard cider, Far From The Tree Cider is a must-visit. They specialize in craft ciders made from locally sourced ingredients, providing a unique and refreshing option for day-drinking. You get to sit outside, order from a food truck, and try lots of different ciders. It’s a great fall activity with friends!
Notch Brewing: Notch Brewing is a popular spot for beer enthusiasts. They focus on session beer, which allows for more extended periods of drinking without becoming too intoxicated. They have a spacious outdoor beer garden, perfect for enjoying a few drinks during the day.
Sea Level Oyster Bar: With its waterfront location on Pickering Wharf, Sea Level Oyster Bar offers a relaxed setting for day-drinking. You can enjoy their selection of beers, wines, and cocktails while taking in the scenic harbor views.
Bit Bar Salem: Bit Bar is a retro arcade and bar that offers a fun and nostalgic atmosphere. You can sip on craft beers, cocktails, or a variety of non-alcoholic beverages while playing classic arcade games. This is good for when it’s super cold out.
Flying Saucer Pizza Company: This funky pizzeria has a full bar and a wide selection of craft beers on tap. Enjoy a slice of pizza and a cold drink while soaking in the vibrant and eclectic atmosphere.
Salem Beer Works: Located in the heart of downtown Salem, Salem Beer Works is a brewpub that serves its own handcrafted beers. They have an outdoor patio where you can relax and enjoy a cold beer or sample their beer flights.
What Salem bars are good for a nightlife scene?
Opus: Opus is a popular bar with a vibrant atmosphere, featuring live music, DJs, and a spacious dance floor. They serve a wide range of craft cocktails, beer, and wine, making it a great spot for an energetic night out. It can get a little clubby downstairs (pretty fancy for Salem) and there’s usually a cover.
Gulu-Gulu Cafe: Gulu-Gulu Cafe offers a unique blend of a coffeehouse, bar, and live music venue. They have a cozy and eclectic atmosphere with a selection of craft beers, wine, and specialty cocktails. They often host live music performances and other events. It’s a hippy vibe with cool live music at night.
All Souls Lounge: All Souls Lounge is a trendy bar located in the heart of downtown Salem. Known for its craft cocktails, cozy atmosphere, and live music, it offers a sophisticated yet laid-back setting for a night out.
The Roof at The Hotel Salem: The Roof is a popular rooftop bar located at The Hotel Salem. It offers stunning views of the city and a stylish ambiance. Enjoy handcrafted cocktails and a selection of small plates while taking in the panoramic vistas. We love coming here for sunset, but it gets pretty fun later at night, too.
O’Neill’s Pub & Restaurant: O’Neill’s is an Irish pub that has been a staple in Salem for over 40 years. It features a lively atmosphere, traditional Irish fare, and a wide selection of beers, making it a favorite spot for locals and visitors alike. This is definitely where the townies go.
What Salem restaurants are the most upscale?
If you’re looking for upscale dining options in Salem, MA, here are some restaurants known for their elevated culinary experiences and sophisticated ambiance:
Ledger Restaurant & Bar: Ledger offers a refined dining experience in a beautifully restored former bank building. The menu features creative American cuisine prepared with locally sourced ingredients, and the upscale setting creates an elegant atmosphere.
Nathaniel’s at the Hawthorne Hotel: Nathaniel’s is located within the historic Hawthorne Hotel and offers a classy and upscale dining experience. The menu showcases New England cuisine with a modern twist, and the elegant decor adds to the refined ambiance.
Finz Seafood & Grill: Finz is a premier seafood restaurant in Salem, known for its high-quality seafood offerings and upscale atmosphere. With a focus on fresh, locally sourced ingredients, it’s an excellent choice for a sophisticated seafood dining experience.
Adriatic Restaurant and Bar: Adriatic offers an upscale Mediterranean dining experience with a menu featuring dishes inspired by Italy, Greece, and other Mediterranean regions. The elegant setting and attentive service contribute to a refined dining atmosphere.
Turner’s Seafood: Turner’s Seafood is an upscale seafood restaurant that prides itself on serving fresh seafood in a classic and refined setting. With a menu featuring a wide variety of seafood options, it’s a great choice for a sophisticated dining experience.
Where To Stay In Salem MA:
Here are some of the notable hotels in Salem:
The Salem Inn: This historic inn offers charming rooms in different buildings, reflecting the local architecture. It’s conveniently located near many of Salem’s attractions.
Hawthorne Hotel: The Hawthorne Hotel, nestled in the heart of Salem, Massachusetts, stands as a timeless embodiment of colonial charm and New England elegance. With its stately facade and rich history dating back to the 1920s, the hotel exudes a unique sense of character that seamlessly blends the past with modern comforts. The Hawthorne Hotel’s central location ensures easy access to the city’s renowned attractions, museums, and cultural landmarks, making it an ideal base for immersing oneself in the captivating tales of the Witch Trials and maritime history.
The Merchant: The Merchant hotel stands as a testament to modern sophistication and urban elegance. With its sleek and contemporary design, this boutique hotel offers a refreshing contrast to the city’s rich history, providing a unique and stylish retreat for discerning travelers. The Merchant’s chic and thoughtfully curated rooms exude a sense of understated luxury, where every detail is carefully considered to create a seamless blend of comfort and aesthetics. Its prime location places guests within walking distance of Salem’s eclectic array of shops, galleries, and cultural hotspots, allowing for a seamless immersion into the city’s vibrant arts and culinary scene.
The Hotel Salem: The Hotel Salem is a contemporary gem that captures the essence of the city’s historic charm while offering a modern and vibrant stay. With its sleek design, the hotel’s rooms and common spaces exude an air of urban sophistication, providing a refreshing contrast to the city’s storied past. Each detail, from the carefully curated decor to the thoughtful amenities, showcases a commitment to both comfort and style. The Hotel Salem’s central location ensures easy access to Salem’s intriguing museums, historic sites, and bustling waterfront, making it an ideal hub for exploring the city’s rich heritage.
Clipper Ship Inn: The Clipper Ship Inn offers a delightful and budget-friendly escape for travelers seeking comfort and convenience. The inn’s cozy and inviting atmosphere, reminiscent of a classic New England bed and breakfast, provides a warm welcome to guests from near and far.
Salem Waterfront Hotel & Suites: The Salem Waterfront Hotel & Suites stands as a beacon of modern comfort and maritime charm. With its prime waterfront location, this hotel offers guests the chance to experience the best of both worlds: the tranquility of the ocean and the vibrant energy of downtown Salem. The well-appointed rooms and suites provide a luxurious retreat, combining contemporary elegance with coastal influences, and many offer breathtaking views of the harbor.
That’s it for our list of the top 31 best restaurants in Salem Massachusetts to try!
Around the city, you will find a restaurant that offers unique yet delicious meals. The Salem food scene will cater to you no matter your craving. And whatever your budget is, you will enjoy a place or two on our list.
Did you find your new go-to spot? If so, feel free to reveal it in the comments. Have a nice food trip!