If you’re craving some seriously good grub and a side of quirky charm, Salem, Massachusetts, is where it’s at. This little coastal gem is a foodie’s paradise with a dining scene that’s as diverse as it is delicious.
From classic American comfort food to global flavors that will knock your socks off, the best restaurants in Salem, MA, have something for everyone.
But Salem isn’t just about the food – it’s also a welcoming community steeped in history and brimming with charm.
So if you’re thinking about calling Salem home, get ready for a town that’s as passionate about its culinary scene as it is about its witchy past.
Finding Your Perfect Meal in Salem, Massachusetts
Salem is packed with incredible restaurants that offer something for everyone. From fresh seafood to comforting burgers and everything in between, you’ll find everything in this culinary place in Massachusetts.
Seafood is the name of the game in Salem, and you can’t visit without trying the famous lobster rolls and creamy clam chowder.
If you’re a seafood lover, head to one of the top seafood restaurants that offer outdoor seating on their lovely street-side patio. Picture yourself savoring each bite of juicy lobster in the salty breeze.
Asian and Italian Delights
Salem offers various Asian street dishes and delicious Italian food with locally sourced ingredients. You can’t miss trying the tangy sweet brown mustard or the creamy goat cheese on your pizza.
And don’t worry about dietary restrictions because you can find gluten-free options at some restaurants.
Comfort Food Cravings
Sometimes all you need is some good old comfort food. Salem has fantastic bar menus, creative cocktails, and vintage drinks.
Pull a seat and enjoy some juicy pulled pork or crispy pork belly. You can also indulge in a classic grilled cheese that will melt in your mouth. And if you’re bringing the little ones, don’t forget to check out the kids’ menu.
Live Music and Fun Atmosphere
How about a restaurant that offers more than just great food? Then you should check out some of the famous restaurants in Salem that offer live music, pool tables, wood-burning fireplaces, and walk-in coolers.
Some of these restaurants even serve spooky dishes that will give you chills. Grab a drink, relax, and let the good times roll.
Pizza and Burger Bliss
Who can resist a hot and cheesy pizza or a juicy burger? Salem has some of the best pizza and burger joints in town; you won’t regret indulging in them.
Sink your teeth into a wood-fired grilled burger, double burger, or onion ring. And don’t forget to try the rich flavor of their cream sauce on your pizza.
21 Top Salem Restaurants You Should Try
People come from all over the world to experience all the things to do in Massachusetts. What do they come here to see? Its high-tech industry! What do they come here for? Food!
Not that it hasn’t been raining here all summer, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a delicious meal with family and friends. Here are the best restaurants in Salem, MA you should definitely try:
1. Village Tavern on Essex Street
This restaurant serves up New England staples across from the Peabody Essex Museum. This includes creamy clam chowder, buttery lobster mac and cheese, and hearty cuts of meat, including their signature slow-roasted prime rib. Also, they host weekly game nights and live entertainment, and their game room has skee ball, dartboards, and pool tables for even more fun.
But the food and entertainment aren’t the only things that make The Village Tavern special. The ambiance is also perfect, with indoor and outdoor seating options. Enjoy a cocktail or munch on 10-spice dried rub tavern wings while people-watching on their outdoor patio.
2. Howling Wolf Taqueria on Lafayette Street
This trendy restaurant offers fresh, made-from-scratch Mexican cuisine in a modern, colorful space adorned with creative artwork.
The menu features hand-made flour and corn tortillas, ensuring every taco and burrito is a mouth-watering delight. And don’t forget to try their freshly fried tortilla chips with their homemade salsa.
Whether you dine inside or on their charming outdoor patio, order one of their expertly crafted margaritas for your meal. Their Jalapeno Margarita is a local favorite!
3. O’Neill’s Pub & Restaurant on Washington Street
With classic pub fare and a fun atmosphere, you’ll feel at home sipping on a pint of Guinness or ordering a cocktail from the full bar.
Enjoy Irish favorites like Bangers & Mash and Shepherd’s Pie alongside New England staples like Clam Chowder.
Also, their Build Your Own Bloody Mary station is a must-try! O’Neill’s Pub takes its craic seriously, with live entertainment, trivia nights, and game nights regularly scheduled. Stop by their Washington location for a taste of Ireland and some great conversation.
4. Ledger Restaurant on Washington Street
This charming eatery, located at Washington St, Salem, MA 01970, serves up a delectable array of hand-crafted dishes with a modern twist.
One standout dish is the Ledger Double Burger, which is cooked on a wood-fired grill and imbued with a smoky flavor sure to tantalize your taste buds.
In addition to its mouth-watering menu, this restaurant also offers a selection of Mystery Mimosas perfect for sipping and savoring as you enjoy your meal. Its stunning historic building was once a Savings and Loan bank, adding an overall dining experience by making for an unforgettable visit.
5. Red’s Sandwich Shop on Central Street
Red’s Sandwich Shop has been named “Best Breakfast on the North Shore” for 24 years in a row. Formerly known as the Old London Coffee House, the restaurant has a rich history as a meeting place for Revolutionary forefathers in the 1700s.
The menu features classic American breakfast and lunch options with a New England twist, made fresh and reasonably priced. The restaurant is open daily from 7am-3pm and is a popular brunch eatery. Don’t forget to try the Ultimate Bloody Mary with your meal!
6. Flying Saucer Pizza Company on Washington Street
Flying Saucer Pizza Company is a unique restaurant that combines delicious gourmet pizzas with a fun sci-fi theme.
The décor includes nods to Star Wars and Doctor Who. At the same time, the menu features creative dishes like the Spaceballs – A Musical meatball starter and the Nick Fury specialty pizza.
Vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options are also available to cater to all dietary needs. This Salem restaurant has outdoor seating and a full bar. It’s a great spot to enjoy all their food and geeky fun with friends and family.
7. The Tavern at Hawthorne Hotel on Washington Square
The Tavern at Hawthorne Hotel is a cozy restaurant in a historic and haunted hotel. The restaurant features an Old-World dining room, a beautiful oak-paneled bar, and a wood-burning fireplace.
Although the prices may be higher than those of downtown Boston restaurants, the food quality is exceptional and well worth it. One of the restaurant’s standout dishes is the Seafood Chowder, a delicious blend of scallops, shrimp, clams, haddock, and potatoes.
The restaurant’s location in one of the most haunted hotels in America adds to its charm and intrigue, making it a must-visit food hub for those interested in the paranormal.
8. Kokeshi in Derby Street
Kokeshi is a popular Asian restaurant that offers tasty Asian street food staples and delectable ramen dishes. The restaurant has a welcoming and trendy vibe, featuring industrial and colorful decor.
Some of their most well-liked dishes include the Osaka Street Corn, Pork Belly Ramen, and Colonel Sanders Fried Chicken Ramen. In addition, they serve unique offerings like the Octopus Hot Dog.
Kokeshi’s approach to cooking is all about “comfort food with soul,” taking classic dishes and adding their own creative twist. For those who can’t get enough of their food, they have a storefront located at their Italian sister restaurant, Bambolina, in Derby.
9. Turner’s Seafood at Lyceum Hall on Church Street
If you’re a seafood lover, Turner’s Seafood is a must-visit restaurant that offers the freshest and most delicious seafood dishes in town. Their classic New England seafood menu includes crowd-pleasers such as Maine-style cold Lobster Rolls and award-winning Lobster Bisque.
The restaurant boasts a historical New England vibe, with indoor seating that showcases exposed brick and tiled ceilings. Additionally, they have a charming outdoor courtyard bistro where you can enjoy your meal in the fresh air.
10. All Soul’s Lounge on Derby Street
All Soul’s Lounge is a top-notch restaurant well-known for its vintage cocktails, gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches, dips, and fancy hot dogs.
Their gourmet grilled cheese combos, such as the Blue & Bleu and Sweet Salt, are trendy among diners. The restaurant also features an old-school jukebox, which adds to the overall ambiance.
Unfortunately, All Soul’s Lounge doesn’t have a kids menu or high chairs. This makes it a more appropriate dining destination for adults seeking a sophisticated dining experience.
11. Goodnight Fatty on Washington Square
Goodnight Fatty is a unique bakery specializing in cookies and serving breakfast on Sunday mornings. Their cookies, referred to as “fatties,” are a sight to behold, overflowing with deliciousness.
In addition to fatties, they also offer “chubbies,” which are small breakfast bundles filled with egg, cheese, and other delectable ingredients. The bakery is conveniently located near the Witch Museum and offers delivery of freshly baked goodies anywhere in Salem.
Goodnight Fatty is open on Fridays and Saturdays from 5-11pm and Sundays from 2-10pm. If you’re in Salem and craving a sweet treat. Then Goodnight Fatty is worth checking out, especially if you’re looking for a late-night snack.
12. The Adriatic Restaurant & Bar on Washington Street
The Adriatic, a stunning restaurant in Salem, offers delectable Mediterranean cuisine and exceptional service. Dine indoors or enjoy the lovely street-side patio seating.
Their house-favorite Risotto with Shrimp is a must-try, and don’t forget to leave room for their specialty Tiramisu. You can complement your meal with a drink from their extensive list of cocktails and wines.
13. Gulu Gulu Cafe in Essex Street
Gulu Gulu Cafe is a must-visit artisan sandwich shop and craft beer bar. They feature many soups, sandwiches, crepes, gluten-free and vegan options, and an impressive craft beer selection.
Their Whatever Floats Your Goat sandwich, as is their gluten-free and vegan mac n cheese, is a top pick. Guests can also savor specialty coffees and teas while admiring local art on display.
With its relaxed ambiance and delicious food, Gulu Gulu Cafe is the perfect place for a satisfying lunch in Salem.
14. Sea Level Oyster Bar on Wharf Street
Sea Level Oyster Bar is a top-notch seafood restaurant offering a wide range of seafood dishes, including the famous Fisherman’s Platter, Baked Seafood Pie, and a clambake.
However, the show’s real star is their Chowder Fries, which are fries smothered in clam chowder, steamed littlenecks, and cheddar cheese. Seafood lovers will surely enjoy this unique and delicious dish.
The restaurant also boasts a great bar menu and a beautiful outdoor seating area with waterfront views, making it a perfect spot for enjoying the stunning scenery of Salem.
15. The Ugly Mug Diner on Washington Street
The Ugly Mug Diner is a kid-friendly restaurant with classic diner-style breakfast and brunch options, such as pancakes, waffles, and egg sandwiches.
In addition, they offer unique dishes like the This Ain’t No Chicken and Waffles, featuring a waffle topped with duck confit, candied pecans, and a Bourbon Maple Syrup Reduction.
Open daily from 8am until 2pm, this diner is an excellent choice for a tasty and affordable breakfast, brunch, or lunch in the historic waterfront town of Salem.
16. Olde Maine Street Pub on Essex Street
Olde Maine Street Pub is a cozy restaurant known for its creative comfort food with influences from Asian, European, and Latin American cuisine.
Their menu features a range of meal favorites, including burgers and chicken, making it an excellent place for lunch. The restaurant has a laid-back atmosphere where you can catch a game on TV while dining.
One of their signature dishes is the Improper Cubano. It’s a delicious combination of Guinness barbecue pulled pork, house tasso, and arugula pesto, topped with spicy pickles that create an explosion of flavors.
17. Bambolina Restaurant on Derby Street
Bambolina Restaurant is renowned for its made-to-order Neo-Neapolitan pizzas from Naples, Italy using traditional pizza-making techniques.
One of their most popular dishes is the Pizza Special, which blends arugula, smoked lamb, roasted tomato, mozzarella, and mascarpone, creating a perfect harmony of all the flavors. This pizza has a spicy kick from Calabrian chili, making it a true gastronomic delight.
Bambolina Restaurant is a must-visit place in Salem for anyone looking for authentic and delicious pizzas.
18. Fountain Place Restaurant on Essex Street
Fountain Place Restaurant is a beloved local eatery in Salem known for its comforting and delicious food. The restaurant has been serving the community for 17 years and offers a cozy atmosphere adorned with historical images of Salem.
Alternatively, diners can opt for the outdoor patio with views of downtown Salem. The Reuben Sandwich is a must-try dish at Fountain Place. This classic sandwich features fresh corned beef, tangy thousand island dressing, and sour sauerkraut for the perfect balance of flavors.
19. Thai Cuisine and Seafood on Church Street
Thai Cuisine and Seafood offer an authentic Thai dining experience in a casual setting. Adorned with Thai-inspired decor and artifacts, the restaurant has been serving customers since 1990.
One highly recommended dish is the Satay, which features juicy beef or chicken strips on skewers with a delectable peanut and cucumber sauce. The creamy and nutty sauce complements the tender meat, making it a delightful treat for the taste buds.
20. Finz in Wharf Street
Finz is a sophisticated seafood restaurant with a fresh fish and seafood menu, sushi dishes, and daily catch-of-the-day specials.
Additionally, they serve a delicious burger that is not to be missed. Remember that during peak tourist season, reservations are not accepted, and seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. However, the food is definitely worth the wait.
To top it off, they offer a menu of expertly crafted cocktails that perfectly complement the flavors of the dishes.
21. Opus on Washington Street
Opus is a place that will make your heart sing with joy. If you’re a fan of unexpected and delicious flavor combinations, then this is the spot for you.
Opus offers a menu that combines Asian cuisine with traditional American fare. From burgers and sandwiches to pasta dishes and more, you’ll find a mouth-watering selection of dishes that are sure to please even the most discerning palate.
But that’s not all! Opus also offers a fantastic selection of appetizers and specialty cocktails that perfectly complement their menu. You’ll be blown away by the unique and tasty creations they serve up.
As you can see, Salem is a city filled with history, culture, and of course, delicious food. From artisan sandwiches to upscale seafood, the restaurants in this city offer a range of dining experiences that cater to every taste and preference.
Regardless if you’re a seafood lover or a fan of international cuisine, Salem has something for everyone. So next time you’re in the area, check out these best restaurants in Salem, MA, and satisfy your cravings.
And if you’re looking to buy or sell a property in Salem or its surrounding areas, HOMES by ARDOR has dedicated real estate agents to help you. Contact us today to learn more about our services and how we can assist you with your real estate needs.
Kris Reid is the CEO of Ardor SEO, a company that helps real estate professionals get more leads and customers to predictably grow their business.
Over the years, Kris acquired extensive knowledge of SEO and its practical applications in various industries, with the main focus on real estate.
In 2021 Ardor launched the Icons of Real Estate Podcast to share proven strategies from the top producing icon agents with the real estate community.
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